If Louisville’s successes this season hinge on how hard the team plays defense, and I fall in line with The Rick, and most everybody else who has observed the Cards flaky, often non existent, on again off again offensive prowess, agreeing that it’s stops über alles.
If that be the case, then it’s Man Up!
Mano a mano.
English translation: Man to man, Denny Crum style.
Or, as Jim Larranaga would call it: Manslaughter on man. (More on that in a moment.) Continue reading Louisville Card File: Miami
On the fourteenth of February in 1929, a half dozen business associates of George Clarence “Bugs” Moran, along with an innocent mechanic who, much to his misfortune, happened to be repairing the wrong vehicle in the wrong garage at the wrong time that St. Valentine’s Day in the Windy City, never made it home with roses and heart shaped boxes of chocolates for their sweeties.
Nor did Joe and Jerry, a couple of musicians, played in Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. They happened to be carrying their instruments through that garage at that inopportune moment, witnessing the territory clearing carnage known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. During which the minions of one Alphonse Gabriel Capone, aided by several former associates of a brotherhood known as Egan’s Rats, chose to circumvent the chances for success of their rival through the use of machine guns, rather than threeballs.
Joe and Jerry, along with their instruments, which may or may not have been crafted in Paris, France and adorned with Louisville Cardinal logos, and donated by Mark and Cindy Lynn, were more fortunate. They skedaddled to Miami Beach in the cloak of night as transvestist members of an all-girl band, which featured one Sugar Cane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe).
While what happened to the Louisville Cardinals yesterday at the Yum!, a steady and stealth-bereft beatdown at the hands of Anthony “Cat” Barber and those of his fellow North Carolina State Wolfpack, wasn’t a massacre, it was also not even a reasonable facsimile to a Kiss Cam-worthy bed of roses. Continue reading Louisville Card File: North Carolina State
Coincidence or catalyst?
With 12:05 left, Louisville’s unimpressive five point halftime advantage had dissipated.
And then some.
A Panther trey had just given the feisty visitors a six point advantage. L 39, P 45.
Never one to hold onto timeouts, The Rick called his fourth of the battle, second in the last 90 seconds. To the bench, he escorted Chris Jones, who was playing as if he was still 1 on 5 at Northwest Florida State College, along with Anton Gill, who has yet to rediscover the scoring panache he displayed in prep school.
In their stead, coach inserted Q and Qx2 into the lineup. That would be Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh
Notwithstanding the regrettable decision of Thomas Jefferson, who named his hallowed university’s basketball arena after Led Zeppelin’s bass player John Paul Jones, this year’s edition of the Cavaliers, which toils in that venue and who stand 21-1 on the year, believes itself a legitimate national title contender.
As do the rowdy members of the Wahoo Nation, who haven’t been this pumped since Ralph Sampson controlled another more appropriately named arena in Charlottesville back in the 80s.
Also jumping on the bandwagon is an increasingly smitten national media, ready to shill for some new face, any new face, with game enough to challenge the perennials, Kentucky and Duke.
Who am I to disagree?
Despite my contrarian nature, I shan’t.
UVa is legit. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Virginia
In my excitement over Louisville’s W last night in the balmy clime of Coral Gables, its 4th W in 5 road encounters during its inaugural ACC season, I forgot to stay tuned to WAVE3 TV for Kent Taylor’s piece on ’86 Cardinal star Billy Thompson.
That the station should run a where-is-he-now? segment on the fellow, who led that team to the school’s second national crown, is timely and germane, given the disturbing dynamic playing out this year between a portion of the U of L fan base and senior forward Wayne Blackshear.
Thompson was generally considered the best player in the land, coming out of high school in Camden, N.J.. He announced his college choice on national TV with Al McGuire. The Red & Black faithful had extremely high expectations for Billy T. Which started to wane, during his rookie season, even before he missed a breakaway dunk in the national semis against Phi Slama Jama, a non-score which far too many fans ridiculously felt cost the Cards that game.
Thompson was inexplicably reviled for his “underperformance” the rest of his career. Until, that is, he kicked it in gear midway through his senior campaign, paving the way for that NC2A crown. I specifically remember one fellow who sat behind my father and me at Freedom Hall, who, full of vitriol, as if Thompson was playing bad on purpose just to piss him off, never let an opportunity pass to loudly spew his venom toward BT.
