For the first time in a loooong time, the Cats have a football and a basketball game in the same weekend that are both of crucial importance. By pushing the Louisville game back a couple of weeks, the Cats have set up a Bowl Game-Dream Game twosome that puts the program in the spotlight for a weekend that is more than meaningful for the fans. The Cats find themselves with a chance to win their Third straight Bowl Game for the first time in school history on ESPN against the mighty Skip Holtz and the Pirates. And then on Sunday, the Cats get a chance to pull an upset on a rival on their home floor, with a national audience on CBS bearing witness. It is a big weekend for the Cats and one that has high significance.
However over the last couple of weeks, these games have taken on a different meaning. Because of a rash of injuries and some overall worse play, the expectations for the Bowl game have diminished. For the basketball game, the Louisville struggles to start the season have taken what once seemed like an unwinnable game and placed it in the potential victory column. Thus both games have a potential to be statements for the programs. In football, Rich Brooks can show that this program has the ability to survive crippling injuries and mediocre play to continue a bowl winning streak that signals a program on the steady rise. And in basketball, the Cats can beat Ricky P’s most talented team at Louisville ever and potentially put a stake in the heart of their premature national championship ambition. Neither game is a program killer if it is a loss….in fact the Cats are underdogs in both games. But win both, and the program takes an unexpected bump, and one that can have positive long-term implications.
I want to beat the nasty Cards badly, but first come the Pirates. The Cats can beat an ECU team that is really feast or famine. When they play well, they take out Orange Bowl Champ Virginia Tech and Big East runner up West Virginia. When they stink up the field, they lose by 20 to Tulane. Which team shows up? How does Hartline react? And can the defense return to dominance? We will know today and the KSR crew will be liveblogging the affair beginning at 4:30 pm right here. Tune in…..