Here is some raw up-close footage of Cousins v. Swopshire in the first seconds of yesterday’s game:
Two things this video makes clear:
First, when Swopshire rolls on his back you can clearly see his right knee flying toward Cousins’ head. At first, after viewing a couple other clips, I wasn’t sure if the knee was intentional or not; it looked to me like it might have just been following the momentum of his body. But from this angle it looks pretty clear to me that it was no accident, and Cousins elbow to the face was a reaction to Swopshire’s knee to his head. There’s a comment on the video saying Swopshire’s knee isn’t moving fast enough to be intentional, but it looks to be moving pretty damn fast to me. Obviously, bad decisions by both, but it was physical game; sometimes you’re not going to be able to hold back unchecked adrenaline and emotion against your most-hated rival. And obviously, Clark Kellogg, Seth Davis and all the CBS guys at halftime, and every Louisville fan on the face of the earth saying that Cousins should have been ejected, missed Swopshire’s own flying limb. If the refs were going to eject anyone it would’ve had to have been both of them.
Second, this clip makes me wish more than ever that I could have gone to this game. Not only were the players emotionally fired up, so was the crowd.
A little more sportsmanship in this yearly battle would be nice (especially from the Cards, who reportedly wouldn’t even shake hands with UK’s players before the game), but this is what college basketball rivalries are all about. After the game, superstar senior guard Edgar Sosa called Damarcus Cousins a “nutcase.” Understandably, with the numbers he put up, Sosa was probably a little flustered: 3-11 from the field, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, and 6 turnovers. For someone who talks as much as he does, that’s so bad it’s nuts.