As the kinda sorta somewhat hopeful somewhat sad connection between the Cards and the Cowboys dawned on me, my mind wandered back to the one game in the series with Oklahoma State I do recall.
And it’s not the one that showed recently on ESPN, of which I hadn’t the slightest memory.
It’s the ‘93 tussle in the tourney in Indy.
And what poured forth immediately were gleeful memories of those great trips up the I65 to watch the Cards. Going husko gordo on pastrami and latkes at Shapiro’s, savoring the Cards in action, and returning to the deli for another cholesterol-loading repast post-game.
My immediate thought of that Okie State encounter was that it might have been the day the Professor and I dined at our favorite deli thrice. For breakfast. Then searching for tickets. Then, ducats secured, lunch. Then the games. Then dinner.
But realized that was another NCAA at the RCA Dome in ‘89, when U of L beat a couple of Arkansas schools in the opening rounds to advance to the Regional.
Loved those games in Indy, the scene of several fond Cardinal moments. Those Big Four doubleheaders. ‘80. The Regional in ‘83. Feeding my need for real hard-crusted rye bread, Nova mit schmear, and a salami omelette.*
* If you’re wondering why I’m meandering through the past here, it’s a reasonable question. Who knows when those happy days will come again? Be grateful I didn’t muse on about why they tore down RCA Dome and built Lucas Oil, which might have led to a rant about the Pontiac Dome, perhaps the ugliest edifice ever constructed by man.
* * * * *
Which brings me to offer how ironic it is that Oklahoma State, just sent to time out by the NC2A, and the University of Louisville, also facing serious sanctions, are scheduled to meet in November in one of those made for TV early season matchups.
In the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Lejeune.
Won’t that be a fascinating telecast?
Well, actually, though the schools are joined at the hip because of the FBI thing and the NC2A’s follow up, it will be a damn blessing just to watch live hoops on 11/13.
Even if the Cards are eventually to be banished from the Dance until, oh, the 12th of Never.
Yeah, just what Cardinal fans required this week. Between all that’s going on in the last 90 days, with Wes Unseld’s death as an exclamation point for the Red & Black Faithful, we really needed the Cowboys to feel the thunder as a harbinger of possibilities to come.
The parlor game being played currently by the national press and Cardinal fans who are paying attention is what Oklahoma State’s harsh punishment portends for U of L? (And, parenthetically, for the other schools lined up at the defendant’s table, behind their phalanx of barristers’ briefcases?)
Allow me to repeat what I often have said. I have no special insight, no insider info.
What I do have is an educated hunch.
It ain’t good.
* * * * *
But . . . there is The Big Unknown.
I. A. R. P.
Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
Which “independent” body is called in when the school and the umbrella organization can’t come to any sense of what might be fair. I believe, it’s the school’s option to go that route.
IARP is hyped as a totally impartial group of decision makers, who listen to the charges, listen to the defense, and render a ruling.
Which is absolute. No appeal.
What I’m hearing in my head is what Ramses II declared in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments.”
“So let it be written, so let it be done.”
* * * * *
I’ll just quickly reiterate my take.
All posturing by the school notwithstanding, I’m not sure there’s any defense to the charges.
But, when it comes to the penalty phase, Louisville has seriously legitimate mitigation factors.
Which is that all individuals involved when the Minardi party, Bowen incentives and other shenanigans were going down are gone.
School prexy. Board of Trustees. Athletics Director. Head Coach and Assistants.
That’s got to help.
Or, so pray the U of L faithful.
What I do know for absolute positive. It is no fun whatsoever waiting for this to play out.
* * * * *
As for the Cowboys and Cardinals on the hardwood.
U of L is up 3-1 in the series.
Three nailbiters, then that beatdown in the tourney in March, ‘83 in Indy.
Boo Brewer tallied 26 off the bench to lead the Cards, down 1 at the half, to a 78-63 W over Big Country and the Cowboys.
Oh, to see them tussle again in November.
Which is just as much not a given, as what’s coming down for the Cards in the Bowen matter.
— c d kaplan