Louisville CardFile: Florida State

With 4:38 to go in the 1st against formidable Florida State, in what was to become U of L’s second punking in a row, the Cardinals’ entire season was on the brink.

They were down 24, and ESPN was showing graphics of Louisville’s worst halftime deficit on record, minus 20 against Charlotte in Denny Crum’s final season, when the fraying program burst its seams. The Cards fell that February night of 2001 by 34, 72-106.

Had last night’s eventual 13 point setback gone in that direction, fever dreams would have ensued.

Is XXX going to transfer? Has Mack lost the team? Will XXX sit out the rest of the season because of COVID, or to prepare for the pros? I heard so and so is sleeping his roommate’s GF? The guy at my gas station, whose cousin lives in the dorm, tells me XXX is smoking pot.

It was, let’s be honest, a seriously bracing moment, especially in the context of Saturday’s lay down in Coral Gables. Scary.

More than a few Cardinal fans went to the dark place. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Louisville CardFile: Miami

Bah Humbug!

Feh!

It was not a good night for the Louisville Cardinals.

On the court. And, for fans watching.

That’s to say it somewhat gently.

At the 7:17 media timeout of the opening half of Louisville’s dispirited loss to Miami, the Cards were already in the hole at 12-19. I flipped over to see how Lamar Jackson and his Ravens were doing in Buffalo.

At which moment, reliable Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker doinked a FG attempt off a goal post.

At the first stoppage of the 2d, when Louisville’s disadvantage had increased to -9, I again checked on the NFL game.

At which point, reliable Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker doinked another FG attempt off the left goal post.

Later, the Cardinal hoopster’s fate sealed in a 72-78 setback in the eery quietude of a Coral Gables gym, I settled in to cheer on the former Heisman winner and his mates.

Only to see Jackson hurl a 101 yard pick six. Followed by the scary site of viewing him on his back on the endzone tundra, then being walked to the locker room, not to return.

It was not easy to fall asleep.

It was not easy to stay asleep. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami

Louisville CardFile: Wake Forest

Rare are the times when one sequence of back and forth, offensive and defensive possessions bring certitude to a particular encounter, as well as provide insight into each program’s status and potential for the entire season.

It happened though in last evening’s 77-65 Cardinal W, one guy’s opinion, in the interlude coming out of a timeout with 2:04 to play, at which instant the game was almost, but not quite secured.

To get that juncture was a thirty eight minute Son of Beast roller coaster ride at King’s Island.

U of L opened the tilt with focus at both ends, but fell behind early, taking the lead, 10-9, on a Sam Williamson trey. That began a 16-0 surge, which included fulsome five for five accuracy from long range. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Wake Forest

What a Super Duper Sports Weekend!!!

At a time when — and I am far from alone — we need an escape from the bracing turmoil of real life, it was Wild Card Weekend, and enough hoops to sate.

Frankly the only thing that could have made it better would have been a W by the Cardinal men over Gonzaga in a put-together-at-the-last- minute game.

And, oh, maybe, the NCAA announcing it was dropping its charges against U of L hoops.

But, other than that . . .

 * * * * *

The Cardinal Women’s Team blew out another foe.

This time, Clemson, 70-45. Continue reading What a Super Duper Sports Weekend!!!

Louisville CardFile: Virginia Tech

Trusting you will understand and accept, this will not be the same kind of Louisville Cardinal GameCap I normally endeavor to post.

Sports are one of life’s great diversions. Developing loyalty. Donning your team’s colors. Cheering them on. Joyously cherishing their victories. Worrying over their defeats, but accepting them.

Sports are one of the ways we escape, if only momentarily, the vicissitudes of life. Especially when a pandemic still rages.

So it has been for me with the University of Louisville Cardinals since I was 7 years old. On the hardwood. On the gridiron. On the diamond.

But yesterday’s bracing events in D.C. wouldn’t allow me to fully engage. Even for U of L’s first real conference test against Virginia Tech.

It has always been my belief and goal to keep politics and world events out of this venture. So it shall be today. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia Tech

Louisville CardFile: Boston College

There are times in life when I revert to the smart aleck Sports Editor of the Atherton Aerial in a staff meeting decades ago. And the school paper’s advisor, bow-tied Mr. Bishop, after one of my snarky pubescent remarks, would admonish me to “get my head above my belt buckle.”

