Kyle Kuric turns out to be the highlight of Rick Pitino’s press conference, looking for all the world like a happy-go-lucky college kid as he enters the room, wearing his Final Four Adidas cap backwards. At least, it used to be considered backwards.
The University of Louisville senior manages to answer a couple of questions before Kenny Klein, the sports information director, makes a quick motion with his hands, quietly suggesting to Kuric that it might be a good idea to remove the head gear.
“Huh?” he says, with a surprised look at Klein. Hand gesture again. “Ah, okay.”
Kuric is asked the predictable questions about the upcoming match up with the Kentucky basketball team in the first game of the NCAA Final Four. He responds with the predictable answers:
“Yeah UK is a great team, maybe the best team we’ll play all year.”
“I heard about the rivalry while I was growing up. It is more fun being a part of it.”
When asked if the coaches prepare differently for Kentucky, he says the coaches are a lot more serious and practices are much more intense during weeks leading up to the game. “We usually have a lot of fun, but practices during those weeks kind of suck,” he says.
What about all that fun you’re supposed to be having?
“Practice is serious,” he says. “We have fun duing games.”
He follows Rick Pitino, Chris Smith and Chane Behanan, each of them answering one question after another and another about Kentucky and the rivalry. One has the distinct feeling that coach and team are getting tired of talking about the Lexington team. They can’t admit that, of course, not wanting to give Big Blue any bulletin board material.
No end from the continuing speculation, analysis and predictions from local and national sports media, classmates, family, friends and neighbors.
Admittedly, U of L crashed the party, UK was going to be there all along. But one has to admit that Final Four week would be much more fun (not so irritable) without having to share the headlines and the spotlight with a dreaded rival.
There’s only one chance to shut it down for a while. That doesn’t come until Saturday.