I have a confession to make.
Going into last weekend's game against Kentucky, I knew in my head that Kentucky was supposed to win.
But in my quiet little heart, I thought we would win. I expressed this secret thought to a few close friends, who looked at me with a mixture of love, skepticism and pity.
It turns out that I was right. WVU beat Kentucky. And not by a little bit.
As you all know, I've been following this team pretty closely in March. I sat through three nail biting games with them on their way to the Big East title. I paced. I fretted. I buried my face in my hands. I confess that I had to walk away and go upstairs during the final seconds of the Big East final (because I was sure we were going to overtime and I needed a minute to prepare myself). I watched Da'Sean Butler's game winning basket on instant replay.
And now I've sat through all the games of the NCAA Tournament. I've been a mess. My friends are making fun of me.
Now that we've made it to the Final Four, I am here to brag a bit and to bitch a lot.
First, the bitching:
Throughout this whole thing, I've been STUNNED by the lack of decency and basic respect that is shown not only to this team, but to our whole state.
Even in the victory over Kentucky, Dick Enberg stumbled over our name, almost forgetting to put the "West" in front of the word "Virginia". Last weekend, during the Missouri game, the announcer referred to us as "Western Virginia". Until very recently, our team was regularly (and incorrectly) referred to as "The University of West Virginia" as opposed to West Virginia University (here's a hint, if you can remember "WVU" you can use it as a mnemonic tool to put the words in the right order). The articles that came out after last night's game initially referred to our campus being located in Huntington (it's in Morgantown, about 200 miles NORTH of Huntington, where it's been since 1867).
You know, nobody deserves to be treated this way. West Virginia itself has been a state since 1863. It's not asking too much, even of sportscasters, to get the name right or to know where the campus is located.
So for the record, let me just say that this team has been monumental throughout the Big East Tournament and throughout the NCAA Tournament. They've never quit, they've never stopped, they've never lost their heads. This team is tough. It is experienced. It is disciplined. And I think they're not done yet. They have played with joy and quiet confidence. As the sports article read West Virginia had the stage Saturday night, after Kentucky had the spotlight all season.
Whatever happens from here on out, I think that people need to figure out how to get the name right.
I'll bet they can remember it in Kentucky now.