WKU campus celebrates Kentucky’s national championship

Hasani Grayson

Big Blue Nation showed its reach on Monday night as blue, and not WKU red, was the primary color seen around campus as Kentucky defeated Kansas 67-59 to win the NCAA Championship.

Even though the air conditioning in the Downing University Center was out, the warmer temperatures didn’t keep Kentucky fans from gathering around the big screen at the DUC Food Court.     

Most of those who watched the first half in DUC were pleased that their Wildcats had jumped out to a 41-27 lead by the end of the first half, but Louisville freshman Martin Beals wasn’t about to jump on the Wildcat bandwagon.

“F—k UK, I’m a Louisville fan to death,” said Beals, who stood out in a sea of blue with his red Louisville Cardinals shirt.

Wildcat fans had even more to cheer about as the game appeared well in hand as the second half progressed.

But when the Jayhawks began to chip away at the lead, Kentucky fans began to worry the game may slip away late.

“Kentucky’s notorious for giving it away,” said one frustrated fan in Hilligan’s Bar and Grill after an 8-0 Kansas run that brought the lead down to single digits late.

Fortunately for the on-edge fans in the bar, Kentucky was able to hold off the late push and win the eighth championship in the school’s history. Hilligan’s, which had become even more full with UK fans in the game’s final minutes, erupted in cheers and chants when the score went final.

Morgan Mickelson, a Lexington senior, said that she won some bragging rights with Kentucky’s victory.

“My boyfriend is in Kansas with all the Kansas fans,” she said. “We have a little bit of a rivalry going so I guess I win that one.”

Another fan, Brandon Bradshaw, said he watched the game at a friend’s house and only came down to the bar afterward.

“I didn’t want to show my nervousness in public,” he said. “(Kansas) played a great game. I was actually wanting Ohio State to win the last game because I knew how big of a scraper Kansas is. I knew it’d be a tough game.”

Bradshaw said he was content to sit at the bar and light up his victory cigar, but some WKU students thought lighting up their couches was a more fitting celebration.

Just up the street from Hilligan’s a couch was set on fire between the Kappa Alpha and Sigma Alpha Epsilon houses. Celebrating fans were forced to back away from the area as the police and fire department were called to the scene.

The blaze caught the attention of TJ Stinnett, who said he was just hanging out with a group of friends when he heard the sirens and went to see what was going on.

“It might be a little extreme to burn the couches but that just shows you the true essence of a UK fan,” he said. “We bleed blue to the core.”

Though he had joked about it, Stinnett said he would try not to cause too much destruction during his celebration.

“I probably won’t flip any cars over,” he said. “But I feel like I have the urge to.”

Stinnett, along with some other onlookers, observed a more controlled couch burning as the fire pit at the Sigma Nu house was put to use to sacrifice another couch in the name if UK’s eighth championship.

Queen’s “We Are the Champions” was blasted over a stereo as fans sang along and the flames engulfed the piece of living room furniture.