Category Archives: Basketball

Louisville CardFile: Miami O.

Miami O. is a Quadrant 5-quality squad, which had dropped 4 of 5 coming in against U of L.

But, in holiday mode too early, Louisville which played the whole opening half fully somnambulant, really sleepwalked into  halftime with four turnovers in the last five minutes, shooting ofer 4 during a 3:22 drought before the buzzer.

At the break, I got a text from an out of town buddy, an astute observer of the game, but he hasn’t seen all the Cardinals’ games. It read, “I don’t get this Louisville team. What’s their strength?”

Given my belief that the team’s true identity/ legitimate potential are still to be revealed, I typed off an evasively apologetic reply, masking my own worries.

After all, the Cards were only up 28-20, against the visitors who missed 18 of 20 treys and were shooting only 25% overall. U of L had surrendered six offensive rebounds, and missed 3 of 5 FTs.

Following cocktail time came another patent pending uninspired open to the 2d. U of L allowed the short, mediocre Redhawks to quickly pull within four at 31-27.

The bad shot selection, porous D and turnovers continued. Emboldened and playing with more energy, Miami hung around, again pulling within four at 44-40 on a Josh Brewer three at 9:02.

Ninteen seconds later, Cardinal Catalyst Dwayne Sutton found Ryan McMahon open behind the arc. And, yeah, I’m goin’ Joe Dean, such a quick important answer it was.

String music, Louisville, Kentucky!

Boom! The Cards awakened. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami O.

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Wackiest Early Season Ever?

“And now, ladies and gents, last but not the least, come on down to a standing O, this week’s absolutely, positively, on the rise, numero uno #1 team in the land . . . the Buckeyes of Ohi . . . uh, nevermind”

Another one bites the dust/ Another one bites the dust/ And another one gone/ And another one gone/ Another one bites the dust

At least Ohio State had the common decency to lose before rising to the “heralded” top spot in the polls. And it was to L’il Ricky’s Golden Gophers, who had a losing record coming in. Geesh.

Are we destined for hot potato 63 games in the NCAA? You take it. No, I don’t want it, you take it. A title game to supplant UConn 53, Butler 41 as the Worst Meaningful Game Ever Contested?

Despite their Sunday night defeat in Minneapolis, the Buckeyes are atop Ken Pomeroy’s computerized hierarchy, with the 8th rated offense, and fourth rated defense. Followed by the Blue Devils, the Cardinals, the Jayhawks and Sparty.

Strap in, fellow hoopaholics, before a champ’s crowned this campaign is gonna make a ride on King’s Island’s Orion feel like the Merry Go Round at KiddieLand.

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So, even though there were a couple of tilts of interest on Saturday afternoon, it was if not de jure a de facto Hobson’s Choice. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Wackiest Early Season Ever?

Louisville CardFile: Eastern Kentucky

The University of Louisville has been competing on the hardwood against Eastern Kentucky since 1919, when Saturday’s visitors were a Teacher’s College. (Or, so I recall.)

The Cardinals and Colonels — Didn’t they used to also be called the Maroons too? — have now battled 72 times on the hardwood.

At one time,  it was a competitive instate rivalry. But obviously has not been so since the last EKU win in 1963. The series now stands 50-22 favor of U of L.

Saturday afternoon’s tilt played out as the last 15 have: Cards  99, Colonels 67.

Which is not to say that, for many reasons, it wasn’t a reasonable test for Louisville, after last Tuesday’s debacle in Madison Square Garden. It was.

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Given the Cards less than satisfactory point guard play, Chris Mack indicated in advance he intended to give freshman David Johnson more PT at the point. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Eastern Kentucky

Louisville CardFile: Texas Tech

Well, I stand up next to a mountain/
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand

OK, so much for that top of the rankings thing.

Other than a quick fix of fleeting prestige, there’s not a lot of good that really comes from being #1 in early December.

Obviously it would have been preferable for the Louisville Cardinals and their fans that the fall off the top of the mountain had been softer and less precipitous than a 57-70 beatdown to Texas Tech.

To a Red Raider team that arrived at Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Classic, carrying the baggage of a three game losing skein. Playing without their injured, best player, their leading scorer.

But, one guy’s opinion, it’s a good thing the Cards don’t have to worry about sitting at that top spot for now.

Hopefully, U of L will learn from this most instructive loss.

Chris Mack certainly hopes so: “Hopefully, our guys take this as a lesson learned.” Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Texas Tech

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.

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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.

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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:

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.

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