Louisville CardFile: Kent State

The 2018-19 University of Louisville Cardinals continue to amaze.

Not that a 13 point mid December homecourt victory over #147 Kent State in and of itself is an earth shattering result.

It was the manner of the win.

It was the apparent visual and empirical evidence of game by game by game improvement that was yet again manifest.

There are reasons aplenty for the faithful’s burgeoning exuberance about this plucky band of Cards.

And the mack daddy of them all is . . . all together now . . . Chris Mack.

(Yes, kids, I can go literary and verbose, and I can go hip hop. At least as street as a septuagenarian with a bum wheel can go.)

So, before we get to the game itself, some props for that new guy on the bench. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kent State

Louisville CardFile: Lipscomb

The first regular to check in after the Cardinals’ tough it out W over the better-than-you-thought-they-were-even-if-you’d-read-the-pregame-warnings Lipscomb Bisons was Smart Guy.

His text read, “Malik — Player of the Game?”

To which missive, my knee jerk and essentially correct reaction was, “Absolutely.”

Here’s why:

With seven and a half minutes left, U of L’s premature sigh of relief 50-38 advantage had long since dissipated. The relentless visitors ate through that lead like a bunch of frat boys consuming a table full of Benny Impellizzeri’s husko gordo pies and killer garlic butter breadsticks. Louisville’s only tally during that 2-14 give back was struggling Steven Enoch’s second jump hook of the night.

After another trying-to-do-too-much Jordan Nwora turnover and Bison tally to tie it, perturbed Coach Chris Mack called a timeout. Some boffo D by Williams — more about his career segment dead ahead — a great drive for two by Dwayne Sutton and a couple Ryan McMahon charity tosses and, as we are wont to say, the bleeding had stopped.

But the Cards had only canned 2 of their last 11 FG attempts and a Lipscomb FT cut the unsteady advantage to three at 56-53.

Malik Williams, come on down, it’s time to grab this thing by the short and curlies. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Lipscomb

Louisville CardFile: Indiana

Wordy and opinionated as I am, I’m not sure I have a lot to say or observe anew about U of L’s hard fought one point L at raucous Assembly Hall.

While not as depressed as this fan sometimes gets after tough defeats, the rest of Saturday wasn’t quite as Joyeux Noel as it might have been.

Fox TV’s triple header opened with the noted but what’s the big deal return of John Tesh’s “anthem,” “Roundball Rock.” And the wassail that was arch rival’s OT L to Seton Hall in the Garden. The Cards had bested the Pirates a week ago on their home court.

The Cards’ disappointment was followed by Marquette’s assertion of legitimacy with its OT W over #13 Wisconsin. Meanwhile #8 Michigan State prevailed in Gainesville over Top 25 Florida.

So, despite the setback, Louisville further insinuated itself into the national discussion with its stalwart effort in Bloomington, moving up a couple of spots in Ken Pomeroy’s respected computer rankings.

Bottom line: It was a coulda woulda shoulda. While the Cardinals tenacity has endeared them to the Red & Black faithful, Coach Chris Mack and his charges are pissed they didn’t close the deal, and will endeavor to do so moving forward. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Indiana

Louisville CardFile: Central Arkansas

Playing schools pre-conference as truly awful as Central Arkansas is quite often counter productive.

Bad habits form against non-existent defenses. Laziness ensues when the games aren’t in doubt from opening tip. Some guys look to fatten up their stat lines. The fans that do show up are disengaged.

I suppose I understand — $$$ — theoretically —   $$$ –why these games are played. $$$. But I would prefer U of L adhering to the Denny Crum/ Tom Izzo Theory of December. Fewer cupcakes. More protein.

That said, it is the time of year when a team’s flaws and finer points start to manifest regardless of the quality of the opposition. Unlike most of these yawn-inducing walkovers, last evening’s 45 point evisceration of the Central Arkansas Bears did provide some salient moments.

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Consideration #1 is obviously whether the enigma that has been VJ King turns into a positive given?

After a where has this been aggressive performance that was frankly a bit jawdropping, one has to wonder whether the former Golden Arches AA is in a chrysalis state, morphing into butterfly status? Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Central Arkansas

Red & Black Rants & Raves: Satterfield Hire, Bracketology

OK class, everybody who seven days ago could name Scott Satterfield as the coach of Appalachian State raise your hands?

Liars, liars, pants on fire. You all get 5 points deducted from your semester grade.

That aside, absent any last minute snafus, before sundown, he’ll be the 23d head coach to lead University of Louisville football.

For any number of reasons, it is a most fascinating changeover. Not the least of which is that the guy he replaces, Bobby Petrino, holds the best winning percentage of the bunch. At least since the Cardinals first leader, Amos Alonzo Stagg devotee Lester Larson (Ain’t Wikipedia grand?), went 8-2 in ’12 and ’13.

More salient is the Satterfield’s coaching resumé. A year as QB coach at Toledo. Two years as OC at Florida International. 51-24 as head guy at his alma mater, with only a single losing season, his first. Conference crowns. 3-0 in bowls. Yada, yada, yada. All info now indelibly memorized by Cardinal football aficionados.

