While I hate with a fierce passion Georgia and Tennessee, I don't hate their fans. The only fans I truly hate are FSU fans.
But in 2009, they were joined by Kentucky basketball fans, who filled the Forum in Tampa with a vile unlike any other before or since. That includes the trash that flows into the building for Flyers-Lightning games. Their treatment of New York Times reporter Pete Thamel for exposing that Kentucky was signing Turkish professional player Enes Kanter, makes Sarah Palin complaining about her media coverage minuscule in comparison. (Although, I suspect Palin fans also have threatened reporters before.) That Thamel was right doesn't matter. Facts are stupid things, anyway.
Unless you're actually in Atlanta, none of that matters right now. But today's matchup is as much cultural as on the court. Kentucky has a head coach who has never coached in a Final Four, until you realize that is because both of his trips were vacated due to NCAA violations. Florida's coach famously waffled on going to the NBA, only to return to a school he was suggested by former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino not to move to. Where John Calipari was always looking for the next best gig, Donovan turned down $3 million from St. John's last season. Donovan is 1000 times the man Calipari is, but being a man of class just gets you an internet post, not an article about how you can't catch a break in Sports Illustrated. (Read those two articles, and you ask yourself, "Who can't catch a break?")
Kentucky is a one-and-done all-star team of McDonald's All-Americans. Florida returns all five starters with two undersized guards, a transferred center, a goofy power forward and the SEC Player of The Year who transformed himself into a monster wing. Kentucky thinks their history means more than our recent success. We're used to that, since Georgia tells us how badly they beat us during the 1940s, when they were a powerhouse and Florida lost nearly all of our students to fighting the Nazis.
Win or lose today, Florida is still getting a bid in Tampa for the tournament. But it would be nice to smack around the worst fan base in the SEC before the tournament.