Every effort will be made to keep the breakup between the parties gentle and kind, but everybody knows Freedom Hall is being dumped for a newer, more sexy partner.

A shame the outlook for the current University of Louisville basketball team is far from optimistic as the couple prepares to part ways Saturday after a long and beautiful relationship.


Not supposed to end like this, fans wondering whether their team will even be competitive. The fact that U of L defeated the same team less than two weeks ago gives fans little reason for confidence.

Rick Pitino likes to keep everybody guessing. Some of the players who played a major role in that win don’t even know whether they will see action against Syracuse. Mike Marra, Terrence Jennings, Kyle Kuric or Rakeem Buckles don’t really have a clue.

Therein lies much of the challenge. Confidence levels are low because there hasn’t been any consistency. A player has a great game and mysteriously disappears. A player gets a starting role for some reason, and the person he’s replacing doesn’t know why. Couple of games later, roles are reversed.

There are not the usual eight or nine players who know where they fit, who can’t be counted on because they can’t count on being around when games are on the line. While the team has shown promise at times, notching unexpected wins, they follow it up by falling on their face again a couple of games later against less than stellar opponents.

A quixotic atmosphere will prevail Saturday at Freedom Hall. Many former players will be introduced, video highlights will celebrate the past, a few fans will be nostalgic recalling some memories. But the celebration will be overshadowed by the reality that the current U of L basketball team has had far more than its share of puzzling disappointments, and has an immediate outlook that is less than bright.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

9 thoughts on “Louisville, Freedom Hall Are Splitting Up”
  1. There will be some things I won’t miss about Freedom Hall and the Kentucky Exhibition Center. Ring Road will be one of them. Having to walk by those stinky horse barns if you parked on the back side of the Hall. Lack of women’s restrooms.

    But, the nostalgia and memories that we’ve experienced in the Hall since 1979 (my first time in there for a UofL game) will live a long time as we get ready to go downtown and start a new era in Cardinal basketball.

    Despite the current question marks about this team, the rememberance of the teams of the past and great games I’ve seen there will far outweigh the actual Syracuse game in my attendance Saturday.

    I didn’t miss the move from Cardinal Stadium to Papa John’s for football…and this move for hoops will turn out to be a great thing for the future of UofL men’s and women’s basketball.

  2. In the end, Freedom Hall is just a building, a mass of concrete, wood and bricks. Kind of hard to get sentimental about it, especially in the current situation the program is in. I feel no remorse about leaving because U of L’s life has been complicated by state ownership on so many occasions. Scheduling should be vastly improved at the next site and there won’t be a Ring Road.

  3. Good memories galore but the new place is going to be a basketball palace that will be envy of the college basketball nation.

  4. A totally different atmosphere awaits the program, first class in every respect. Now if only Rick Pitino can settle on who he wants to lead this team and focus on that, we will have a good future at the downtown arena.

  5. You know I really don’t think Coach P will know who will lead the team. I mean every time I have watched the team it is as if a new line up or some usual suspects warms the bench. It is a guessing game.
    This team and their ability morphs almost as much as the amount of grey in Pitino’s hair. I think Samuels would be a good leader there is something mature and sage about him.
    Then again – I just guessing…hmhmh.

  6. It is incredibly difficult to be a role player when you have no idea what your role is.

  7. Okay gang, I understand your concern about our bi polar team, but CRP DOES know what he is doing. ALL players are expected to be ready to play, doesn’t matter when or for how long. It is their JOB to be physically and mentally prepared for each game. From Sosa to Brickley their numbers can be called at any moment. Match ups folks, match ups. The team can’t seem to put a run of wins together, so I expect a win on Saturday vs Syracuse to follow the pattern.

  8. If fans can’t release their ties to the venerable old arena, remember that the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament will be played there in a week and the Derby Classic remains.

    Guess I won’t be able to take my seat out with me at the conclusion Saturday afternoon.

    It is a relatively new seat also. Two years ago, I arrived at a game to find that someone had removed all the padding from the bottom of my chair. A quick recon with one of the Cards Care yellow shirted aides and a visit from a Freedom Hall maintenance staff worker had me sitting within 15 minutes.

    The previous event before the vandalism…a UK game in the Hall. Guess a “big brother” fan needed a little insulation for his double wide and seized the opportunity.

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