Louisville fan Patty Callen had one consoling thought on Saturday’s loss.
“Everyone’s going to go to bed tonight knowing a team from Kentucky is going to the finals,” she said.
University of Kentucky fan Chris Martin was a bit more excited.
“We’re about to win a national title!” he yelled, as those around him erupted in whoops and cheers.
Kentucky fans far outnumbered Louisville’s in the crowd of more than 150 at Overtime’s Bar and Grill Saturday. Many of them said they got there 2-3 hours before gametime to get a prime seat near one of the bar’s 20 flat-screens that were all playing the game.
Some UK fans said Saturday’s outcome didn’t matter – whatever happened, a Kentucky team would be vying for the national championship Monday.
“I’m a UK fan first, but a Louisville fan second,” said Drex Davis, decked out in blue and channeling Anthony Davis with a drawn-on unibrow. “The brow would cheer for the ‘ville.”
But for many of the UK fans, Saturday’s historic matchup came down to one fact: in the end, the Cards were no match for the top-seeded Cats, and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“If Louisville goes, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” Martin said before the win.
Emotions ran wild as UK fans whooped, gasped, cheered and groaned their way through the game. But when Louisville tied it in the second half, Frankfort resident Sallie Lanham became a little hopeful.
“They said Kentucky would slaughter them,” she said, giddy with excitement, as the big screen behind her flashed the score: 49-49.
That’s when UK fan Coe Norton decided to make a change – literally.
He ran over to the nearby Dollar General to get a plain-blue t-shirt to replace the UK shirt he was wearing, superstitious that the Cats were losing because of his attire.
“I was wearing this UK shirt the only two times Kentucky lost,” Norton said, now wearing the solid-blue tee.
Kentucky quickly regained the lead and kept it all the way until the end, beating Louisville 69-61. At the end of the game, Overtime’s DJ played “Celebration” and “Shout” as fans danced and led chants of C-A-T-S.
It was an end that Frankfort resident and UK fan Melody Daly predicted would happen all along.
“They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said in the first half, after UK made a basket. “Winning is all Kentucky does.”