by Paul Sykes
We’ve heard all the rants, rage and tirades about the University of Louisville basketball team’s lack of performance. Certainly, this isn’t what Cardinal fans have come to expect. But, with the unparalleled success this season of our neighbors to the east, the gasoline is out and the flames are being fanned.
Obviously, three losses this early in the season isn’t good. Add another four to six losses in the Big East and dangerous matchups against Kentucky and Western Kentucky and you have a Louisville team that is on the fence for the NCAA tournament.
Even in the lean years, the Big Blue crazies expect the best for themselves and want nothing but the worst for Louisville.
In Lexington, there’s a sparkling 10-0 record, including significant wins over North Carolina, UConn and Indiana. We know how fanatical UK fans are in backing that program. Even in the lean years, the Big Blue crazies expect the best for themselves and want nothing but the worst for Louisville.
Let’s face it. Cardinal fans work, live, socialize and interact with UK fans. The taunts over a loss to Western Carolina are 10 times as bad as they were about UK’s loss to VMI last year. As Cardinal fans, we are bombarded with the new coach, the new success, the records, the John Wall come lately. They do outnumber us in the state, and it wears on U of L fans.
Louisville is 5-3, but has a chance of being 10-3 or 9-4 before the matchup January 2nd at Rupp Arena. Many schools would sacrifice an athletic director or switch school mascots for that kind of record. However, Rick Pitino’s teams traditionally hit their stride in January and continue to improve.
So take a deep breath.Â Stop the unnecessary rage against Pitino. We all knew it would be tough after T-Will, Earl Clark and Andre McGee departed.Â Â This team is a work in progress. The defense will improve. The rebounding will develop. Let not the fly-by-night success of a rival diminish Louisville’s accomplishments in recent years. The season is young.