A Long Hot Shower May Help

If visiting fans and players feel a little soiled after the trip to Morgantown, West Virginia, consider how it affects the guys blowing the whistles.

  • Bob Huggins taunting an official, practically demanding a second technical foul.
  • The official feeling the heat, but not having the courage to follow through.
  • Student section yelling “Karen Sypher” as if that has anything to do with anything.
  • Jared Swopshire clearly getting knocked out of bounds but having a fifth foul called on him.
  • Official ducking his head, missing the most crucial play of the game as the ball goes out of bounds.
  • Three officials making the wrong decision after seeing a television replay showing the ball going off West Virginia fingertips. Should have been called a jump ball.
  • Rick Pitino making the right decision not appearing on his post-game radio show. Difficult to avoid saying anything not fine-worthy about the stripes. Despite his intentions, Pitino may still have succeeded in getting the message across.

Louisville-West Virginia Box Score

Wright Makes Might, Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3

Freshman’s Home Run Gets Cards Back On Track

None of these hitting malaise issues for Ryan Wright. Too much at stake.

The University of Louisville right fielder stepping up in the fourth inning, hammering a Mike Minor pitch 402 feet easily clearing the center field wall. Who knew he had that in him? The fifth home run for the freshman from Fort Wayne, Ind., and the biggest hit of his young life. 

Could not have happened at a better time.ryan-wright

Hello possibilities. Possibility City here, you know. Flick on the dream switch, open the door for Louisville’s 5-3 win over Vanderbilt. The Louisville Cardinals claim the NCAA’s Louisville Region honors.

The boncaa-logottom third of U of L’s batting order was 1-of-12. John Dao, he with the recovering knee pain, made the one hit one that mattered, a slasher to left center, pushing Phil Wunderlich home. John Dao, clutch hitter, golden glover this game.

Thanks to the designer of Jim Patterson Stadium and the placement of the lights, giving Vanderbilt fits in the eighth inning, resulting in two errors and an insurance run. Good night and goodbye Vandy.

The Louisville Region belongs to Louisville. Next stop California Fullerton and the best two out of three at the Super Regional against the nation’s No. 5 team.

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”

Here We Go Again

By Charlie Springer

Just wondering as the University of Louisville basketball team prepares to begin Big East Conference play against South Florida:

— Whether the players will take South Florida seriously, respecting the perennial conference doormat, giving it their best effort. The Bulls came close to upsetting a good Syracuse team over the weekend.bigeast1

— How much a letdown the Cards will have have after defeating their arch rival Kentucky on Sunday. The level of intensity they displayed should be standard operating procedure.

— How the players’ psyche will be affected the flight incident on the first leg of the trip to Tampa. Standing around airports is a drag, and can sometimes take a little time from which to recover.

— How Earl Clark will play after one of his more embarrassing performances ever in the game again Kentucky. Pass, shoot, don’t dribble. Not a ball handler, never a guard.

— Whether Edgar Sosa’s transformation is permanent. One has to believe it is. The alternative is not good.

— How long it will take Samardo Samuels to return to early season form.

The Cards need to get off to a good start in the Big East for a change, and the mind games have to become a thing of the past.

Finding A Leader: Louisville 77, Ole Miss 68

A former coach turned broadcaster, whose TV career didn’t last long, once said when you get a team down you have to step on their collective throat and crush the life out of them. That’s what the University of Louisville basketball team didn’t do when it had Mississippi gasping for breath in the first half.

The lack of a killer instinct reared itself again, threatening to turn what should have been an easy win into another loss which would have further embarrassed the Big East against a mediocre SEC team.

The reason it didn’t happen was Earl Clark, and some timely three-point baskets from Edgar Sosa and Terrence Williams.

Fans saw what the pro scouts have been anticipating but had never actually seen – Clark assuming control of a game for almost 10 minutes in the first half, making moves he had never shown, hitting shots he had been missing, rebounding, blocking. He what? 25 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks.

He showed why he changed his mind about going to the NBA last summer, wanting to return to Louisville and his teammates. He’s taking the college game more seriously this time around, becoming more of a force than a role player, putting the load on his shoulders if that what it takes to win.

A new outlook, a whole new weapon for the Cards, against Mississippi anyway. Clark just may have assumed the leadership role vacated by David Padgett. Now that he has shown he can do it, it will be expected of him. And he should want it, badly.

*    *   *

Samardo Samuels looked like a freshman for a second time this season, struggling mightily for anything he could get around the basket. Had it too easy in those early games against the no-name teams. Puts all the things the coaches have been preaching to him in perspective. Keep your eyes on the basket, go strong to the goal. Finish.