A great regular season under the belt, the kind of season fans all but took for granted a couple of decades ago. Having endured the lean, in-between and too few high times makes one savor what the University of Louisville men’s basketball has accomplished this season. Those times also temper any thought of being overly confident during tourney times.
No matter what happens over the next few days and weeks, this has been a magical season. Rick Pitino says a lot of things, one never knows what he’s going to say next because he thrives on being unpredictable, but the one to be remembered today is his promise to “return the ‘Cahds’ to prominence.”
The current group is in no way a great team. A good team for sure, but with some weaknesses and shortcomings. However, Pitino has overcome many of the deficiencies with a charismatic super star in Terrence Williams and an approach to playing defense making it possible to believe that good things are inevitable.
Not a good shooting team by any stretch of the imagination, nor a good half offense. Too many walking calls, too many turnovers, poor free throw shooting. The majority of points seem to come off of turnovers, awkward drives to the basket, and spurts of dunks and three-point shots. Every shot an adventure, every point a surprise, resulting in ecstasy and hypertension for Card fans.
A defensive intensity reminiscent of Roger Burkman’s 1980 team, relentless on the attack, challenging every dribble, every pass, creating opportunities the offense does not. Led by Andre Magee, requiring intravenous fluids pre-game, Preston Knowles, shifting between, fourth gear, fifth gear and overdrive, Terrence Williams, making good shooters disappear, and Earl Clark, thriving anonymously where he is indispensable.
More resemblance to a Hulk Hogan wrestling production at times than basketball, but the University of Louisville defeated Rutgers 87-82 in two overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East women’s basketball tournament.
The Lady Cards withstood every body blow the thuggies, er, ladies from Piscataway dished out. McCoughtry was pummeled to the floor on every layup it seemed, but always jumping back up, ready to go again. The officiating crew, of course, was oblivious to extracurricular activities. She wound up with 35 points despite the battering.
“You have to come prepared for a battle,” McCoughtry said afterward. Angel wasn’t kidding, nor was she smiling.
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Sonja has some more details here on her game-watching experience (not for the meek).
Chris Dominguez had three home runs, including his second grand slam in two days, as the University of Louisville racked up a 19-6 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Jim Patterson Stadium. The All-America third baseman also had nine runs batted in. The Cards are now 7-4 and ranked 25th in the nation. They host Wisconsin-Milwaukee again on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Courtesy of Hell In The Hall, some lasting images of Senior Night 2009, with Terrence Williams saying goodbye to Freedom Hall and the seniors doing their music video. Lots of other stuff available there, too. Thanks, Frankpos!
Four University of Louisville favorites saying goodbye to Freedom Hall tonight, but not to U of L. Two more regular season games, Big East tournament games, and NCAA tournament action still await Andre McGee, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark and Will Scott.
A farewell, but not a goodbye. Not just yet. They’re just leaving Freedom Hall for now, which makes it the end of an era. An opportunity to thank them for their contributions and for being a part of our lives. What the observer will miss when they are gone:
Terrence Williams — One of the most gifted players ever. His ability to blow the roof off Freedom Hall with awe-inspiring dunks. Willingness to learn. Sacrifice. Leadership. Engaging personality. Crazy sense of humor, having fun, making people laugh.
Earl Clark — Immense physical specimen with huge potential, largely untapped on offense but so obvious on defense and defensive rebounding. Unfortunately, the awkward passing and dribbling (covering my eyes). Occasional flashes of greatness on offense.
Andre McGee — An omnipresent force on defense, hounding, shadowing, getting in the faces of opposing guards. Setting an incredible example for his teammates. The smile, a player who always gives the team a lift, loving the school and the fans.
Will Scott — A determined but challenged guard with a good three-point shot, always catching up or getting pushed around on defense. The games his shot was a sure thing. Going to Oxford to study modern Chinese dialects.
They are not done, far from done. One would hope these guys are around for at least another month.
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Womens Tournament — The pairings for the Big East women’s basketball tournament were announced on Tuesday. For Sonja’s breakdown, go here.