Category Archives: Basketball

Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/24

It’s not just locally that fans and pundits alike are taking note of the sordid state of U of L football.

Here’s the designation Stewart Mandel at theathletic.com bestowed on the Cardinal head coach:

This week’s coach on the hot seat

Louisville’s Bobby Petrino. Things are quickly deteriorating for Louisville. After a 27-3 drubbing at Virginia, the 2-2 Cardinals are tied for 123rd nationally in scoring offense (17.0 ppg). Petrino was already facing questions before the season about a staff that includes his son, two sons-in-law and retread Brian VanGorder as his latest defensive coordinator. The inept start isn’t helping.

Ouch.

 * * * * *

Wasn’t Petrino once considered “the next offensive savant”?

Correct answer: Yes. But that seems long ago, far away these dark days.

Well his Cards have scored, count ’em, three offensive points — 3 — in the first half this season. Those came in the waning moments against WKU. They went ofer the opening half against Bama and UVa. And scored on Rodjay Burns pick — on blown coverage it turns out — against Indiana State.

Ouch x 2. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/24

Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/20

Doc called last Saturday morning, asking if I’d want to join him at the U of L open hoops pick up games at the Yum! practice facility. Of course I wanted to, but had another obligation.

That afternoon I checked back for the observations from my man courtside. Doc’s an astute observer of all matters hardwood. He used to work out Cardinals during drills before practice when Denny Crum was in charge.

He’s also hard to please. He mentioned a couple of returnees and how they’re doing. Then talked about a younger kid, whom he did not recognize, who, he said, “was clearly the best player on the floor.”

“It couldn’t be one of the grad transfers,” we agreed, “they’re all older guys.”

Mystery was solved a couple of days later when Texan Jaelyn Withers pledged to the Cardinals.

The evening, another call. ” Withers who just committed, he’s the one I was talking about.”

Sooooooo, Chris Mack, who has yet to coach his first game wearing a red tie, seems to be hitting on all cylinders so far. Opening up these Saturday pick up games is a brilliant move. And the hundreds of fans that showed up to watch the other day obviously impressed Withers.

Three legit commits. An energized fan base.

The Mack Attack back to relevancy is on. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/20

What Rick Pitino Knew, And When He Knew It

That header got your attention, right?

Good.

Truth is I have no copy of a check made out to Brian Bowen’s dad with Pitino’s verified fingerprints on it, nor a tape of the former U of L coach cutting a deal with an Adidas shoe rep over the phone.

Stick with me anyway. Because it really doesn’t matter what Rick Pitino knew or not, it’s what he chose not to do.

As has become the nature of our national dialog these days, there are two oppositional positions about the coach for whom the starmaker machinery is cranked to 11 this week to promote his latest book.

There is a faction who believe that Pitino knew nothing about the strippers in the dorm, knew nothing about the promise of money to Bowen’s father, was the innocent victim of an extortion attempt after an extramarital affair, and was shafted by the university when he was dismissed as coach.

Then there are those who believe it doesn’t really matter what Pitino actually knew, that the Bowen scandal was merely a called third strike, that the coach should have been terminated when he admitted having sex with a woman not his wife, on a banquette in a restaurant no less.

Count me firmly in the second grouping.

As a Louisville Cardinal basketball fan for six and a half decades, I simply need to vent one last time and move on. Actually, I would have kept my mouth shut but for two reasons. Continue reading What Rick Pitino Knew, And When He Knew It

Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/03

One last look back at the remnants of the devastation that was U of L’s loss to Alabama in the opener.

As I’ve written in blog comments somewhere since the game, I am disappointed but not disconsolate.

Alabama did what Alabama does. The Tide rolled. They are an incredible football team, and getting steamrolled by them seemed about right frankly.

Which is to say most of the flaws present in U of L’s performance — one guy’s opinion — can be blamed on the Tide’s prowess, and the Cards understandable nervousness and lack of comparable ability playing such a perennial power.

So, I’m willing to wait and see if some of the many gaffes on display Saturday don’t dissipate in coming weeks against less formidable opponents.

But there are three things — perhaps more — I truly don’t understand, which have nothing to do with the reality that Bama was faster, more talented and a far better team. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/03

U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++

Chris Mack, bless his heart, is a man of his word.

At his introductory press conference, he immediately endeared himself to the crowd. Though not as much as his toddler who won over everyone while scampering about hither and yon.

