Category Archives: Basketball

Red & Black Rants & Raves: 11/12

On a winterish Sunday that seemed far less restful than the biblical imperative would dictate, most Cardinal fans were riveted on the employment changes in the Schnelly Football Complex.

You know that to which I refer.

Meanwhile there was some truly nifty stuff going down in Cary, North Carolina.

In what was essentially a home match for the opposing #4 Tar Heels, the University of Louisville futbolers won their first ACC Men’s Soccer Tourney Title.

Cherif Dieye booted the game’s only goal into the netting from 12 yards out 29 minutes into the match. The Cards D held strong the rest of the way.

Sunday’s W capped a wondrous eight day run for U of L. The Cards gave up but a single goal in victories over three top 20 foes (2 in Top 10), #18 Notre Dame, #4 Carolina and the country’s top ranked squad, #1 Wake Forest.

Five Cardinals made the All Tournament team. In addition to Dieye, Lamine Conte, Ziyad Fekri, Jake Gelnovatch, and MVP Tate Schmitt.

Louisville’s seeding and path to a conceivable national title will be revealed Monday. The ACC, easily the strongest league in the land, is expected to have at least 8 or 9 schools in the field of 48.

One supposes the Cardinals will host a game or two at The Lynn. Stay tuned for the schedule. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 11/12

Louisville CardFile: Nicholls State

Before we get to the salient Reality Check, let’s savor what the Cardinals did do right in Chris Mack’s inaugural game as the head man.

After going ofer the long ball in the opening stanza, well traveled grad transfer Jeremiah Jefferson had taken six treys in the 2d, and drained them all. When teammate Gavin Peppers added one of his own with 3:40 left, the never quit, foul laden Colonels from Thibodaux, La. (tib-uh-dough) had whittled the nervous Cardinals lead to a deuce at 68-66.

You could almost hear the sphincters tightening. On the court. In the stands.

During the final media timeout, Mack assigned defensive ace Darius Perry to check Jefferson.

The beleaguered Cards did the tighten up.

U of L scored but one FG from then on. After VJ King drained the second of two charity opportunities, Perry broke the press, went end to end for a layup.

In the last two minutes of the nerve rattling contest, U of L went to the line fourteen times.

Here’s how they did.

Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. Net. (Hold your barbs, ye purists, I’m speaking figuratively all twine, not literally.)

Steven Enoch: 2/2. (He was 9/9 on the night.) VJ King: 2/2. Christian Cunningham: 2/2. Perry: 2/2. Cunningham again: 2/2. Dwayne Sutton: 2/2. Cunningham once more: 2/2 to make it an 85-72 final.

In a game when the Cardinals did little else objectively exemplary, they connected on their last 15 charity tosses to seal the deal.   Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Nicholls State

Cardinal Hoops: The Chris Mack Era Tips Tonight

The Sports Illustrated College Basketball Preview issue — such as it is in a diminished state — arrived a few days ago.

I was reminded of one of my favorite off the court accoutrements of Cardinal fandom, one of those moments that confirmed and strengthened my fealty.

Among others, there was the practice I got to attend as a ten year old, after which John Dromo presented me with a regulation leather ball. I played with it in the alleyways of my youth, always hitting the last second shot for a U of L W even if time needed to be extended. Eventually the roundball wore down to its rubber bladder.

There was the Atherton football game when my older brother and his teammates beat Male  High for the first time, 6-2 in a pouring rainstorm at Maxwell Field. I was with my dad, a pal of his and future Cardinal great Don Goldstein, a star on the ’59 Final Four team.

But what I thought of the other day was the similar day in the Fall of ’74 when that year’s SI hoops issue came. The cover was a fold out, a great cartoon of the mascots of contenders for that upcoming season chasing after a Cardinal Bird, flying ahead of the pack.

“Louisville’s got the Cards,” it read.

UCLA’s title streak was intact, but the ‘zine went with the outlier on the uptick coached by Denny Crum in his fourth season at the helm, and led by Bridgeman and Murphy and Cox and Bond. They picked the Cardinals to win it all.

The vision of that cover brings chills to this day. (Did I save it? Of course not. But I did spend an inordinate amount of time tracking it down and converting it to a .jpeg to include here.)

The cover was a confirmation, the imprimatur of America’s leading sports magazine had been bestowed.

My beloved Cardinals were finally upper echelon. Continue reading Cardinal Hoops: The Chris Mack Era Tips Tonight

Emergency Hoopaholics Anonymous Meeting Necessary

“Thanks so much to all of you for showing up on such short notice. After watching you know who last night score 118 points, I needed a meeting, needed some perspective. I had nightmares about Zion Williamson dunking my head through a hoop of fire.

“Oh yeah, I’m Seedy K and I’m a hoopaholic.

“I mean early in the evening, I was so afraid of what the election results might be, that I actually watched Kansas/ Michigan State with Dick Vitale and the sound on. I know, right, that’s pretty sick.

“Then later, after watching what Duke was doing to Kentucky, I was so afraid that the season was already over, I actually had to switch channels and watch Steve Kornacki, the Ken Pomeroy of elections, break down house races precinct by precinct. I know, right, pretty sick.

“But, I mean, it was like a relapse back to the days when UCLA never lost. I watched Duke and got sick to my stomach. Is the season already over? Can anybody here provide some experience, strength and hope?”

“Hello, my name is Jeremiah, and I’m a hoopaholic. Continue reading Emergency Hoopaholics Anonymous Meeting Necessary

Seedy K’s You Can Take It To The Bank Final Four

Thank the Great God of Hoops Naismithius for the antidote to the duality of focus Opening Night Tuesday.

Yes there’s the arrival of college basketball 2018-19. The Lord is once again causing his countenance to shine down upon us.

Plus the sumptuous slate of tips provides a healthy alternative to the Sean Hannity/Rachel Maddow Maalox/Pepcid AC induing imperative to periodically check in on the results of the most important mid-term elections in eons. Not only is there that doubleheader, you know the one I’m talking about. But you got Florida vs. Florida State. Western Kentucky at UDub. BYU at preseason darling Nevada.

And if you are among the most addled of hoopaholics, you can watch Wisconsin Lutheran vs. Wisconsin Green Bay at half past midnight Tuesday morn the openingest of opening tipoffs. You got my proxy on that one, I’m healthier now than I used to be.

We are in a blissfully politics-free zone here, so the first question to be asked is whether there shall be a redux of Opening Night Kentucky vs. Duke on the first Monday in April?

These two recruiting bad boys have been harvesting the plumpest, juiciest, pick of the harvest prepsters for years now, but cutting down the nets with the Zion Williamsons of the world is never a given. There’s always a Sister Jean to spike the March punchbowl.

Stay tuned. Answer below. Continue reading Seedy K’s You Can Take It To The Bank Final Four

Red & Black Rants & Raves: 11/01/18

While I certainly don’t wish the kind of tsouris that has befallen U of L basketball on any other institution of higher learning — except for maybe a rival school or two and they know who they are — there is a bit of comfort knowing the Cards are not alone stewing in boil boil toil and trouble.

How’d you like to be a Maryland fan these days?

A player dies because of negligence or possible malfeasance on DJ Durkin’s watch. After a thorough review, the university’s tone deaf Board of Regents keeps the coach and pushes out the school prexy, who correctly believed the coach should be gone.

What an ostrich like decision. The guy was 10-15 in College Park. And, you know, a kid died because Durkin and staff didn’t properly attend to him in practice.

A day full out outcries after Durkin’s reinstatement and the outgoing president defies his superiors and dismisses the coach. The president will be gone after the school year. And the head of the Board of Regents has taken his leave.

Geez, does this sound familiar? Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 11/01/18

U of L CardFile: Bellarmine

It ranks among the holiest of the Holy Days.

Easter. Christmas. So sacred that there was a humbler time when commercial establishments actually closed so the faithful could focus on their faith.

Yom Kippur. A day of fasting from sundown to sundown. A day to atone for a year’s worth of  transgressions.

Ramadan. Trips to Mecca for the most ardent of the acolytes.

Festivus. Pole dancing as religious sacrament.

For the followers who call themselves Hoopaholics, there is an even more consecrated day of the year.

Opening tip of the season. For Louisville Cardinal fans, it is the opportunity to savor their favorites against an outside opponent in the Yum!, the World’s Most Incredible Ab Fab Arena, that also is the only venue in town larger than SE Christian.  Continue reading U of L CardFile: Bellarmine

Covering the Cards from the Diaspora

Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, I was driving home through Cincy on a Sunday when the Bengals were playing the NY Jets. The game was at UC’s Nippert Stadium, which then hadn’t been expanded or surrounded by buildings.

My pal and I stopped, and, along with a bunch of others, watched the game from a hill overlooking the stadium.

We could sense the action from that distance, but it was hard to observe any details from such a viewing spot. We got a sense of the action, but none of the subtleties.

That’s kind of how I feel at this juncture covering U of L football and the upcoming hoops season.

I blew out my knee in a fall 10 days ago. Surgery to reattach tendons. Rehab. Long long long recovery period ahead due to the nature of the injury and lengthy time necessary for proper healing.

So I missed most of the BC game over the telly because I was just out of it that day after the injury and a fitful sleepless night in the hospital. Continue reading Covering the Cards from the Diaspora

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