Playing Kentucky at Kentucky is no small ask. The Wildcats, even in their current developing form, are a very good, very difficult team to play anywhere. Doing so in Rupp Arena, in front of 20,000 screaming blue people, is like playing NBA2K14 on the hardest difficulty, when even the computer wants you to lose.
That's on a normal night. Try to play UK in Rupp after your connecting flight from Chicago is canceled, and you have to take a six-hour bus ride from the Windy City through the heart of Indiana all the way to Lexington, Ky. Impossible, right?
You might think so. Boise State is refusing to agree. The Broncos, according to the Idaho Statesman, were supposed to arrive in Lexington at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. But the winter weather currently flitting through parts of the country caused Boise's connection to be canceled, forced them onto a bus, kept them from arriving until past midnight Tuesday morning and cost them their final practice in advance of Tuesday night's 9 p.m. ET tip. From the Statesman's Dave Southorn:
Without the chance to practice Monday, the team had to get creative -- [Boise State coach Leon] Rice planned a quick walkthrough in the hotel conference room after the bus arrived, and said the team likely would have an extra one at the hotel Tuesday.
“You can’t control everything -- you can’t make Jeff (Elorriaga) 7-foot-2,” junior Anthony Drmic said. “So when you travel, there’s the chance this can happen, and you have to deal with it.”
Strong comedy from Drmic, but I think Rice won the battle of the impressively chill travel jokes:
“They’ve handled it well, and handled it well in the past,” Rice said. “My first year (in 2011), we got caught on Donner Pass on our way to Nevada. We had to eat one of the freshmen.”
I'm sorry, but I have a sincere soft spot in my heart for good-natured gallows humor among beleaguered fellow travelers. What I can't stand -- and what made that Thanksgiving Day Twitter hoax so resonant, and thus possible -- is the legion of people for whom traveling, by definition a communal experience, is all about them: their flights, their plans, their families. As if the rest of us aren't all sitting there in the terminal, too, with friends and plans of our own, waiting for our plane to come.
Contrast that all-too-common occurrence with the Boise State Broncos, who lost their last practice (and had to cram onto a bus) a day before playing Kentucky in Rupp Arena and seem perfectly genial about the whole thing. If you're looking for an example of the real-world lessons sports can reinforce, how about something as simple as this: Worry about the things you can control and ignore the things you can't. That's a good one, right?
As for beating Kentucky at Rupp Arena, well ... you're on your own there.