Thelonious Monk wrote a tune called “Ugly Beauty”.
You’d have to watch a Louisville-Notre Dame game go to five overtimes to understand the concept.
The fact that Notre Dame won this one, 104-101, is absolutely stunning, and therein lies the tale. The very long tale that I’m not going to retell. You had to be there.
In a game like this, you have to ask yourself, what’s the takeaway? What did we learn about these two teams?
We learned that Russ Smith is more than just a player, he’s an avatar of a very specific, undefinable state of being, like fahrvergnugen or satori. Russdiculous will, forever hereafter, refer to something that is both sublimely wonderful and sublimely terrible. Everyone watching this game felt simultaneously excited and nauseous every time Smith touched the ball in the final seconds of any of the six decisive moments this game had to offer. In the annals of Big East lore, “Russdiculous” will have to go next to “Devendorfing”.
We learned that Notre Dame can win without Jack Cooley, who fouled out with nearly seven minutes left in that charming era of yesteryear we like to call “the second half.” The Irish also lost forwards Tom Knight and Zach Auguste to foul trouble, and Jerian Grant, who single-handedly sent the game to that quaint, adorable little first overtime, missed nearly a full second game’s worth of action after his fifth foul as well.
We learned that Chane Behanan should probably get more touches with the game on the line, and that Luke Hancock actually can be a difference-maker for the Cards. We learned how to spell Biedscheid. Or at least I did.
Overall, the main thing we learned – and it was something we all knew already – is that the imminent end of the Big East is going to haunt us for the rest of our lives. This is the thing that will push us all, one at a time, into the “back in my day…” reveries that our grandparents tortured us with.
And who do we have to thank for that forceful reminder of how much realignment sucks? Two teams that helped drive a stake into the league by agreeing to join the ACC.
Oh, the irony. It’s enough to make a guy want to go to bed, already.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.