Kentucky Steals the Show on Media Day

Much like everyone anticipated the crowds came out to see Kentucky practice yesterday. They finished the season undefeated, and they are by far the favorite to win it all. I saw some odds from Vegas at 1:1 for them to win. That is truly unbelievable. This is not called March Madness for nothing though, and anything can happen. The Kentucky fans though were lined up outside of the stadium before it even opened up. Kentucky did not practice until around five at night, but the fans wanted the best seat possible to see them when they did. I talked to some of the fans after the practice, and they were thrilled to see their team up close and personal. It is amazing the frenzy for Kentucky here. I will get to see Kentucky up close tonight which is pretty cool. I did not get to see the Kentucky practice session, but I could hear the roar when they took the floor from the media room under the stadium.

A.J. Hammons Has the Reaction of the Day

Nothing against any of the other teams that are here in Louisville, but this is Kentucky’s time. The fans and most of the media seem to be here for them. Purdue was scheduled to have their media session just after Kentucky’s time, and while Kentucky was out on the court. When the Purdue players came out to answer questions there was just a couple of photographers and nobody to ask a question. To be fair some of the media was in the Purdue locker room so it wasn’t as if nobody was there for Purdue. When the moderator opened up for questions to an empty seating area Purdue big man A.J. Hammons tried holding back his laughter. He could not do it, and it was the most honest and genuine moment that I saw on that podium during the day. 

Purdue Puts On a Show in Their Practice Session

When it was time for Purdue to come out I was pretty excited. They really needed this tourney berth, and a win would be huge for them. I was covering Hampton so I didn’t think that I would see any of the practice session. Hampton was late getting to the stadium so I had some time on my hands. I did not attend all of the practices on the floor, but from talking to various photographers on the day they were just boring shoot arounds. Purdue came out and started out much the same with the big men working on one end of the court, and everyone else shooting on the other end. Then Matt Painter blew his whistle and called out a drill. What I saw then was the hardest coached and ran practice of the day. The team was basically running sprints while playing basketball. Coach Painter was on his whistle coaching as hard as he could. You think that Purdue doesn’t want to win this thing? They are in for a fight today, and if the games could be won on practice effort they would be the clear favorite to leave Louisville and head to Cleveland.

Hampton Enjoys Their Time in the Spotlight

Hampton was a little late getting to the stadium, but they did have the quick turnaround from their play-in game in Dayton Tuesday night. They come to Louisville as the ultimate David trying to battle Goliath. They needed to win their conference tournament and the play in game just to get to a .500 record. Their reward for that is a match up against undefeated Kentucky. It is a tall task, but Hampton seems to be enjoying their time here. Their practice showed that. They still were teaching fundamentals, but they were having fun as well. In the end that is what this is supposed to be about. I will be shooting for them as well tomorrow so I will get to see the battle against Kentucky up close and personal.

Bonus Photos

This post is already long enough, but here are a few more photos that I liked from the evening session at the KFC Yum Center. I have a gallery up here as well with even more photos.




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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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