Gift Return Day

— Hope nobody got what they didn’t need from CompUSA; those folks are going out of business. The “All Sales Final” on the receipt means exactly that.

— If you’re returning an item to the Neutral Zone, good luck. Any quality U of L merchandise in that store is priced at least 30% higher than you would expect. I returned a $34.95 U of L football poster. Looked, searched and scrounged for a quality sweatshirt or jacket. You can get them at that price but you would not want to be seen in them. Sticker shock every time I found something likeable. Had to settle for a baseball cap and a coffee mug. The only good news was I got 3 dollars in change.

Impressions vs. Aggies

— Trying to be sensational before you get the basics down pat is generally impeding the Cards’ overall development. Instead of making the easy pass, opting for the wow factor, blowing easy plays, looking not very intelligent, and letting opponents stick around in games.

— “We’re going to have that solved before the Morehead game (day after Christmas),” promises Rick Pitino in the post-game radio show. Ever wonder what Christmas is like for one of Pitino’s teams?

— Just happy Martin Iti, the big 7-footer, wasn’t playing on a North Carolina Charlotte team in Freedom Hall today. One of those typical UNCC teams would have destroyed the Cards, as they did so often a few years ago.

— No lack of camaraderie between Edgar Sosa and Andre McGee today. Reports of strained relations exaggerated.

— Where did McGee find that three-point shot? Where did Will Scott lose his?

— Juan Palacios was much more mobile and agile than anticipated, also bringing with him a sense of calm in midst of unnecessary confusion at times. Nice to have a senior on the floor for a change.

— Wonder if the rations order will be lifted for Derrick Caracter at the team’s Christmas dinner?

Billy Minardi Day

The week before the 9-11 tragedy in 2001, Rick Pitino played golf with his best friend Billy Minardi, anticipating the upcoming basketball season. Billy told his friend that he would be able to attend 14 of 17 U of L home games that season.

As Sports Illustrated noted, “The pair had been as inseparable as two men separated by geography can be, calling each other on the way to their jobs to talk about their New York Yankees, getting together for golf outings and vacations and holidays.”

Today’s game against New Mexico State is designated as the Billy Minardi Classic. Proceeds from the Classic continue to aid some of the more than 3,000 families affected by the unforgettable and unforgivable incident.

Card Fan Gift Tip #5

One of the major milestones in U of L athletic history was the Cards’ 24-13 victory over Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl in Miami, the first BCS win ever. Football fans can relive that memory over and over with this 13 x 39-inch print by Rob Arra. This is the best remembrance of the victory I have seen. It’s currently going for $34.95 (with $7 shipping) on Ebay. Very difficult to find locally but look for it in local art and framing shops. Call first, ask for the Rob Arra Orange Bowl print, save time and gas. Definitely a hit if you can lay your hands on one at this late date.

Angel Scare

Angel McCoughtry lying on the floor, woozy and bleeding, being helped to the locker room in front of her stunned teammates. It was the worst possible scenario for the Lady Cards.

The Louisville women’s basketball team is a exceptionally good one when McCoughtry is healthy. Her teammates almost had an opportunity to find how badly they needed her when McCoughtry banged heads with a UK player at the 16:19 mark in the second half, U of L leading by 20 points. Over the next several minutes, the Cards would score only five points while the Lexington team trimmed the deficit to eight points.

U of L players and fans started breathing again when McCoughtry returned with a bandaged forehead and a new jersey number. Her presence was all that was needed to assure the win; well, that, some good defense, and a few more points from their Angel. Final score: 80-65, fourth straight win over UK women.

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Carly Omerod, who rejected Louisville for UK, apparently doesn’t start anymore. Wound up with four points.

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Skeptical about women’s basketball? Don’t be. Angel McCoughtry won’t be here forever.