espnW: Kentucky

Famous fans in the stands

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
8:06
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Jack NicholsonGabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty ImagesEver the passionate fan, Jack Nicholson has been threatened with ejection from his courtside seat on more than one occasion.

In honor of actor and Los Angeles Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson's 77th birthday today, we salute five of our other favorite celebrity sports fans.

1. Spike Lee: The legendary director might love the New York Knicks more than he does making movies. A fixture at Madison Square Garden, Lee even wrote a book about his fandom called "Best Seat in the House" in 1997.

2. Ashley Judd: The actress and Kentucky native grew up watching Wildcats basketball with her father and uncle and claims her passion for the team has been passed down through generations. The Kentucky graduate regularly attends games and often appears on sports talk shows to discuss her love for the Wildcats.

3. Billy Crystal: The comedian and actor's lifelong devotion to the New York Yankees was rewarded with a one-day contract during spring training in 2008. He struck out in his one at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates but called the experience "the greatest thing ever." Frequently spotted at Yankee Stadium, Crystal even directed the TV movie "61*" about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle racing to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961.

4. Ben Affleck: The Boston native often returns to his hometown to cheer on the Red Sox at Fenway. Affleck's wife, actress Jennifer Garner, has even said Affleck would not have married her had the team not won the World Series in 2004 because he would have considered her a jinx after the two attended a World Series game together.

5. Jerry Seinfeld: The comedian is such a dedicated New York Mets fan, he worked his loyalty into his classic television show. With multiple references and an epic Keith Hernandez storyline, Seinfeld put his fandom on full display. Today, he regularly attends games and even occasionally calls into a local sports-talk radio station as "Jerry from Queens" to talk about the team. In 2010 and again in 2013, he helped call games with Hernandez on SportsNet New York.

Titles time, anyone?

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
8:55
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Rick Pitino, Jeff WalzAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesLouisville basketball coaches Rick Pitino and Jeff Walz both led their teams to the national championship game in 2013.

We're down to 12 teams in the men's bracket and 16 teams in the women's bracket, and four schools -- Connecticut, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisville -- still have both their men's and women's teams alive and well amid the March Madness. There have been only 10 times in the history of the NCAA tournaments that both men's and women's programs from the same school have advanced all the way to the Final Four in the same year. Here we look back at those schools and how they fared:

Louisville, 2013: Both Cardinals teams made it all the way to the championship game. The men won the national championship with an 82-76 win over Michigan, but the women lost to Connecticut 93-60.

Connecticut, 2011: The men won their third national title in program history by holding off Butler 53-41 in the final, but the women were ousted in the semifinals by then-Big East rival and national runner-up Notre Dame 72-63.

Connecticut, 2009: The women won their sixth national title with a 76-54 rout over Louisville in the final. The men, however, fell to Michigan State 82-73 in the semifinals.

LSU, 2006: Neither team advanced to the final. The men fell to runner-up UCLA 59-45 and the women were ousted by runner-up Duke 64-45.

Michigan State, 2005: The women made it to the final but fell short, losing to Baylor 84-62. The men lost in the semifinals to eventual champion North Carolina, 87-71.

Connecticut, 2004: Connecticut became the only school to celebrate men's and women's basketball national championships in the same year. Led by Most Outstanding Player Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon, the men beat Georgia Tech 82-73 in the final. Led by Diana Taurasi, the women topped rival Tennessee 70-61 to claim their third consecutive national championship.

Texas, 2003: Neither Longhorns squad advanced to the final and both lost to the eventual national champion. The men fell to Syracuse and Carmelo Anthony 94-84 in the semis, and the women were edged by Connecticut 71-69.

Oklahoma, 2002: The women advanced to the national championship game, but fell to UConn 82-70. The men were ousted in the semifinals by national runner-up Indiana, 73-64.

Duke, 1999: Both teams came up one win short of a national title. The men fell to Connecticut 77-74 in the national championship game, and the women lost to Purdue, 62-45, in the final.

Georgia, 1983: Both programs' runs came to an end in the national semifinals. The men lost 67-60 to Jim Valvano's NC State, the eventual national champions. The women fell to eventual champion USC and Cheryl Miller, 87-51.

Conference Call

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
8:03
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UConn MascotCal Sport MediaJonathan the Husky looks pretty excited about the upcoming women's basketball schedule.

This weekend largely marks the end of the nonconference portion of the women’s basketball season. And while matchups like UConn-Stanford, UConn-Duke and Tennessee-Stanford were a great way to tip off the season, here are our elite eight conference games before March that we can’t wait to see.

Jan. 5: Maryland at North Carolina, ESPNU
Jan. 27: Notre Dame at Maryland, ESPN2
Feb. 2: Notre Dame at Duke, ESPN
Feb. 2: Stanford at Cal, ESPN2
Feb. 9: Louisville at UConn, ESPN
Feb. 10: North Carolina at Duke, ESPN2
Feb. 16: Kentucky at Tennessee, ESPN
Feb. 23: Duke at Notre Dame, ESPN

But if you just can’t get enough of the nonconference showdowns, there are two more next month that are perfectly acceptable to start popping the popcorn for.

Jan. 13: UConn at Baylor, ESPN2
Jan. 20: Notre Dame at Tennessee, ESPN2

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