What Christian Watford’s shot meant to Kentuckiana IU fans.
Living in the trenches of the year-round college basketball fan-war that is Louisville Kentucky I would like to explain just what Christian Watford’s shot meant to the IU fans of the Southern Indiana /greater Louisville area.
You see I am from the Clarksville/Jeffersonville area of Indiana. I can literally walk to the home floor of the Cardinals, the Yum center, faster than 98% of Kentuckians can drive there. Watford may be forever carved in stone in Indiana basketball folklore, but after his game winning shot against #1 UK he is nothing short of a Greek God to Hoosier fans that live in the Louisville metro area.
You see here in “North Louisville”/Southern Indiana we are ground zero for the UK, UofL and IU battleground. We have UofL and UK billboards literally in our backyards while a majority of Southern Indiana fans choose allegiance to one the Kentucky schools. Simply stated IU fans are in the minority even though we live in Indiana.
Maybe the biggest slap in the face for Southern Indiana IU fans is that the stores in OUR malls in Indiana display UK and UofL gear in the front windows while the IU gear is buried in the back of the store next to the half off rack.
IU fans haven’t been respected around these parts since the General left 11 years ago except for those 3 magical weeks in March 2002 where we had some dignity again, but that was short lived and we quickly returned back to being 3rd class citizens in this college hoops hotbed.
Our lowest point was after the Sampson debacle when we became the poor little kid that couldn’t even afford to play with lower D1 schools. Trust me when UK fans feel sorry for you, you have officially hit the bottom of the barrel. We might as well have been Morehead State.
You see the big 3 local news outlets, all out of Louisville, will typically do a 15 to 30 second spot on IU basketball games only after they have shown a 2 minute spot about how John Calipari feels his dribble drive offense is coming along for the Cats. Meanwhile Indiana fans like myself get our IU coverage from sites like Inside the Hall and other websites that support IU hoops. It’s beyond frustrating.
The Cat fans here are beyond obnoxious, they fly their little blues flags everywhere, wear their faded UK2K shirts all while walking around with a swagger not seen since Donald Trump’s last interview. Until they lose. Then magically they disappear.
Trying to have an intelligent conversation with them about basketball is impossible. A typical conversation with a Catfan usually ends with them reminding you that they have 2,000 wins or (insert your team here) sucks man! UK is the best! The only way to shut them up is to beat them.
I was raised on Indiana basketball by my father and grandfather. It is part of my blood. Somewhere my grandfather is smiling down after sending UK back to Lexington with a stiff in the loss column.
Coach Tom Crean, Christian and all of his Hoosiers teammates have given Indiana fans in the trenches a reason to hold our heads up high while walking around town in our IU gear. We cannot thank you enough for that.
We are Indiana