LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Their desires for a perfect 40-0 Wildcat season may have been mocked after the University of Kentucky men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season early on to Michigan State, but now a group of loyal, local fans is getting the last laugh.
All season, David Son and his friends have faithfully gathered at St. Matthews sports bars to root on the Wildcats. Now that their beloved Big Blue Nation is headed to the Final Four, the group continues to cash-in.
"We took a picture with a guy who bought one of our shirts back in November," recounted Son of last weekend. "He was there Sunday to watch the team make it to the Final Four."
Son and a few of his buddies have garnered national attention for their 40-0 t-shirt line available at 40and0.com. They came up with the die-hard fan concept at the start of the college basketball season. Son admitted it had always been more of an ideal the group hoped for but doubted would become reality.
"We originally started this back in October of '13 after hearing about the recruiting class that Kentucky was going to have," said Son. "We made this shirt. I don't think any of us really believed it was going to happen."
After losing to Michigan State at the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago in mid-November, 40and0.com t-shirt sales skyrocketed.
"People were buying these... almost as hate-buyers and joke-buyers," said Son.
Months later, sales remain high; however, it is who Son suspects the buyers are that may be changing.
"I saw more people who are UK fans wearing 40-0 t-shirts this weekend than I'd seen all year," said Son.
Now orders for a "No. 9" logo representing UK's attempt at a ninth national championship are coming in nonstop, although they have been available for months.
"We started it in October and our address was See You In Dallas," said Son of the group's 40-0 Facebook page, "because ultimately our real goal as fans are always, we want to make it to the Final Four."
While UK may not have gotten there with a perfect record, Son, like the team roots for, is grateful for progression.
"We didn't go 40-0. That doesn't mean we're not a good team," said UK basketball player Aaron Harrison during a post-Elite Eight victory interview.
"I don't care about 40-0," said UK player Julius Randle. "We're in the Final Four."
Son said he's excited to see what happens next, especially when the Wildcats' developing talent is mixed with a little superstition and loyal fans.
"One of our crew brought a toy bulldozer out and they started winning," said Son. "Our crew is going to be in Dallas, so we'll see you in Dallas."
With UK set to face off against Wisconsin Saturday in Arlington, Texas for a spot in the NCAA championship game, Son said, for now, his crew is holding off on making their next round of t-shirts. But the group plans to roll out 40-0 attire annually, continuing their undying hope for a perfect Big Blue Nation season.
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