LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This weekend the Big Blue Nation watched as the Cats made history going 31-0.
Now they turn their attention to seeing UK open up play in the post season. First up, the fans will be watching as the Cats hit the road for the SEC tournament in Nashville this week. No one will be watching more closely than one group of fans WKYT's Amber Philpott recently met who have made a big blue bearded vow until the cats bring home number nine.
Its no secret members of the Big Blue Nation are a unique breed.
“We have the best fans in America, any sport we are the best fans,” said Mike Riley of Lexington.
UK fans are a group that will do anything to show their love of the Cats.
“Nothing red in my house, my kids are supposed to have Vitamin D milk, I get them Vitamin D, but buy two percent milk and put the blue lid on it,” said Warren Lowe.
Take one group of Lexington guys, most of them have been life-long friends in Lexington. They have always bled blue, but recently their love for the cats has grown even more.
You will notice all of them are sporting facial hair and all that beard growing is significant when comes to the last year on the UK National Championship banner hanging in both Rupp Arena and Memorial Coliseum.
“I made a post on Facebook said I want to grow my beard out, I'll cut it when the Cats cut the nets down. Then I had a bunch of people say I'm down,” said Riley.
And just like that No Shave til 9 was born.
Mike Riley says for him, there was some stubble, but says he’s been growing his beard out for about six months now.
No Shave till 9 has its own Facebook page, website and well its literally been growing, the group is now 80 beards strong.
“We never thought it would get this big, a lot of us have never grown out our beards like this before and what better reason than for the cats,” said Warren Lowe of Lexington.
“Friends of friends joined and now friends of friends have joined. It just caught on like wildfire,” said No Shave til 9 member, Mike Johnson.
While first inspired by Willie Cauley-Stein's beard, it was Dominique Hawkins and his beard joining the group that gave No Shave til 9 some real attention and led to a cool beard to beard experience at a game.
“I screamed louder and he turned around saw me, saw the shirt. I gave my beard a tug and he gave a tug back and it was a good thing,” said Riley.
No Shave til 9 meets every time the cats hit the court at O'Neill’s in Lexington.
You can't break a streak. Superstition is real in the group.
“We have to wear the certain shirts, we have to sit a certain way. The beards are staying, not going anywhere,” said Vince Wilburn.
Despite their loyalty, the beards have taken some getting used to by some of the guy’s female Wildcat fans in their lives.
“She didn't care too much for the beard at first, but no pun intended its grown on her,” said Riley.
“We really need to win this year for multiple reasons, for my blood pressure and my face,” said Wilburn.
Like the streak, the beards continue to grow, but what if and it's a big what if, the Cats don't take home number nine in Indianapolis this year?
“We will cross that bridge when we get there,” said Riley.
Don't even think about bringing scissors around these big blue beards, that is until they see the Cats using them to cut down the championship nets.
“Who says we are going to shave, if we do win number nine, stay tuned for No Trim til 10!” said Mike Johnson.
The No Shave til 9 guys say they will be following their Cats through every round of the tournament and March Madness.