Category Archives: Basketball

Hoopaholics Gazette: Let the Sorting Out Commence

In the world of sports, most but certainly not all of those shivers-down-the-spin feel good stories come crashing down like a six year old about 8:30 or 9:00 o’clock Halloween night.

And so it has come to the point where I must offer my condolences to Glorious Editor at Card Chronicle.

His second most beloved team — That would be the DePaul in case you hadn’t noticed — was cruising along through the first month of the campaign.

Unblemished, actually. With victories over Iowa, Minnesota and Boston College among the Fairleigh Dickinsons on the schedule. (Actually BC and the Golden Gophers have fallen to a bunch of folks, who, for some reason, wear the victory like a badge. But that’s another story for another time.) DePaul even bested Texas Tech, another not quite as good as expected outfit, after we entered the Month of Festivus.

So, the Blue Demons kind of became a, well, Thing. Pundits wondered whether their sudden, unexpected onslaught of “competence,” meant they’d become The Nation’s Sweetie Pie. (Glorious Editor, heady with the thrill of victories, was heard to utter, “Jump on board the bandwagon, plenty of seats available in First Class.”)

So, at 9-0, up 24 spots in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, and looking for its double digit W on Sunday, DePaul met a recent mid-major fave, Buffalo. At home in the Hog Butcher of the World. And held the Bulls at bay for most of the first half, which was as sloppy as my previous look see at the Blue Demons was. 24 turnovers between the two . . . at the break.

But as the clock wound down toward intermission, first-year coach Jim Whitesell’s charges fashioned a 13-2 run to take a 37-30 lead over the home team.

The teams cut down on the gaffes in the 2d, committing only 13 between them. But #105 Buffalo kept the Blue Demons measured and prevailed by five.

The nation’s erstwhile darling has now returned to where it once belonged, memehood.

The world of college hoops is no longer out of kilter. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: Let the Sorting Out Commence

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

A Happy Valentine’s Day came early for the Louisville Cardinals.

I know, I know, I know, a cheap joke, a pun of sorts.

I could claim innocence, being possessed, say the devil made me do it. But nah. I had to go there. If you’re a hoopaholic, it was a sweet moment.

With about 9:00 or so to play, Louisville’s 14 point halftime lead had been whittled to 47-42. Pitt was trying to get in touch with its inner Stephen F. Austin. It was hoping to draw Purple Aces. And doing a dang fine job.

Louisville’s game had turned grayer than its first time unis.

Pitt’s Au’Diese Toney was whistled for fouling Jordan Nwora near the midcourt stripe. The caller of the transgression was one Ted Valentine, who, frankly, hadn’t felt the need to be front and center of the action to that point in the tussle, which is his usual M O.

The Pitt bench went ballistic. Screaming, hissing, waving their arms and generally spewing Steel City bile.

Most Especially Director of Basketball Operations Brian Regan, who verbalized thusly to Valentine. (Dirty Word Advisory. Please send all those under 18 and over 80 to the other room.) Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Louisville CardFile: Michigan

With stultifying defense, and led by the all factors of the game, All-American, 22 point/ 12 rebound dominance of Jordan Nwora, the now legitimately ranked #1 Louisville Cardinals dispatched the nation’s best-resuméd Michigan Wolverines Tuesday night.

Chris Mack instructed his Cardinals to build a wall.

And build a wall they did.

Playing the paradigm of tenacious D, the best the Cards have been at that end of the court since they vanquished the Wolverines for the ’13 NCAA title, U of L never trailed for a nanosecond and prevailed by the UVa-ish score of 58-43.

Pack Line that, Sweet Virginia.

 * * * * *

More on that D in a bit.

Since he played The Game of His Career, praise for Jordan Nwora’s performance must come now, right behind the lede. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Michigan

Hoopaholics Gazette: Feast Week Leftovers, #1 vs Best, and More

Cruising the social mediums over the weekend, I came across an entry from a pal, former C-J columnist extraordinaire, green thumbium maximus Bob Hill. He was lamenting that he’d “been watching too much basketball.”

To which, I, ever the hoopaholic, responded, “I can’t conceptualize that. It doesn’t compute.”

At any rate, I recall a situation that happened at a Hoopaholics Anonymous meeting years ago. A newcomer, when introducing himself, verbalized that common plaint, “I watch too much basketball.”

To which an old timer shared his experience, strength and hope in this manner, “You need to lean into it.”

I need to share that with Bob.

 * * * * *

I watched a lot of b-ball last week. Doah. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: Feast Week Leftovers, #1 vs Best, and More

Louisville CardFile: Western Kentucky

Former mediocre head coach, once a reasonably astute color announcer, now calling games on Facebook, Bob Wentzel made some truly absurd and contradictory observations about the University of Louisville Cardinal basketball team during the Cards 71-54 measure of WKU.

