The defending NCAA National Champion Kentucky Wildcats were beaten last night in the NIT Tournament by little-engine-that-could Robert Morris in a shocking upset.
In a match-up that looked almost gratuitously unfair on paper, the Robert Morris Colonials led for most of the game over the winning-est program in college basketball history, eventually winning 59-57.
ESPN showed an apples-to-oranges comparison graphic of the two teams to begin the game.
Eight National Championships to zero.
Over a century of basketball tradition to just short of 40.
Over 23,000 seated home stadium to a smidge over 3,000.
Luxurious facilities to holding pregame coaches meetings just outside a bathroom.
David versus Goliath.
The Colonials sold out “The Chuck,” as they call their home arena, almost immediately and managed to squeeze in some extra fans for the biggest athletic event in Robert Morris’ history.
Though the Colonials were ranked an eight seed to Kentucky’s top one seed, Robert Morris hosted the contest due to early round NCAA Tournament games taking place in the coming days at Kentucky’s home Rupp Arena. The Moon Township, Pa. setting brought back the town’s most famous son, Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
It was not a happy homecoming for Coach Cal as Robert Morris used the home court advantage, gaining a quick 10-0 lead to begin the game and never looking back. A late Kentucky run that tied the game with 44 seconds left.
A late Kentucky run that tied the game with 44 seconds left as it looked like Robert Morris’ run of luck may have ended. But, after two clutch free throws following a sneaky inbound play by the Colonials with just under nine seconds left, Kentucky misfired on a potential game-winning three pointer, sealing the win for Robert Morris.
Fans immediately stormed the court in a game that brings Robert Morris into the national spotlight while adding insult to Kentucky’s already injured pride following their disappointing 2012-13 campaign.