Hilltopper Fever

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Bowling Green has been painted Big Red ever since the home team clinched its first Sweet 16 berth in 15 years last weekend. After the jump, more pictures of the scene in B.G. as Western Kentucky University prepares for Thursday’s No. 12 vs. No. 1 matchup against UCLA.

In front of the arena that bears his name, Edgar Allen Diddle forever waves his signature red towel (dyed so that missing ones could be easily identified as stolen elsewhere) that has become the school’s logo. Diddle coached at Western for 42 years. Hey, there’s Bally!

bally and diddle statue

If you need a history lesson on the importance of that red towel, there’s a full explanation nearby.

red towel

Across the way in the student union, the university bookstore window was all painted up for the occasion.

bookstore

The initial order of 500 commemorative Sweet 16 T-shirts were snapped up in less than an hour, and the shipment promised here (of 750) disappeared just as quickly on Wednesday morning, leaving an empty blanket-draped table in the front of the university bookstore.

“Remember in the Eighties, all the craziness over the Cabbage Patch dolls?” said a bookstore worker on Wednesday, recalling the madness. “It was like that. I came out of the back room with a handful of shirts, and I thought someone was going to punch me in the face. ‘Large.’ Okay, here… ‘I need four.’ Okay, don’t hurt me…”

sold out

If you can’t get your hands on a Sweet 16 T, however, there’s plenty of Big Red dolls available.

big reds

Like the bookstore, a downtown bank got into the window-painting act too.

bank

As you travel around town, you’ll find Hilltopper spirit everywhere.

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And like anything else in life, Western in the Sweet 16 is a great opportunity to sell cars. (What are they going to do with all those basketballs?)

carmart

Finally, orange blob meets red blob. This is Bally, the mascot of this site, with Big Red, much more well-known symbol of Western Kentucky University. This was taken at the home of longtime friend of the site Cortney Basham, a WKU professor and proprietor of the long-running and excellent Bracket Board and WNKY’s in-depth Hilltopper Blog.

bally & big red