Hoopaholic’s Gazette: It’s Always Hoops Season in Cardinal Country

Welcome back, my fellow hoopaholics.

We all understand that even though last night would have been the capper of the season, One Shining Moment and all, the season is always in season.

Cardinal Country is Hoopsylvania. Or, vice versa.

So, as I write I’m also watching the U of L/ Pitt game from this last campaign.

Thank you, ACC Network.

Actually, I’m going to pause, watch the end and get back to you in a few minutes.

 * * * * *

OK, I’m back. I’d forgotten — of course — how this victory came about. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: It’s Always Hoops Season in Cardinal Country

Louisville CardFile: Duke ’86

To help combat March Sadness, this is the sixth of a series of recaps of significant games in Cardinal history, contemporaneously rewatched, said freshly minted posts to be presented as if the games were played the night before. — c d k

All’s well that ends with nets around the neck. At least in college basketball.

The University of Louisville captured its second national title in a 7th Final Four appearance with a 72-69 win over favorite, highly heralded Duke, to establish beyond peradventure that the Cardinals are the Team of the 80s, arguably, the premier program in all of college hoops.

But . . .

. . . with 12:18 left, the situation was dire. To say the least. Peril was afoot.

Twelve seconds earlier, Billy Thompson committed his fourth personal while hitting the boards for a rebound. Dave Henderson made two FTs, increasing the Blue Devils advantage to 4, 52-48.

Then Milt Wagner perpetrated his fourth. Mark Alarie netted a couple more charity tosses, increasing Duke’s margin to six. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke ’86

Cardinal Remembrance: UCLA ’75

Unlike other recent posts in this series, an attempt to hold March Sadness at bay, this shall not, for reasons that should become obvious, be a recap. But, simply my thoughts and memories after watching a video of the 1975 UCLA/ U of L semi-final, for the first time since I walked, dazed and disappointed, out of the arena that afternoon in San Diego. 

One of the constant reminders of this strange and perilous moment in our lives is that we must accept the bitter with the sweet. That there is a yin and a yang to life.

So it is with Cardinal hoops, like every other aspect of our existence.

It is all too easy to conjure up the great disappointments of my Cardinal fandom.

U.S. Reed. The Duke meltdown. First round defeats to lessers. Losing to Towson State. Failing to close against Chet Walker and Bradley. This campaign’s abrupt ending.

There are two that resonate the most for me.

Falling to SMU in the regional semis in ’67, when we could have played the last weekend on our home court.

And . . . UCLA ’75.

Until a few days ago, I had never even thought of rewatching the L to the Bruins. Frankly, I never even tried to see if it was available on the interweb. Continue reading Cardinal Remembrance: UCLA ’75

Louisville CardFile: Wichita State

To help combat March Sadness, this is the fourth of a series of recaps of significant games in Cardinal history, contemporaneously rewatched, said freshly minted posts to be presented as if the games were played the night before. — c d k

It is at this juncture, with the 2013 Louisville Cardinals one victory over Michigan away from the school’s third national crown, that I feel compelled to offer a mea culpa.

And an apology to the star of the 72-68 national semi W over tough Wichita State. I am deeply sorry for my early season negativitude about him that somehow may have adversely been detrimental to Luke Hancock. My bad. Obviously.

I am thinking of Rick Pitino’s comments during Hancock’s sit out year after transferring from George Mason. The Rick has been known to hyperbolize on occasion.

“Best player on the team.”

“Smartest player on the team.”

Then he named Hancock a captain before he’d even donned a Cardinal uni in the Yum!.

Then LH started playing. And started clanking treys off the side of the backboard, dribbling to the hoop like he’s got the lumbago, and I’m wondering what the hell the big deal is, while screaming to myself, “Put in Blackshear for heavens’ sake.”

Of course, The Rick was absolutely right, while I was so very very wrong. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Wichita State

Seedy K’s GameCap: West Virginia

To help combat March Sadness, this is the third of a series of recaps of significant games in Cardinal history, contemporaneously rewatched, said freshly minted posts to be presented as if the games were played the night before. — c d k

“Meet me in St. Louis, Louis/ Meet me at the fair”

I mean, really, how about that?

For the first time since winning their second crown in ’86, and the first time in the Rick Pitino era, the University of Louisville Cardinals will be among the last four standing at the fair that is the Final Four in St. Louis.

It took some truly serious Cardinal duende to accomplish the task against John Beilein’s upstart, red hot West Virginia Mountaineer contingent.

Before Taquan Dean couldn’t get squared on that last second baseline jumper that would have won it in regulation, the Louisville Cardinals scored on — count ’em — nine straight possessions. Even with that, the Cards needed an extra five to close the deal, completing a comeback as lovely as any ever.

Outscoring They Who Shall Ever Be Known As The Pittsnoggles 16-8 in OT for the 93-85 Elite Eight conquest doesn’t come close to revealing just what the Cards needed to do to secure this victory.

Because, with 2:45 left in the 1st, Louisville was down, uh, 20, at 18-38. Continue reading Seedy K’s GameCap: West Virginia

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

To help combat March Sadness, this is the second of series of recaps of significant games in Cardinal history, contemporaneously rewatched, said freshly minted posts to be presented in the coming weeks as if the games were played the night before. — c d k

Four days short of three years to the date, I’ve got an answer for you, Wayne Duke.

“Absolutely. The Cards most certainly are now.”

Checking out of our hotel in Indy that magical morning after the Cards conquered UCLA for the ’80 NCAA title, my gang was bantering with the Big Ten commissioner.

“Sure, you’re #1 in the country,” he kidded with an understanding of the lay of the land in the Dark and Bloody Ground of the Commonwealth, “but will you be #1 when you get back home in Kentucky?”

“Well, Wayne, there’s no question today.”

In a packed, intense and loud Stokely Athletic Center yesterday in Knoxville, the Louisville Cardinals, second fiddle in the minds of Big Blue fans for decades, heck forever, moved the b-ball capitol of the commonwealth 75 miles west from the Lexington to Louisville. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Perfect Tourney Replacement & Coachspeak

When I was a kid I made up a basketball game played with dice.

I’d play out the games, while announcing them. During the LIT, I’d hand print out the bracket and play out the whole tourney. Somehow the Atherton Rebels, where my brother was, and I’d knew I’d attend years later, somehow would more often than not get a friendly roll of the dice.

That precious memory came to me, when I learned what a couple of twenty somethings — Joshua Safran and Jackson Weimer — are doing. They’re going to play out the entire NCAA tournament, on a now extinct video game, March Madness 2010, using an XBbx 360, and stream it over the net on the Twitch Channel of ebaumsworld.com.

They started with a Selection Sunday show for “Corona Madness,” which they produced in Weimer’s basement.

It’s just damn charming, the kind of thing I used to do. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Perfect Tourney Replacement & Coachspeak

Seedy K’s GameCap: UCLA

To help combat March Sadness, this is the first of series of recaps of significant games in Cardinal history, contemporaneously rewatched, said freshly minted posts to be presented in the coming weeks as if the games were played the night before. — c d k

U of L’s national title battle with UCLA knotted tight at 54, Darrell Griffith’s signature moment finally arrived Monday night, with 2:21 remaining on the game clock at Market Square Arena.

The moment the City of Louisville has been waiting and hoping for since rumors started circulating just short of a decade ago, about a couple of young teen phenoms at DuValle Junior High.

The moment Cardinal fans have been waiting for since Grif and his runnin’ partner Bobby Turner committed to play for U of L, and this year’s Tournament MVP promised the city a national title.

The moment Darrell Griffith willed to existence through talent and his hard work, especially last summer in sweatbox Crawford Gym, dribbling through traffic cones, and hoisting thousands of jumpshots, to overcome the embarrassment of sitting most of crunch time of the Cards disappointing NCAA elimination last season against Arkansas.

With 5:57 to go, Griffith had kept the Cards within reach, after a 6-0 Bruin run, converting a +1 on an oop from Wiley Brown to pull within 48-50. But the Cards nemesis in their previous two final weekend visits under Denny Crum sandwiched a couple Mike Sanders FTs and a KiKi Vandeweghe layup around a DG jumper to lead 54-50 at the 4:32 mark.

The Bruins did not score again. Continue reading Seedy K’s GameCap: UCLA

Hoops in the Time of Corona: A Hoopaholic’s Lament

On Tuesday night, when life was significantly different than it is this Friday morning, I reached out to Doc, Smart Guy and Mr. Bunny, fellow founding members of the Peck Hickman Chapter of Hoopaholic’s Anonymous.

North Carolina was continuing its resurgence toward a return to Tar Heel lofty standards, by whipping up on Virginia Tech. Which victory would mean a date the next evening with Syracuse, whom I was sure they’d beat and then meet the Cardinals.

I shared my thoughts with Doc first, as I had in the immediate aftermath of the Cardinals loss to Virginia, which game we’d watched together. I feared the Cards would not win another game this campaign, fall to Carolina in the ACC quarters. My negativitude spiking, I expressed another fear that the Cards would be a 4 or 5 seed, and would lose to somebody like Vermont in their opening game of the Dance.

After NC’s W, I then communicated with the other duo of hoopaholics, and expressed my feelings about Louisville’s ACC opener.

I used the same verbiage with all, “Never have I been as sure of the outcome of an upcoming Cardinal game, that I am that they will fall to Carolina on Thursday.”

(Save your brickbats about my negativitude. I was just trying to ensure a Cards’ W. Besides we’ve got more serious things to deal with.)

If only the game had come to pass. Continue reading Hoops in the Time of Corona: A Hoopaholic’s Lament

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: It’s Championship Week

Bucknell, Boston U, Colgate — Oh how I love watching you ball when a trip to the Dance is on the line.

But, I gotta start with some quotes.

Including my perennial favorite from Bill Raftery, who years ago was asked what it was like prepping for the NCAA tourney when he was coaching Seton Hall.

“I don’t know. We never made it to the tournament.”

Insert Buddy Rich rim shot here.

Along the same lines, Seth Greenburg offered his own personal take on his experiences with Selection Sunday, during a halftime interlude recently.

“48 times my teams were on the bubble. 48 times we were left out of the bracket.”

Buddy, hit it one more once.

OK, this back and forth on PTI between Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon doesn’t have anything to do with the bubble or Selection Sunday at all, but it should bring a smile to Louisville Cardinal fans everywhere.

Talking about a certain ability of Denver Nugget pivot Nikola Jokić, the conversation went like this.

MW: “Jokić is the best passing big man since . . .”

TK: “. . . Wes Unseld.”

MW: “Wes Unseld, the best passing big man of all time.” Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: It’s Championship Week