Cats prepare to take on Friars in 1st round of NCAA tournament

Cats prepare to take on Friars in 1st round of NCAA tournament / UK fans
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:36 AM EDT
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WKYT) - The road to the NCAA National Championship in Houston for the Kentucky Wildcats will begin at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina Friday night.

Thursday is practice day for the Cats as they prepare to take on the Providence Friars.

Life-long UK fans Denita and Roger Blankenship live in North Carolina now, but they grew up loving UK back home in Pikeville.

“I went back to Pikeville, Ky watched them scrimmage in Big Blue Madness at Pikeville, Ky and that was a 5.5-hour drive, so now I only have to drive an hour to see them,” said Roger Blankenship, UK Fan living in North Carolina.

They were some of the first fans we spotted inside the Coliseum ready for an up-close look at their Cats.

“We are just ecstatic, especially my husband; he has been a die-hard fan ever since he’s been born, so he just lives and breathes Kentucky basketball. This is just a dream for him to be here and be able to see them up close and free,” said Denita Blankenship, UK Fan living in North Carolina.

We found Chris Lewis, originally from Ashland. He also made sure to get front-row seats.

“As soon as I saw it I called a friend and told them I was going to come to practice and then wherever Kentucky goes with the following you saw the ticket prices start to shoot up, but there was no way I was going to miss them,” said Chris Lewis, a UK Fan living in North Carolina.

With the Cats on the floor, these fans are just thankful they could get a glimpse of what they hope will be a national title run.

We did though find the most unlikely of UK fans, a Tar Heel rooting for the Big Blue.

“Well I wanted to see quality basketball and it doesn’t get any better that Kentucky, I got to admit it,” said Kent Lockey, a Tar Heel rooting for UK.

For folks who might be coming from Kentucky, our crew took the route through West Virginia and they say it was an easy six and half hour trip. However, construction will slow you down. So, be prepared for that.

UK’s matchup against Providence starts Friday at 7:10 p.m. on WKYT.