The view from cloud nine is pretty outstanding. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend taking a second to stop and take a gander.
I have a long and highly important day filled with alcohol, cornhole and Louisville basketball talk ahead of me, so this will be pretty brief.
Did Earl Clark do anything wrong in the second half? If it wasn't the very best, it was at least one of the top five 20-minute performances I've ever seen from a U of L basketball player.
There simply aren't enough compliments to hurl in the direction of Andre McGee right now. Edgar Sosa's combination of foul trouble and overall ineptitude forced McGee into 32 minutes of action, and we needed each and every second. He drove and made big plays when we had to have them, he stroked all four of his free-throws, and his defense was every bit as stellar as it has been all season. Also, the importance of that bucket at the end of the first half can't be overstated.
Somebody better have given this man a rub down after the game.
I didn't see what Preston Knowles did to warrant his technical foul, but I'm 100% positive that it was the coolest technical in the history of basketball.
Pitino went and argued with the refs for a spell after it happened, but you still knew he was going to rip Preston. Knowles was hiding in the back once Pitino got back to the huddle, and when Rick started to look around for him, Juan grabbed him and shoved him to the front. And then the ass-tearing commenced.
Preston still rules.
Terrence Williams responded precisely how a player of his caliber has to on the big stage. His 12 rebounds were huge and his 12 points were nice, but his defense was a step above anything he did on the offensive end (including the no-look pass to Padgett...which almost made me have a seizure). He was the biggest reason for the UT frontcourt's offensive struggled, and even in the one instance where he fell asleep - losing J.P. Prince on an out-of-bounds play - he recovered and made a clean block. T-Will was phenomenal.
The Tennessee fans we've met down here have actually been surprisingly pleasant, while the North Carolina fans have played the role we expected the folks in Orange to dominate. Although, to be fair, there are about five times as many Carolina supporters here as U of L, UT and Wazzou fans combined, which drastically increases the odds of running into an asshole wearing baby blue.
The UNC fan highlight of last night came after the game when a drunk chick wearing a Hansbrough jersey came over to my friend Danny and grabbed his hat and threw it on the ground, capping the act off with a Chaucerian: "Louisville sucks." He was embarrassed.
You can just about shake hands with Jesus from our seats, but we snuck down to the lower-level U of L section at the beginning of the game and lived the dream for about 25 minutes before one guy (who I do not care for) wearing a baby blue NCAA pullover claimed his rightful seat, inducing a shameful exit for the four of us. The guy tried to make us feel better by saying that he'd "only be staying about ten minutes," which of course only made it worse. We enjoyed the rest of the game from our seats in the sky, however, and got some great quotes from the UNC fans around us who tried to act like they knew the first thing about the Cards (apparently Jerry Smith is "not a shooter").
We went down to congratulate the guys after the game, and got extremely emphatic high-fives from Andre, Earl and an especially jovial Derrick Caracter. Web tried to take pictures but accidentally pressed the video button, which left us with a shaky seven second clip of him continuously reminding Rick Pitino that he's 8-0 in the Sweet 16. It's pretty solid.
The combination of the game and the fact that it was Web's birthday made us go a little harder at the bar afterwards than we probably should have. We ran into some fellow Card fans there, and when an intoxicated Web asked one of them if he had ever heard of Card Chronicle before, his response was: "Chronicle? That's a hard word to spell."
It was awesome.
Part of Earl Clark's fantastic overall game was his defensive work on Chris Lofton out of our zone. He finished with four blocks, and all of them came on Lofton jump shots.
This might have been the worst game Edgar Sosa has played all year, but I've never been more pleased with his attitude. He was up on the bench all game, clapping and high-fiving guys, and at one point after he'd fouled out, he actually gave Rick an ass slap.
The off-court attitude is awesome, now let's get that on-court game in check.
David, Derrick and Juan all still rule.
Regardless of what Roy Williams says, Saturday is going to be a home game for North Carolina. It's going to take a remarkable effort and some extreme breaks to pull off the upset, but all you can hope for is a shot, and we certainly have that.
Whatever happens from here on out is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.
I love this team.