But he got one thing correct.

He called Dwayne Sutton “essential.”

There is now ample early evidence meaning that descriptor might also apply to Malik Williams, who was a significant factor in the U of L win. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Western Kentucky

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Turkey Time Update

Okay, my fellow hoopaholics, let’s start with a quick public service announcement, for the many of you who are interested in the U of L vs. Western Ky game, but feel the need to join the Black Friday chaos at Walmart with your cousins visiting from Steubenville, instead of heading down to NashVegas for a hoops/ Opry at the Ryman double header.

Friday’s game will only be available for watching online at this link:

https://goto.ps/2sjqswv

Yes, on Facebook. It’s true. Why, you might ask? I surely did and here’s the response I received from Zach Greenwell, the Topper B-ball SID:

Conference USA owns the rights to the game, which means it’s restricted to broadcast by one of the league’s TV partners. CBS Sports Network has first priority but was unable to air the game Friday or Saturday because of college football. CBS also gets the next priority, which is their Facebook exclusives. The game will be a full CBS production, just on Facebook instead of cable.

One would think WKU and the league would have released this top shelf game to another network, if only for the exposure. And, to be fair, they may have tried. But it ain’t gonna happen.

So, anyway, that’s the deal for you inveterate denizens here in Hoopsylvania.

 * * * * * *

And where or what is that, you might ask? Hoopsylvania, that is. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Turkey Time Update

Louisville CardFile: Akron

Though there was slippage in the performance of the Louisville Cardinals during the second half, or because of it, the 82-76 win over a solid Akron Zip contingent is the most important game they’ve played so far against the best team they’ve played so far.

If U of L is to meet expectations, this is where the team learns what it needs to work on. Watch this film. See what worked. See what didn’t. Improve.

The second half engagement with John Groce’s team was worth more than all the previous runaways against schlepper schools combined.

Groce can coach. You might remember in ’12, he took the underdog Ohio Bobcats to the Sweet 16, then fashioned a winning record at Illinois, but couldn’t recruit at the Big 10 level, and now is coaching them up in Rubber City.

His Zips were quick, especially Loren Cristian Jackson, who got to the hoop at will late.

His Zips played tough D, forcing 14 Cardinal turnovers.

His Zips were more proficient at the FT line. 13/15 vs. 21/30.

Louisville blinked. But, flaws exposed, survived. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Akron

Louisville CardFile: USC Upstate

So there must be some otherworldly explanation for a college basketball game that played out as oddly as the one Wednesday evening, right?.

Never one scared to venture into Wonderland, I’ve got a hypothesis.

My hunch is that the Greek God of Hoops, Naismithius, finally got the cable service on Olympus to carry the ACC Network, and was hangin’ in the TV room, watching the game with Hermes and Hephaestus (though he was mostly chatting up Demeter at the hors d’oeuvres table).

Hades kept nudging Naismithius to diddle around with the Cards because he thinks they are overrated at #2, and thought the visiting Spartans deserve some trickeration too for their shenanigans, and they could all get a good laugh.

Naismithius chuckled. Thus strangeness ensued on the Yum! hardwood.

 * * * * *

In front of a borderline embarrassing assemblage announced at 14,410 but only a third to a half that at best at tipoff, the Louisville Cardinals showed up flat against the visitors, who came into the game ranked #346 out of 353 DI NCAA squads. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: USC Upstate

Hoopaholics Gazette: Memphis State folds, Blue Demons roll & a Pop Quiz

Welcome back for more subjective sometimes pissy ruminations and pontifications about the glorious world of college hoops.

But first, my fellow hoopaholics, a pop quiz. #2 pencils and ruled paper out. Ready?

What happened in the last week for the first time in college basketball since January, 1993?

Clock is ticking. No going to the Google for the answer.

OK, time’s up.

What happened in January 25 of ’93 is that unranked Long Beach State upset AP #1 ranked Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse.

The next such occurrence of such an unusual event, as if you hadn’t already heard, came when Evansville’s Purple Aces upended the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: Memphis State folds, Blue Demons roll & a Pop Quiz

Louisville CardFile: North Carolina Central

I, for one, will be so glad when this spate of exhibition tilts has run its course.

Even a bit of honest to Betsy research did not fully reveal the alleged raison d’etre of such as the Global Sports Shootout, in which the U of L Cardinals are now immersed.

Other than in 2019, this fiction of sorts allows the University of Louisville to a) Play four games against easily beatable foes but they only count as one against NCAA schedule limitations, and b) They can add those games to season ticket packages and increase revenue.

If anybody is aware of any other purpose(s), please advise.

What these exhis bring about is lots of empty seats. The ones with butts in them are filled with fans justifiably more interested in the new chicken sandwich stand in the concourse than the game. Which lack of energy often leads to flat play on the court. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: North Carolina Central