Threeeeeee Sosaaaaaaaaa!

Edgar Sosa hits primetime, sinking a 30-footer to give Louisville a 74-71 basketball win over Kentucky.

By Charlie Springer

As sweet a moment as any in recent seasons  for University of Louisville basketball fans, the climactic swish of Edgar Sosa’s 30-footer. That shot will linger in the minds of Card fans for years, rivaled only by the CBS montage of swish, swish, swish, swish. Play it again, guys.

None of that dribbling wildly down the lane tripping over all the obstacles. They’re giving you the shot out there.

Take it.

Hit it.

Erupt, Freedom Hall, explode.

Redemption for a player everybody but Rick Pitino had all but relegated to the dump heap. Strange thing, though. Sosa seemed content, even smiling, much of the game. A couple of errant passes not going to affect him today. The coach believes, why shouldn’t Sosa?

Next time you watch the video of the game winner, watch Sosa look quickly to the left, across the court to where his hero Francisco Garcia is seated.

— A great time for Jerry Smith’s shooting eye to return — three three-point attempts, all of them good.

— Despite two pitiful inbounds passes, something good may have happened for Earl Clark in today’s game: the cool, above-it-all look was actually replaced by humiliation and disappointment. Does anybody else cringe when he starts acting like a guard? Take it personal, Earl, get emotional, get better.

— Terrence Williams lives for those rim-rattling dunks but those 19 points, eight rebounds, and five steals were the dosage. Three of five three-point attempts, keeping the elbow tucked. Getting the ball stuck on the rim, not  funny.

— George Goode, subbing for Samardo Samuels, made up some lost ground, earning respect for key stops on Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson. Playing with stress fracture that had kept him out of practice. And did you see him going bananas after Sosa hit that winning shot?  This guy is on board.

— A rough patch for Samuels but the same coach who kept telling us that Sosa was the missing piece of the puzzle says Samardo will come around.

Play that game winner again. Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish.

More Than A Game

By Charlie Springer

People being much too reserved in their predictions and comments. Are fans looking forward to Sunday’s matchup or are they dreading it?

Kentucky has fattened up a 13-3 won-lost record with schools few people knew even existed before this season started. How about Ouachita Baptist, Mississippi Valley State, and  Longwood? They have basketball teams, too? What do you learn about yourself playing teams like Virginia Military Institute, Florida Atlantic and Delaware State? A freshman-dominated Indiana University team?

Not much.

Louisville limps in with an 8-3 record, having learned quickly that it doesn’t faintly resemble the third ranked team in the nation. Surprising losses to Western Kentucky, Minnesota and Nevada-Las Vegas. Cockiness has been replaced by uncertainty, the future clouded by doubt, and an ugly offensive attack plagued by poor field goal and free throw shooting.

Are the Cards as bad as they looked against UNLV?  Probably not.

All of which adds to the unknown and drama of Sunday’s showdown. No time for reflection. It’s much more than a game, and everybody knows it. You had better come to play. Win or lose, everybody has to live with the outcome for quite a while.

Make all the ugly K baseball caps, the UK car flags, the fat Wildcat shirts go away. Make them disappear.

Dream Game At The Sykes

By Sonja Sykes

I’ve slowly come to the realization that I am the only Cardinal fan over 45 that wasn’t in Knoxville Coliseum back in 1983. Maybe I can get some props for my attendance in 1980 at Market Square Arena to see the Cards win it all. I was eight months pregnant at the time, had to pee the entire second half and almost marched down several rows with full intent to cuff a loudmouth UCLA fan whose mama would have been very upset about the language he was using.

We were there in Nashville in 1982, to see the ‘almost’ dream game between the University of Louisville and Middle Tennessee.  Way before cell phones, I-PODS and laptops…I stood in line at halftime to call my mom and see how my two year old Angela was feeling, talked to her and got a incoherent lecture from a drunk Cardinal fan behind me in line that pay phones were for people who had pressing business and not to coo over the phone to their daughter.  If I’d had a gun, I would have shot him. Instead, I looked him squarely in the eyes and told him to place a certain part of his anatomy in a very unnatural and probably uncomfortable part of his body. Even Paul was shocked.

‘I still believe to this day
that it was that
evening/early morning
that was the conception date
of my youngest daughter …’

When it was determined that the Cards would, in fact, actually meet the Cats in Knoxville in 1983…we went to work to obtain tickets. That search ended a day later when Paul informed me he had to work a half day that day, no way to get out of it and he encouraged me to make the trip anyway. I declined. Back then, I was less inclined to enter into away and neutral venues without the big guy riding shotgun.  We accepted an invitation to attend a “Dream Game” party and kids were welcome, too.

I made a dish to take to the party that morning, don’t remember what I concocted…but I used to make a pretty tasty lima bean casserole back then. Paul’s buddy Bob phoned from his apartment, from the party waiting for us to arrive. Angela and I were waiting impatiently on the couch when the big guy got home. Practically changed his clothes for him and shooed him out to the car.  He revealed to me on the drive over that he’d stopped briefly after work to have a pregame drink with a few co-workers. If looks were daggers, he’d been terminated on the spot.

The party was warming up when we arrived. It seemed Cardinal fans were gravitating to the basement TV, and the Cat clan had dibs on the living room console. Fair enough, we had the keg. They had the food. Paul’s buddy Bob..who had hair back then and resembled a young Jimmy Buffett, was already more than tipsy and planted a kiss on me that would have had us legally engaged in some areas.  He then proceeded to sit in my lap and bemoan the fact he couldn’t find the “right” woman.

Paul was nowhere to be found (He told me later he had been upstairs antagonizing the Big Blue faithful and sampling without consent a Big Blue backer’s bourbon from the kitchen.) We watched the pregame hoopla, and Bob fell asleep on my shoulder, drooling just like my daughter. Somewhere the photos probably still exist of a dozing Bob wearing a UK cap and hastily scrawled sign across his chest reading: “GO WILDCATS!! DENNY IS A BUM.”

Finally, tip off. Most of you know how the game went, Master’s lucky basket and the incredible Cardinal overtime domination. We shouted, groaned, exchanged cheers with the folks upstairs and Bob and Paul danced around the room as if they were on the court themselves. My daughter Angela played contentedly with a couple of Big Blue kids in one of the bedrooms…unaware of the war that raged outside that door.

When the Cards went up by six, Bob and Paul exchanged flying ‘high fives’ that sent both of them sprawling back to the seats of their pants on the carpeted basement floor. If only You Tube had been around back then. Our hosts, with mixed school loyalties, cracked bottles of champagne for us right after the final buzzer. She beamed happily and he forced a rueful grin.

After the contest, the Cards fans celebrated with giddy glee and we eventually extended good sportsmanship condolences to the UK fans that were still there. The afternoon eventually drifted into a calm, laid back evening…a happy ride home and I still believe to this day that it was that evening/early morning that was the conception date of my youngest daughter Rachel.

And, I’m pretty sure Bob wasn’t there.