As if you hadn’t noticed, I’m somewhat of an obsessive when it comes to U of L Cardinal basketball.
There have been times in the days of yore when I allowed the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the Cards to dictate my well being. Not so much anymore, but, eh, you know . . .
Because of my fanaticism, you might say I’m a reliquary of Cardinal hoops memories.
(OK, I’m making myself laugh here. Though it is far from the only purpose of this little diversion, I vowed to somehow use that new word I just learned — reliquary — in the next thing I wrote. Tom Waits is quoted in NYT, using it in reference to the passing of his friend, noted music producer Hal Willner. So I have.)
Anyhow, back to the biz at hand.
In response to my recent gamecap of the Cardinals’ L to UCLA in the ‘75 national semi-final, one regular member of my commentariat, send me a missive with the following list:
Best teams in U of L history by rank:
I forwarded it on to a couple other diehards, to get their take.
One inquired if I’d include the ‘59 team, U of L’s first to make it to the final weekend of the season?
Which I would not . That squad finished the regular season a fairly mediocre 16-10, caught a hum in Evanston beating the Cats and Sparty, then reverted to the norm, losing to West Virginia and Cincy at Freedom Hall.
Good, noteworthy, hallowed, but not one of the 10 best.
I noted that the list was weighted toward the halcyon Grif, McCray Bros years. Justifiably so.
I have always been of the opinion that the ‘83 squad was the best ever. Yes better than Louisville’s three national champions.
I might move one team up or down a spot, but nothing major. He Who Shall Remain Anonymous got it pretty much right, except . . .
. . . 2009, the wacked bunch that fell to Michigan State in the regional final, would not be on my list. Ever. E5, TWill, Samardo, Smith, and Sosa were, let me be gentle here, a group with issues. I personally never took a fancy to that team. Despite their glossy record, I never trusted them.
Plus they lost by 33 at Notre Dame in the middle of February.
Instead of that gang, I’d include the ‘05 squad. After watching how relentless they were and how they never lost their poise and came back against West Virginia, I rediscovered my appreciation for them.
Plus I have this great memory of the game they won at Cincy that January. My soon to be bride and I were visiting The Professor and his sig oth in Sydney, where they wintered in those years. In the morning, we’d walk down the internet café — Remember them? — pay the guy a couple of bucks, wait our turn and check out the college hoops scores.
When we saw they’d come back to upend Huggy Bear’s Bearcats, in Cincy, we was a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ and a high fivin’, and getting all sorts of stares.
(We planned that halfway around the world sojourn to miss as few home games as possible.)
So, yeah, include ‘05 and toss ‘09, and that would be my list. In an order just about like the one above, but not that much different to make a big deal out of.
Oh yeah. “Reliquary”: A container of holy objects.
— c d kaplan