Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘#1 ranking’

On Flying Too Close to the Sun

Posted by frankpos on March 31, 2009

“Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son, Icarus.  Before they took off, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun.

But ecstatic with the ability to fly like the gods, Icarus disregarded his father’s warnings,

and flew higher and higher,

until the heat of the sun  began to  melt the wax in his wings, and he fell into the sea.”

From the Greek Myth

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mich-st-img_5981bw

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There are many lessons to be learned from the myth of Icarus.

About listening to wise advice,

and  not losing one’s wits in the thrill of the moment,

and that with the greatest heights, can come the greatest falls.

Some have also said that the tale of Icarus represents a warning about unrestrained ego,  ambition, and vanity and its consequences.

This loss by the Cards to MSU was perhaps the most disappointing and puzzling of all the epic losses in U of L’ s long history of tournament games.

It didn’t have the lightning bolt shock of Terry Howard’s missed free throw in the 1975 overtime loss to UCLA in the Final Four,  or that of U S Reed’s half court bomb in 1981, or even the slam-dunking barrage by Houston’s Phi Slamma’s in 1983 that finally put that game away late in the second half.

No, this was just a game-long,  numbing, disheartening disappointment.

Favored by 7, in the most important game of their lives –and right after a record-setting performance in the game before–

this Cardinal team and its leading player, in front of a huge virtual home crowd of over 25,000 Card fans in Indy,

both came out flat

and then, to the eternal tarnishment of this team’s legacy,

flat gave up.

It was embarrassing and disheartening to this Card fan of over 40 years to see a U of  L team hang its head and give up,  with over 10 minutes left in the game and down by only 10 pts.

But it might as well have been 100…

T Will and the Cards had let themselves get out-toughed by a  physical man-to-man  D that cut off easy passing and cutting lanes, and they passively reverted  to the  one-on-one, sub-60 pt offense the Cards had exhibited in all of their losses this season.

Even so , the Cards had hung close all through the low scoring first half and  made a charge at the start of the second half,  taking the lead.

But the Spartans immediately responded with their strongest surge of the game, taking a 5 point lead, causing Pitino to use a timeout,  and inspiring Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to leap out of his seat,  shaking his fists and screaming at his team in a way I have seldom seen.  You could feel the man’s energy 100 yds across the court where I  glumly sat, well-perched for this disaster.

As they approached Pitino,  the heads of the Cards were all down,  tired frustration frowning their faces and draped on their stooped shoulders.

After that time out, MSU   surging immediately   to a double digit lead, which  prompted another Pitino timeout.  This time the team looked even more downtrodden and beaten.

In shock I realized it then:  Even with only a 10 pt MSU  lead and still 10 minutes to play, the game was in effect over.

T Will and the Cards had been frustrated into total submission by the MSU defense.  And over the next several excruciatingly  uninspired, meek minutes of play by the Cards, they displayed their resignation.

No mas.

I’ve never seen such quit in a Card team in such an important game.

Was Pitino out-coached?  Well, I’ll simply say Tom Izzo constructed a perfect game plan (perhaps with a bit of  late-night help from IU coach Tom Crean!) , and the MSU players executed it to perfection — both on defense, and importantly on offense,  patiently working for the best shot and then hitting it.

However,  I’ll also quickly  state that I firmly believe U of L had the better athletes on the floor– they simply didn’t have the patience and heart to execute their game plan like MSU did.   MSU obviously wanted it more from the opening bell, and it showed.

MSU’s talent was not 22 points better than the spread against U of L.  But its heart was.

This poor showing by the Card team was a terrible shame, because this was certainly one of the most talented and entertaining teams in our history.

This Card team was just the fourth at U of L to win at least 30 games, finishing 31-6.  It won the school’s first Big East regular-season and conference tournament championships.  It was the first in U of L’s  proud history to be ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, and the first to receive the  #1 seed overall.

It became the national media darling, with three straight Sports Illustrated covers of T Will and even recognition by President Obama as a finalist in his national championship game (although his crossing out of his pick of Louisville as the winner, may go down in U of L annals as the “Curse of Obama”…)

This Card team will be remembered for its Golden January of nine straight wins,  capped with a take down of #1 Pitt in the Hall.  It will be remembered for its Micowave Defense of Pit Bull #1 (Andre) and #2 (Preston.)

It will be remembered for Earl Clark, a raw, extremely talented athlete, who like T Will came back for another year to make a run at the title, and who was the only Card that excelled in the final game.

