UL NIT Memories: The Underrated 1980 Game
Is this the most underrated basketball game in Louisiana Ragin' Cajun history?
I'm talking about the game that took place back on March 10, 1980, between Louisiana (then USL) and the Texas Longhorns.
It was a second round game in the NIT Tournament, played at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Cajun point guard Carl Jordan hit a shot from the top of the key, as time expired, to lift them to an exciting 77-76 win.
While many longtime Cajun basketball fans do talk about this game, they don't talk about it nearly as much, or with quite the same enthusiasm, as the do the game prior, when the Cajuns defeated UAB, 74-72.
Most of you know the particulars about that game; Dion Rainey hit a shot from the corner at Blackham Coliseum to give the Cajuns a 74-72 triumph, their first postseason victory since 1973.
And I get it; the game was at home, it was the first postseason win since the program returned from the death penalty, and the Cajuns ousted UAB head coach Gene Bartow, the man who succeeded the legendary John Wooden at UCLA.
Trust me, I was there, and I know how special that win was.
That being said; the win over Texas was/is equally as special to me.
First off, the win over Texas advanced the Cajuns farther in the tournament.
Normally, we remember what happened last, but for whatever reason, most Cajun fans remember Rainey's shot vividly, but have to really think hard to remember Jordan's shot.
Secondly, the game was on local television.
I think this is something else overlooked about this game; it was on tv. Yeah, every game is on tv nowadays, but the Cajuns playing on tv in 1980 was almost unheard of.
The game aired on KADN (now Fox-15) and I remember just being in amazement all day long, thinking "wow! The Cajuns are going to be playing on tv tonight!"
Now, you may have to help me out here, but was the USL/Texas game the first live local tv broadcast in Cajun basketball history?
I think the UAB game was on tape delay, and I know the Cajuns were on tv before, but those were regional broadcasts, not locally produced.
If that broadcast was indeed the first, then it makes the game even that much more special.
Finally. while the shot by Rainey was certainly memorable; if he misses, the Cajuns could have still won.
Think about it; that shot gave the Cajuns a two-point win. If he had missed, they go to overtime, and they still could have won. Granted, they may not have, but they could have.
Jordan's shot gave the Cajuns a one-point win, meaning if he had missed they would have lost.
Funny thing; I think most Cajun fans also talk about the 1984 NIT wins over Utah St. (94-92), one in which George Almones made good on two late free throws, and Weber St. (74-72), as well as the 1985 NIT win over Florida (65-64), in the final game at Blackham Coliseum, prior to the Cajundome opening up, more than they do the win over Texas.
I don't know if the 1980 NIT win over Texas is the most underated win/game in Cajun basketball history, but for my money, it certainly ranks right up there.
Louisiana returns to the NIT for the first time in 15 years on Wednesday night, when they travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take on the LSU Tigers.