Kentucky Will Hang Around Greensboro For The Weekend, While Fans Were Glued To Phones Watching Fairleigh Dickinson Ending

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GREENSBORO- Kentucky fans once again followed their team on the road in impressive fashion, per usual. This time it was in North Carolina, with Wildcat fans hoping their team would extend its stay past the first game by beating Providence. But as the final minutes were winding down, fans were glued to another NCAA Tournament game, involving Fairleigh Dickinson.

One of the best moments of the night came with just under two-minutes to play in Greensboro, as fans started looking at their phones and the Jumbotron inside the arena. If you were living under a rock tonight, No.1 Purdue was beaten by No.16 seeded Fairleigh Dickinson, in one of the biggest shockers of NCAA Tournament history.

I could hear a number of fans chanting ‘FDU’ during the final moments of a game being played in Columbus, Ohio. Turns out, one of the crazier moments of the college basketball season was playing out on the cell phones of two fan bases who still had a close contest in-front of them, thanks to Fairleigh Dickinson.

At least all fan-bases in attendance could agree on one thing. As the Purdue ending was being shown on the Jumbotron inside the arena, fans were booing every time they would turn it off. In a first for me, the final few minutes of one game was taking a backseat to Fairleigh Dickinson shocking the college basketball world.

“Holy Sh–, I can’t believe that just happened. At least we aren’t Purdue fans,” a Kansas State fan said out-loud.

The news of Purdue losing had not made it to Kentucky coach John Calipari, as he found out during the postgame press conference from a reporter.

“What did you just say? What did you say? I’ve been telling these guys. You don’t watch the games. If you think you’re going to be playing somebody, they’re going to get knocked off,” John Calipari mentioned about march madness. “That’s how this works. We can write our own story. We didn’t know that. Did you guys know that? None of us knew that.”

Big Blue Nation Shows Up In Greensboro

It’s one thing for fans to travel to a Sweet-16 or Final Four, but Kentucky fans will go just about anywhere to see their team play, which is also known as the ‘Blue Mist’. Friday night was no different than last year in Indianapolis, with a majority of the Greensboro Coliseum joining in on the ‘Go Big Blue’ chant.

For opposing fan bases, they know that it will usually be more like an away game in the NCAA Tournament, which was the case for Providence.

“Yea, these fans would most likely travel into a war-zone to see their team play. I have to give them credit, they certainly out-numbered us tonight. But it does make for a pretty cool environment, even though I wish we weren’t headed home tomorrow now,” one Providence half-jokingly told me.

Kentucky Fans Takeover Greensboro For NCAA Tournament Opener
The Providence Friars and Kentucky Wildcats players huddle prior to the start of the game in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Tonight was more about John Calipari breaking a recent trend of sitting at home while second round games are being played. After losing in the first game last year against Saint Peter’s, then following it up with an early exit last week in Nashville, Kentucky will play on Sunday. This might not mean much for the casual basketball fan in Greensboro, but hotels and restaurants were quietly hoping for a Wildcat win tonight.

“We’ve heard about how many fans travel to these type of games, and we could tell by looking at how many Kentucky license plates were parked outside. Outside of concerts or special events, having the tournament in our town helps the hospitality industry. We were taking calls today from folks wanting to know if we had rooms available for Saturday and Sunday night,”a local hotel manager told OutKick.

Kentucky's Antonio Reeves had a monster night for Kentucky
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 17: Antonio Reeves #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after making a 3-point shot during the first half against the Providence Friars in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at The Fieldhouse at Greensboro Coliseum on March 17, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Kentucky Can Make An NCAA Tournament Run To MSG

If Kentucky can get this type of performance in the second round, Wildcat fans should be booking their trip to Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. Already a massive force in the paint, Oscar Tshiebwe had 25 rebounds, with eight points. The rest of Kentucky’s team had a combined 23 rebounds, proving just how much of a problem Oscar can be when he’s not in foul trouble.

As for Antonio Reeves, he delivered with 22 points, giving Kentucky another weapon on the offensive side tonight. There was discussions about Sahvir Wheeler playing tonight, but he was still on the bench, dealing with a nagging injury that didn’t have him at 100%.

One year after losing its NCAA Tournament opener, Kentucky is headed towards a second round matchup with either Kansas State or Montana State.

Again, nothing surprises me with this Kentucky team. But tonight, the City of Greensboro were the biggest winners, as more of the ‘Blue Mist’ will head into town over the next 24 hours.


Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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