Ready for March Madness? These country stars are!
From Cinderella teams to game-winning shots at the final buzzer, March Madness has enough drama to fill a country song, which may explain why many artists are fans of the sport!
Selection Sunday for the 2015 NCAA Championship is this week, and country music stars are some of the biggest basketball fans. Here are 10 stars who will definitely be following the March Madness action this year – will you?
7. Trace Adkins
It’s hard to say if Adkins is truly a fan of basketball itself, but he’s definitely a fan of Baylor women’s head coach Kim Mulkey. Back in the day, Adkins was a freshman walk-on player for Louisiana Tech’s football team, while Mulkey was a point guard for their women’s basketball team. Adkins would frequently tell the story of his college crush on Mulkey before playing “One in a Million” at his concerts, and as luck would have it, her sister was in the audience for one such show! She put the two in touch and they’ve been friends ever since. Mulkey even escorted Adkins to midcourt when he performed the national anthem at the Baylor/Texas A&M game in 2012.
6. Luke Bryan
Bryan may benefit from watching the NCAA tournament to learn some tricks of the trade. When he was on tour with Rascal Flatts, the singer injured his knee shooting hoops with Jay DeMarcus. Thankfully, he didn’t take the injury too seriously: Bryan told WYCD the games were “just a bunch of musicians that are uncoordinated running around trying to play basketball, and it looks funny.”
5. Montgomery Gentry
Both born and raised in the Bluegrass State, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry are die-hard fans of the Kentucky Wildcats. Montgomery in particular makes a point of attending as many home games as he can, and he should have plenty to cheer for this year, as the Wildcats are projected to take the No. 1 seat in the Midwest bracket.
4. Laura Bell Bundy
Another native Kentuckian, Bundy is also a fan of the Wildcats. The music video for “Kentucky Dirty” has several hidden references to her home state, but the most blatant one is a shoutout to her favorite college team: She enlisted the UK dance team to serve as her backup dancers.
3. Toby Keith
After his friend Wayman Tisdale passed away in 2009, Keith wrote “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song) as a tribute to the former basketball player and jazz musician. Tisdale was a three-time All American at the University of Oklahoma, so Keith’s touching song made him instantly popular among Sooner fans.
2. Garth Brooks
Brooks co-founded the Teammates for Kids Foundation in 1999 to encourage health and education for inner city children. When he launched his “People Loving People” tour last year, he hosted a Teammate ProCamp with University of Kansas head coach Bill Self, complete with basketball drills and hands-on help from athletes and coaches. Brooks plans to host more camps as he continues the tour.
1. Vince Gill
Gill is practically a fixture at every home game for the Belmont Bruins, thanks to his long friendship with coach Rick Byrd. The two met before either of their careers had really taken off and have supported each other through the years. In fact, Gill has become such a supporter of the Bruins that the university awarded him an honorary doctorate of humanities in 2011