Cat fans prepare for Cardinal takeover of Rupp Arena
LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - Louisville fans are on cloud nine after learning the Cardinals are the number one overall seed going into the NCAA tournament. The team will play their first two rounds just 80 miles down Interstate 64, on the University of Kentucky's home court. The Cats did not get a tournament bid.
In Lexington Monday, many Cat fans were still upset that UK is in the NIT tournament instead of the NCAA, but many were surprisingly supportive of their in-state rival taking over at Rupp Arena. That includes Sue Tack, manager of Kentucky Proud, a store inside Lexington Center, the same building that houses as Rupp Arena.
"We sell all Kentucky made products," said Tack. "The photographs are all done with Kentucky scenes. All the books are made, are written or authored by Kentucky authors. All the wines, all everything in here, are Kentucky made one way or the other."
That includes the sports memorabilia which is Kentucky blue. Tack relies on business from fans waiting for games at Rupp.
"The UK games bring in a good time for us," Tack said.
But this week Tack hopes the NCAA tournament brings in that same amount of business. She said they are "psyched up for it" despite the fact the University of Louisville is top dog and the Cats didn't even make the tournament.
"We would prefer UK to be here, but under the circumstances Louisville is doing great or is having a great year and I hope they continue to do so," said Tack. "It's a little too much red for me, but that's okay we'll take it."
Partly because Louisville is less than 100 miles away so, "that's going to bring more people." Tack knows it's also good for the Bluegrass - no matter what the city.
There was a chance another top seed could have invaded Rupp Arena and the state. "We don't like Indiana. We'll take Louisville. We don't like Indiana," joked Tack.
In the end, Tack said it's not just about the Cards or the Cats because, as she put it, "we live and breathe basketball here in this state - period."
So when it comes to the college sport at Rupp Arena this week, Tack and everyone she's spoken to plan to use it to show just how Kentucky Proud they can be.
Tickets for the tournament games at Rupp are on sale now through Ticketmaster. UofL will play their first game against either North Carolina A&T or Liberty at 6:50 p.m. on Thursday.
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