Collect Your Belongings

The ride ends precipitately, the tank on fumes, the wheels coming off the wagon, the engine throwing a rod. A bummer, but limited firepower will only take you so far.

Hope you enjoyed the trip. Check your seats for any personal items, and dispose of trash as you get off the bus. Tips are appreciated.

Give Rick Pitino credit for getting the most out of his team, advancing to the Elite 8 before the weaknesses — weaknesses so glaring, even to the fanatics — would finally catch up with harsh reality.ul_cardinal_head_logo2

Pitino can go back to being just another human being, a decent coach, maybe not the coaching genius portrayed in the media over the past few weeks.  But he will play the “will he or won’t he” game for days or weeks, wanting to prolong the drama, loving the attention, being the object of speculation. Sort of sad, really.

The era of Terrence Williams, Andre McGee, Earl Clark and Will Scott is over, along with the hopes and dreams of a third NCAA championship. They leave behind a legacy of having achieved for new levels of national respect for University of Louisville basketball.

No small accomplishments, any of these: the Big East Conference Champions, Big East Tournament Champions, No. 1 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and the final season No. 1 ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls.

This team achieved, overachieved and achieved some more, overcoming many shortcomings as individual athletes and as a collective unit, disguising them well enough to be considered the favorite in brackets across America. Still hard to believe after watching this team all year long.

Great ride. Thrill a minute being a contender again.

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Charlie Springer

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

6 thoughts on “Collect Your Belongings

  • March 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm
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    What’s embarrassing about the loss is that Michigan State will lose by 30 to UConn. Pitino proved this year that he can win with any team, even one without much of an offense. Having a good defense, even a blithering defense, is not enough to win an NCAA title without a semblance of anything coming close to having a good offense. Just look at the UCLA teams a couple of seasons ago. Rotten shooting, but great heart, has endeared this team to fans. Our hearts led us to believe but our brains knew better — we just couldn’t admit it to ourselves. Losing to a nice guy softens the blow but not much.

  • March 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm
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    Man, it hurts. I love this team and I love these guys… it’s going to be a long time waiting until next November. Here’s hoping that they can pick themselves up off of the mat (once again) and work like gang-busters in the off-season.

    Kentucky had their “unforgetables” in the early ’90s and this group of guys might just be mine.

  • March 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm
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    What an awful ending to a Dream Season…but we did have that: a Dream Season. I love this team too and they had quite a run – thanks for the BE Championship guys. I believe Coach screwed up tonight by sitting TWill down for those crucial minutes. You could just see the team start to quit after that happened. He will never be the coach Denny was but he’s ours and I thank him for getting us back to the Elite Eight this year. This team represented our city, our state and the fans with class and it was a lot of fun. Thanks so much to our beloved Cardinals. CARDS ROCK

  • March 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm
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    Congrats to the Cards for an awesome season and a great run in the tournament.

    Everything was falling MSU’s way this time around. I wouldn’t call the loss embarrasing because MSU is going to lose by 30 — where did you get that crystal ball??? The way the Cards played, they could’ve lost by 30 too — or at least by the 17 they did to UConn earlier in the season. And Denny hasn’t coached in eight years! Let’s move on people. I love Denny too. But Rick is our coach – and by the way, has a higher winning percentage.

    Good luck to all the Cards moving on to the NBA and welcome to the new ones. We’re behind you. Go Cards.

    • March 31, 2009 at 3:37 pm
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      Oh, I’ve moved on and that is why I said RP is OUR coach and thanked him for a great season. Moving on does not mean you forget someone’s accomplishments and comment on those accomplishments from time to time. If someone mentions Babe Ruth or Terry Bradshaw or Michael Jorden, that doesn’t mean they are living in the past and haven’t moved on…they are remembering how good those people were at what they did and that’s a good thing. Personally I enjoy Final Fours and National Championships much more than better winning percentages…as said before – love my CARDINALS and appreciate our Coach.

  • March 30, 2009 at 6:00 am
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    You got the feeling with 7 minutes to go in Lucas Oil Stadium that this just wasn’t going to happen today. Brave talk from the fans and friends surrounding me that we had that one “patented” rally left in us. Hopeful talk that T-Will would step up and take over. Confident talk that our guards would perform the shutdown that they had done numerous time in games before. We waited. Never developed. The thin snake of Michigan State fans at the midcourt seats never sat down. Got louder as the end got near. The red clad majority watched, groaned and tried at times to rally the guys but it was to no avail.

    Still, it was a good run. Not quite where we wanted it to end but still reason to be proud of what we have accomplished this year. Hope for the future with improvement coming in the middle because of experience. A new and real point guard hitting campus. Several good guards returning. Who replaces Earl and T-Will? Time will tell and let’s give it some time. For now, a time to rest and reflect on what it was, maybe what it could have been and to switch our focus and desire to getting the other UofL basketball team to the Final Four.

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