Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Is the Pope a Kentucky Basketball fan?

The love of sports translates across continents and international borders and its not uncommon to find support for American sports teams throughout places such as Euroe. With the world becoming "smaller" and more connected through technology such as the Internet, it's easier now than at any time in history to follow multiple sports around the world in real time. As a result, college basketball is developing a global fan base in even the most uncommon places where "stars" in other fields and media are taking notice of the sport of basketball.
Duquesne v BYU
Duquesne v BYU / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

It's time for Notre Dame to move on over and out of the way. Forget about Villanova, Georgetown or Gonzaga having a inside track into the Vatican. When it comes to college basketball, could it be that Pope Francis' favorite team is actually . . .the University of Kentucky? Yes, you'r e reading this correctly and no I haven't fallen off the deep end. While the Commonwealth of Kentucky doesn't normally exude any type of serious connections to the Vatican, the fact remains that the Holy Father himself could very well be a big fan of the Wildcats himself.

Father Jim Sichko of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky was able to test that theory when he went to Rome this past week and of all things presented Pope Francis with a customized University of Kentucky basketball jersey. With the assistance of UK President Eli Capilouto, Fr. Sichko was able to personally present the Pope with his own UK jersey and not just any generic jersey but one that of all things says Pope on the back of the jersey. After all, a Pope is in charge of the Wildcat men's basketball program so why not get the Pope in on the action?

Fr. Sichko has being going to Rome on a routine basis for years now and has presented Pope Francis with numerous gifts before but a Kentucky basketball jersey probably is a first for the Vatican. Of course, having Mark Pope as your new head coach doesn't hurt in the name sounding game. While it should be pointed out that Mark Pope wore the number 41 during his playing days with the Wildcats, the number 23 represents the fact that Mark Pope is the 23rd head coach in Wildcat men's basketball history.

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However, with the excitement and interest that the Holy Father displayed after receiving his "personalized" jersey, it certainly won't hurt the fact that maybe, just maybe the University of Kentucky will have the spiritual head of the largest Christian denomination in the world on "their" side this upcoming season?