Take Syracuse Down

Reasons for the University of Louisville basketball team to be motivated as Rick Pitino’s crew takes on Syracuse on Sunday:

— Syracuse had the least enthusiastic fans over Louisville’s entry into the Big East Conference. Some of them were nasty about it, for some reason believing their university was superior in every way.  That probably goes with rationalizing life in the declining Rust Belt region.

— Syracuse will abandon the Big East the first chance it gets. The institution was actually one of the original schools selected by the Atlantic Coast Conference, and would already have been gone without a timely intervention of the Virginia Governor on behalf of Virginia Tech.

— Give 30,000 Syracuse fans in the Carrier Dome a life lesson in humility.

— The Carrier Dome doesn’t have air conditioning during the early months of the football season. That’s in a domed stadium named for a climate control company.

Big East Conference

— Syracuse’s school color is orange. People wearing orange at any time other than the last week in October is inappropriate.

— The Syracuse football team has won games it shouldn’t have won over Louisville the past two seasons.

— Improve Louisville’s all-time edge to 9-4 in games between UofL and Syracuse.

— Syracuse is ranked eighth in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls, Louisville is ranked 9th and 11th in those respective polls.

— Extend the Cards’ six game winning streak to seven.

— Remain undefeated in the Big East Conference.

— Louisville has never won a basketball game in the Carrier Dome.

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New Direction For Derrick Caracter

By Sonja Sykes

Various sources are reporting the Derrick Caracter has enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and would be eligible to play basketball the second semester next year if he fulfills his academic requirements. He would have a year and a half of college eligibility remaining.

Caracter could get some good advice from former Louisville star Milt Wagner on getting to the National Basketball Association, Milt having played in the NBA for a couple of years and sent a son there. The sad thing is that Walter McCarty could have probably helped him achieve that dream more successfully. You can lead a horse to water but it doesn’t mean he’s going to drink.

Rick Pitino gave Caracter plenty of opportunities to succeed and probably aged 10 years while attempting to make a college basketball player and student out of him. If Rick gives up on you, you better start praying to St. Jude, the patron Saint of lost causes.

Why is this important and why should we care? A lot of Cardinal basketball fans are glad he’s gone and blamed him for everything from low tides to lost chemistry during his on again, off again days at UofL. But there were those flashes of brilliance that gave you just enough hope that Caracter could have been a solid contributor.

Sometimes situations just don’t work out, maybe not the right fit for coach or the player. Here’s hoping a young man who had the basketball world at his feet can some daylive up to the potential that had college recruiters chasing him as a ninth grader. To to wish him anything but success and luck would be cruel, unkind and callous.

Getting Personal: Pop Pulls Out Another One

The Observer steps aside briefly to allow the favorite son to pass along a few flashbacks of growing up in the family of a couple of University of Louisville diehards.

By Steve Springer

After sitting through one of the more hand-wringing encounters that I have witnessed as a University of Louisville fan, I knew that another of my great sports fantasies had come true. After a thrilling victory over No. 13 Notre Dame, I realized that the next UofL game I would attend would be against the No. 1 team in the land, the Pitt Panthers on the upcoming Saturday.

The chance to beat No. 1 does not come along very often. Combine this rare opportunity with the fact that one does not always get to attend such a spectacle with the engineer of one’s love. The win over top-ranked Pittsburgh will rank right up there with the best of many big moments as a Card fan. The Observer instilled a deep passion for Cardinal Nation in my soul and fueled it with ticket after ticket to big games.

Steve, Koby, Rick Pitino and the Observer
Steve, Koby, Rick Pitino and the Observer

I have attended Cardinal basketball and football games since before I could walk. The memories run together in a collage of college athletics. The clearest early memories that stand out are sitting so high in the Superdome to watch the Cards battle Patrick Ewing in the 1982 Final Four. The setting was so huge to my 6-year-old eyes that I preferred to watch the action on the big screen scoreboard instead of the tiny little players running around so far below. My first and only experience with the Big Easy and my beginning infatuation with shrimp and seafood tagged along for good measure.

Visions of hugging red-clad people I had never met when I was nine in Reunion Arena shortly after Jeff Hall intercepted a Duke pass at the end of the 1986 National Championship in Dallas stand out, as well.

A few days before my parents had upgraded their hero-status in my eyes as I secretly intercepted a phone call from the Observer’s wife and my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Osterman. Mom was campaigning for permission to allow me to accompany them to Dallas for championship weekend and I would have to miss a couple of days of school. Mrs. Osterman obliged; I guess the real life experience I was to receive would be worth way more than multiplication tables and spelling words.

Continued Continue reading “Getting Personal: Pop Pulls Out Another One”

Pitino Rutgers Preview

Spare us the political rhetoric and the mindless blame games, Rick Pitino. It is inappropriate for a University of Louisville basketball coach to interpose political views on fans. The media may be enthralled but smart consumers will wait and see.

If you can get past the fawning over the new chief executive, Pitino has some interesting insights into tonight’s game at Rutgers in his pre-game interview:

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Highlights of previous Big East men’s and women’s basketball games are available at Big East TV.  Among the most recent offerings is a highlight reel from the Lady Cards’ 66-50 win over Cincinnati last night. Someone in the Big East offices is pretty serious about keeping the site updated.

UofL 9th in AP, 12th in Coaches

Recognition is good, but with it comes the knowledge that each game becomes more challenging. The University of Louisville basketball team climbed to No. 9 in this week’s Associated Press poll, and to 12th in the ESPN/Coaches poll.

Lofty ratings provide adrenalin surges, not only for mediocre teams but for good teams. There are plenty of both on the UofL schedule, including Rutgers at Piscataway, N.J. on Wednesday and eighth-ranked Syracuse at Syracuse on Sunday.

Big East teams ranked ahead of the Cards in the AP poll are UConn (3rd), Pittsburgh (4th) and Syracuse (8th). The coaches’ poll even has Marquette ranked ahead of UofL.