NASHVILLE — The SEC tournament, and Nashville, owe Kentucky a big blue ... well, blue and white thank you.
If it wasn’t for the incredible following of the Big Blue Nation, the SEC could hold its men’s basketball tournament at the Merrill Center in Katy, Texas, where the Southland tournament takes place.
There wasn’t a game the entire four days that the Kentucky fans didn’t outnumber the rest of the fans at Bridestone Arena, and that includes when the two state teams of Tennessee and Vanderbilt played each other.
If Kentucky was warming up, the arena was packed and about the only seats sporting different colors were behind the opposition’s bench. The rest had some sort of blue and white ensemble. I say some sort because there were all kinds of outfits, from women who had to be in their 60s wearing blue and white overalls to a student engulfed in a Michelin Tire-type outfit.
It was so crazy, long-time announcer Dick Vitale would stop and ask fans if he could have his photo taken with them.
And there might be some bias when it comes to the officials’ calls, but these people know their basketball.
Every play is recognized. They stood and cheered once when Arkansas appeared to have a fast break and then backed it out without getting off a shot. A 3-pointer or a dunk, just cover your ears.
It’s all impressive, but the Wildcat fans take it to another level with the way they just inundate the host city.
There wasn’t a bar/saloon along Broadway, and there are countless of them, that wasn’t entirely packed with blue-clad Wildcat fans.
I’ve been to five A&M bowl games and I’m not saying A&M fans don’t support their Aggies, but I’ve never seen anything like what I saw in Nashville.
If the Aggies made the national title game in football I’m sure it would be similar, but remember this was a conference tournament for a team that is expected to play in three different sites over the next three weeks.