Louisville Cardinal Short Shots

So I’m standing in line at the grocery on the first day of the weekend, and the clerk asks if I have anything fun planned for the holiday?

“Errands. Maybe some music,” I reply.

At which point the fellow next to me in line says, “Post something at CardChron.”

Fortunately he didn’t seem to be one of the regulars, an antagonist whose vitriol would indicate I wouldn’t want to be meeting them out in public. He was a good guy.

“It’s that time of year, when there’s not a lot of news. Hopefully the baseball team (which had just gone ofer the ACC tourney) will get its act together.”

Anyway, my reader’s wishes are my command. So, here I come with a bunch of little stuff. Most, but not all of which, is Cardinal related. Continue reading Louisville Cardinal Short Shots

Get Well, Denny

Of course, anybody who loves the Cardinals is glad to hear that iconic former Cardinal hoops coach Denny Crum is recovering from his latest stroke.

Incredible coach. Easily among the best ever that roamed the college sidelines. Good guy. He was always accessible when running the program.

And, to be frank, recency bias and revisionist history notwithstanding, Crum is responsible for elevating University of Louisville sports to the highest levels nationally. Without Denny and his two titles, there would have been no Howard Schnellenberger, nor any of the incredible successes that followed.

One guy’s opinion. Feel free to disagree if you must.

Those whose allegiance to U of L sports germinated after the arrival of the millennium or the decade proceeding it, might only know Denny from his name on the court, or the standing O he gets when introduced during a tilt at the Yum!.

Denny Crum was once the Gold Standard of college basketball. Ask Coach K who schooled him several times early on in his career? Continue reading Get Well, Denny

That Dunking Cardinal Court & Other U of L Quick Shots

My memory is hazy, but if I recall correctly, and I’m probably not, during the early Doctors of Dunk days of the 70s, it was Grif’s idea for the team to wear those old timey M.D. shirt/ jackets during warmups.

I believe it was a cool idea, but one and done nonetheless. Since the garment was too restrictive, and the players didn’t like the feel.

Fortunately the most cool U of L hoops logo ever has never gone completely away. And, thanks to Chris Mack’s respect for the tradition of Cardinal basketball, is back with a vengeance.

The court at the practice facility now sports a 94×50 Dunking Cardinal logo.

Too damn sweet.

So, when I first saw it, my immediate reaction was to write Kenny Klein, and ask if there were any plans to do the same to the game court at the Yum!?

Unfortunately, not at this time. Sigh. Continue reading That Dunking Cardinal Court & Other U of L Quick Shots

‘Dores Slow Cards’ Mo’ at the Jim

Irresistible force. Immovable object.

Unless Tuesday evening’s matchup found the powers battling at 3d & Central knotted when curfew hit, somebody’s momentum was going to be thwarted, if only temporarily.

The Vanderbilt Commodores (39-9) took the field for the midweek Battle of the Barrel, ranked either #2 or #3 depending on which poll you look at, on an 11 game winning streak. RF JJ Bleday leads the nation with 23 taters. At .429, Austin Martin, is among the leading hitters in the land.

The #6 or #3 Louisville Cardinals (39-10) victory skein stood at nine, after recently sweeping then #2 NC State in Raleigh. Pitching ace Reid Detmers is a lock All-American.

The visiting nine in the black hats prevailed, 6-2, in the relatively close but laborious three hour forty six minute game.

Since 2007, when Dan McDonnell took the reins at U of L, the schools have developed what is arguably the most intriguing rivalry in college baseball. Continue reading ‘Dores Slow Cards’ Mo’ at the Jim

The Coach, His AD, A Provocateur & His Provocation

There are some arguments, to which there is essentially no resolution, back and forths that simply get carried on until lungs are depleted of breath.

Until then, the protagonists bray on.

These are common when the issues involved are local in nature and many people have a significant vested emotional interest.

