Think about standing over an eight-foot putt you've absolutely got to make, with the wind howling, your back aching, and a couple of pesky yellow-jackets that suddenly take an interest in your ball. As you draw your putter back, you hear a loud belch from the guy on the next tee box. Then, just before you make contact with the ball, you could swear a gust of wind jars it a micrometer to the left. But you drain it.
This was Cardinal basketball last weekend.
Hard to believe just a week ago we were sobbing in our suds, resigned to the N.I.T. But, then, if incredulity and mood swings don't typify this hoops campaign nothing does, just as the dramatic swings in the performances, collective and individual, of The Cardinal Big Three: Casey, Curtis, and Julius. When those boys' motors are running, this is a tough outfit to subdue. And how about those FTs with the game on the line: CB in Tucson and Tony G. at the stripe in the closing seconds against ASU?
Well, maybe one other thing can stand as a symbol of this season, at least in these latter stages: the first-aid kit opened with greater frequency these days on the Cardinal bench -- which is starting to resemble the corner of a boxing ring now, replete with butterfly bandages and gauze. That was not theatrical blood on Chris Hernandez's mug Saturday afternoon on a day when Jacobsen looked like he'd just gone ten rounds on Thursday night.
Blood and bruises notwithstanding, Stanford heads for Staples Center this week confident that they can, indeed, play big and brawny when it most matters. It mattered a whole helluva lot in Arizona.
While we don't relish the matchups, isn't it hard to see this team going down a third time to U$C? Looks like a make-able putt.