LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Cats game up short Monday night, despite an exciting tourney run that landed them in the Championship game.
Despite the loss, thousands of Big Blue Fans packed Rupp arena to welcome their team home and celebrate an unforgettable season. According to UK Athletics, an estimated 3,500 people came out to the pep rally.
The UK team bus rolled into Rupp shortly after 3:00 p.m. with a police escort. The fans who found a way to make it to Rupp Arena cheered and chants of "Go Big Blue" broke out as the players and Coach Calipari took the stage.
Calipari told the crowd what happened last night was a disappointment, but also a huge accomplishment.
"We slipped a couple of times. We almost fell off a couple cliffs. But you know, these guys just kept climbing," he said.
"I just wanted to come up and say on behalf of all of us, thank you to all the fans. You're the best fans in the world," senior Jon Hood told the crowd. "Thank you for supporting me, individually for five years, Jarrod for four, and continue to support these guys,"
Fans came from across the state to get another look at their Wildcats.
"We're really excited the kids are here today because it shows them how important it is to be a part of a family. Being part of a family means whether we win or lose, we're all still part of the family," says Lee Webb, of Shelbyville.
Calipari thanked people who always believed in the Wildcats because that gave them inspiration, but also those who didn't because he says that motivated the team.