There are any number of reasons why last night’s frustrating but far from devastating 67-71 loss at Michigan State should be gratifying for Louisville fans.
And a harbinger of better moments to come.
As U of L had its way with five featherweights to open the campaign, there were signs that this edition of the Cardinals would be significantly better than the pundits predicted pre-season. But, since those tilts were in essence scrimmages, it was hard to tell how this still being assembled contingent would fare when the lights were brighter, when the opponents were legit.
How good can this promising Cardinal team be?
We now know.
Trading punches while giving no quarter to an acknowledged national contender with the leading national POY candidate on its home court reveals a lot. Flaws. Gaffes. Systemic failures. Heart. Guile. Potential. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Michigan State
Okay, where were we?
Oh yeah, when we last looked in on college pigskin, the WKU Hilltoppers coughed up a 72 point or so lead in the Bahamas Bowl, gave up what coulda woulda shoulda been a tying TD on the last play with :01 on the clock at snap, then survived when Central Michigan coach Dan Enos went for two and failed.
It was Enos last game on the Chippewa sideline, though it’s hard to say if the two are connected.
More important it was Lou Holtz’s last game in the booth. Sayonara, Lou, don’t let the door bang you in the ass on the way out.
Pope Urban’s Buckeyes battered Bucky Badger in the Big Ten title game, then, as the four seed, blitzkrieged its way to the first Football Final Four title. (What a shame former Wisconsin mentor Bret Bielema had already left Madison, otherwise the previous sentence would have been even more alliterative.)
Speaking of Bs, there was the bust of the Big B in the Big 12 (Which, with only ten universities, remains as arithmetically dysfunctional as the 14-member Big Ten.). That would be Baylor, who bested Top Ten K State in the regular season closer, then, when out to prove it was jilted by the Final Four selection oligarchy, frittered away a 20 point fourth quarter advantage to Sparty, losing the Cotton Bowl. Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Preseason Predictions
As I sit here with dawn breaking this morning, I am reminded of this day’s predecessor, also a Sunday, also a March 29 .
In advance of one of that day’s Elite Eight battles in 2009, also between the Louisville Cardinals and the Michigan State Spartans, I arrived early at the cavernous media room in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium.
While some bare bones basics are the same — Cards vs. Sparty, Izzo vs. Pitino, F4 on the line — there are some drastic differences.
That U of L team, one with high expectations all year that rarely abated, the top-ranked #1 seed in the Dance, was on a 13 game win streak, was coming off a 39 point drubbing of Arizona in the Regional Semis, and was steamrolling toward what many Cardinal fans expected to be Rick Pitino’s first title at U of L.
As I am wont to do, given my penchant to focus just on U of L and, given that I rarely blog previews to games, I hadn’t viewed Sparty through a microscope.
Which, since there was plenty of time to kill, I did that morning. Frankly, it was bracing.
What I recall thinking: This game is not a given. The Spartans are good.
Prescient thoughts, those. Continue reading Cardinals Face Sparty for Final Four Spot
There are any number of expressions which are apropos of what’s going on with the surging U of L Cardinals these days.
It can be said, that, after an up and down season on the court, and turmoil off the court, these tournament games are “icing on the cake.”
Or, perhaps, that, given the Cardinals unexpected arrival in the Elite Eight, Louisville is “playing with house money.”
But, given my affection for all things New Orleans, which I visit annually for JazzFest, I am inclined to call this marvelous, post-season surprise run, “lagniappe.”
Which generally translates as “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.” Or, “a little something extra,” like the thirteenth doughnut in a baker’s dozen.
Since a surge to the Elite Eight is, frankly, more than a “little” something, I’d better capitalize my designation.
Lagniappe, how sweet this is.
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ANTON GILL!!! Continue reading Louisville Card File: North Carolina State