But it will most be remembered for T Will, the “freak athlete” who transformed himself, Griff-like, from his junior to senior years into perhaps the most complete player in the land, and who led his Card team to unprecedented new heights

and perhaps to its hardest fall.

Posted in misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

How Bad Do YOU Want It ?

Posted by frankpos on March 26, 2009

23 years.

It’s now been 23 years since our last national title, with Never Nervous, Milt, Billy T and the guys.

86b

This second time at the mountain top  was final indication for both Denny and U of L at the time on the national scene.  The Cards and Bobby Knight’s IU dominated the college basketball landscape, and had for a solid decade, since Wooden retired.

23 years.

I’m ready.  God, I’m ready.

OK, I’ll say it:  I want one more before I die.

Jesus, I never thought I would have to say that…

In 1986, I was 32 and quite smug about many things in life, particularly the supremacy of the Cards after two titles in six years.

I, and many other then-young Baby Boomer Card fans that began to pack Freedom Hall,  thought the Final Four and  Title carousel would never end.

No Card fan back then  would have had any inkling that this was already the end of the ride…and it would be nearly two decades until our next Final Four under Rick Pitino.

So yes, I’m ready.  So are all those other fans whose passions were torched by the fire of the 80′s teams.

The Super Fans of the Cards…those in my Card Hall of Fame.  What is the common thread that runs through all of them?  Their spark all started with the first championship in 1980.  They have all been inspired to do their shtick since then –for over two decades !

Card fans under 40, I warn you:  This is what national NCAA basketball titles will do to you, particularly if you are from Louisville, which is a subset of basketball- crazed Kentucky.

How bad do you want it?!

Griff, I love you, man...but it's time for new heroes.

Griff, I love you, man...but it's time for new heroes.

We all ask the team that…ask yourself that.  How bad do YOU want it?

Are you ready to swarm Indy, yell like hell and help turn a cavernous football stadium into a huge Card home field advantage?

I wear a suit by day, but I yell at night.  I assure you I will be hoarse late Friday .

I want another  title BAD.   For my selfish old(er) self for sure… and also for my son and younger Card fans to finally, FINALLY experience and understand what us older fans have been raving about all these years.

So yes,  we are  all ready for another title after 23 years.

Once you have experienced and felt such glory, nothing is quite right until you feel it again.

It would be so fine to find that place once more…

(Thanks Roz, for that ending.)

Posted in Louisville Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

So Close…

Posted by frankpos on March 25, 2009

“The first two games it’s pressure because the Final Four is not reachable in your minds. You have four games to play.  But especially when you get by those first two games and to the Sweet 16, you’re a weekend away from the Final Four.”

“You can touch it. You can feel it. You can smell it.”

Coach Rick Pitino

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Do ya think this man wants another ring....like, real bad?

Do ya think this man wants another ring....like, real bad?

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Yes, Preston, we need you now. (Wallpaper courtesy of Prudat at Card Empire--ck out their Wallpaper Wednesdays.)

Yes, Preston, we need you now. (Wallpaper courtesy of Prudat at Card Empire--ck out their Wallpaper Wednesdays.)

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From the U of L web site:

Cards Fan Central In Indianapolis, Ind.

Join Cardinal Fans at Jillian’s, 141 South Meridian St., in downtown Indianapolis, Ind., the official NCAA Midwest Regional headquarters for U of L alumni and fans. The Cardinal pep band, cheerleaders and mascot will be there three hours prior to each U of L game (4 p.m. for Friday’s regional semifinal game vs. Arizona) for a pre-game Cardinal Pep Rally.

Jillian’s
141 S. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN
317-822-9300

U of L Travel for Indianapolis

For all your U of L NCAA travel needs, please visit Champion Sports Tours online (here’s the link: http://uofltravel.championsportstours.com/structure/index2.html), your official travel partner. For more information and travel details, call 1-866-995-7444.

Open Practice Sessions on Thursday

Each of the four teams in the Midwest Regional will have an open practice session at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Thursday, March 26. Here is the schedule for those practice sessions, which are free and open to the public.

Time                      Team
Noon – 12:50 p.m. Arizona
1:00 – 1:50 p.m.    Kansas
2:10 – 3:00 p.m.    Louisville
3:10 – 4:00 p.m.    Michigan State

The LadyBirds are ready!

The LadyBirds are ready!

Posted in Louisville Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

#1 & Ready To Run…

Posted by frankpos on March 20, 2009

So, let’s rock this Dance…

(Courtesy of video Wiz, Jerb–of course.)

Posted in Louisville Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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