I’ve just returned from my 31st New Orleans JazzFest, the original and sole focus of which from the get go was as a showcase for the indigenous music, food and culture of the Crescent City and Louisiana. But the economic realities of modern times have forced the festival, in order to survive, to feature big name acts with zero connection to the area, but are a draw for enough patrons to keep the Fest financially alive.

In the festival’s chatrooms, purists have railed year around about the situation for more than a decade. The Fest and the arguments proceed.

It was no surprise really that during Derby season, when the focus is usually on whether to buy the blue or pink patched Madras sportcoat, or which hat the size of a beach umbrella to wear on the 1st Saturday in May, that a new brouhaha broke out, when the winning thoroughbred was set down.

But this is Louisville, where basketball is the overriding passion of the populace but for two weeks a year, and the University of Louisville Cardinals are the beloved favorite of the city. Which brings me to the argument that will never end.

Even during Derby time, the fire was stoked yet again. Continue reading The Coach, His AD, A Provocateur & His Provocation

Checking In On Cardinal Hoops

It has been an oddly busy first month after the season for U of L basketball — both for the males and females, for good and not so good.

And I’m not talking about Coach Chris Mack’s replacement body part.

So it’s time to inventory the whole situation.

Let’s start with the asset side of the ledger.

Former Cardinal, former Final Four MOP as a freshman in ’86, Pervis Ellison, who coached him in AAU ball, has dubbed St. Joe grad transfer Lamarr Kimble, not only “Philly tough,” but an incarnation of Cassius Winston.

How positively “Fresh.”

Of course, the worry wort Red & Black Faithful are wondering how Darius Perry and David Johnson, the other PGs on next year’s team are taking the news of another grad transfer? It’s not even Derby yet and there is worry over team turmoil. Hopefully it will make the others work on their skills, and compete harder for PT.

Having a trio is better than having nobody competent to distribute the rock. Continue reading Checking In On Cardinal Hoops

Opening Playoff Games a Mixed Bag for Former Cards

We got your Terry Rozier wearing Celtic green. Silent L Harrell coming up big in the paint for LA’s other team. And Donovan “Did We Call Him Spider When He Was A Cardinal?” Mitchell.

If the object of the game is to win, score more points than the other team, then Rozier had the best first tilt.

Because, bottom line, Boston prevailed over the Pacers, 84-74. The Clippers and Jazz fell.

Rozier played a solid, but statistically inconsequential 18 minutes. (Seems like Kyrie Irving is playing both guard positions at the same time anyway.) The former Card was a mathematically neutral +/- 0. A veritable place holder.

He scored 5 points, but was only 1/6 from the field, grabbed five rebounds — He was one of the best rebounding guards ever to wear the Red & Black — and dished out a couple dimes.

If the point of this exercise is which of the trio had the best individual game, Montrezl is the easy winner.

He was a beast underneath — Imagine our surprise — especially in the first half, though his Clippers fell by 17 to Golden State.

26 points on 11/15 shooting. Five boards. Two assists, two steals, two blocks. Alas, he was -13.

It was an under par evening all around for Mitchell. He scored 19 but didn’t have an assist. Five rebounds.

The Jazz — Isn’t it time Utah changed its nickname which worked in New Orleans, but doesn’t fit at all in Salt Lake City? — were overwhelmed by Houston, 122-90.

DM shoulda stayed in bed.

— Seedy K

UVa’s Not So Cavalier Road to Redemption

The conversation with the former U of L Cardinal hoopster took place on a school charter flight to New Orleans for the ’82 Final Four.

He shall remain anonymous. He’d spent the wait before departure at one of SDF’s mini-bars, and didn’t have the clearest of heads.

To be fair, I was more than a bit jacked up myself. One, because that trip to the season’s last weekend was far from a given for my favorite team, all things considered. And, two, because, well, it was back in the day, and you know, well, you know. Let’s just say, my pal who drove me to the airport suggested I might consider a Thorazine drip as an antidote.

