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Bluegrass bounce

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Editorial: April 4, 2013

TOPIC: Basketball in Kentucky
OUR VIEW: Nobody does it better

There are eight college basketball teams ready to begin play this weekend in the Final Four for men’s and women’s basketball. Two of them are from the University of Louisville.

Card Nation is delirious over the possibility of the Cardinals and Lady Cardinals sweeping national crowns.

Who can blame them?

The school is in rare company. Louisville having both programs in the Final Four marks just the 10th time a program had both teams advance to this point. Fellow Big East member Connecticut is the lone school to have won both titles in the same season, accomplishing it in 2004.

The women’s basketball programs often play in the shadow of the men’s teams at U of L and the University of Kentucky, for instance. The UK men won the national title last season and U of L is the favorite this season. Just two wins separate the Cardinals from their first national championship since 1986.

But the women’s programs have been very good, too. Not only is U of L in the Final Four for the second time in school history, but the UK women almost joined them. UK lost Monday night in the region final  to Connecticut, otherwise half the field would be from our state where basketball reigns.

Both women’s programs play before solid crowds in big arenas. While fans of both schools worry about what players may leave early for the NBA draft, that is not an issue for the women’s teams. Those players are at their schools all four years of eligibility, as long as they stay in good standing.

Both programs spent time ranked among the Top 20 most of the season and were seeded high in the NCAA Tournament. UK was a No. 2 seed and U of L a No. 5.

Having both teams advance as they did this season is no fluke. Both programs have been among the best in the country over the last five seasons and consistently have contended for regular-season league and tournament titles.

So while it may be the men’s programs in Kentucky that have attracted deep-rooted attention, and deservedly so, over the years, don’t overlook what is being done these days for the women’s programs at U of L and UK.

What they are accomplishing truly is special.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.