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‘March sadness:’ Kentucky fans cope with first-round tournament loss

Thursday night’s game turned out to be a nightmare scenario for Kentucky fans who had hoped to see the Wildcats make a run for a ninth national championship.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Thursday night’s game turned out to be a nightmare scenario for Kentucky fans who had hoped to see the Wildcats make a run for a ninth national championship.

“Every year around this time people start to get a little pep in their step, excited for the tournament, March Madness, so we always host a bracket pool,” said Abe Mashni with Baldani Law Group.

Brackets were busted after the game that unexpectedly went to the birds.

“They had it and then let it slip away right there at the end,” UK fan Tom Vanmeter said.

To cope, UK fans Larry and Tom Vanmeter are turning their attention to the Boys’ Sweet Sixteen.

“High school basketball is great and no lead is ever safe no matter what,” Larry said.

Tried and true fans said the UK loss hurts.

“We are the most passionate fanbase in this country. This is going to sting a little bit. Nobody expected this,” Mashni said.

“I was wondering if the sun was going to come up,” Larry said.

The loss has had new merchandise requests come in for stores from loyal Kentucky fans finding someone to root for, like Murray State and the UK women’s basketball team.

“When we put a foot forward and have optimism and kind of make a joke of these times, it makes it a little bit easier and people seem to enjoy that,” said Rick Paynter with Shop Local Kentucky.

This is the third year Shop Local’s ‘March Sadness’ shirt has been sold.

“I hate that it’s become an annual thing and hopefully we change that moving forward, but we also put a shirt out that says, ‘We don’t talk about the Peacocks.’ I think being beat by the Peacocks is saying something from a Wildcat perspective,” Paynter said.

It’s a shirt that can ruffle some feathers.

Shop Local’s new shirts are being sold online right now.

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