By LARRY VAUGHT
She describes herself as a â€œdie-hard Kentucky fanâ€ and says not much can intimidate her. However, Megan Dills admits she did feel a bit overwhelmed at Indianaâ€™s Assembly Hall Saturday when the Hoosiers beat UK 73-72 and she was knocked down when the crowd rushed the floor after the game.
â€œI was not intimidate at all until the end,â€ said Dills, 28. â€œI have a friend who is an Indiana alum and thatâ€™s how Iâ€ˆgot the ticket. I was not going to miss out on the ticket even though it was just going to be me sitting with all those IUâ€ˆfans.â€
Dills, a 2007 Kentucky graduate with an animal science/pre-vet major, had UK painted on her face and wore a UKâ€ˆshirt. She almost says she can be a bit â€œmouthyâ€ at games in support of the Wildcats.
â€œYou couldnâ€™t hear yourself think, much less scream for UK,â€ she said. â€œThere was a girl two rows behind me that said, â€˜Sit your blonde — down.â€™ I turned around and probably said some not so nice things myself back. But it was a good time, or at least it was until the end.
â€œAll those fans came out of their seats and rushed the floor like idiots. The next thing Iâ€ˆknew, I was knocked down five or six steps. Iâ€ˆthink the guy who actually knocked me down is the one who did at least pick me up. After I got hurt, I was scared to death.â€
She had a swollen ankle she could barely walk on and a doctor confirmed Monday that she not only had a sprained ankle, but also some torn tendons. The injury has forced her to cancel a Playboy photo shoot this Saturday in Indiana.
â€œI just canâ€™t do the shoot with my ankle like it is,â€ Dills, who also has a psychology degree from Northern Kentucky University, said. â€œBut thatâ€™s okay because I do a lot of them.â€
Dills, a Grant County native, grew up watching Kentucky games. â€œIt was just a tradition with our family,â€ she said. â€œThatâ€™s where Iâ€ˆlearned that we do pray for basketball here because God does wear blue, too.â€
She became a Playboy model and her first issue was for the â€œGirls of the SECâ€ where she represented Kentucky.
â€œThat was spectacular and exciting for me. I always wanted to be a Playboy model or playmate, and then Iâ€ˆgot to represent Kentucky,â€ she said. â€œI worked the UK/U of L football game in 2007 as my first Playboy signing. I got a lot of notoriety for it because only a few girls are chosen every four years to do that (Girls of the SEC). Then my next issue of Playboy was as a college girl for UKâ€ˆin 2008. When I represent my school, Iâ€ˆtake it to another level.â€
She let Jeff Goodman of CBSsports.com know that Monday via Twitter. She noted she had so much confidence in Kentucky in spite of Saturdayâ€™s loss that she would paint â€œI Love Dukeâ€ across her chest and go to a Rupp Arena game next year â€” â€œwhich would be like instant suicideâ€ â€” if UK did not make the Final Four if he would use blue paint to write â€œI love UKâ€ across his chest if Kentucky did make the Final Four.
â€œHe wrote back and said he thought UK would be in the (national) championship game,â€ Dills said.
Sheâ€™s currently friends with several UK basketball players, including Terrence Jones and Darius Miller, that she has met through friends and/or work.
â€œI really think a lot of Darius and I feel so bad for Terrence (because of the way he played at Indiana where he had just one rebound and four points). He is such a big teddy bear and is a sweet, compassionate person,â€ Dills said. â€œTo see that look on him this weekend, Iâ€ˆknew he was hurting inside. This kid cares. Itâ€™s not about the lights and glamor. He wants to win because he does care even if some fans donâ€™t want to believe that right now.â€
She insists there would never be a postgame scene in Rupp Arena like the one at Bloomington, Ind., last Saturday. She still remembers her father getting upset when she was younger and he would see UKâ€ˆplayers that did not have their jersey tucked in during games.
â€œWe have higher expectations for our boys and school to live up to,â€ she said. â€œWhat happened up there would never happen at Kentucky. They were so distasteful and not very sportsmanlike. You would have thought they won the national championship. I just see us as different than other schools. Basketball really is like a religion and we respect the game. You would not have to leave a game in fear like you did Indiana. Besides, if Kentucky had played to half of its potential, IUâ€ˆwould be singing another song today.â€
Dills, who lives in Los Angeles but travels back to Grant County to see family, hopes to make some games in Rupp Arena this year. If not, sheâ€™ll be at the SEC Tournament in New Orleans.
â€œAs a student, I used to go into the E-Rupp-tion Zone at Rupp and loved it. Iâ€ˆnever had a voice when I left,â€ she said. â€œBut as long as I get to see Kentucky play, I am cool no matter where I sit. Kentucky women, if you want to talk trash about basketball, we can list the lineup and throw a punch or two for all our boys because we love our basketball.â€