Mack reached out to the former Cardinals that fans have loved through the decades, welcoming them back from exile to again become integral parts of the program.

Which sounded great, but was it just lip service?

Thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding NO. He means it.

I had dinner the other night with some pals from our days matriculating at Belknap Campus. Including Mike Grosso.

I asked the former Cardinal big man if Mack had followed up on his promise.

Indeed he has, I’m pleased to report.  Continue reading U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++

Elam Ending Goes Prime Time

So  without compunction, I’ll steal a great line and paraphrase Jon Landau who, when he was still just a music critic, presciently wrote, “I’ve seen the future of rock & roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

I’ve seen the future of basketball, and its name is the Elam Ending.

(Landau, as you might know, became Springsteen’s manager. Maybe I’ll be named Grande Poobah of Hoops. Czar Seedy I.)

If you have even a passing obsession with the game we love, you’ve heard of it, right? A new and completely different and scintillating way to end games, developed after years of thought and research by a guy named Nick Elam. Duh!

At the first dead ball after there are less than four minutes to play, the game clock gets turned off. Seven points are added to the total of the winning team, or the score if tied. First team to reach the target wins. Continue reading Elam Ending Goes Prime Time

Just Cardinal Hoops Talk . . . Really

Oy. it’s enough to give a guy heartburn. (Though that might be thanks to the gourmanderizing I perpetrated on myself last night right before bedtime.)

Lawsuits. Now x 2. Fans suing the NCAA. Players suing the NCAA.

Then there’s that litigation of former employees suing the school after being fired.

Now there’s that pizza splatter all over the football program and the university since that Papa J has swan-dived off the side of the mountain onto the rocks below, fashioning his own professional demise, leaving lots of pissed off folks in the U of L community.

So . . . for a breath of fresh air . . . can we talk about some actual Cardinal hoops for a bit? I mean Coach Mack and Jordan Nwora did a meet and greet day before yesterday?

Yes, but one other item first.

Signage. Continue reading Just Cardinal Hoops Talk . . . Really

Five but Not All ’13 Cards Sue NCAA

I am he/ As you are he/ As you are me/ And we are all together

Those would be the lyrics of the Beatles iconic tune that Russ Smith and Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell are likely not singing this day, if they’ve digested the gist of the lawsuit filed by their 2013 teammates against the NCAA.

Those plaintiffs are Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng and Tim Henderson and Michael Marra and Stephann Van Treese, who have in essence demanded that ruling body of college sports clear their names but not those of their teammates, declare the claimants again champions and winners of the victories taken away.

Maybe it’s just me, but the whole deal smells like those involved in the suit are throwing their teammates under the bus. Where’s the one for all, all for one team spirit?

And who’s the Walrus? Continue reading Five but Not All ’13 Cards Sue NCAA

College Hoopaholic Goes Pro (And Other Matters)

So, there’s this cheese I really like that I can only get at one place in town.

Gouda with truffles. Damn expensive, but so tasty I treat myself more often than I should.

Went to get some the other week, and the store was out, said they’d have another shipment in a month or so. Settled for something else the fromage expert behind the counter suggested . . .

. . . which was OK, but not what I really craved.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need. Continue reading College Hoopaholic Goes Pro (And Other Matters)

Mitchell, Rozier & the Dean/Jordan Meme

So, if you happen to be a Louisville Cardinal fan and happened to be out and about last night and couldn’t watch in real time so you taped the Jazz/Rockets game to view later before bed or today, hoping that our main man in the Beehive State was able to lead his underdogs to another W in the Western semis . . .

. . . well . . . (Spoiler Alert!) fuhgettabout any prolongation of the series.

Buuuuuuuut, if you haven’t watched yet, just fast forward to the 3d Q, during which interlude, one Donovan Mitchell, former matriculator on the Belknap Campus, went . . .

. . . en fuego. (Or if you prefer the first translation Google spit out, en llamas.)

Donovan was, it ain’t hyperbole, Jordanesque. It was a fashion show of twists and swirls and crossovers and Eurosteps and reverses and banks and follows and deuces and treys. He tallied double deuces. Which, to put in proper context, was a greater sum for the period than the entirety of the home team, which just so happened to win more games this season than any other.

Plus he was dishing out no look dimes that were, dare I say it, Magical. Continue reading Mitchell, Rozier & the Dean/Jordan Meme