The University of Louisville announced last week that it’s forming a committee to search for a new athletics director.
Somewhere Carl Abner has a bemused smile on his face.
Abner was the strong willed Economics professor, who dominated the search party in the early 70s that brought Denny Crum to U of L. There were others involved, but it always seemed like he was the guy large and in charge.
Which I mention as preface to this screed due to a parallel between that situation and the firestorm that’s enveloped the university and its basketball program these days.
There was an interim coach in charge of men’s hoops at that time. Howard Stacey. Standing in the stead of John Dromo due to the latter’s health issues, Stacey had proven himself not worthy for the job permanently.
The rest is, you know, history. Halcyon days for hoops ensued.
Matters are more dire today. Continue reading Memo to U of L: Give Padgett & Tyra the Jobs Now
More fascinating than observing these players and this team evolve amid the turmoil that’s enshrouded U of L hoops is the development of David Padgett and his staff.
So, it was illuminating to read Jeff Greer’s account in the C-J about assistant Greg Paulus’s recent contribution vis-à-vis spacing at the offensive end. One, because the Cards’ shooting percentage has improved accordingly thanks to those tweaks. Two, because my take on GP’s alma mater through the years has been that the Blue Devils never really run a lot of sets, that it’s more about spacing and movement. To significant effect, it must be acknowledged.
Padgett is, to his credit, turning into more of an in-game disciplinarian. Without the knee jerk tendencies of his predecessor. Especially with his more experienced players. In early tilts, he’d pull and sit VJ King for basic lapses. King, to his credit, has responded, playing with much more maturity the last several outings.
DP is turning his attention to Deng Adel, who for all his scoring acumen, has been a liability on defense and generally MIA on the boards. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Memphis State
My take on U of L’s 102-59 scrimmage walkover of Bryant is being posted later than usual, is shorter than usual, and, given all the circumstances, less incisive than usual.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, hold your guffaws on that last revelation.)
There’s a legitimate reason.
I was not in attendance last evening. A good pal hosts an annual holiday dinner for a bunch of his buddies. And, after due consideration of the bad karma that might be invoked if I passed on the Cards home game, I went for the bon homie and taped the game.
Other factors included in my decision were that Bryant, a school and squad I frankly had never heard of, is a horrid team, now 1-10; and that, thanks to my pal’s generous hospitality, the holiday dinner was at le MOO.
Dry-aged bone in highest quality prime red meat, or a sure Cardinal rout?
I went with the former, and watched a tape of the game the morning after. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Bryant
An aspect worth remembering of the Cardinals’ performance in the first inter-squad scrimmage back in October was the evolved play of Ryan McMahon.
Before he was felled with fractured ribs that kept him out of action until Saturday afternoon, the sharpshooting Floridian displayed his intent to be more than just a Dickie V-approved long range marksman.
He hunkered down on defense, exhibiting more passion and, just as important, better footwork and shading technique. Because of the split squads, he was called upon to run the point. Which he did deftly and with maturity. He got the ball to the guys with open shots. His passing was crisp.
To the betterment of the improving Cardinals, all that came with him against the Hoosiers upon his return to the hardwood. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Indiana
If this edition of the Louisville Cardinals is to have any significant success this season, it should have learned the modus operandi that will get it there last night.
It won’t be through fancy maneuvering. NBA rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell shan’t be taking the court, and it’s apparent nobody on this squad, for all the talent there is, has DM’s panache. It won’t be through banging the boards, for these guys, notwithstanding all their length, are lithe up front.
It won’t be through long ball marksmanship. OK, that’s not really true, maybe it will. This team has some shooters. And they’re guys who aren’t afraid to fire it. So, yeah, there shall be games when treys will reign.
But that’s not the key factor here.
What is is H.U.S.T.L.E.. Continue reading U of L CardFile: Siena
In a second biting, coulda-woulda-shoulda defeat in a row, this time a waning seconds 77-79 frustration to Kevin Willard’s Pirates, there were moments of recognition, instances that may prove defining if this ’17-’18 edition of the Louisville Cardinals reaches some semblance of its reasonable potential.
Besides the several on the court twinklings when lights started to flicker, the most significant was on display in the aftermath.
David Padgett was pissed.
After taking the rostrum at his post game presser, he took a long swig from a bottle of water. As much to calm himself as to hydrate.
