This Saturday, No. 1 Syracuse will be looking to shake off the ghosts of February 14th's 66-60 loss to Louisville. For Louisville, the ghosts that will be waiting for them inside Freedom Hall on Saturday will be their own.
CUE OMINOUS MUSIC!!!
All day Saturday it will be a celebration of one of college basketball's most hallowed grounds. Freedom Hall will host it's final Louisville basketball game and the celebration will be bittersweet (and you can kiss the National Farm Machinery Show Championship tractor pull goodbye while you're at it).
The emotional odds will be stacked against The Orange at full blast.
Starting at noon, members from the Cards' 1980 and 1986 national championship teams — including Darrell Griffith, Rodney and Scooter McCray, Billy Thompson and Jeff Hall — will hold an autograph session. Several All-Americans, including Junior Bridgeman, Phillip Bond, Allen Murphy and Lancaster Gordon, also will be present for the session in the ULA room, which is located in the front corner on the second level in Freedom Hall.
Oh and did I mention it's Senior Day as well?
Senior day recognition will start roughly 20 minutes before the game tips off. Guards Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith and Chris Brickley and forward Reginald Delk will be honored, along with four student managers. After the game, fans are welcome to stay in their seats, as many of the former players assembled will take the court and address the crowd with memories of Freedom Hall.
The largest crowd ever to see a game in Freedom Hall? Jan. 21, 2006 when 20,091 fans shosed up to watch the Cardinals take on No. 3 Connecticut. Not sure if they're planning on breaking the record in style but it seems possible.
Since it is such a historic game and there's so much memorable stuff in there that officials might want to hold on to, security is being beefed up. I mean, this is Kentucky after all.
"You've got people who have going there for 50 years, so some people might be tempted to take home some memorabilia," Glass said.
"Particularly at the exits—if people are thinking of walking out with anything they shouldn't, then they should think twice about it," said U of L Athletics spokesman Kenny Klein.
The folks over at Card Chronicle are saying their goodbyes to the place where their Cardinals have made so many memories. You can bet the team, the university and the fans wants to go out on top.
Syracuse fans know all-too-well what happens when you aren't able to properly seal the deal on your old building. This time SU will play the role of spoiler and attempt to send the home crowd away angry. And as the No. 1 team in the nation looking to avenge one of their only two losses this season (and win at Louisville for the first time since the Cardinals joined the Big East), they will certainly try to do just that.