Those moments come often when the Cards are allowing a lesser, under-talented foe to stay close on their home court in a league game.

Like Saturday in Chestnut Hill, during U of L’s eventual W by a dozen over Boston College.

Quinn Slazinski had hit a monster trey, coming out of a Cardinal timeout with 10:31 til buzzer, after the Eagles had cut their deficit to 42-49.

But the homies stayed close, and Q again took charge after the 7:57 stoppage. A great board out of the timeout. Then a beautiful dish to Jae’Lyn Withers for a layup.

At that moment, I was back in HS on Morton Avenue.

“Grab this one by the short and curlies,” I yelled into the void between me and the telly. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Hoopaholics Gazette: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Oh my, 2021 is so close now, I can almost smell the fresh air.

Of course, the new year won’t really begin until the morning of January 20, but just the psychological relief of the calendar flipping at midnight tonight is welcome.

As Seger said, turn the page.

 * * * * *

We’ve all got our own this-couldn’t-have-happened-in-any-other annum moment. Here’s mine when it comes to hoops.

I’ve mentioned that Wildcat Willie is the only ardent Big Blue supporter among my coterie of close hoops crazed pals. We all need at least one, right? He’s the fellow I’ve referenced regarding the Rex Chapman game. How, flush with victory, he turned into and a bulging eyeball, projectile spitting, venom spewing Ralph Steadman caricature.

Such a gracious winner!!!

He was among us in our email thread, after the Cards escape over Arch Rival last Saturday.

During which exchange, he revealed that he found himself rooting for the team in white. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Louisville Card File: Kentucky

Louisville 62, Kentucky 59.

Despite the braying of the nation’s college hoops cognoscenti, this game meant as much to the U of L Cardinals as it did to the reeling 1-6 Kentucky Wildcats. True.

I mean, you know, if not this year, when?

Louisville 62, Kentucky 59.

This one will surely gain some sense of beauty in the years to come, as memories fade. It was, let us be frank, not a very well played game. It shall not be used as an example for basketball aesthetics.

But was it tense?

Duh. Of course. It’s the Cats vs. the Cards. You’ve heard it, “Throw the records out the window.”

Hoops of the highest level? Uh, no. Not close.

Except in the eyes of the winning beholder.

Louisville on offense was . . . Continue reading Louisville Card File: Kentucky

Remembrances of The Rivalry

The thrill of victory.

Knoxville. Forever and always Knoxville.

Three national titles notwithstanding, the most endearing five minutes in the history of Louisville Cardinal hoops were the OT beatdown in Stokely.

My favorite memory of that moment — other than the victory decades in the coming — is ever stoic Rodney McCray, victory secured, standing on a chair, facing U of L fans, leading the C A R D S cheer.

Listening on the floor model radio with my dad in ’59, as ten-loss U of L shredded #2 UK by 15 in the regional semi, then coming back the next night and dispatching #8 Sparty.

Watching with Doc as Denny Crum’s worst team (12-20) pulled it out against #4 Kentucky in Rupp. Continue reading Remembrances of The Rivalry

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

One factor about Tuesday evening’s ACC opener was paramount for Louisville, way more than any other.

Given their dismal performance on Saturday, considering the upcoming foe on Boxing Day, it was imperative that the Cardinals beat the Panthers.

Win the game. Whatever the exigencies of the situation.

So, you know how coaches will spin a major injury on an opponent’s squad?

“We’re really sorry three time All-American, conference Player of the Year Tyrone Shoelaces went down. We always want to play the other team’s best. We wish we could be competing against him and wish him well.”

Cue the Wayne and Garth (hands covering mouths as if sneezing): “Buussshhhhiiii”

I do not wish Justin Champagnie (17.8 ppg/ 12.3 rpg) and Au’Diese Toney (16.2 ppg) ill. I hope they heal soon. Actually, there’s something kind of old school that their non-participation was not COVID related, but injuries suffered in practice. (Something U of L is all too familiar with.) Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh