Western Carolina Comes Out Of Nowhere

Before anyone asks.

Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, an obscure North Carolina hamlet buried deep within the Nantahala National Forest. It’s a four-hour drive from Charlotte on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with the last leg on one of those narrow winding two-lane roads with small bridges and steep drop-offs.nowhere

Still, they manage to lure 9,000 students. Probably because the school’s catalog boasts of expert faculty, top-rated programs in project management and entrepreneurship and a family learning environment.

Not much else to do in Cullowhee. Few distractions besides basketball for  students or townies.

A 91-83 win over the University of Louisville basketball team will be big.

Meanwhile in Louisville, some natives are getting fidgety. Not unusual at this point in the season. The Western Carolina angle is what’s different. Many didn’t know WCU existed before the game.






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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 “Western Carolina Comes Out Of Nowhere

  • December 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm
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    I don’t want to talk about the basketball either. We had our tails handed to us by Nowheresville.

  • December 12, 2009 at 10:09 pm
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    Looks like Rick spent too much time chasing women than recruting and it’s caught up with him.
    TJ should have suspended him for the “morals violations” on his contract. This team doesn’t respect him anymore and it shows on the court.

    John Wall and the Wildcats will destroy the Cards on national network TV January second. Rupp will be rocking!

  • December 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm
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    Perhaps the biggest ovation all night in Freedom Hall was football related when Coach Strong and family were introduced at the 11:00 minute mark in the first half.

    The Cards could have used some defensive tips from the guru, maybe…as failure to cover open shooters, free roaming of the lane and blown guarding assignment allowed the Catamounts to trail only briefly in the second half and put the second straight loss in Freedom Hall on the Cards.

    And, it is defense and free throw line woes that are plaguing these Cardinals right now. Four year guards should be able to shoot 50% or better from the charity stripe. Three point marksmen should be left alone with wide open looks thruout the whole game. Rebounding is somethingthat you have to pursue…the ball isn’t going to just magically bounce to you after a missed shot.

    One thing about our dear, departed seniors and Earl Clark from last year was that they hustled on the defensive end. Besides Preston Knowles, I have a hard time telling you that anyone else on this team is even an average defensive player.

    Offense may fill the seats but defense wins championships. Creating turnovers, causing deflections and hurried shots are things that seemed to come so easily last year but are not part of the Cardinal equation this year. Rallying to take a three point lead after being down by five and then losing the lead back and going down by nine should never happen on your home court.

    But, as Rick will tell you…it is a work in progress. The coaches will continue to teach, review and make adjustments. The players will improve. January and Feburary have traditionally been very good months in the past for UofL teams under Rick Pitino.

    The only question is… how long will it take to get this team to a point where schools from Cullowhee are no longer dominating the Cards on their home court.

  • December 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm
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    If you give Samardo the first five letters he couldn’t spell defense. Guys drive down the lane and he stares at them. He doesn’t contest the shot. He doesn’t do anything.

    And in the last two games he has six rebounds. As in total. How can a guy his size play so damned small?

  • December 13, 2009 at 12:39 am
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    Be patient, fans. Me thinks there is going to be a retirement party coming….maybe even sooner than you think. There is just too much pressure. That Big East mountain is a big one to climb every year and the off the court stuff may be making it look even higher.
    Hang on…

  • December 13, 2009 at 11:25 pm
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    Going to be one l-o-n-g season unless these guys don’t get better quickly. The veterans need to provide some leadership.

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