The Most Unkindest Cut of All

Chances are, you have an ex. And if you do, it's likely that person still knows how to cut you the deepest, even months or years later.

Louisville is that ex.

In the strongest year in USF basketball history, our women's team went to the tournament as a 6 seed and in the round of 32 met the Louisville Cardinals. While I don't have the stats to back this up, it wouldn't surprise me if Louisville is our most faced opponent. After all, we've been conference foes in the Metro, Conference USA, and the Big East/American. And while familiarity can breed contempt, I've personally thought of Louisville as an amicable foe, unlike my blinding hatred for Rutgers and intense annoyance at C. Florida. So when the Cards' card was pulled and they got the callup to the ACC, I was generally happy for them. They were the best choice and I wished them well.

Fast forward to last night. Through a scheduling anomaly - Louisville hosting first and second (yeah I said it) round action in the men's tournament - the Cardinals had to travel to Tampa to face the Bulls on what I'm told was a raucous home court. In the waning moments of the game, the home crowd, ever supportive of a team that was soon to succumb to the higher seed, began a chant of U-S-F. The Cardinal faithful had a rebuttal. Not U-of-L. Not C-A-R-D-S CARDS.



Conference chants aren't new, nor is conference pride. But this was more than that and they knew it. This wasn't conference pride, this was every bit of "we made it, and you didn't." It stung. And it stung most because it's true. I immediately dismissed it as boorish and new-money of them, but the fact of the matter is, they kicked us right where it counts. The chant cut us down exactly as it was intended to.

I'd be remiss if I didn't include positive denouement. It was said that the chant was started by the Louisville pep band. That made it a bit tougher - and in my opinion, a tad inappropriate, as they are an official representative of U of L athletics. To their credit - and full disclosure, I've become friendly with their Twitter presence - they owned up to it and apologized to the team, band, and athletic department.

I wish them well in the Sweet Sixteen. But in case you forgot: Birds don't have teeth.


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