Category Archives: Basketball

Louisville CardFile: Duke

Have you ever taken notice of the difference between Coach K in the post game handshake line after a Blue Devil victory, and Mike Krzyzewski in the post game handshake line after Duke is vanquished?

Well, being an obsessive observer of all matters hoops — I’m an unrecovering hoopaholic, you know — and enjoying every Duke L as much as the next fellow, I have observed the habits.

When Duke wins, he’s head up, and patronizingly pats the losing players on their chest as he offers his commiserations. When Duke falls, he’s head down, perfunctory handshakes followed by a strident scurry to the locker room.

Did we savor the latter Saturday evening after Louisville won at Cameron Indoor for the first time since the ’83 Final Four squad schooled Jay Bilas and his cohorts, 91-76, or what?

Or what!!!!

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There are any number of blissful storylines to this huge Cardinal victory, its third in a row during a telling week on the road in the ACC.

The Cardinals’ Killer D.

A Star is born on the most improbable stage.

Resilience.

All those mournful , quieted Crazies who had to trundle back to their dorms in the chill, and then spend Saturday night cleaning off the blue greasepaint.

But I want to start with U of L’s “other” PG Star of the win. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Though metaphorically bleeding for the last eight minutes and eleven seconds of a bruising battle, the U of L Cardinals persevered to prevail 73-68 at Pitt.

I don’t know if it’s all happening at the Oakland Zoo, whether the orangutans are indeed skeptical of changes in the their cages, but I do believe this is true. Cards hung tough and won again on the road in the ACC.

With 3:11 to play in regulation, Pitt’s Justin Champagnie retrieved a missed Xavier Johnson three, then the ball got to Trey McGowens who banked in a second chance long ball for a 61-54 lead.

“DAGGER,” I noted in all caps.

Thus the mention of blood flow in the lede. (It’s a push, but work with me here.) Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Who Wants It? Who’s Got It?

News Flash: It’s a wacky college basketball season!

Oh really, I hadn’t noticed.

Trying to sort through the craziness to present to ye my fellow hoopaholics, the most furschlunginer example of What’s-Goin’-On- Here? is a far from easy task. I mean hardwoods across this great and wonderful land of ours are starting to warp from the ups and downs of teams playing on them.

Here’s just a recent example from Saturday.

(A more recent strangeness actually came Sunday in East Lafayette where the 7 loss Purdue Boilermakers crushed Sparty, handing Tom Izzo’s squad the school’s worse loss ever as a Top 10 team. 71-42. State had won 8 in a row.)

But, let’s talk about what 7 loss Syracuse did in that arena named for Led Zeppelin’s bass player against the team which has annually had the best defense in the land, at least since James Naismith speeded up his new game by cutting out the bottoms of the his peach baskets.

Yes, Jim Boeheim’s Orange did upend the defending national champion Virginia Cavaliers. It was obviously their day when Son o’ Jim Buddy Boeheim drained a shot clock Hail Mary as a dagger with a minute and a half to play in OT.

But, it’s not the 63-55 W that’s the most astonishing, nor really ‘Cuse’s point total, 15 more than UVa usually surrenders.

It’s that Syracuse scored 20 during the five minute extra period, after tallying only 19 in the 2d half. Whaaaaat???

I mean it’s like Naismithius sent his helpers to spike the vats at the Gatorade plant with LSD. The season unfolding is nigh hallucinatory.

You got a more reasoned explanation? Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Who Wants It? Who’s Got It?

Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

In the confusing aftermath of Louisville’s 67-64 hang-on-by-the-hair-of-their-chinny-chin-chin escape at Notre Dame, I had two questions for myself.

I brought in whisper counsels Smart Guy and Doc, but, as it always is with such matters, one must finally decide for himself how he really feels about matters of import.

Question #1: Can I as a Cardinal fan really feel good, feel satisfied with this this W?

U of L was up by as many as 16 in the 1st, leading 30-16 with 5:29 to complete before halftime. Notre Dame started to pull back in it, one time scoring on an inbounds play while Coach Mack was calling out the play the Irish would run from the sidelines, and his players still allowed the easy tally.

Despite a two minute drought heading to the locker room, the lead was still a dozen at 36-24. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Louisville CardFile: Miami (Fla)

At the 7:30 media timeout of the 1st on Tuesday night, Louisville had outscored the visiting Miami Hurricanes 12-0/ 20-2 and led 30-10.

At +20 over an outmanned squad they had already beaten in Coral Gables in the season opener, all the Cardinals need to do was match the visitors intensity the rest of the way, and Quinn Slazinski would have some chances for garbage treys in the waning minutes of a rout.

Which is not what happened.

Which is not what happened at all. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami (Fla)

Louisville CardFile: Florida State

There are explanations both specific and systemic addressing how and why Florida State handled Louisville Saturday afternoon at the Yum!, 78-65.

It was the Seminoles second victory over the Cards in a row for the first time since 1978, which was several conferences ago, and for the first time ever consecutively in Louisville.

First the specifics.

Though he’s far from alone, the Professor has always been adamant that a team needs to win the last five minutes of the opening half, and the first five after intermission.

Specific #1. At the 3:42 media stoppage of the 1st, Louisville led 30-27.

Between then and the halftime buzzer, the Cards were out scrapped and outscored 2-12.

At a 1:58 timeout, U of L was still behind just 30-31. But Florida State tallied on its final three possessions of the stanza. A stepback trey, a corner three and a deuce overwhelmed a pair of Jordan Nwora FTs.

