The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One by one, students walked slowly past the food court in the Student Activities Center on the Louisville campus and waited their turns to sign the makeshift 3-by-5 foot poster of injured basketball player Kevin Ware.
“We stand behind you, Kevin! Get Well soon (hash)5!” the poster read.
Meant as a tribute to Ware, it could also have been a giant get well card for a school torn between despair for his devastating injury and excitement for one of the best sports days in school history.
Ware broke his right leg in two places Sunday, a horrifying injury that inspired the Cardinals to beat Duke and earn their second consecutive trip to the Final Four. Hours later, the Louisville women’s team upset defending champion Baylor and 6-8 Brittney Griner.
Still, amid the celebration, students, faculty and fans couldn’t get Ware out of their minds — and they didn’t seem to want to.
“It was hard to look at,” freshman Ishmail Wheeler said of Ware’s injury after signing the poster. “I felt for him.”
All around the city, fans expressed their mixed emotions.
Steve Stober scrolled news of the Cardinals’ win and Ware’s injury on the digital sign outside his business, Stober’s Tax Services in Old Louisville.
The messages included “Final Four Baby!”, “Go Cardinals!” and “Pray 4 Kevin Ware,” interspersed with the business phone number. Similar messages congratulating Louisville went up last year when the Cardinals also made the Final Four.
“We take our basketball seriously here,” said Stober, who added that even though this is his busiest season with tax day, April 15, rapidly approaching, he’ll be watching the Cardinals take on the Wichita State Shockers come Saturday.
“These things don’t normally meet up very well. But I’ll get to do them both.”
Ware had surgery late Sunday and remained at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Monday. Cardinals coach Rick Pitino and his son, Richard, stayed in Indiana with Ware, keeping the Midwest Regional championship trophy in the room.
He could return to Louisville today and Pitino has expressed a desire for Ware to accompany the team to Atlanta, site of the Final Four and Ware’s hometown. It’s unclear, however, if Ware will be medically cleared to make the trip. He wrote on Facebook that “the first step is always the hardest one to take”
University President James Ramsey, who was sitting seven rows behind the Louisville bench when Ware was hurt, said during a news conference Monday that “it was a great day to be a Cardinal” but added that it was “heartbreaking” to see Ware break his right leg in the first half while trying to block a shot by Duke’s Tyler Thornton.
Ramsey said Ware will get the best medical care and rehabilitation the university can offer.
“It was just an empty feeling,” Ramsey added. “All of the sudden, the game wasn’t important.”
The grief-stricken Cardinals played that way for a few minutes after Ware was wheeled out of Lucas Oil Stadium on a stretcher, his leg covered. But Louisville regrouped to take the lead at halftime and then pulled away from the Blue Devils in the second half to earn their way into the national semifinal.
The win triggered a celebration on campus, where students hollered out of windows and honked horns while driving around the university. The big party was downtown Louisville, on Broadway, where students and fans tied up traffic for hours. Louisville city officials reported few incidents.
That didn’t mean it was totally tame.
“It got really crazy,” said Louisville freshman Ronnie Lucciano, pulling out his cell phone to show video and stills of the revelry. “Folks started burning tires,” referring to cars doing burnouts, “and that’s when the helicopters started coming, shining their lights to keep folks under control.”
On Monday, the antics had calmed down but the excitement remained high.
Anticipation will no doubt build by Saturday when Louisville’s men (33-5) face ninth-seeded Wichita State at the Georgia Dome. A year after losing to rival Kentucky at the Final Four in New Orleans and watching the Wildcats go on to win their eighth national championship, the Cardinals have rolled over opponents this postseason and are favored to bring the title back to the Bluegrass State again.
Louisville has thrived behind guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, center Gorgui Dieng and stifling pressure defense that has keyed three NCAA tournament wins of 20-plus points. That has fans here closer to realizing the dream of the city’s first national championship since 1986 and eager to stoke the flames of a rivalry with Kentucky, which failed to make the tournament this year and lost in the first round of the NIT.
“It’s always been that but now it’s picked up, obviously, with back-to-back Final Fours and Kentucky winning the national championship last year,” Pitino said. “It means a lot in our state.”
The Cardinals women’s team held on to beat Baylor and the imposing Griner 82-81 in Oklahoma City Sunday but still has to get through second-seeded Tennessee today to give Louisville teams in the men’s and women’s Final Four simultaneously for the first time. On Monday, they were basking in a sea of praise and congratulations — including a postgame locker room visit from Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant, who posed for pictures with the Cardinals.
Men’s point guard “Peyton Siva texted me last night and he’s like, Coach P is going to text you,” said Cardinals forward and Louisville native Monique Reid. “I mean, that was pretty cool getting a great game from them and they played an awesome game, too.
“It was just really exciting and everybody from high school was texting me. I’m the hometown kid and I know everybody is really excited, and my dad was crying on the phone. It was very good.”
On campus, students were especially proud to wear Cardinals red and black. It was hard to find anyone not wearing the combination in the student center.