So, the question obviously: Is he ready for prime time in the Power 5? Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: Satterfield Hire, Bracketology

Louisville CardFile: Seton Hall

As this gritty, patchwork band of Cardinals fitfully evolves into something resembling a formidable contingent — let’s call ’em The Little Team That Could — there’s been a singular noticeable missing element.

The guy who many projected in advance of the campaign would be the leader. He was even chosen a captain by his peers.

VJ King, of course.

In the Cards last two victories, their best efforts of the campaign, including yesterday noon’s gutty 70-65 checkmate of the Kevin Willard’s Pirates, King’s PT has noticeably diminished.

And yet, lost in the rehashing of Saturday’s win in a hostile road environment, might very well be the moment that could turn King’s season around for the better.

King was on the court for but five de minimis minutes before the break. Then played 2:24 relief minutes early in the 2d, during which he grabbed a rebound, committed a foul and turned the ball over.

His moment came later. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Seton Hall

Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Championship Week

Wouldn’t it be boffo if all the leagues were choosing a CFP participant this weekend.

Power 5. Group of 5. Add two at large teams. 12 schools total. Seed four. Or, even better 6 at large teams. 16 total.

Still don’t understand how it’s OK at second level and not at first? Sigh.

Anyway. That pontification helped me hold off, for a few moments anyway, admitting I regressed last weekend, hitting only two of five correctly. UK and UCF came through. Michigan, West Virginia and Washington State let me, and their fans, down.

It’s been that kind of up and down campaign. Yet I’m still way above .500, at 39-26 for the year. And ever optimistic that the picks below are the correct ones. Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Championship Week

Louisville CardFile: Michigan State

After the huge W over Sparty, Chris Mack’s first as the Cardinal leader, Ryan McMahon, who had a career night — 24 points on 4 treys and 12/13 at the line — was asked how this game was different down the stretch from the battles lost in New York?

Several times during his response, he mentioned “the little things.”

Though he wasn’t specific, one must assume he was talking about the same items mentioned by his coach, which importances included tough, unrelenting defense, staying in front of their men in the pack line, making wise decisions, moving adroitly on offense, taking advantage of the Spartans’ gaffes, staying strong at crunch time, making free throws, and generally willing a victory against a legitimate Top 10 foe while playing a far from perfect game.

I have another theory why the Cards prevailed, even though as the Cards fell behind 61-62 with 3:50 on the clock, this one looked eerily like it would play out as the Ls did in Brooklyn.

Dick Vitale’s favorite Cardinal answered that lost advantage with a trey soon enough. The battle was punch, counterpunch, punch, counterpunch the rest of the way. Through regulation, and through U of L’ second OT slugfest in a row.

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I’ll get to my theory in a moment. (Is that a tease or what?) Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Michigan State

Hoopaholics Anonymous: Early Season Weirdness

Hi, my name is Seedy K, and I’m a hoopaholic.

Does it seem to anybody other than me that the beginning of this season is curioser than most?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Anyway, who needs to share?

“Hello, my name is Bronco, and I’m a, well, I don’t know. My wife made me come.

“Anyway, did you know that for all the grief about U of L football, the team has one thing to be really proud of. It’s one of only two schools that Alabama played this season, that didn’t allow the Tide a score of 40 yards plus?”

Uh, well, okay, Bronco, for what it’s worth. But I believe you want to be with our sister group down the hall, Chinstrap Obsessives Anonymous. This meeting is for people addicted to basketball.

Anybody else?

“My name is Nate, and I’m a hoopaholic.

“Have you seen the first reveal of the NCAA’s NET rating system, the one that replaces its RPI mess? Ohio State is #1. Did they think that game Saturday in the Horseshoe was basketball or something? Loyola Maramount is ranked tenth. I mean, really, give me a break. If they used my algorithms at 538, it would be way more accurate. This is criminal.”

Well, yeah, Nate it does seem to be a bit off, but it’s early. Not a lot of data. Shouldn’t we give it a chance? Continue reading Hoopaholics Anonymous: Early Season Weirdness

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Bookstore Billy has always been ambivalent about the U of L/ UK football rivalry.

He was born in Wisconsin, where he toiled as a tight end for his HS team, nicknamed the Cheesemakers, sharing a mouthpiece with his TE cohort. In various chatrooms, he’s known as Packer or Badger Billy.

He has a degree from UK, where he developed an affinity to the Wildcats, and in some venues calls himself Wildcat Willie.

Yet he lived most of his adult life in Louisville, where his pigskin allegiance shifted to the Cardinals, and was a Louisville season ticket holder for decades until he moved south. Though he never totally abandoned some loyalty to UK.

So, with competing fealties, he always hated this football game, and, inveterate football lover that he was and remains, essentially ignored rivalry day and was grateful when it was over. Last evening during this year’s edition of the “battle,” he was at his five year old granddaughter’s birthday bash.

Which doesn’t mean he was unmindful of the action at Cardinal Stadium.

BB likes to make the occasional wager, laying down a few dinero here and there with his neighborhood barkeep. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky