Category Archives: Basketball

Beating those Sportin’ Summertime Blues

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a gonna do/ But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.

Actually the whole point of this late July sports catch up — just to let you know that Seedy K hasn’t retired — is that there are cures for sports fans in the heat of summer.

Buuuuut, I love me some Eddie Cochran (And The Who’s “Live at Leeds” version of the tune if that’s your reference point), so I had to throw in some rock & roll, don’t ya know.

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Anyway, as I accelerate ever more swiftly into my dotage with the attendant cognitive life changes attendant, it’s nice to report that I’ve discovered a situation where my memory loss is actually an advantage.

Though I loved Wimbledon, cherish the coverage of the Tour, must admit to having caught a moment or two watching the Coming of Lonzo in Vegas, and have the final round of what I am required by the specter of Old Tom Morris as well as Royal & Ancient British Golf Authority to call The Open (Not British Open), I remain first and foremost a college sports fan. Gimme a pigskin Saturday, or Friday or Thursday or Tuesday; or a hardwood Sunday afternoon from the Carrier Dome or Cameron Indoor, and I’m a happy camper.

Not to mention that such status places me firmly in the majority of sports fans in my neck of the woods, who love the college games.

So, I lingered longer than I should last night as The World Wide Leader replayed one battle on its list of last season’s Top 25 college football tussles. Continue reading Beating those Sportin’ Summertime Blues

Troubles in the House of Cards

Ahhhh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears/ Bury the rag deep in your face/ For now’s the time for your tears

— Bob Dylan (Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)

I am sad.

I am mad.

I am ashamed.

This is a fourth incarnation, a fourth written recitation, a fourth attempt to gather and express my jumbled thoughts about the state of the University of Louisville and University of Louisville basketball program in the wake of the NCAA penalties.

There have been umpteen more conflicting contemplations roiling about in my head and heart, since the recent announcements about malfeasance at the Foundation and the basketball penalties and the defiant, in your face response by the powers that be at U of L to NCAA sanctions.

I had essentially decided to abstain. I was tired of thinking about it. There’s been enough said already, it seems. What does one more opinion matter?

But, for some odd reason, and honestly I’m not sure why, I’ve been implored by readers and fans for my opinion. Beats me why, to be frank. I’m simply a half century U of L Cardinal acolyte, a double alum, a guy with too much vocabulary but enough knowledge of Word Press to type out some opinionation and click the publish button.

But my take on the matter is no more valid than anybody else’s.

But the gauntlet has been thrown down. Continue reading Troubles in the House of Cards

Riffing on the Warriors’ Title

In this little riff on the NBA championship series, consider yourself forewarned. I am going to reminisce about a moment from the Louisville Cardinals’ first national crown.

As if you’re surprised in the least.

First, the lead in.

As overwhelming as Kevin Durant’s offensive numbers were in the title run, as stifling as his previously underappreciated defense was — ask Kevin Love about that play late in Game 5 when he had it in the post and KD wouldn’t even allow him a breath — and as magnificent as he was holding off the last gasp of the LeBrons Monday night with key buckets, the transfer from OKC sealed the deal in Game 3.

Recall that Golden State tallied the last 11 points in that win in the City By The Burning Lake to take a 3 zed — Read: Insurmountable — advantage.

The capper in that tilt was a walk up trey from the left elbow extended with but a handful of seconds to play. Durant just about skipped into the shot. His adversary Mr. James, already showing signs of over exertion, peeled back to the hoop a bit quickly and couldn’t get out to cover.

Almost nonchalantly, KD fired. All twine.

He was ready for his Cecil B. DeMille moment.

Thus, as I’m wont to do, I was reminded of the evening of March 24, 1980. Market Square Arena, may it rest in peace. Continue reading Riffing on the Warriors’ Title

Monday Afternoon PG: Another Game 7, Pucks, Russ’s Misdirection, Where’s J.B. & More

Speaking of point guards, Duke just got a commitment for next season from the highest rated ball handler left. Actually the highest rated PG committed or not.

