This past weekend featured two huge match ups for Louisville which culminated into one epic Saturday. First up was the hardwood rivalry game with Kentucky in corRUPPt arena. N Carolina and Duke is the greatest basketball conference rivalry but Kentucky and Louisville is the greatest non conference hoops rivalry. Playing your rival ONCE a year adds a little extra to the game, in my opinion. From the time they tipped off shortly after 4pm until the buzzer sounded around 6:30 it was a dog fight. Ultimately it was the Cards coming out on the losing end of the 66-73 final score.
Calipari improved his record over Pitino to 5-1 since taking over in Lexington. The young Cats played their best game of the season while the Cards are still struggling to reach last seasons greatness. It was a huge wim for Calipari and the Cats as they try to escape the shadow of the ‘year of the Cardinals’. It was Louisville who won the rivalry game last season enroute to the national championship. The Cats began last season with high expectations coming off of their title run but instead lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. The Cats football team hasn’t faired much better, completing back to back 2 wins seasons. Calipari lead the charge this pteseason with 40-0 talk but after the Cats lost their third game the fans began questioning his system of one and dones. This will buy him some time.
For the Cards its another disappointing loss to the Cats in the Calipari era. Is Caliparis one and done system better or is Pitinos player development system superior? Both have produced championships and great disappointment. In this game it was the Cats superiority in the post that proved to be the difference. The Cards continue to struggle to find consistancy and continuity from thier bigs. Chane Behanans dismissal from the team this week will only enhance this problem. This Cardinal team is still a long way from reaching their potential.
To complete this epic Saturday was the Russell Athletic Bowl, just 15 minutes following the hoops loss. This grid iron showdown featured future conerence foe, the Miami Huricanes. With nearly 30 players on the Cards roster from the Miami area it wasn’t a hard game for them to gear up for.
Unlike the hoops game prior, the Cards came out and dominated from the opening kick off. Teddy Bridgewater played the best game of his career in front of the 50+k crowed and the Houston Texans GM, who locked up the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Teddy finished with 447 yards 3 TD and a rushing TD in leading the Cards to a 36-9 victory. His performance lead Emmit Smith to Twitt from the Cards sideline “Bridgewater is the best QB I ever seen… hands down!!!!!”. Teddy recently announced that he will enter the NFL draft.
With back to back bowl wins over Florida in last years Sugar Bowl and now Miami, the Cards should be poised to make greater strides in their Florida recruiting. Florida prospects were buzzing over Louisvilles domiance over social media. Cardinals fans now will wait anxiously as coach Strong name is mentioned at places like Texas and hope that the coaching carousel wont land in Louisville.
I will have coaching and player updates @Lenvillecards on Twitter as they occur.