Kentucky Playing for NCAA Trophy, No Time Out for McConnell

Photograph by Chris Steppig-Pool/Getty Images

Alex Poythress #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes up for a shot as Sam Dekker #15 of the Wisconsin Badgers defends during the NCAA Men’s Final Four Semifinal at AT&T Stadium on April 5, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.

Another year, another April Monday, another NCAA men’s basketball championship featuring a Kentucky school.

Unlike last year, however, the biggest night in college hoops isn’t affecting the Senate’s vote schedule.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2013 arranged for the cancellation of a confirmation vote on a U.S. appeals court judge so that he could join the audience at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to cheer on his alma mater, the Louisville Cardinals, which defeated Michigan 82-76.

McConnell won’t be in the crowd tonight, however, when his state’s other basketball powerhouse — the Kentucky Wildcats — take on the University of Connecticut.

“He’ll be here and voting,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Republican leader, said today in an e-mail.

The Senate is scheduled to vote at 5:30 p.m. EDT on final passage of legislation renewing expanded jobless benefits. McConnell opposes the measure.

Late last month, McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term this year in a state where basketball allegiances run as deep as bourbon preferences, refused to say before the Sweet Sixteen match-up between Louisville and Kentucky which team he preferred. (He’s a Louisville alum and Kentucky law grad.)

And perhaps the season can’t end soon enough for McConnell.

The characteristically cautious senator has drawn ridicule from Democrats for a campaign ad that mistakenly showed footage of Duke — whose colors are similar to Kentucky’s — celebrating their 2010 national championship victory.


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