It’s a good thing that New Orleans has a great amount of experience with the hosting of large events. Because what will descend on the Crescent City next weekend has never been seen in a Final Four.
Cincinnati and Ohio State met for national titles in the 1961 and 1962 seasons, but the Final Four was still a long way from becoming the spectacle that it is today. Duke and North Carolina shared the Final Four stage in 1991 but a Tar Heel loss to Kansas prevented a match-up of those two rivals.
Kentucky and Louisville have met in the NCAA tournament before (1983) but it wasn’t in the Final Four, and Saturday night’s national semifinal meeting should further galvanize a state that loves its basketball.
One celebration in Lexington following Kentucky’s win over Baylor in Atlanta featured both a couch burning and liquid refreshment, and Louisville fans were just as excited in the aftermath of the Cardinals’ win over Florida on Saturday.
Adding Bourbon Street to one of the most heated rivalries in sports should add even more energy, and that’s just for fans of the two schools who will actually make the trip to New Orleans.
Kentucky won the regular season meeting 69-62 back on New Year’s Eve in Lexington, but they’ll be taking on a Louisville team that’s as healthy as it has been all season long.
Within state lines, this week looks to shape up as one featuring many arguments over which team runs the state and Saturday’s game will provide the answer. To say the least this is going to make for a highly entertaining battle on the game’s biggest stage.