Generally a fan unwilling to overlook even the feeblest of opponents, this day is one I celebrate with extreme reverence, for today theshall face the DePaul Blue Demons in the game of basketball.
Today, is DePaul Day.
I had danced around the idea that it had somehow become impossible for Louisville to lose to DePaul for some time before finally embracing it fully in 1999. It was then that freshman walk-on Quentin Bailey completely outplayed eventual Conference USA Player of the Year Quentin Richardson in a 71-68 Cardinal victory. In the middle of the game, Bill Raftery actually referred to Bailey as "the real Q."
Any and all doubt had been removed.
Still, further proof came four years ago when- who entered the game having scored a total of ten points in U of L's last four contests - hit eight of ten shots and dropped 21 on the Blue Demons in a 59-50 victory for the then struggling Cards. Not only was JDP hitting open jumpers, he was effortlessly putting the ball behind his back on the fast break, doing double pump dunks, making no-look bounce passes and various other things that he would be able to do against no other opponent.
You put Blue Demon jerseys on the Boston Celtics, toss them into the KFC Yum Center and put "DePaul" on the scoreboard, the home team's still going start doing amazing things beyond the realm of normal comprehension.
Now the "record books" show that U of L actually lost overtime games to DePaul in both 2003 and 2004, but the games weren't nationally televised and I was out of town, so I don't believe for a second that either of them actually happened.
Ordinarily, the absence of Louisville's leading scorer as well as two other starters would have me queezy beyond words for tonight's game, but on this morning I feel no fear. Cartoon Jerry Wainwright's Oliver Purnell's club could be leading the Big East and pegged as 28-point favorites across the board, and I'd still take U of L...big. As it is, the Blue Demons are again winless in the league and have dropped 47 of their last 48 Big East regular season games.
Every year I write this post, and every year people flip out, call it a jinx, and talk about what they're going to do to me if we lose. This also doesn't phase me, for it is DePaul Day and anxiety I know not of (Shakespeare).
They may win big, they win small, but there is one absolute certainty on this Saturday: the Louisville Cardinals will defeat the DePaul Blue Demons.
Enjoy DePaul Day 2011.