I'm at the YUM! Center again in downtown Louisville. And what is it about the NCAA tournament this year that it has to rain like hell everywhere we go.
At least it's warmer here in Louisville than it was in the last round at Hartford. There, it was 34 degrees with rain and 34 mile an hour winds. Here, it's 68 degrees with 34 mile and hour winds.
We stopped as we always do at Exit 172 off I-65 in Lafayette. The Starbucks was packed with people heading to Louisville. Most did not have tickets, including a group of young guys from southern Michigan.
"I'm sure the bars will be open during the game," one said to me.
It rained like holy hell all the way down I-65 except for a brief time when Alexis and I stopped at a rest stop south of Indianapolis. Even there, it was mostly people in black stopping to pee. We hung out in the hotel room for a little while when my cousin Cindy's husband, Brien Delich, texted me.
"I rented scooters for the boys but it's raining hard. We're just sitting in the car."
I gave Delich a key so he and the kids could hang out in our room, which is actually two rooms separated by a bathroom. I don't know if it's because we're media or what... but we got a suite that sleeps six. It's never there when you need it.
There's a plan when you go to a Cubs game. Find your seat and down two quick beers. And then drink a couple more a little more slowly. By the time you get to your final beer, you milk it. After the game, you stop for something greasy to eat. By the time you get to your car, the parking lot attendant is admonishing you for your tardiness.
"We're getting ready to close the lot. What took you so long?"
"I got a plan, sir. I got a plan."
We followed a similar plan this afternoon. Find a bar, sit for a few beers, come back to the hotel, nap, and then head to the YUM! Center. We may have stayed a little bit extra at the bar since we knew Carter, Landen and Delich were taking naps up in our rooms. But we're here and I smell only slightly like Bud Light, which will make the entire Kiernan family happy.
I don't know how to convey concisely to the three or four of you how excited and nervous I am. To some of you, the question might be -
"How the hell could you get so excited about a college basketball game?"
I understand the interrogatory... but, as with why it's so cool to be a Region Rat, if I have to explain it to you, then you're not gonna get it anyways. #2 seed Purdue takes on #1 seed Virginia in less than half an hour. My buzz is wearing down, replaced by another buzz. I'm thinking about what this former Purdue football player said to me in the bourbon bar -
"How pissed would you be if your were Virginia. You get a #1 seed and you wind up playing Purdue in what amounts to a home game for the Boilers."
This is true. This place is 10 to one black to blue. And it's rocking, a lot more than it ever did in Hartford, Connecticut. I have no idea if the Boilers are gonna win and make it to the Final Four in Minneapolis, but it's been an amazing ride.. one I'll never forget.
Special thanks to Jason Burgess of the Purdue ticket office. He got Alexis a single ticket with the Purdue parents again, just like in Hartford. I ran into him at the will call booth.
"You're welcome and Go Boilers," he said.