No Louisville Cardinal fan rooted harder for Wayne Blackshear to succeed, and become a major Double Arches AA-quality collegian, than I did.
Some have even used the word apologist.
Truth is he never met fans, coaches, or his expectations. It happens.
I happened upon a couple of his summer league games during the last week or so.
In the first, contested in Utah, he played about half the minutes, but contributed little. In the second, after the Spurs had moved on to the Vegas competition, it was all pine time. He never took off his warmup.
So, it is somewhat sad, how he’s expressed his views of his years on the Belknap Campus.
I agree with him. For most of his career, he did sublimate his game to the offensive sets run by The Rick. But . . . a lot of that had to do with the fact that he never displayed the eye of the tiger, the will to take charge, that it was believed he had in him. He never really showed he deserved to have sets run for him. Continue reading Monday’s Sports Missive: Serena, Novak, Jordan, Roger & Wayne
Remember I must, during this sad but inevitable aftermath that befalls 67 of the 68 invitees to the Dance, that reaching potential is the goal, that striving for the greater is admirable, that acceptance of what is, more so.
Remember I must what I’ve thought and written during these Days of Dance, that advancement to the Round of 16 meant this U of L team, given the reality of it limitations, had maxed out; that when it surged a step beyond, it had succeeded past legitimate expectations.
Of course, I am disappointed. But not despondent.
There are those instances from Sunday that I ponder, but, truly, only for a moment.
What if Mango’s second FT near regulation’s end had gone down?
What if Wayne hadn’t dipped his toe in the lane on a missed State FT, allowing the Spartans anther opportunity and another point?
But, those laments dissipate in a blink. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Michigan State
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
Fingernails, length intact, remain unbitten.
In an opening round squeaker, the Cards, flummoxed by the presence of a 7-6 Senegalese Anteater aberration, were pushed to the brink before prevailing. While last night in its Round of 32 encounter, U of L took a 14-13 lead it never relinquished over favored Northern Iowa after 8:21 of play, keeping the Panthers measured until midnight tolled for the erstwhile Final Four wannabe from the Mo Valley.
So, prone to frustrate even its most ardent fans, but fortitude rich and full of pleasant surprises, this feisty 2014-15 edition of the University of Louisville Cardinals forges ahead to a Sweet Sixteen date in Syracuse with conference chum North Carolina State.
As one loyalist hummed, as the clock ticked down, the victory secure, “You’re sixteen, you’re beautiful, and you’re mine.”
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That the Cardinals never lost the lead in the second half, doesn’t mean there weren’t moments that increased the heart rate. This was, after all, the NCAA tournament, with the last berth of the second weekend’s games the prize. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Northern Iowa
In the Jewish faith, into which I was born, reared and still reside, and thus with which I am most familiar, it is known as Bar Mitzvah.
Literally, it translates as “son of commandment.” In the tradition, it is the ritual when a boy. upon turning 13 years old, is deemed a man. Thereby, presumed capable of, and required to assume responsibilities of adulthood, both within the faith and daily life.
Obviously, it is an artificial demarcation. Given the exigencies of real experience, that moment of transition is not foretold, not pro forma ritual. It happens when a situation is presented, and he who was youth acts with a previously inarticulated maturity.
Boy to man.
Yesterday, in Seattle, during the University of Louisville Cardinals’ opening round tussle of the 2015 NCAA tournament, Cardinal fans were able to observe not one, but two such moments of passage. Continue reading Louisville Card File: UC Irvine
There are important games.
Then there are big games.
This is not my delineation, though I wish I’d have postulated it first.
Charles Pierce is my favorite writer, a scribe of storytellng, wordweaving consequence to which I can only aspire. It is from his postulation that I extrapolate.
Big games transcend. Either from tradition through the decades. Or from the reality and ramifications of the now.
While important games have immediate effect in the short run of time, big games live on through the years.
This game, this improbable victory by a lesser Louisville team, this stalwart effort against an immaculate Cavalier squad that contests with a mature, steady unwavering sturdiness, this regular season ending, well- conceived, earnestly executed win, this, my favorite Cardinal game ever at the Yum!, this was a Big Game.
In a season I have previously described as wobbly, the University of Louisville Cardinals, locked in from the opening tip, focused like no time previously this campaign, never wavered, never withered. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Virginia
Three things became immediately clear after U of L plundered the Seminoles Saturday noon.
1) Anton Gill’s application to Bellarmine is on hold. Sorry, Scotty.
2) Card fans could head out Saturday night and rock to Harry Connick Jr., the Kongos or Irma Thomas with smile on their faces. (Ms. Irma was sublime. Her encore of Dylan’s “Forever Young” transcendent.)
3) Joe Lunardi’s purchased at Discount World o’ Wigs toup can generate early onset projectile vomiting.
Bubble that, Joey Brackets. And, please, at least make sure that dead mop is sittin’ straight on your noggin.
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Yes, there was oh so much to like about the Cardinals performance in a 22 point smackdown, its biggest W ever in the ACC.
Perspective, however, is in order. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Florida State
Loathe as I am to give my pal, my nemesis and long time Cardinal fan, The Professor, credit for any insight, I admittedly rue this moment for what I’m about to say. And shall be paying for it, for a good while, I suppose.
But when he’s right, he’s right.
For the second game in a row, the Cards pulled out a Jersey Victory. Which was the message Prof sent me after the game.
Not Jersey in the Paulie Walnuts sense, but jersey in that the continuum of the Louisville Cardinal tradition prevailed. While last night, Georgia Tech did what it usually does on the hardwood, i.e. remain the Ramblin’ Wreck, just as Miami’s Hurricanes couldn’t close the deal against U of L the other day at the Yum!.
No, here, it’s Jersey as in a program that’s had a winning tradition for decades. One where the force of long time accomplishment, where the spirit of Hickman and Crum and Unseld and Griffith and Ellison and Siva, where the come through in the clutch of Hancock and Tony Branch, are sewn in Cardinal unis with every stitch. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Georgia Tech
If Louisville’s successes this season hinge on how hard the team plays defense, and I fall in line with The Rick, and most everybody else who has observed the Cards flaky, often non existent, on again off again offensive prowess, agreeing that it’s stops über alles.
If that be the case, then it’s Man Up!
Mano a mano.
English translation: Man to man, Denny Crum style.
Or, as Jim Larranaga would call it: Manslaughter on man. (More on that in a moment.) Continue reading Louisville Card File: Miami
Corrected 2/19 at 11:25 am
It didn’t take long after the final buzzer for the calls and texts to come rolling in.
“Did you hear that thud? The sky just fell.”
“Boeheim totally shut us down in the second half. Why didn’t The Rick adjust?”
Something about the ineffectiveness of Anton Gill’s game, in a conversation with Doc, the details of which I can’t recall. Because, by that time, my brain was shortcircuiting due to the whirligig of despondency over the Cards’ second half meltdown, second loss in a row, and its third in the last four outings.
And, oh yeah, some more sighs and the invocation of this too often heard refrain, among friends and in the media, “Where are Luke, Peyton, Russ and Gorgui when we really need them?” Continue reading Louisville Card File: Syracuse