On Monday, in advance of UVa’s bounceback W in Chapel Hill, the station showed a couple of Cavalier/ Tar Heels battles from yesteryear. Which I found both fascinating and telling, fostering memories.
The first was an ACC tourney semi from ’91.
Kentuckian Jeff Jones, then the youngest coach in the land, was leading the Wahoos. Rick Fox and King Rice were ballin’ for Dean Smith. The three point line was that short one they used in its early days.
They cut to the studio for an update from the SEC tourney. John Saunders sidekick was a fella named Rick Pitino with a full head of hair between coaching stops. They chatted briefly about whether Allen Houston, then playing for his dad at Tennessee, would leave early for the NBA.
The play by play and color guys were Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale.
What struck me was how tolerable both were three decades ago. Patrick’s call was measured and incisive.
And Vitale had not yet turned into the abrasive presence known as Dickie V. He stayed focused on the play in front of him. Didn’t digress. Didn’t bellow out any of the clichés we’ve come to loathe. And offered legit perspective on the action.
The next game they replayed was a UVa/ Carolina tilt from Chapel Hill five years later.
Same TV announcers.
Patrick was still acceptable.
But in that short time span, Vitale had morphed into the raging personality that most legit college hoops fans find abrasive.
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Speaking of UVa vs. North Carolina, how about the Wahoos performance last evening in the Dean Dome?
They were solid and steady. And proved this edition of the squad can come back from a deficit against a really good team.
Given how the Cavaliers had been throttled at home a couple of days earlier, it was arguably the best performance of the season by any school.
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Jeff Greer continues his stellar work covering the Cardinals for theathletic.com.
His latest piece is a devoid-of-puffery interview with Chris Mack.
No link here. It’s behind a pay wall. If you subscribe, you can read it. If you don’t you can’t.
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Despite the disappointing setback in Tallahassee Saturday, the U of L Cardinals still stand at #15 in the way-more-important-than-any-other-ranking NCAA NET hierarchy.
Ken Pomeroy has them slotted at #13. With the 15th most efficient O in the land, and the 28th most efficient D.
Louisville was a 4 seed in the Selection Committee’s month-before-The-Day reveal.
The nation’s pundits agree. Of the 108 bracketologists chronicled at bracketmatrix.com, the Cards as the second 4 seed.
The Cardinals are standing taller than many pundits — C’est moi — expected. So far.
It would appear U of L can maintain a Top 16 seeding, even if the Cards fall to Duke tonight and UVa twice . . .
. . . as long as they take care of biz in the rest. Meaning they conquer ‘Cuse and BC on the road, as well as Clemson and Notre Dame at home.
A W or deux in the ACC tourney would obviously kick their resumé up a notch.
A victory over the Blue Devils or UVa would be HUGE.
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I forget the actual stats, but it’s a real thing that to win the national title, you need to rank in the Top 20 in both of Ken Pomeroy’s offensive and defensive metrics.
Which makes sense, right? Quality balance uber alles.
Through 2/11, here are the five teams that meet the marks: Duke (O2, D5), Virginia (5,3), Gonzaga (1,20), Michigan State (6,9), and Kentucky (17, 8).
The noteworthy omission: Tennessee (3, 40).
— Seedy K