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What A Night For The Aces!

As Evansville pulled off an upset no one thought possible.

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Evansville v Kentucky
 LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 12: K.J. Riley #33 of the Evansville Aces celebrates in the 67-64 win over the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on November 12, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In Durham as the Blue Devils were completely blowing Central Arkansas out a buzz rippled through Cameron: Evansville was working on a massive upset: could the Purple Aces actually win in Lexington?

Apparently the same thing happened in Bloomington’s Alumni Hall where the crowd was following closely and broke out into cheers when EU won.

The game had some major echoes: Hickory High, Larry Bird and Indiana State, even a touch of Bob Knight who always has had a special kind of contempt for Kentucky basketball, a program he always assumed cheated.

The irony of course is that EU is now coached by former Wildcat Walter McCarty who is in a unique position: Kentucky fans want to be proud of him, but now, like his former coach and boss Rick Pitino, he’s a betrayer.

Pitino was worse for going to Louisville, but UK fans will have a tough time forgiving McCarty for stripping Kentucky of the #1 ranking.

Worse, it will almost certainly pass to Duke now which will not sit well with the Big Blue Nation.

A lot of people don’t realize it but Evansville has a massive basketball history. Before the Aces moved to D-1 they were a very dominant D-II power, having won five national titles.

When you put Evansville in the broader Indiana tradition - Hickory, Indiana, Butler, Purdue, the old open high school basketball tournament, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson - it’s part of a tradition that can stand next to any in the country. It must be beyond thrilling for Evansville to have pulled this off and not as a fluke either. They won this game. At Kentucky. At #1 Kentucky.

What a night.

Well, for EU. We imagine that Kentucky fans are cursing Walter McCarty on some level as their former hero cut them down in front of the nation. Last year Zion Williamson and Duke humiliated Kentucky; this year little Evansville. It’s got to sting. We’d love to spend the day listening to Kentucky sports radio. That would be highly entertaining.