UofL Student Activities Center expansion under way

Somehow we missed the groundbreaking for the $40 million expansion of the Swain Student Activities Center at the University of Louisville at the end of August.  Quite an undertaking.

The expansion will provide students more than 112,000 square feet of additional or renovated dining, office, meeting and retail space. Including one of the first ever Amazon pickup stores.

According to the Courier-Journal, funding includes nearly $10 million in university bonds, with the rest of the funding from student activities fees private donations and some University contributions.

Louisville vs. Kentucky – The great rivalry

Sports rivalries are nothing new and they’re certainly not unique to Kentucky universities. In fact, for some people, sports rivalries are part of the fun of the world of athletics in the first place. However, for the sports fans mired in the Kentucky and Louisville rivalry, things get so ugly that joy gets lost along the way.

rivalryThe rivalry between the Cardinals and the Wildcats isn’t just one of the biggest rivalries in the world of men’s college basketball. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the entire sporting world. UofL vs. UK inspires lots of heated discussion and conflict even in the best of times.

People who live outside of Kentucky and who don’t really follow the world of sports might find the rivalry baffling. All fandom knowledge is like that to a certain extent. Some people would love to learn how stuff works at the Royal Vegas casino. Other people aren’t even aware of the Royal Vegas casino and would barely even be able to connect to the world of online gambling even if someone told them about the Royal Vegas casino in detail. However, all fandom discussions tend to be interesting from a broader societal perspective, and the Louisville vs. Kentucky rivalry is no exception.

The interest in college sports varies from state to state. However, it’s particular potent in Kentucky, which has no pro-affiliated sports teams. It’s the perfect environment for the Louisville vs. Kentucky rivalry to thrive. If these two colleges were located further apart from one another, given the size of the state of Kentucky, the rivalry might not be as bad.

However, many local individuals are going to run into each other all the time in the wake of conflicts associated with both sports teams. Local individuals feel pressured to swear strong allegiance to their most nearby university, but they’re constantly in contact with their rivals in a way that just wouldn’t happen with a lot of other pairs of competing sports teams.

The fact that both Louisville fans and Kentucky fans are about equally matched in their team loyalty and passion for their respective fandoms tends to make the rivalry even more intense. Even then, the rivalry might not be as bad if one of the teams were vastly less successful than its rival. However, almost any objective observer outside of Kentucky would probably say that the Cardinals and the Wildcats were really both teams that had a great track record.

When there’s a huge power differential between two teams, the rivalry takes on a very different character. However, this really isn’t the case with the Cardinals and the Wildcats. It’s often the proverbial close games in any activity that are the most exciting, and they tend to involve the fiercest competition. The competition between the Cardinals and the Wildcats and their dearest fans never ends.

Damion Lee, Trey Lewis are back, Louisville dispatches Va. Tech

The last place anyone expected the University of Louisville to knock down 12 of 18 three-point attempts would have been at Cassell Coliseum in southwest Virginia. Couldn’t have happened at a better place, UofL would need almost every one of them to outlast Virginia Tech 91-83.

One of those seasons when one never knows which UofL player is going to take over a game. A different player or combination of players every game. A healthy indicator for any team that wants to be among the serious contenders in March on a team coached by Rick Pitino.

No better time for Damion Lee and Trey Lewis to reassert themselves as the leaders on this team, the two post-graduate scholars conducting a shooting clinic. Most of the three-point baskets seeming to come when Virginia Tech had come within striking distance, the Hokies refusing to roll over time after time. Scratching and clawing their way back in the game down to the final 20 seconds.

So much for Chinanu Onuaku’s six straight double-double games. The Hokies got him in foul trouble early, just as Pitino had predicted they would. Any time a Virginia Tech player got close to Onuaku, the whistles were instantaneous, as if there were some sort of bounty to be collected.

Anas Mahmoud came back down to earth in this game, managing only four points. Give Mahmoud credit, however, for three early blocks that put an end to Virginia Tech’s early dominance. The Hokies raced out to a 20-12 lead before Mahmoud started plugging up the middle. He would have some defensive lapses later, but he helped his team turn a crucial corner.

As well as Damion Lee and Trey Lewis were playing, Louisville also had to have Jaylen Johnson’s best game in a Louisville uniform. Johnson would score 11 points, including one 3-pointer, and he have nine rebounds, three assists and a block. Fortunately, he was able to return to the floor after twisting his elbow backwards near the end of the game.

Damion Lee would hit six of seven three-points attempts and 11 of 12 free throw attempts to lead all scorers with 29 points. Trey Lewis would score 20 of his 22 points, including all four of his three-pointers, in the second half.

With the win, Louisville moves to 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Next up is Virginia on Saturday, and North Carolina on Monday. Going to be fun seeing who emerges in those games.

Cook’s hamstring not an issue, Florida State rolls in second half

The dreaded hamstring injury is never a good one, usually keeping running backs off the field for indefinite periods of time, sometime weeks, sometimes entire seasons. Certainly not the case with Dalvin Cook, just shaking it off along with the hapless University of Louisville tacklers on Saturday.

Playing in obvious pain, with his trainers greeting him on the sidelines between all the big gainers, Cook would make all the sharp cuts without missing a beat, galloping for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Florida State’s 41-21 win over Louisville in Tallahassee.

Cook collected all but 25 of those yards in the second half, with the UofL defense having held Florida State to zero net rushing yards in the first 20 minutes. But the Cardinals were reduced to grabbing for his jersey after the intermission, unable to get in front of him, falling for every juke in his repertoire.

Cook was just unstoppable, refusing to go down, providing exactly what Florida State needed while preventing UofL from focusing on quarterback Everett Golson. He broke four Louisville tackles on that 54-yard touchdown run. An inspiration to every player who will sustain a hamstring injury in the future.

Louisville was able to go to the locker room at halftime with a 7-6 lead, with the defense playing its best half of the season. Different story the second half, Cook wearing them down, exposing lots of bad angles and ineffective tackling techniques. Looked like touch football at times.

Golson is a decent quarterback but he can thank Dalvin Cook for most of those 372 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Louisville had Golson figured out in the first half, but Cook completely changed the complexion of the game after he strolled onto the field after the intermission.

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Not that he cares but UofL Coach Bobby Petrino will be answering some questions about why his team was taking its time with time running out in the first half. The answer probably will be that he had the lead and didn’t want to put his freshman quarterback in a bad situation.

He may change his mind next season if he’s lucky to have a lead against Florida State in the first half. The Seminoles have scored 10 touchdowns against UofL in the last two seasons.

DeVonte Fields poised for second chance at Louisville

Good news on the defensive front for University of Louisville, with reports that DeVonte Fields has met academic requirements, will report to campus Aug. 4, and can play during the 2015 season.

DeVonte Fields
DeVonte Fields

Fields was named the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press as a freshman in 2012 after leading TCU with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Fields played just three games in 2013 because of injuries, and spent the 2014 season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

Not so good: Fields was dismissed from TCU after being charged with domestic abuse charges, allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face, a Class A misdemeanor. The case was dismissed this year, and Fields agreed to take four anger management classes. Prior to the beginning of TCU’s 2013 season, Fields was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules.

In January 2014, Fields reported that he was attacked and robbed by three individuals at an off-campus residence. He reportedly grabbed the arm of one of the gun-wielding assailants and five shots were fired. Fields escaped without major injury, and no charges were filed.

Up to now, trouble has seemed to follow DeVonte Fields around. If he’s ready to put the past behind him, Fields is the perfect candidate for some tough love from Bobby Petrino.

With so much focus on other issues, don’t be surprised if Fields is in need of a lot of conditioning before he returns to action.