Monday, January 19, 2009

C-A-R-D-S., C-A-R-D-S. C-A-R-D-S...GO CARDS GO!!!!

I know I said I was not going to let this turn into a UofL basketball blog...but you're going to have to bear with me today.

I have been going to UofL games in Freedom Hall for as long as I can remember. I've heard that place get loud before, real loud. I've also seen some pretty amazing games there. I can honeslty look back and name the game that turned me from UofL fan...to UofL basketball psycho...it was January 30, 1997 and the Cards beat the #8 Cincinnati Bearcats, 81-70. That night Dejuan Wheat and company battled Danny Fortson and the Bearcats for first place in the conference. The Cards won and I'll never forget the feeling I had while walking out of the stadium...high fives all around, C-A-R-D-S chants come from everwhere. It was crazy...and it changed my life forever. Now, 12 years later...I've just witnessed what has been, in my opinon, the best three game homestand in Louisville basketball history.

It started when the Cards were coming off a last second loss and hosting their arch rival UK for their first game in 2009. I was lucky enough to score a ticket from Taylor's dad since Taylor's mom was riding with Taylor back down to Charleston. The game was full of intensity and it looked like the Cards had pulled it out until Earl Clark's two turnovers that lead to 4 quick points from the Cats and a tie game....then this happened:

Holy Crap, what a game! What a shot! What a big time momentum swing for the Cards!

Next the Cards went on the road and won their first two Big East games including a last second escape at then #17 Villanova.

All of this set the stage for this week....the #13 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the #1 ranked Pitt Panthers coming to Freedom Hall.....this is why I love college Basketball.

On Monday, Mom scored last minute tickets for us to the first "Big Monday" game of the year. It wouldn't dissapoint as UofL used their tenacious defense to wear down ND and turn a nail biter into an overtime laugher.

Boo-yah, 3-0 in the Big East, two straight wins over top 20 teams...how can it get better than this?

Enter #1 Pitt for a Saturday Night ESPN showdown. Once again I lucked out and my Dad gave his set of season tickets to me and Ryan (thanks again Dad). Ryan and I got there early and were immediatley taunted by a few Pitt fans. The Pitt fans had foam fingers and kept pointing to them and stating, "we're number one...in case you forgot." (Foam fingers? Really? Those things have never been cool...ever.) I leaned to Ryan and said, "They are going to get their ass kicked." I didn't mean the fans...I meant their team. I was oddly confident going into the game.

However, when the game started the Cards were cold and the top rated Panthers flexed their muscles and shot out to a 13 point lead. Soon, with pressure and grit the Cards fought back and trailed by only two at the Half. It was a good game and I began getting nervous.
The second half started much like the first and as Pitt held a ten point lead with about eight to go, I began to wonder how much the Cards had left in their tank...that's when all this happened:
T-Will put away his lovable smile for a bit and shifted into bad-ass mode, scoring the go-ahead bucket by driving past Pitt's Sam Young.

Then he did as he always does and made sure that everyone knew that when there were rebounds to be had...they were his and you best back off.
Next it was the birthday boy's turn. Earl Clark, who ended the game with the toughest and ugliest double double ever, hit a pull up jumper from the top of the key with the shot clock running out. The bucket put the Cards up 6 with 40 seconds to play....it was almost time to party.
Pitt scored a few more points, but UofL was 5-6 from the line and Earl Clark's 21st Birthday party (student section had signs and b-day hats) got a lot happier.
Ryan and I screamed and high fived, I think there were a few hugs and maybe a chest bump in there as well. For the past two weeks the Cards have gone from most dissapointed to most feared team in America. I was fortunate enough to attend the best three game home stand in Freedom Hall history and it's not something I will ever forget.

So now with 14 more Big East games remaing it's time to start getting nervous about buzzer beaters and big wins...March is just around the corner and there's no telling how far these Cards can fly.

God I love being a Cardinal fan!

Side note: I realize by posting this UofL will totally lose their next game at Rutgers....I'll take the blame, but I just felt that the past two weeks of Cardinal basketball deserved an entire post.

Side note 2: Did anyone catch Digger Phelps' analysis of the UofL game on College Game Day after the game? Check it out and be prepared to laugh:

My two favorite lines?
1.) On how the Cards won: "They stayed with what gets them to WHERE they can get domination." What the hell does that mean?

2.) When he talks about how we were able to get Pitt's Dejuan Blair in foul trouble. "Then he's got to go to the bench where he can dominate." Kinda tough to dominate on the bench, but I guess Blair pulled it off.

You really are a lunatic Digger, good job matching your tie to your highlighter though....what a tool box.

Go Cards!

Song of the Day: Get Down Click - Louisville
Beer of the Day: BBC - Cardinal Red (Only available at Highland's Bearno's)

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