The same type of thing is happening in this, his senior season, to Wayne Blackshear. He obviously is not meeting the expectations of many Cardinal fans, who seem to relish every chance they get to express how little Blackshear does for this team, how “awful” or “horrible” he’s playing, what a “non-factor” he is.
It all seems misplaced to me. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Miami
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . .
Wise words, those. Perceptive guy, that Charlie Dickens. I mean, it’s like he was in the house yesterday.
Literate too. Maybe the C-J will hire him for the vacant Himmelsbach spot.
* * * * *
During halftime in the corridor, I saw Griff, Scooter and Phil Bond together, breaking down the first half woes of the Cards, who looked to those icons, Dickie V, Doris, a full Yum! and all the hoops world like Hans and Franz Loser Men.
I breached the perimeter of the all-time Cardinal greats’ circle, and asked, “Is it my imagination, or does U of L have no appreciable, workable offense?” Continue reading Louisville Card File: North Carolina
I could hear loud and clear, the voices screaming at the TV, during U of L’s workmanlike W at Boston College.
One of them was mine. The others belonged to you.
“Get back on defense!”
“Cover the perimeter!”
“Damn it, Wayne, put the ball in the basket!”
“Can’t this team get the ball inbounds?”
“What’s with all these stupid fouls? Let the clock run out, for God’s sake!!!”
“Close the deal . . . NOW . . . and get outta Dodge!!!”
Those are just the ones, the censors allow me to print.
* * * * *
Some teams have a personality in place more or less from the get go, and it doesn’t vary much as the season progresses. For better or worse, success or failure.
With others, it takes time for the collective temperament, disposition and nature of a squad — its character — to be revealed.
The latter has certainly been the case for the ’14-’15 University of Louisville Cardinals. That said, the nature of this edition is starting to come into some focus. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Boston College
One of the major tenets of the Lore o’ The Rick is: If he’s got a week to prepare for an opponent, that opponent better watch out.
Thus, the Cardinal nation had eight days a week to see if, in this odd but so far successful Cardinal season, and after a seriously disappointing effort against Duke, that doctrine would hold true in Steel City?
So it came to pass. Against a lesser than usual Panther squad, in an arena where Pittsburgh stood 13-1 all-time against Top 10 foes, but an arena where the Cards somewhat inexplicably are now 4-1.
Make that 13-2 now, Panthers. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh
The natives are restless. You know who you are, Red & Black Faithful.
Exasperation has replaced expectation.
After a national title, two journeys to the Final Four, the best W/L % in the land over a three season span, such success becomes a birthright. Or so many Cardinal loyalists have come to believe.
Every loss brings furrowed brow, hand wringing, acid reflux consternation. A fender bender turns into a 90 care pileup at Spaghetti Junction.
After Louisville’s loss to Duke Saturday, and its attendant continuation of woeful shooting, the naysaying has ratcheted up. The gym’s on fire. Every fan, the perceptive ones as well as those who haven’t a clue, but love the Cards, has a suggestion how to “turn things around.”
I, a long time acolyte, am not immune. But, before I get in touch with my own inner Coach Cal Tweak Mode, weighing in with my $3000 annual “voluntary donation” to the U of L Athletic fund’s worth, and come up with some suggestions for improvement and greater success, a look at where the Cards are now. Continue reading Tweaks ‘r’ Us: Louisville Cardinals Mid Season Report
Fact: Louisville’s task yesterday against the Blue Devils was going to be difficult under any circumstances.
U of L’s offensive inefficiency this season is well chronicled and statistically proven. Until Rick Pitino is able to nurture more points from Wayne Blackshear, Chinanu Onuaku, Shaqquan Aaron, David Levitch, Anton Gill or some combination thereof, the Cards are going to struggle against other top shelf teams.
Effective defense alone can only carry a club so far.
For the doomsayers, remember this. U of L is a perennial Top 25 school. Some years, that translates to a #1 or #2 seed. Other campaigns, like this one more than likely, it means a #4, #5 or #6. Deal with it. It happens. The folks who are faithful to the Gators, Sparty and the ‘Cuse are also wearing furrowed brows today.
The good news is that it’s still mid-January. There’s a full week before Louisville’s next encounter, a visit to Pitt. And, for all the nit picking with The Rick’s ways, he’s a competitor, and gives 100+% effort during the season to improve his teams. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Duke