Slow Motion Turn To Basketball vs. Miami

— Slow dancing and no fun, but good to play a team like Miami early. Lots of lessons, maintaining defensive intensity among the most important. Cards prove to themselves they can do it, rewarded with a win.

— Terrence Williams makes fans wonder how Michael Bramos could possibly be averaging more than 24 points a game, not allowing Bramos to take an uncontested breath. Bramos was fortunate to wind up with five points — hitting one three-pointer but not courtesy of T-will.

— Good to see Edgar Sosa starting, hitting the two free throws this time to give the Cards their final three-point margin. Should do wonders for his confidence.

— Earl Clark just won’t be denied when he makes up his mind to block a shot. Just ask Tim Pollitz, not once, not twice but three times on one trip. Same for when he decides to go inside, hitting two straight clutches to put U of L back on top to stay the end.

— Andre McGee can’t afford to get lackadaisical, just can’t.

— Derrick Caracter, always smiling, just enjoys playing basketball. Would be even more fun without the fouling.

Darrius Ashley Watch

U of L signee Darius Ashley rushed for a Division I title-game record 271 yards (and two touchdowns) as Cincinnati St. Xavier beat Mentor 27-0 for the title Saturday night,

Impressions vs. Rutgers

— Brian Brohm getting emotional, something he rarely ever does. Running with intensity, shaking his head in disgust early on, shouting to himself, playing with pain. More concerned about winning the game than any thoughts about the pros. Brohms have to be the U of L family of the century. Is it true there may be another Brohm in the pipeline?

— Great to see Harry Douglas, shoulder-to-shoulder with Rutgers defenders again, pulling the ball in on the crucial 46-yard pass play, putting the agony of a frustrating season behind him.

— Lamar Myles, Earl Heyman, Preston Smith, L. D. Scott, Bobby Buchanan stopping Ray Rice time after time when the game was on the line. Shame the guy never fumbles, that would have been the ultimate. Rice: “I’ve never been a part of something like this.”

— Trent Guy swaggering onto the field, like something good was going to happen, as it did when he caught a key pass on that game-winning drive.

— Art-O-Matic Art Carmody warming up for the field goal, waiting for this opportunity a long time, nailing it, being foisted in the air by his teammates.

— Bilal Powell. Is this guy the answer to a prayer or what?

— Brock Bolen, running over people again.

— Crowd of 39,600 for a team with a 5-6 record. Proof that college football fervor has gripped this town. Once you get it, it’s hard to let go. I know, I know, many left early. It was a good lesson for them, they’re sorry and they will be back.

— Sorry for all the profanities seat neighbors. Usually more reserved, couldn’t contain myself the first three quarters.

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Darius Ashley Watch: U of L running back signee Darius Ashley’s Cincinnati St. X team (14-0) will play for the Ohio State Division I Championship on Saturday evening against Mentor (11-2).

Performance On The Field Will Be Telling

Believing anything football coaches say is difficult at best, especially after the Petrino years. Steve Kragthorpe says he wants to finish his career at U of L, but that came after he had obviously been talking to officials at SMU.

Kragthorpe was clearly less than forthcoming when he described the SMU talk as “total fiction.” Some informed sources in Dallas knew otherwise, already chalking it down as a fait accompli.

Reports (rumors) this week have ranged from a big announcement Friday about the imminent departure of the entire staff to a dismissing of all the old Petrino assistants. This would include Jeff Brohm and Greg Nord, two of the most loyal assistants ever to serve at U of L.

One wishing to give Kragthorpe the benefit of the doubt would have to believe him when he looks you in the eye and says he’s staying. The skeptic, however, has heard this before and wonders if it just another coach biding his time. I wouldn’t be surprised either way, given the lack of candor and overall lack of communication from the football offices.

The biggest clue will come from the performance on the field. There’s every reason to want to win this game, the departing seniors and the revenge factor above all. If the effort is a poor one, things have turned irretrievably sour, and the coach may no longer have a say in the matter.

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Any fans or analysts who have turned their total focus to basketball are letting the rest of us down. There’s some unfinished business here, folks. There’s too much at stake on the football front to ignore the sport that lifted U of L from the ranks of the mid-majors in the national media’s eye.