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Cincinnati-Louisville and Technology

January 23, 2004 Columns No Comments

Bearcats, Cardinals and Technology, oh my!

by Zach Van Hart

LOUISVILLE – I traveled from Cincinnati to Louisville Wednesday night expecting a great game between two of the top six teams in the nation. Instead I got a blowout and a different battle that was intense – me versus technology. I’m not really sure who won.

Driving down Interstate 71 during the mid-afternoon, I had more on my mind than just this C-USA showdown. My school’s newspaper, which I am the sports editor of, was attempting something we had never done before. Since our photo editor was now equipped with a digital camera, we were going to send photos and a game story to run in the next day’s edition. Knowing my background with computers, internet and the likes, I was expecting the worse. Anything short of my computer bursting into flames seemed reasonable as I cruised into Freedom Hall.

On the court, determining the winner was easy, as No. 6 Louisville wiped the floor with No. 5 Cincinnati, 93-66. Clinging to a four-point lead at halftime, the Cards went on an 18-4 run mid-way through the second half, aided by two three-pointers from Taquan Dean, to widen the lead to eighteen. The game was over. And where was I during this scoring run? Watching it on TV, in the media room.

See, I left the court at the under-four minute timeout of the first half to e-mail three pictures. I returned at the under-four minute timeout. Of the second half. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my co-editor was there to write the game story or I may have asked Johnny Chimpo security guy to write it for me.

For you computer-challenged people like me, here is a crash course in e-mails: when you combine photos that are 1.25 megabytes each with dial-up connection, this makes for a long time spent in the media room, watching your computer flash attaching more times than Howard Dean screaming about conquering the country. The fact that I have as much patience with computers as someone who, well, let’s just say I have little patience, did not help. Funny thing is, when we finally left the arena, I listened to Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience” in the car. Where was this a few hours earlier?

By the time I realized it was literally going to take ten minutes for one picture to attach, the second half had already started. When the first photo actually attached, there were fourteen minutes left in the game. After photo No. 2, ten minutes left. When the final photo was sent, there were six minutes left. By this time, the Cardinals were in control, as I witnessed from the TV.

I walked out through the tunnel just before that under-four timeout and as to celebrate my triumph over technology, (or so I thought), the crowd came to its feet, cheering and screaming. This was my moment of triumph; I had conquered the beast that is the Internet.

And stupid me, I thought the hard part was over. I actually thought beating computers, technology and the Internet was that easy. The Bearcats caved Wednesday night, but technology would not be denied.

It started when I called our chief photographer back at the office at school and he said he needed a fourth picture. Going back to the media room was not an option, unless I was going to tell ESPN’s Andy Katz, “Step aside Katz, I need this space for my school. You can go tell espn (as a flowing word, not saying each initial) they can wait.”

So our UC Sports Information Director talked Louisville’s Sports Information Director into letting us use their phone jack on the court. After copying the picture to a computer, making a CD, putting it on another computer, blah blah blah, it was finally read to send. So we attach it, and wait another ten minutes. We go to send it along with the game story, but oh, the connection decides to go bye-bye. Awesome. It’s like I’m the Russian, the connection is Rocky, I’m kicking his ass, then all of a sudden he cuts my eye open. Where did that come from?

Finally, it works. I really don’t know who won, just that the fight ended. With technology aside, coming from a basketball analyst standpoint, I did pick up on a few things. One, Taquan Dean (and I keep using his first name in case anyone actually thinks I’m referring to the liberal presidential candidate instead) is one tough cookie. He played with a groin injury that was so painful, head coach Rick Pitino was surprised he played. He led all scorers with 21 points.

Two, Cincinnati was finally exposed for playing sloppy defense. Playing against inferior competition masked the Bearcats’ laziness, as they were still able to cause 20-plus turnovers almost every game. Wednesday, the Cardinals only turned the ball over thirteen times, a season-low forced by Cincinnati, while they themselves committed 32 fouls, a season-high.

Three, the Cardinals are definitely Final Four contenders. They play as a team, they play smart, they are athletic, and they are well-coached. Most importantly, they have a star the team rallies around – Garcia. He finished with nineteen points, seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Cincinnati contained him early by continuously switching defenders, but he proved to be too much. He had supreme confident, going through warm-ups all the way until tip-off with this little smirk on his face, just knowing what he was about to do. A Final Four team needs that player and Louisville has one.

And four, that Garcia and Dean like Steak and Shake. I know because they walked into the one I was dining at after we finally left Freedom Hall at 11 p.m. I guess Steak and Shake was the winner’s circle from Wednesday night’s battles. Now I’m just wondering if I should have brought the laptop in with me.


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