At the break, Louisville Cardinals not named Jordan Nwora had takeen 28 FG attempts, and made only four. That’s 14.3%. The Seminole bench had scored 22, to only a single bucket by a Cardinal reserve.

Had Jordan Nwora not bounced back from his lame effort against Kentucky, U of L would have been beaten for sure at the break. The Cards’ leading scorer was playing within himself and in the 1st drained 6/9, 4/5 from the burbs and netted all five of his FTs.

Though they had committed but five turnovers against the visitors, who had forced 96 during their five game winning skein coming in, U of L was down a dispiriting 32-39 heading to the locker room. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Hoopaholics Gazette: League Play Begins

Before we get started, my fellow hoops diehards, this dire warning just in from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

For Immediate Release: We have now confirmed a serious outbreak in isolated sections of Hoopsylvania, which, if not addressed immediately and contained, could raise to epidemic proportions, resulting in catastrophe. The CDC can not recommend highly enough that remedial procedures be implemented immediately.

On Saturday, December 28, 2019, the University of Louisville Cardinals displayed virulent symptoms of severe hypercharitystripenisia. In a basketball game against the University of Kentucky, the team made only 9 of 20 free throw attempts, a number remarkably lower than the norm. 

The following day, on December 29, 2019, in Bloomington, Indiana, the Indiana University Hoosiers, while competing against the University of Arkansas, exhibited the exact same medical condition, missing 9 of their 18 free throw attempts.

In the strongest possible terms, the CDC urges all those affected, as well as all those within proximity who may be affected, to take proper precautions immediately.  

For further information, contact Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

Be careful out there, hoopaholics, there does not appear to be any vaccine yet available. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: League Play Begins

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

At the 11:54 media timeout of the opening half, the Louisville Cardinals had not scored for 5:45, missed their last eight field goal attempts, had given up an 0-5 run to Kentucky, and were behind 6-9.

But something eerily telling about the game’s outcome had already become evident.

The Wildcats had committed 6 fouls. Louisville would be in the bonus the rest of the half.

Because I am a diehard Cardinal fan as well as a conscientious reporter of the action, along with copious game notes on a legal pad, I also jot down in all caps along the margin, admonitions and exhortations.

Here’s what I wrote at the early juncture of the rivalry tussle: “MAKE FTS WIN GAME.”

In my mind, I was invoking a personal spirit force I call the Two Arts. That would be Arthur Kaplan, my father who introduced me to Cardinal hoops, and with whom I sat at games for the last 11 years of his life. And Art Zubrod, who had the seats right behind us in Freedom Hall.

They were obsessive about the importance of accepting the charity of freebies.

“Make the first one” still rings in my ears whenever a Cardinal steps to the stripe.

And so, sigh, it came to pass. Or, actually, didn’t.

Though it is a somewhat simplistic breakdown of how UK’s 78-70 win evolved — there were obviously other factors including the Wildcats tougher play and execution during critical moments — had U of L made its free throws, it would have won the game. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Contemplating the Cardinals Trip to Rupp

The holiday joyeux dissipated when, in the middle of last night, it struck me that it was big game week.

I awakened from slumber to relieve myself sometime in the early a.m..

From out of the blue — Literally? Figuratively? — I was humming the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” in my mind. But, instead of “Doo lang/ Doo lang/ Doo lang” it was “Juzang/ Juzang/ Juzang.”

Not that I haven’t started obsessing consciously and unconsciously about Arch Rival and will be for the next few days, or anything like that.

So, yeah it’s not just big game week, it’s Big Game Week.

No matter how much levity and maturity I’ve tried to muster through the years about this annual affair, no matter that I really don’t interact with any fervent members of the BBN on a regular basis, no matter how long it’s been clear to me that the outcome does not in the long run affect a season’s success, I. Still. Get. Too. Nervous. Too. Soon.

Especially in years like this, when U of L has to travel to Lexington for the game, but has a justifiably legitimate chance to prevail.

So, what I’ve done is gone back and taken a peak at the Cardinals’ victories in Rupp, since the annual series began after the one and only Dream Game in ’83. Which W is known to most Louisville fans simply as “Knoxville.”

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Saturday’s tilt in Rupp will be the 18th in the series. Of the previous 17, U of L has conquered the Wildcats only 4 times. Against 13 Ls. Uh, not so good. Continue reading Contemplating the Cardinals Trip to Rupp

Holidaze Mashup: Hoopaholism & Pigskin Fever Clash

Oy, what’s a sports dude to do?

Too many games. On the gridiron. On the hardwood.

Not enough screens. Too many clickers.

It’s the best of times. It’s the most frustrating of times. A Travail of Two Sports.

So, yeah, like last Saturday when the reality is I’ve been sucked into Joey the Vig’s Bowl Pool — at the risk of significant personal financial diminution — which requires I am compelled to cheer on the otherwise out of mind Blazers of UAB +17 1/2 in the New Orleans Bowl.

Does Gene Bartow still coach there? Oh no, wait a minute, it’s son Gene. Oh right, wrong sport.

See what I mean?

On the other hand, the day dawned with several enticing hoops encounters. Rock Chalk Jauyhawk vs. Nova. Dayton vs. Colorado. And, you know, UK vs. THE O*H*I*O State Buckeyes.

You know that early 90s comedy “Death Becomes Her,” where Meryl Streep’s head swivels 360? Welcome to my world.

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Yes I’m here to try to make some sense of what’s going on in my favorite sports. OK, at least to opinionate about what’s happenin’. Continue reading Holidaze Mashup: Hoopaholism & Pigskin Fever Clash