Can you Louisville Cardinal fans help clear up the crazy-quilt college basketball scene?
I know a little what’s wrong with your favorite team going to South Bend to play Notre Dame. And I learned that long ago from a master coach, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky.
During the mid-to-late 1930s he said, “When I take my team to Notre Dame we are in our layup lines and the first thing I know my boys are humming that damn Notre Dame fight song.”
We all know that Rick Pitino isn’t about to let his University of Louisville Cardinals sing the Irish’s song – no matter how many Leprechauns are in the gym. Heck, he even takes his own priest, Father Ed Bradley, on the road with the Cardinals.
Father Bradley isn’t all UofL; he preached at Cawood Ledford’s funeral in Harlan. Cawood, of course, was the voice of the Wildcats in both basketball and football.
Through the years, Notre Dame and Kentucky played off and on in Louisville’s Armory and Freedom Hall and in Indianapolis.
One time Joe “Red” Hagan, a Wildcat star from St. Xavier in Louisville, got on the outs with Rupp and he suspended his hot-tempered player. But Hagan just happened to be with some other players when they went to Alumni Gym to depart for Notre Dame.
Rupp spied him and said, well, “Since you are here, you might as well get your equipment and go with us – but you won’t play because you are suspended.”
Late in the game, when the Wildcats were having trouble with the Irish, Rupp said, “Hagan, I just got a telegram from the dean and you have been restored to the team. Now get in there!”
UK still lost to the Irish.
Mr. Siva’s case
The biggest mystery of these Cardinals is Peyton Siva. If he had been his usual self just a little bit, there would not have been any overtimes at all. At times he can play like an All-American, but he scored just two points (two!) and just two assists.
He and center Gorgui Dieng have combined for so many baskets this season, but this time when it could have won the game in regulation. But Dieng, who has had tight hands, couldn’t hang onto the ball.
IU’s Oladipo No. 1
One thing we can be sure of is that Indiana’s Hoosiers have the finest and toughest guard in the nation, Victor Oladipo. In an 81-68 victory at Ohio State, he was unstoppable when he scored 26 points to go with eight rebounds and nine of 10 free throws. He is a tough defender. He had plenty of help from Cody Zeller (24 points) and Christian Watford (20 points).