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Know Your NCAA Tourney Mid-Majors: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels

  • Rick Chandler

For the next week or so we’ll be previewing all of the mid-major teams to qualify for the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, because honestly, what do you know about them? Right now: Eastern Kentucky.

Likely to be seeded No. 15, EKU could spell danger for their first opponent: No one wants to play the Colonels. Or, to quote Eastern Kentucky’s most famous fictional Deputy U.S. Marshall, Raylan Givens: “Honestly, I think I’d rather stick my dick in a blender.” (Attention, Duke).

The Angry Colonel Sanders’ qualified for NCAA Tournament Festivities in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game on Saturday with a 79-73 win over Belmont, which had made the tourney six of the past eight seasons. Senior Corey Walden led EKU with 29 points, and the NCAA Tourney should be a good showcase for him — Walden also won OVC Defensive Player of the Year.

Let’s meet the Colonels:

EASTERN KENTUCKY COLONELS

Record: 24-9 (11-5).

Conference: Ohio Valley.

Quality Wins: IPFW, Belmont.

Last NCAA Appearance: 2007.

Location: Richmond, Kentucky.

Notable Alumni: Dan Patrick, Lee Majors, Rex Ryan.

Strengths: Experience, shooting percentage, fast pace.

Weaknesses: Defense, rebounding.

Secret Weapon: Eric Stutz’s long, flowing mane.

Mascot: The Colonel.

In Oct. of 2013, retired EKU professor William Ellis wrote letters to both the student newspaper and the Richmond Register, calling for a new mascot. Ellis contends that the Colonel has racist overtones (the University of Mississippi replaced their mascot, Colonel Reb, with a costumed bear in 2012).

“The Colonel mascot was anachronistic even when it was chosen and is even more out-dated in the early 21st century,” wrote Ellis, the author of The History of Education in Kentucky. “Even the modern redesign of the Colonel logo a few years ago is of no help in separating Eastern Kentucky University from a bygone era.”

EKU President Michael Benson, however, said that the university has no plans to replace The Colonel.

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