A memorable year that began with Louisville’s football team upsetting Florida in the Sugar Bowl just gets better.
CBS: No regrets on Ware injury coverage
NEW YORK — The chairman of CBS Sports had no regrets about banning further replays of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware’s gruesome broken leg and says if anyone wants to watch it on the Internet, that’s fine with him.
CBS aired two quick replays Sunday from a wide enough distance for viewers to see the leg land awkwardly but not any blood or bone. It hasn’t been shown since on CBS.
“In today’s world, if you want to see a piece of video instantaneously that you just saw on television, there are a million ways to do that,” Sean McManus said Monday. “I’ve seen statistics on the millions of views this piece of footage has had on YouTube and I have no problem with that.”
Ware was injured after attempting to block a shot in the Cardinals’ regional final victory over Duke. The sight of his tibia bone protruding from his skin left coach Rick Pitino and his teammates in tears. Ware was operated on later Sunday and is expected to watch Louisville’s Final Four appearance Saturday from the bench in Atlanta.
The network received praise for restraint, although McManus said he knew people would say CBS should have shown it more because the network was in a position to document history.
Several postings of CBS’ coverage were quickly available with a search for Ware’s name Monday afternoon.
“If people want to go watch the footage for whatever reason, they have a right to do so,” McManus said. “I just didn’t think we had any obligation to be the facilitator of putting that footage back on the screen. We documented it, we described it and we showed it and I think that was enough.”
It’s considerably different from when Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann broke his leg during a Monday Night Football game in 1985. It was equally horrific, with bone jutting through skin. Back then, about the only way a viewer could see it again is if a television producer decided to show the replay, said Jeff Billings, a sports media professor at the University of Alabama.
Aside from the availability of footage online now, many viewers have DVRs that enabled them to replay the incident as much as they wanted, Billings continued.
CBS concentrated on the methods it had to tell the story that others did not have — access to players and coaches and pictures of their reactions, he said.
The unedited video was hard to find on national news outlets within 24 hours, when it was still a fresh news story. CNN aired the sequence but blurred out Ware’s leg so the break was not visible. Fox News Channel and MSNBC did not show the video, representatives said.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” showed footage, again with the leg blurred. NBC’s “Today” show and the CBS morning news program did not show it.
At ESPN, executives set specific guidelines: Producers had discretion to use it on their own programs but they were to only show it once, not air it in slow motion and warn viewers in advance. Through Monday afternoon, spokesman Josh Krulewitz said he did not believe the network had shown it.
McManus noted CBS producers had not discussed whether the footage will be seen again; opportunities may come if Ware shows up at the Final Four this weekend. But he added he didn’t see any reason why it should be.
Decisions like the one made by McManus and his producers are made by broadcasters globally.
In Britain, sports broadcasters often self-censor footage they feel might distress viewers.
Often an incident, such as a dangerous tackle in football, will be frozen at the point of contact to judge a referee’s decision but no further footage will be shown.
Sky Sports, which is operated by BSkyB, chose not to show replays in 2008 after then-Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva’s left leg was broken following a tackle by Martin Taylor during a Premier League match at Birmingham.
During an FA Cup match being broadcast globally in March 2012, then-Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest on the pitch at Tottenham.
ESPN’s British channel, which was broadcasting the match live, showed no close-ups as Muamba, who survived, received treatment on the turf, instead it focused on the reaction of other players or wide shots of the stadium.
NCAA announces pool of officials for Final Four
ATLANTA — The NCAA has announced the pool of 10 officials who will work the Final Four.
John Cahill, Tony Greene, Karl Hess, Lee Jones, John Higgins, Randy McCall and Mark Whitehead have all officiated previous Final Fours, while Mike Eades, Doug Simmons and Terry Wymer will have the opportunity to work their first semifinal or championship game.
The officials were recommended by John Adams, the NCAA’s director of officiating, and approved Monday by the Division I men’s basketball committee.
Three-man crews will work each game with a fourth official on standby. The assignments for the semifinals will be made Saturday morning with the championship officials announced Monday.
Louisville plays Wichita State in the first national semifinal Saturday night at the Georgia Dome. Michigan plays Syracuse in the other game.
Keady, Massimino headline Hall of Fame class
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Long-time coaches Gene Keady and Rollie Massimino and former U.S. congressman Tom McMillen headline the 2013 class that will be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Keady began his career at Western Kentucky before going 512-270 during 25 years at Purdue, while Massimino spent 30 years coaching Stony Brook, Villanova, UNLV and Cleveland State.
McMillen starred for Maryland in the 1970s before serving in Congress from 1987-93.
Joining them in the Hall of Fame will be George Ravling of Nike, Bob Hopkins of Grambling, George Killian of FIBA and the 1963 team from Loyola University of Chicago, which broke through racial boundaries and eventually defeated Cincinnati in the national championship game.
The class will be inducted during a ceremony Nov. 23 in Kansas City, Mo., as part of a 3-day celebration that also includes the CBE Classic at the nearby Sprint Center.