March is typically one of the best time of the year to be a resident of the city of Louisville. The weather is changing, Derby is right around the corner, and the Cardinal basketball teams are pursuing national championships. With the men's team following through on their self-imposed postseason ban and the women's team suffering a second round upset loss at the hands of DePaul, 2016 is destined to never be remembered in that same light.
Everything might hurt right now, but fear not, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the months ahead that represent that dark, vast void between the end of basketball season and the start of football season.
Here are seven reasons not to jump:
1) Kentucky lost in the first weekend
On the surface, this seems petty. I'm of the belief that fans should never derive more joy from their rivals losing than they get from their own team having success, and the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry constantly teeters on the brink of breaking that fan code.
Having said all that, let's not act like the Wildcats bowing during the tournament's opening weekend for the first time in the John Calipari era won't make life at least a little bit easier for us this spring. Sure, there will be awful jokes and potshots, but at least the perpetually insecure members of Big Blue Nation won't have any actual accomplishments of their own to consolidate those insults. That makes it better.
2) The Louisville baseball team is good. Really good.
The Cards are ranked in the nation's top 10, have four legitimate fist round MLB prospects on their roster, and are playing with the brutal recent memory of falling one run short of the College World Series a year ago. Even if baseball isn't your thing, UofL is going to be a major player in the pursuit of one of the highest-profile amateur championships in American sports. That should demand your attention during the first part of the summer.
3) Spring football
The 2016 gridiron Cardinals have the potential to be awfully good, and started laying the foundation for fall success with the start of spring practice this week. Afternoon practices on March 29-30 and April 5-6 will be open to the public, and then the team will play its annual spring game on Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m.
Football in April is always beautiful, but it's even more aesthetically pleasing when it forces you to dream big thoughts about football in September-December.
4) Louisville basketball offseason hype
In stark contrast to last offseason, the months ahead are likely to include many national college basketball writers who believe Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals are going to be one of the best teams in the country for the 2016-17 season. The hype train actually got rolling last week when advanced statistical guru Ken Pomeroy revealed that he currently has UofL as his No. 1 team for next season. He also has Kentucky at No. 2, which would certainly make for some interesting summer discussion around these parts.
5) Drinking beer outside
This has nothing to do with University of Louisville athletics, it's just a fun thing to do. After the last few months of Cardinal sports, you deserve to drink beer outside a lot this spring and summer. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
6) VJ King
One of the biggest reasons for Louisville fans to be excited about next basketball season is incoming freshman VJ King, who last month was named as the program's first McDonald's All-American since 2011. Fans will have an opportunity to watch King compete in both that All-American game as well as the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic Game in the months ahead.
7) 2016-17 is going to be better
Yes, there are almost certainly still a few negative headlines on the horizon for the men's basketball program, but it's more likely than not that the worst (a March void of any postseason basketball) is now behind us. UofL has one of the most exciting college football players in the country in Lamar Jackson, as well as a loaded schedule that will keep the fan base thoroughly entertained for 12 weeks. The basketball side of things appears to be equally promising, and the schedule just as challenging and entertaining.
Better times are ahead. Drink beer outside until we get there.
A version of this column appears in the current issue of The Voice-Tribune