Anyway, when the two of us were chatting in our excitement, I kept mentioning how the Cards were going to the Final Four and vaunted, Ralph Samspon-led UVa was not.

“Yeah,” he responded, quizzically since I wasn’t really making my point clearly, “they lost to UAB.” Which U of L had then dispatched on their home court in Birmingham to advance, after the Blazers had upset Virginia, who easily had U of L’s number.

OK, not a great story, but my point — then and now — is that Virginia has been viewed as one of college basketball’s chronic underachievers. Going back to the that era, when Sampson & Mates, often ranked #1, only made it to one Final Four, and an Elite Eight.

Plus, the Wahoos have been at the wrong end of inarguably the two biggest upsets in the sport’s history. To Chaminade in December of ’82. And, yes I know you know, by twenty points last season in the first round as the highest seed to UMBC, the lowest seed.

Coach Tony Bennett has for a number of years carried around the same baggage as such as Dean Smith and Jay Wright before him, “best coach never to win the crown.” Bennett, for his regular season successes had never even made it past the regionals.

Which is to say this monkey on Virginia’s back goes back further than just last year’s wipeout during the first No Break on the Dance floor.

Which is not to say Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy and  De’Andre Hunter, who didn’t even play in that infamous L because he was injured, and their teammates haven’t had to deal daily with that devastating setback 24/7 for 52 weeks, plus 3 more.

Until last night. Continue reading UVa’s Not So Cavalier Road to Redemption

UVa vs. Texas Tech: There Will Be D

There was the moment when it fell apart for Virginia.

More than any other team in the land, Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers stick to the plan, never wavering from their disciplined, measured style.

Then they didn’t. To ill effect.

Up 57-48 with just under five minutes to play, Ty Jerome had the rock, in the post with a smaller Auburn defender checking him. The Cavaliers usually beauteous offense flow stopped. As his teammates ceased their normal cutting and weaving and picking to watch, Jerome tom-tomed the ball, backing the War Eagle down for a close in turnaround.

He missed. He thought he was fouled. And compounded the disruption and failure to tally by committing his fourth personal immediately thereafter in the backcourt with 4:32 left. Virginia’s catalyst took a seat on the pine.

Bryce Brown netted a trey. Then another after a Samir Doughty offensive board. Then Danjel Purifoy drained yet another second chance three.

Then, after Mamadi Diakite missed two freebies, Brown bullseyed another triple at 1:56. 59-57 in favor of the Bark-leys.

One guy’s opinion, that one little departure totally took the Cavaliers out of their flow. Emboldened, devoid of quit, Auburn took advantage.

Two Auburn FTs, and UVa was down four and :17 seconds from a second seriously disturbing  NCAA tournament meltdown in a row. Continue reading UVa vs. Texas Tech: There Will Be D

Who Cares What CBS Thinks of the Final Four?

Perspective. My observation point.

I am a college basketball junkie. A hoopaholic.

Even though my team was the very first one eliminated in this year’s tourney, I still spent hour after hour after hour in front of my flat screen, berating myself for microwaving then consuming the entirety of yet another bag of Skinny Pop, enduring Chris Webber, watching googly-eyed as Carsen Edwards went en fuego, failed to notice that a spring cold was filling my chest cavity until it was too late, while watching just about every dribble, missed call and Coach K sneer.

I could not care less — actually I’m pleased as punch — that Rock Chalk Jayhawk, the Baby Blues, Big Blues, Go Blues, and Dukie Blues won’t be in the house come Saturday evening.

For the casual fans, those folks caught in the star maker machinery that’s propelled Zion Whatsisname into mainstream consciousness, sayonara. Enjoy your visit to the cineplex to see “Us.”

I’ll be in front of the telly, embracing this cockamamie quartet of Sparty, UVa, Texas Tech and Auburn. Continue reading Who Cares What CBS Thinks of the Final Four?