We're all Cardinals now

April 5, 2013 

NCAA Louisville Tennessee Basketball

Louisville guard Jude Schimmel (22), guard Shoni Schimmel (23), forward Sara Hammond (00), guard Antonita Slaughter (4) and guard Bria Smith (21) celebrate the team's 86-78 victory over Tennessee in the regional final in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


It might pain some Wildcat fans to admit it, but this weekend the indisputable Hoops Capital of the World is Louisville as both men and women Cardinals compete in their respective Final Fours.

This will be the tenth time that men's and women's teams from the same school have made it to the Final Four in the same season, including three times by Connecticut.

The near perfection of Coach Rick Pitino's men came as no surprise; the Cards were expected to dominate and have. What was shocking, and heartbreaking, was the leg fracture that sophomore Kevin Ware suffered on national television, bringing an outpouring of compassion from coast to coast.

It's been more of a fairy tale trip for Coach Jeff Walz's women. They polished off a giant by defeating Baylor, once considered invincible, then defeated perennial powerhouse Tennessee to make it to New Orleans.

If there's one thing that unites Kentuckians of all stripes, it's an appreciation for basketball well played, which is why you should tune in the Cardinal women if you haven't already. The audacious sister act of guards Shoni and Jude Schimmel; the offensive prowess of Rockcastle County's own, former Miss Kentucky Basketball Sara Hammond, celebrating with her teammates, above, and former Fern Creek standout Monique Reid's coolness in the clutch will enrapture any lover of the game.

So, throw on some red and enjoy college hoops while you can. It's going to be a long summer.

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