His comments were curt, if not as defiant and dismissive as those of his predecessor after similar losses. Padgett’s responses were quick, short and followed by a stare into the middle distance as if his mind was already contemplating solutions to the issues presented.
Snippets of his responses are telling. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Seton Hall
That deafening silence you hear is the lack of braying by my all of a sudden nowhere to be heard nettlesome naysayers.
Imagine my surprise.
The kid’s on a roll. The second 4-1 week of the last three. 11-4 since the aberration of Week X. 41-29 on the season.
Last weekend’s boffo predictionation included the Stanford and Auburn upsets, along with the Buckeyes, who smote their arch rival to the north, and the University of Louisville Cardinals who emptied Grocery Store Field faster than if there had been hurricane warnings, and turned the remaining members of the BBN into a bulging eyeballed, frothing mouthed Ralph Steadman caricature.
Only Boise State let me down, but more about that in a second.
I have read that this Saturday will be the first time ever with five battles on the same day featuring two Top 25 teams. And there’s a sixth in the PAC12 on Friday night between Stanford and Southern Cal.
Stock up on supplies, ye pigskin perennials, you don’t want to need to be running off to the corner market while the ball is in play. And that’s gonna be all day and all night.
In championship form myself, here are five sure winners: Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Championship Week
Sometimes, often perhaps, my eyes are deceived.
Here’s what I intended to use for my opening:
“Where have you gone Matz Stockman, the Cardinal Nation turns its lonely eyes to you? Oh yeah, The Rick, unable to go Professor Henry Higgins on you, turning you into his next Nazr Mohammed, sent you packing off to play for his son. Well, Matz, had you not shipped away, you might have turned the tide last night against the big Boilermakers.”
Then I awoke this morning after, and went to the tape. Figuratively, not literally. That game, even had the outcome been different was U.G.L.Y., a home movie of the world’s homeliest canine frolicking in the yard that only a parent would love.
What I did was study the stat sheet. Then compare it to the box score from last year’s encounter, a 7 point Cardinal win.
Matz’s presence would have had peripheral effect if any.
Because as much as it seemed like Isaac Haas was dominating the game from inside, the numbers say otherwise. Surely his presence was a factor, especially after the horrid interlude, the results of which caused Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud to sit with four fouls each. But Haas wasn’t the difference in the game. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Purdue
In retrospect, there was a single play that indicated how inevitable U of L’s payback victory over its hated arch rival really was.
The outcome of the smackdown was already a given when the Cardinals, up 37-10, started a drive at their own one yard line with 12:58 to play.
Lamar Jackson, who has blamed himself for last season’s loss because of his game-denying giveaway late in that battle, fumbled on first down. In the end zone. But, as cool as he was all day — and make no mistake, LJ has never been as collected and in charge as he was Saturday in Commonwealth Stadium — Jackson picked up the ball, intuited where there might be a crack through which to escape, found it, foraged for yardage and Heismaned his way for a 15 yard pickup.
This one was never in doubt. That play was typical of how U of L rose to the occasion every moment.
Two and half minutes later, U of L finished the 99 yard journey when Jackson lofted a TD pass to Jaylen Smith.
For all the incredible feats of legerdemain that Jackson has performed while at the helm of the Cards, his demeanor and flawless performance against the Wildcats Saturday stands at the top of the list for me. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky
When with 4:51 to play Andre Wolford rose beyond the arc for yet another trey attempt, U of L was holding on to the most beleaguered of ten point advantages.
The visitors were a hellhound on the Cardinals trail, and the prospect of escaping the Yum! with the most improbable of upsets was very real. You could say the potential of heading to East Lafayette for Tuesday’s showdown with Purdue off a loss was flashing before the Cards’ eyes.
At that point the Red Flash had been raining — more accurately reigning — threeballs on the Cards. They’d netted three of their last four, ten of 19 (53%) overall.
Fortunately the shot misfired, as did Keith Braxton’s next one.
Meanwhile Deng Adel, whose outside shooting has been woeful (3/15 including last night’s 2/6), drained a long ball with 1:58 for a game-securing 13 point advantage. Jordan Nwora, like he was working with Snoop as one of Marlo Stanfield’s lieutenants, power-nailed the door shut with another for a sixteen point lead with less than a minute to play.
Louisville escaped by a dozen, 84-72.
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It’s not like the Cardinals played a horrible game, though once again they were severely tested by a lesser foe competing without its best baller. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: St. Francis