Category Archives: Basketball

Cardinal Hoops: A Look Back & Stepping Ahead

There’s something in the air.

And the aroma — despite one last springtime cold front — is as sweet as honeysuckle.

But it came from out of the blue. Xavier blue.

When the in the realm of all matters insignificant memory passed through my mind before Chris Mack’s boffo intro, it should have been obvious then and there how anxious I was, we all were for a reinstitution of hope.

We were, frankly, predisposed to be pumped. Continue reading Cardinal Hoops: A Look Back & Stepping Ahead

Cardinal Hoops is Back to Where It Once Belonged

U of L basketball has turned the page, is starting a new chapter.

The windows have been thrown open, fresh air is circulating the premises.

And, while I’m tossing about worn clichés, it would be easy to fall into the trap of offering this: There’s a new sheriff in town.

Except that this new fella come down from upriver doesn’t seem like the guy who would fling open the swinging doors and swagger into Louie’s Saloon with an air of high authority, making sure all the boys at the bar saw his badge’s gleam in the gaslight. He’s more the dude who shows up late after a long day toiling at the livery stable, has a shot maybe two of sarsaparilla but rarely if ever too many then heads home to buss his bride on the cheek and tumble about with the kids.

So, then I arrive here: to say that a new era in Cardinal hoops has dawned. That the new guy in town, Chris Mack, looked out at the assembled to the phalanx of former hoopsters who thrilled us in the red & black, and proclaimed, “This is your program. I want each of you to know there are no different eras.

“This is Louisville basketball.”  Continue reading Cardinal Hoops is Back to Where It Once Belonged

Padgett, Pitino & the Cardinal Coaching Carousel Coulda Woulda

At the top, before I get to opinionizing, conjecturing, rumor mongering, innuendo disseminating and other stuff my phalanx of attorneys have advised me against, let me add my words of praise for David Padgett.

The fellow was dropped into a situation that was extremely difficult at best, and exasperatingly impossible at worst.

At every twist and turn, he comported himself with poise, class and humility.

David Padgett, dare I say it, is a mensch.

University of Louisville fans owe him a debt of gratitude for the stalwart way he handled an untoward situation.

I hold him in nothing short of the highest regard.

He has all the peripherals for a long and successful coaching career. I don’t know a Cardinal fan who doesn’t wish for his success. Continue reading Padgett, Pitino & the Cardinal Coaching Carousel Coulda Woulda

U of L Men’s Basketball Season Now Rests in Peace

It was more than poetic that on the first day of spring, snow fell.

And so did the Cardinals for the final time this year.

To lay to rest a dissatisfying season that shall be hard to forget though the oh so many adoring fans who showered their appreciation at the Yum! in the last week will wish they could.

The denouement was appropriate.

The moment was allegorical.  Continue reading U of L Men’s Basketball Season Now Rests in Peace

Louisville CardFile: Middle Tennessee (And a Nod to Walz’s Women)

It was the kind of day that Cardinal fans feel inclined to get poetic, a sunny early spring interlude, a pleasant valley Sunday on the banks of the Ohio.

And, out of respect for our burg’s favorite Derbytime Doublemint twins Cyb and Trish, it was a double your pleasure, double your fun kind of L1C4, #BeTheCardinals kind of day.

At High Noon in the NC2A, U of L’s one-seed distaff hoopsters eviscerated Marquette by 18.

Asia Durr hit her first five shots. Sam Fuehring hit her first five shots. Myisha Hines-Allen hit her first five shots. Jeff Walz’s charges were up 18 at the end of the 1st, and +25 at intermission.

You know what the Professor says?

That’s right, class, you look good when you make your shots.

So, when the guys tipped in the N1IT at 6:30 in front of yet another raucous old days feel of a throng — they actually did the friggin’ WAVE for throwback’s sake, upper deck included — it was as if the boys said, the ladies were so nice, let’s do it twice. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Middle Tennessee (And a Nod to Walz’s Women)

Louisville CardFile: Northern Kentucky

At intermission, after two quarters when the Louisville Cardinals did little to hide their disdain for playing this NIT game, I ran into a couple I know, outliers amidst the spate of fresh-faced faithful who had filled the lower bowl of the Yum! to cheer on their beleaguered team.

The twosome were big Card fans, and among the few big donor season ticket holders, who chose to continue their support for their squad playing in “the other tournament.”

Yet, when I chatted them up, they were heading toward the exit. They had seen enough.

“We just can’t take it. If the team doesn’t want to be here, we can’t watch.”

Normally I would have morphed into inner scolding parent mode. But didn’t. I understood.

The Cards had sleepwalked through the opening two periods like they really would have rather been under the watchful eyes of a tutor at the Center for Studies and Excellence or whatever that new place is called, boning up for an exam in Advanced Molecular Computer Biometrology.

Playing as if they could give a shit, they trailed the truly mediocre Norse by seven, 23-30. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Northern Kentucky

Louisville CardFile: Virginia

Let me get this out of the way at the start.

Because my heart aches, and my fingers hurt just typing these thoughts on the keypad.

As my much as I pray I am wrong, I don’t believe my dear Louisville Cardinals will be chosen to play in the NCAA tournament.

And, as much as I hate to admit it, frankly, the Cards didn’t earn their way in.

Nothing would make me happier than being proven wrong. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia

Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Cardinal hoops fans, for obvious reasons are pumped.

Against the Seminoles, U of L came out focused, intense, and smokin’ at both ends of the court “in a game they had to win.” Later on, they did bend but didn’t break when the Seminoles started raining treys down the stretch, and the Cardinals got a might wobbly.

If the faithful believe the Big Dance projections of the World Wide Leader placing the Cards chances at 100% — I guess they didn’t see the Virginia game — they’re probably breathing easier. I don’t, and remain on Tums alert, but that’s of no consequence.

Louisville is in better shape now than when we awoke this morning.

So, there’s lots to talk about, stick with me here, the whys and wherefores shall become apparent.

But I’m going to start with seriously tanned Tom Crean, who appears to be in training for the George Hamilton Cocoa Butter Open. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Louisville CardFile: NC State

Slip slidin’ away/ Slip slidin’ away/ You know the nearer your destination/ The more you’re slip slidin’ away

There’s more to my invocation of Paul Simon’s lyrics than the obvious, the stark reality that notwithstanding Joe Lunardi’s projected hard to believe inclusion, U of L’s participation in the NCAA tournament is now a long shot.

There’s also the imperative that diehard Cardinal fans, like myself and most who shall read this, are wise to grab ahold of whatever else they can to move beyond the unfathomable disappointments of the last months.

Part of what I do is rock & roll. So, in the aftermath of Thursday’s numbing meltdown, I completed plans for my annual trek next month to New Orleans Jazz Fest, and scored tickets to Simon’s last American concert ever this coming June in Nashville.

I need the anticipation, the escape from depression that the UVa giveaway brought, as well as confirmation that there’s more to life than U of L hoops.

I have often joked that I’m too long in years to allow my personal well being to be dictated by the hardwood fortunes (or misfortunes) of teenaged hoopsters. Yet, I’ve never fully been able to move on.

I keep trying. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: NC State

Louisville CardFile: Virginia

If you are looking for a breakdown, an analysis of how the outcome might have been different, what the University of Louisville Cardinals could have done or didn’t do to allow this one to slip away, you will have to keep searching.

I haven’t looked at my game notes.

I haven’t visited the box score or play by play.

I didn’t listen to or read the transcription of any of the post game interviews.

I surely haven’t watched the replay.

This one simply hurts too much.

For me this loss is purgatorial.

This morning after it screeches inside, gnawing at my soul. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia