“The Bobs and the Bucks. Whoa, Nellie.”
Smart Guy’s text as Oral Roberts and The Ohio State University were headed to OT, captured the whole gloriosity perfectly.
We are dancin’, doin’ the Time Warp again.
The missive was sort of a response to a digital exclamation of mine to him during the First Four. When either Drake or Wichita State hit a late trey to make that tussle a one possession battle with seconds to play — Forgive me for lack of details, my memory has turned into a gumbo immersion of delightful hoops memories — and I less poetically opined, “I love college hoops.”
As an exclamation point, during that ORU stunner, Ian Eagle, the best of the play by play guys, more excited than usual, sang out, “Overtime Wedgie,” when the ball got stuck between hoop and backboard.
Oh, how I love this. Continue reading Has the Party Started, or What!!!
The phrase jumped out at me.
It was in theathletic.com’s Justin Williams’ autopsy of the travails of Cincinnati basketball, and the mass exodus of Bearcat netters, unhappy with the style of their coach.
Louisville fans are far from the only ones wallowing in angst, while watching 68 schools other than their favorite dance.
Given my forgiving and, I believe, understanding view of the Cardinals’ underwhelming performance this campaign, the words resonated.
Referring to the mental strain of college aged youngsters playing in this weird, COVID-impacted season, Williams underscored the difficulties, citing this:
“restrictions of the pandemic and the emotional anguish it levied” Continue reading One Last Cardinal Post Mortem (As if We Need It)
Slip slidin’ away/ Slip slidin’ away/ You know the nearer your destination/ The more you’re slip slidin’ away
Not that after their late season swoon, I was ever in any way really confidant that U of L would make the Dance, my attitude, if wary, was for some inexplicable reason tipping toward the positive until 3:34 Saturday afternoon. It was then revealed in the ESPN scrawl, that Bracketologist inventor Joe Lunardi had lowered the Cards to the First Four Play In Round. Just a week before, they were a projected 9 seed.
Even though Lunardi invented the whole guessing the 68 thing, he’s not proven to be the most accurate through the years. But he has a sense of what’s happening. And it was the trend spiraling downward by the day that dampened my spirits.
Twelve minutes later, Dan Gavett, NCAA hoops guru, was interviewed. He mentioned how 39 teams were locks. Then that there were something like 3-7 others to chose from. Queasiness ensued. Continue reading Cardinals’ Bubble Popped
As hard as I tried to write out the time-clock-countdown music from the $64,000 Question, I couldn’t properly align the consonants and verbs, so it would make sense.
So, you, my loyal readers, will have to get in touch with your inner Hal March and conjure them on your own.*
*If you don’t even know the cultural reference I’m talking about, ask your Aunt Martha what TV show grabbed everybody’s attention in the mid 50s.
The point — yes this is about hoops — is that the Louisville Cardinals and their diehard fans are ticktocking along precariously, hoping the pins and needles they are sitting upon don’t burst the bubble underneath.
Six o’clock Sunday evening seems so very far in the future, especially when you keep looking at your watch every 68 seconds, and learning you have to root for a team with a coach you absolutely loathe, LSU, to beat Ole Miss. Because the Rebs are similarly situated to the Cards. Continue reading Sittin’ on a Bubble, Is it Selection Sunday yet?
This is the way the season ends/ This is the way the season ends/ This is the way the season ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.
I’ve stolen and skewed T.S. Eliot before. And do so again.
It’s never quite as appropriate as the right now, is it?
It applies figuratively, if not literally.
In its 56-70 loss to Duke in the ACC tourney 2d round, the Louisville Cardinals looked tired, forlorn, and without a clue how to attack the Blue Devils’ defense. Or stop Matthew Hurt. Or stop Mark Williams, who in the absence of any Cardinal presence in the middle had his way.
* * * * *
There’s a reason why no school has bested a Mike Krzyzewski squad thrice in a season since the Ralph Sampson/ Rick Carlisle/ Othell Wilson Virginia Cavaliers of ’82-’83. Chris Mack is far from the first coach to get outmaneuvered by the best in the history of the game.
Which doesn’t make it any less hard to watch. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke
When the pack line defense is working at its best, the purpose is to funnel the offense into a clogged middle, where the player with the ball will be surrounded and smothered.
Even in an off season defensively, Virginia plays that defense better than just about everybody else.
So, it’s a head scratcher that Louisville’s offensive game plan appeared to be: Give the ball to Indispensable Carlik Jones or David Johnson on the pick and roll, and have them drive the ball into . . .
. . . the middle, which is clogged, and where they will be surrounded. And, especially in diminutive ICJ’s case, smothered.
So, it is only mildly surprising that Jones did not tally from the field until the 16:50 mark of the second half. He was 0/8 in the first, 2/15 from the game, while having several shots blocked. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia
There’s not a Louisville Cardinal fan around who isn’t sad about the Malik Williams situation.
For the kid, a team leader who has been riddled with injuries, and college career may be fini.
For the current team, which isn’t as formidable without his presence in the middle and leadership in the huddle.
Hope springs eternal among the faithful that Williams might return for another season, taking advantage of the COVID-inspired one season eligibility exemption. But that’s another conversation for another day.
He doesn’t appear to have emptied his locker, and moved on. The kid’s a keeper.
Which leaves us obsessives with the contemplation: How do the Cards best move forward in his on court absence?
Which leads me to Jae’Lyn Withers, the redshirt rookie, who has spent most of the season uncomfortably out of position in the post. It’s been obvious for awhile that he’s better on O when facing the basket.
That hunch became all caps underlined when Malik returned, and Withers moved to the 4.
So, to use horse racing parlance, does Chris Mack change leads? Does he leave Withers outside, and play someone else in the pivot? Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Will Cards change leads & How wacked the Dance?
There’s this little thing I do, a game I play with myself when I want to check my intuition about something.
It isn’t always about an upcoming game I care about. But it is a lot of times.
I’ll ask myself a question that requires a yes or no answer.
And then allow the answer to dart up from whatever deep recesses of my brain such would come. I do my best to allow my subconscious to answer without forcing the response I’m hoping for.
Which I can’t always do. Sometimes what I hear in my mind is “Yeeeeeenoooooo.” And I never trust the response, knowing I’m trying to will it.
But sometimes, the answer is not only immediate, but definitive and emphatic.
Like Friday, when I inquired of self, “Self, is Louisville going to beat Duke?”
“Yes.” Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke
Not to make tooooooooo big a deal about it, but U of L’s post season status was on the line.
During intermission, former FF MOP Luke Hancock had shared some analytics, which, if I remember right, went something like this. With a victory over the Irish, U of L’s chance to Dance remained in the 60th percentile. But, if they lost, that would be cut in half, to 30+% or so.
Read: Tuesday was a must, and the crucial moment came here:
The Cardinals’ once 12 point advantage had been whittled with 6:24 to the final horn to 5 at 56-51.
The Cards were wobbling. Mike Brey saw his chance, took a timeout to set up some D.
Should the Cardinals allow this one slip away, serious hair-pulling, nail-biting consternation in the Ville would ensue. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame
With 8:42 left to play, and the Cards down 44-72, I closed my laptop and the app with running stats along with it. Put away the legal pad on which I was taking notes, clicked the writing tip of my Tūl pen back inside the shaft, walked in the kitchen and filled a bowl with frozen blueberries and peanut butter.
Which I ate quickly out of frustration, along with a second helping attempting for extra measure of some comfort. While watching U of L, totally shaken and discombobulated, get manhandled 10-27 the rest of the way.
Already out of sorts because my aging rescue beagle Abbey is suffering from disc issues, and feeling squirrelly already because I was blessed to get my second COVID vaccination in the morning, and the antibodies were battling throughout my musculature to let me know they had arrived, my mind drifted off to a place and time long ago, far away. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: North Carolina