Meaning Coach K and Coach Cal have once again corralled enough Golden Arches superüberduperstars with enough free burger coupons to sate every fan that will be in the Alamodome for next season’s Final Four.

The question of course is, will the Blue Devils and Wildcats actually be there to participate themselves?

I know stuff happens, kids don’t pan out like they’re supposed to, extraneous diversions affect team performances, etc, etc, but, given how they’ve harvested talent in the last decade, shouldn’t UK and Duke make it to the last weekend of the season every season? And win the dang thing more than they do?

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There’s a NBA Game 7 tonight. Boston and Washington shall battle to see which gets whipped by the Cleveland LeBrons in the Eastern Division finals.

It ought to be an exciting tilt. The squads are pretty even, if flawed.

My sense is the Wizards shall prevail, even though the game’s in Beantown. But that’s not why I bring it up.

Which is that I’m as mesmerized as the next hoopaholic about Celtic Isaiah Thomas’s offense. The guy can score. The guy can score at crunch time. From inside, despite his diminutive stature. From outside, even when closely checked by leaping bigs with a huge reach.

(We shan’t mention Thomas’s D. Because I could guard guys better than he does. And there are analytics to prove that. At least to provide evidence how bad he is. I haven’t seen any statisticians checking out my footwork recently.)

Now my point. When I see Isaiah Thomas play, I see Russ Smith.

(Except Smith knows how to play D.) Continue reading Monday Afternoon PG: Another Game 7, Pucks, Russ’s Misdirection, Where’s J.B. & More

One Quick Look Back & A Peek Ahead

Despite the misguided musings of more than a few national pundits, the University of Louisville Cardinals — my favorite team — did not come within three time zones and the same number of victories of University of Phoenix Stadium, the behemoth football complex with its sliding turf on a tray that hosted the Final Four.

Thus we didn’t discover whether the same malaise that caused full bearded Polish mountain man Przemek Karnowski to short arm seven of his eight field goal attempts would have similarly adversely affected Anas Mahmoud, the Cardinals’ lanky Egyptian pivot man with his sometimes on sometimes off close to the hoop game?

Nor did we find out whether the lack of focus havoc engendered by Jim Nantz’s cloying play by play and Bill Raftery’s silliness would have crimped Donovan Mitchell’s long range bombing as it did Tar Heel Justin Jackson’s. (Though some credit is due Nigel Williams-Goss for his D that was more tenacious than Jack Black, and so energy-sapping it undermined NW-G’s O.)

One never knows how the glare that is ever present on the last Monday night of the season is going to crimp or not the plans and schemes of the last duo of contestants standing.

Or others involved, like the zebras, who didn’t seem to understand this time around that they didn’t need to blow their whistles every twenty seconds whether an infraction occurred or not. And, failed to comprehend that when a player at their feet is touching the ball while his hand is resting on the hardwood a foot out of bounds means the other team gets the ball.

(Though the striped shirts should be eternally grateful that the Gonzaga faithful appear a more circumspect lot than those of some other schools whose vociferous and feral fans feel they wuz robbed by the refs during the Dance.) Continue reading One Quick Look Back & A Peek Ahead

Louisville CardFile: Michigan

And, that’s that.

Louisville’s season ends a way more than respectable 25 up, 9 down, a victory short of the NCAA Round of 16, .

Losing to the hottest team in the land, a well coached, mature Michigan Wolverine outfit is disappointing — obviously — but not a surprise, truth be told.

73-69. But, the Cards never stopped pushing.

My personal take on my beloved favorite team has been that the Sweet 16 was the best it would be able to achieve. U of L didn’t make it quite that far. That said, I, for one, have no complaints.

At moments like this, when the sweaty unis are in a pile on the locker room floor to be cleaned and stored until the next campaign, there is but one consideration: Did the Cardinals give their all, even if it ended in defeat.

They did.

Frankly you can’t ask for more. Okay, maybe you can. I can’t.  Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Michigan

Louisville CardFile: Jacksonville State

Deng Adel played just about a perfect game on offense.

Mangok Mathiang continued his late season/ end of career spurt.

