Note to Cardinal Fans: The negativitude expressed in the opening segments below eventually abates. I am more hopeful about the outcome of Friday night’s encounter than in those first moments after that last Shocker three clanked off the back of the rim. Stick with me.
This first item I’m going to address, normally starts pretty much always with this: “Were I a betting man . . . ”
As in, “Were I a betting man, I’d unload my 401K and take the Cats +5.”
Often adding, “What a sucker bet.”
Truth be told, I am not a betting man, save for the occasional football bowl pool, though I have several friends, who don’t seem to have trouble on a regular basis finding a fellow around and about who is of the bookmaking persuasion.
I chatted up one such bettor yesterday, a UK fan, asking if he’d gotten down yet? With that Vegas spread?
“You’re joking, right? Nobody around here is giving those points.”
I am loathe to dispute the acumen of those important sports book employees in Viva Las Vegas, but, for the life of me, I can’t understand the basis for that opening line. I know it is set to even out the money wagered, which is based on the perception of the betting public.
So, I must ask. Haven’t these folks been watching?
Kentucky has been on the uptick in recent weeks. They played as stellar a game in defeating Wichita State, as has been played by any school this season.
I tried to view the replay of U of L’s plodding W over St. Louis last night, but had to turn it off. It was really hard to watch. Talent simply won out. Not game plan. Not performance. Not passion.
Louisville -5 against Kentucky Friday night, why, were I a betting man . . .
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Ken Pomeroy, the Nate Silver of college hoops,1 has taken some notice.
The Wildcats have vaulted up his computerized ratings to lucky #13. Their adjusted offensive efficiency rating is 17; the adjusted D rating is 26.
But Louisville, which certainly graded out at a C-/ D+ on the eye test this past weekend, remains near the top of Pomeroy’s hierachy at #3. More important, adjusted O is 15;2 adjusted D is 3.
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One last Dougie Downer Cardinal observation, and I promise, my loyal Red & Black readers, it shall be the last all week.
The aforementioned Mr. Silver, who has now left the building at the N Y Times, and taken up shop as part of the empire of The World Wide Leader, still likes the Cards chances.
In his Championship Probability Ratings, U of L remains as the second most likely national champ, behind Florida, and a smidgen ahead of Arizona.
I pray these experts are right, and my dour outlook is misplaced.
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All that flatulence notwithstanding, I think U of L has a good chance of winning.
But you shall see no position by position breakdowns here. Nor any Louisville needs to get a big game from: a) Wayne Blackshear, b) Mango Mathiang, c) Terry Rozier, or d) All of the above. Nor any a) Russ needs to be hitting his 3s, or b) Montrezl needs to be the game’s leading rebounder, or c) SVT needs to score at least ten points.
It’s going to come down to which team is ready, which team makes the fewest mistakes, which team gets on the floor for loose balls, which team plays the most mature game and which team hits the most key free throws.
And, perhaps, lucky breaks.
And, oh yeah, which team has somebody come from nowhere to make important, game-changing plays. Like Tim Henderson and Cameron Mills and Luke Hancock.3
Which coach will have the more stellar game plan? Which coach will make more salient adjustments?
All of which, as I proofread what I’ve just written, sound like pretty Duh! observations. As in, “Well, yeah, but I coulda told you all that, we want something incisive.”
I don’t know what’s going to happen. Neither do you.4
But we’re ready, right?
Well, I am. I intend to embrace the moment, knowing that the nation’s eyes — except for those residing in Ol’ Virginny and Sparty — shall be on the Cards and Cats once again. If my team loses to our hated rival to end the season, so be it.
Ah, but if the Cards prevail . . .
That’s why we’re beside ourselves with anticipation during this, which is sure to be, the longest week of the year.
— Seedy K