This is my favorite time of the sports calendar: the post-season for College Basketball! I love watching to see which of the “smaller” conference schools get in, what seeds my favorite teams will get, and how all of it will play out. My 3 favorite schools are the University of Louisville, Purdue, and Kansas. I started following Kansas after they played some games against UofL when I was growing up; I started with Purdue when I decided to go there my senior year in High School (1995-1996). I’ve been a UofL fan since the mid-80’s and the “Doctors of Dunk” teams.
There have been so many memories, good and bad, while following Louisville Basketball: the 1986 National Championship and the celebration in my neighborhood, standing in my yard and watching so many car horns drive by, honking and people waving; 1990 (I think) and the utter shock to an 11-year old me when Ball State beat Louisville by 2; the 1993 match-up with close neighbor Indiana University in the Sweet 16, which was pretty cool to me; the 2005 Final Four run as a member of UofL’s Pep Band, especially the Elite 8 game against West Virginia in Albuquerque (if you know me, then me being voiceless coming home from that game should tell you how fun/nerve-racking that game was); watching the 2008 Elite 8 game against North Carolina with some Drum Corps friends after a rehearsal; and the 2013 National Championship game, watching it some very good friends from UofL… then leaving 4 hours later to go to Minneapolis for a Drum Corps rehearsal.
Today, a UofL squad that kicked their starting point guard off of the team because of rape/sodomy charges (still in court), loss 6 of 8 going into the conference tournament, stumbled into the NCAA tournament after a decisive loss in the 1st round of the ACC Tournament, and looked lost on both offense and defense, lost an overtime classic in the Elite 8. Our starting center, not known for offensive prowess, hit a free throw with less than 5 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Not a bad way to end what otherwise was a trying but pretty solid season! Yeah, it sucks losing but only 1 team goes home with the championship. Besides, only 7 other teams out of the 310+ Division I schools can say that they were still “dancing” this weekend.
Thank you, Senior Wayne Blackshear, Junior Montrezl Harrell (both of whom will be gone for next year), and the rest of the University of Louisville team for another exciting season and another memorable run in the NCAA Tournament!