And Donovan Mitchell went ofer most of the game until a minute and a half personal coup d’etat gave the Cardinals game securing measure late . . .

. . . but first let’s begin with U of L’s wobbly start in its NCAA tourney opener.

As weirdly chalk as this tourney has been for the first day and a half — at least the games I watched before crashing mid Thursday night — there had been one thing missing. Which is a team or two that seems too nervous, too not ready for the moment. (Except, of course, that kid from Vandy who had a brain fart that cost the Commodores, and the New Orleans coach who let Mount St. Mary’s run out the clock as it wound down.)

OK, but other than those instances until, that is, the Cards took the floor in Indy against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State, a middle of the pack Ohio Valley Conference #15 seed, which surprisingly snuck into the Dance with a league tourney title.

The school that shouldn’tabeen nervous was. The 20 point underdog was beyond the top of its game at tipoff. The highly regarded favorite Cardinals’ knees were knockin’. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Jacksonville State

Bracing Start to Best Week of the Year

What a bracing hoopaholic morning I had here at the beginning of the most wonderful week of the year.

The best four days in sports are just days away. Hours away actually, if you include the hors d’oeuvres that are those first four play in games in Dayton. And I do include them, because the appetizers simply whet the appetite for the grande 84 hour, 48 tilt buffet to come, commencing Thursday noon.

(Let’s hope they’ve filmed enough commercials with Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee and Charles Barkley so we don’t get tired of them.)

So, with my coffee this A.M., as is my wont, I opened the laptop and went to the b-ball sites to dive into the ocean of info available, ostensibly to help one fill out his bracket. (Which I haven’t done actually in several years, but might this time around for some odd reason not having anything to do with any sense I might win one.) Or, make a wager or deux.

The first thing I came upon was a reality check reminder, yet another memorandum of the absolute certainty of my most fervent adage of the season . . .

. . . You only play whom you play.

One of the sites counted down the top 10 moments in NCAA tourney history. With video.

Right off the bat, #10 on the list was one of the most excruciating. I’ll just leave it at this: U.S. Reed. Continue reading Bracing Start to Best Week of the Year

Louisville CardFile: Duke

So, the University of Louisville Cardinals, coached by a guy who loves to win conference tourneys as meaningless as they generally are, remain ofer the ACC tourney.

U of L, the higher seeded slight favorite over everybody’s favorite villain, succumbed to the Duke Blue Devils in a loss, the only significance of which might technically be to drop the Cardinals a seed line or two.

In terms of closing the deal, playing smart, rising to the occasion, and displaying dig in and git ‘er done moxie in the post season, Cardinal fans can only hope the quarterfinal setback isn’t a harbinger. Otherwise the Cards are in a heap o’ heap.

U of L can play one more game.

U of L can play six more games.

I’d take the under.

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U of L netted three more FGs than its conquerors.

U of L grabbed three more rebounds than the victors.

U of L had six blocks, doubling that of Duke.

U of L had 15 assists, six more than the BDs.

U of L dominated in the paint, 46-28.

U of L committed only 8 turnovers.

U of L led by a dozen with 13:07 to play, and were storming.

U of L lost 81-77. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke

Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Where to start?

Well, we could begin with arguably the gutsiest set out of bounds play in the history of U of L hoops.

Or, a git ‘er done second half performance for the ages.

Or, how a mediocre at best, anemic at worst FT shooting squad shot bester than the best in the land at the charity stripe. (Which nominates me for the award for Best Use of A  Word and its Permutations in a Single Sentence.)

Or, how the Ladybirds overcame serious technical difficulties to prove yet again how their discipline is one of America’s Great Endeavors.

Or, how the Cards didn’t let a mediocre effort at the end of the first, and an even lamer beginning to the second get them down.

Or, how U of L wobbled near the conclusion, but remained steadfast and, following the sage words of Mr. Bunny, “did not relinquish the lead.”

Or, how the guys in the white unis played a single defense all night — man to man — and thwarted one of the best coached, best executing teams extant.

And, time permitting, I’ll get to all that.

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But, first, let’s chat about Mangok Mathiang. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame