Hoopaholic’s Gazette: ??, ??? & More ????

Yb-balles, boyz and girlz, it’s that wacky, cwazee, off the charts time o’ the annum, we like to dub “Championship Week.”

Which “Week” really lasts ten or eleven days. But in a college sports universe where the Big Ten has, what, fourteen schools, and the Big East has members residing in Milwaukee, Chicago, Omaha and Cincy, and the Big South really ain’t so big — Sorry, Longwood — there’s no harm no foul when it comes to nomenclature.

Whatever we call it, we know it to be a prelude to the upcoming Sunday a week, a holy day on the calender known as Selection, and the Madness of March which follows.

Despite a pall of inevitability that pervades the upcoming proceedings like some hoopsular vortex, they still have to play the games. Which means questions abound.

Here are many, if not all of them: Continue reading

Louisville Card File: Notre Dame

joaniecardIt was as lovely a stretch of basketball as this unsteady edition of the University of Louisville Cardinals have played all season.

Sublime.

As Dick Vitale, who was in the house and shall be again Saturday, would say, “Scintillating! Sensational!”

After a performance before intermission that must be described as desultory, U of L, down 31-42, came out of halftime with the eye of the tiger.

Montrezl Harrell snared a missed Irish trey. Chinanu Onuaku grabbed an offensive board after a Terry Rozier miss. Trez got the second chance deuce in close. 33-42. After another ND misfire, TR tallied two. 35-42.

Rozier followed that with a swipe at midcourt, firing it ahead for a Wayne Blackshear flush. 37-42. After another errant shot by the visitors, Nanu scored on a nifty assist from TR. 39-42.

Timeout Mike Brey.

Coming out of the break, Jerian Grant committed his second giveaway of the half. Quentin Snider swished a lovely trey from the corner.

42 all. Game on!

During the ensuing media timeout, with the score still knotted, and the Yum! buzzin’, I jotted down this query: “Most important segment of the season?”

The answer, alas, is “No.” Continue reading

Louisville Card File: Florida State

joaniecardThree things became immediately clear after U of L plundered the Seminoles Saturday noon.

1) Anton Gill’s application to Bellarmine is on hold. Sorry, Scotty.

2) Card fans could head out Saturday night and rock to Harry Connick Jr., the Kongos or Irma Thomas with smile on their faces. (Ms. Irma was sublime. Her encore of Dylan’s “Forever Young” transcendent.)

3) Joe Lunardi’s purchased at Discount World o’ Wigs toup can generate early onset projectile vomiting.

Bubble that, Joey Brackets. And, please, at least make sure that dead mop is sittin’ straight on your noggin.

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Yes, there was oh so much to like about the Cardinals performance in a 22 point smackdown, its biggest W ever in the ACC.

Perspective, however, is in order. Continue reading

Louisville Card File: Georgia Tech

joaniecardLoathe as I am to give my pal, my nemesis and long time Cardinal fan, The Professor, credit for any insight, I admittedly rue this moment for what I’m about to say. And shall be paying for it, for a good while, I suppose.

But when he’s right, he’s right.

For the second game in a row, the Cards pulled out a Jersey Victory. Which was the message Prof sent me after the game.

Not Jersey in the Paulie Walnuts sense, but jersey in that the continuum of the Louisville Cardinal tradition prevailed. While last night, Georgia Tech did what it usually does on the hardwood, i.e. remain the Ramblin’ Wreck, just as Miami’s Hurricanes couldn’t close the deal against U of L the other day at the Yum!.

No, here, it’s Jersey as in a program that’s had a winning tradition for decades. One where the force of long time accomplishment, where the spirit of Hickman and Crum and Unseld and Griffith and Ellison and Siva, where the come through in the clutch of Hancock and Tony Branch, are sewn in Cardinal unis with every stitch. Continue reading

Louisville Card File: Miami

joaniecardIf Louisville’s successes this season hinge on how hard the team plays defense, and I fall in line with The Rick, and most everybody else who has observed the Cards flaky, often non existent, on again off again offensive prowess, agreeing that it’s stops über alles.

If that be the case, then it’s Man Up!

Mano a mano.

English translation: Man to man, Denny Crum style.

Or, as Jim Larranaga would call it: Manslaughter on man. (More on that in a moment.) Continue reading

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Louisville’s Future, Pitino at his Worst, TV Madness & More

hoopgaz3Watching Purdue’s solid 67-63 W over rival Indiana last night in Assembly Hall, to surprisingly sweep the season series, I saw the future of Louisville basketball.

And, no, I don’t expect to be the next Cards coach, as John Landau became The Boss’s manager, after writing an article, declaring “he’d seen the future of rock and roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

Watching the Boilermakers’ backup pivot, 7’+ Isaac Haas, lay 12 points on the Hoosiers, while grabbing 9 boards in just a dozen minutes of action, all points generated within a step of the hoop, here’s what I envision next season and beyond in the Yum!. Quinton Snider from the point, or Anas Mahmoud or Chinanu Onuaku at the high post, feeding Matz Stockman for easy buckets from the semi circle.

Rick Pitino is not only not afraid to run his offense through a big, posting low, I believe he’s inclined to prefer it. When the Cards had Wildcat transfer Marvin Stone, they did it all the time, including, to winning effect, about the first dozen offensive possessions in the one game Stone played in red and black against the Big Blue.

Anyhow, Purdue’s plan worked to victory against shorter IU.

As it will for the Cards in the future.

Remember where you heard it first. Continue reading

Louisville Card File: Syracuse

joaniecardCorrected 2/19 at 11:25 am

It didn’t take long after the final buzzer for the calls and texts to come rolling in.

“Did you hear that thud? The sky just fell.”

“Boeheim totally shut us down in the second half. Why didn’t The Rick adjust?”

Something about the ineffectiveness of Anton Gill’s game, in a conversation with Doc, the details of which I can’t recall. Because, by that time, my brain was shortcircuiting due to the whirligig of despondency over the Cards’ second half meltdown, second loss in a row, and its third in the last four outings.

And, oh yeah, some more sighs and the invocation of this too often heard refrain, among friends and in the media, “Where are Luke, Peyton, Russ and Gorgui when we really need them?” Continue reading

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Cagers best Cabin Fever

hoopgaz3I’m not actually house bound, it’s just that I have no need to venture out and motor through the slush. (Though I did take a four mile trek for exercise this a.m.) My cupboard is filled with enough white bread, that slices placed end to end would go from here to the Carrier Dome. So, I’m good. And toasty here in front of my screen.

As for the term “cagers”, a forerunner to street lingo “baller,” there are as many tales of its origin as their are guys and gals, declaring they have an explaination for it. We know for sure that once upon a time, not too long after James Naismith fashioned our favorite winter indulgence, to keep his students fit and inside during the cold, basketball courts were surrounded with wiring, i.e. cages, to: 1) Keep the fans sitting on the edges of court safe, or, 2)To keep those playing, safe from those fans watching, or, 3) To prevent cagers from fighting over the ball when it went out of bounds, or, 4) All or none of the above.

Now you should have a sense of my title, and so, on this Tuesday afternoon, with the steps swept and the drive cleared, I’m just catching up on college hoops.

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Do not misunderstand, it is indeed a pleasure — some might refer to it as a necessity or indulgence — for an addicted basketball buff as myself to watch games on the Lord’s Day. Continue reading