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By BOB WHITE
ELIZABETHTOWN – Let the games begin!
Cheers sounded Sunday evening in the bar at Beef O’Brady’s as CBS Sports announced that University of Louisville and its 28-5 record was chosen as the Midwest Region and overall top seed by the NCAA Tournament committee.
North Carolina made the South’s top spot, Pittsburgh was chosen as the East Region’s top seed and University of Connecticut was chosen as the West’s.
Louisville’s top spot is the icing on the cake for a tournament exciting for Kentucky basketball fans – except those supporting the Kentucky Wildcats.
“Who’d have thought we’d see Morehead without UK,” retired postal worker John Galvin said.
For the first time in 17 years, UK won’t be a part of the Big Dance.
But a tournament bracket doesn’t need Wildcats to excite basketball fans.
With Morehead State and Western Kentucky universities joining U of L in the tournament, hoops lovers from throughout the Bluegrass undoubtedly will be hooked on the tourney.
“What Morehead had to do just to get into the tourney is quite a story,” said Chris Maiden, a self-proclaimed Beef O’Brady’s Legend. “They ran a backscreen play and lay-upped a dunk. Then a freshman who hadn’t scored the entire game scored in overtime.”
Local hoops fans will be watching Morehead’s Maze Stallworth, a graduate of John Hardin High School, on Tuesday as the team takes on Alabama State. If the Eagles pull off a win, local fans will see an exciting game as the bracket has Morehead taking on the University of Louisville Cardinals. If not, the Cardinals’ first game will be against Alabama State.
Maiden said Morehead’s record was average at best, but at tourney time, he said it just doesn’t matter. It will be exciting regardless.
Another team watched closely by local basketball fans this tournament season will be Western Kentucky University, with Elizabethtown High School’s Steffphon Pettigrew.
A second round of cheers came about as Western’s slot was announced Sunday.
“That could be your first big upset,” two fans at the bar said simultaneously.
Western’s first challenge will be Thursday against University of Illinois in Portland, Ore.
Meanwhile, UK faces University of Nevada-Las Vegas at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the National Invitation Tournament in Lexington.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.