UNC Asheville Basketball Blog
Editor’s Note: UNC Asheville Associate Athletics Director Mike Gore will be traveling with the men’s basketball team throughout the season. Throughout the year, he will be doing a blog to give Bulldog fans a background look at this year’s team.
We arrived in Lexington, Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday after about a six-hour drive with one hour stop for lunch.
We’re staying at a hotel that’s right across the street from historic Rupp Arena which has been home to the Kentucky Wildcats for close to 40 years. It seats more than 23,000 fans and is expected to be sold out Friday night.
Practice is held on Kentucky’s campus at the Craft Center. Fox Sport South is broadcasting Friday’s game and some of their personnel are there to watch practice, including long-time color commentator Larry Conley. Larry has played in our golf tournament in the past as has been broadcasting for more than 40 years. He played at Kentucky and was on the 1966 team that went to the national championship game before falling to Texas Western.
The practice gym is nice and holds national championship banners from all of Kentucky’s titles. We’re also joined in practice by former Bulldog great Alex Kragel. Alex, his wife and three daughters live in Lexington. Alex will always be remembered for hitting one of the biggest shots in school history. His 15-footer in overtime gave the Bulldogs an 81-80 Big South Tournament semifinal victory over Winthrop in 2003 and allowed us to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Practice is intense for two hours before we head back to the hotel. All the rooms in our hotel look over downtown Lexington and give us a nice view.
On Friday, we get up around 8 a.m. and have breakfast at Hannah’s On Lime. It’s a family place and the food is good.
Our practice today is at 11 a.m. at Rupp Arena. Rupp is connected to a hotel and a shopping mall. Fans are already coming into for tonight’s game. Kentucky fans are incredibly rapid fans and there’s a lot of excitement with this year’s team. The Wildcats are ranked #1 in the country thanks to an incredibly talented recruiting class which we will see in a couple of hours.
Practice goes well and our guys seemed to be focused and ready to go. I’ll be doing the play-by-play for tonight’s game on radio with our Athletics Director, Janet Cone. It looks like our Ethernet line works and should be ready to go.
Now we wait for pre-game meal at 3:30 and then over to Rupp Arena to play the top-ranked team in the nation. We’re all a little nervous but excited too to have a chance to play at such a historic venue.
Check back later tonight or tomorrow for an updated blog on the game.