So, yeah, this time last year how the season was going to play out was pretty much already settled.
In week one, Duke turned Kentucky over under sideways down in the Champions Classic, and the throne was being assembled atop Mt. Zion, since the Blue Devils were a Brent Musberger Vegas deadbolt lock to capture Coach K’s 114th national crown.
UVa was coming off the biggest upset in the history of sports, the first #1 seed to lose to a #16, and Tony Bennett had secured the sobriquet as the “most nicest most decent guy to never even make it to the Final Four.”
How’s all that turn out?
Which is to underscore, that after Week I of College Hoops ’19-’20, we know nuttin’ honey.
Except this: Hoopaholics everywhere are in that euphoric state of “Basketball is Back.”
So whattaweknow, whataweknow? Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: What do we know so far?
Coach Chris Mack reacted as good coaches with legit national contenders are wont to do, even after the Cardinals distanced themselves from visiting Youngstown State from the get go in a 78-55 beatdown.
OK, not quite from the absolute beginning, but close enough.
We’ll get to that in a moment. First to Mack’s opening foray.
Before taking questions in his post game presser, he advised that he was more than a little disappointed. Because the Cardinals gave up 19 offensive rebounds, 11 in the opening half. Which board work resulted in an almost unbelievable disparity in 2d chance points.
The Penguins offensive windexing resulted in their tally of 25 after errant shots. Compared to but 4 by the Cards. -21 in 2d chance scores is not a good thing.
What that stat also says to me is this, since the Cards won by 23: The University of Louisville has a legitimate chance of living up to preseason hype. U of L took care of biz in any other number of ways, such that the statistical anomaly, bothersome as it is, didn’t matter.
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Here comes the first mention of the season of The Professor’s favorite homily.
You look good when you makes shots. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Youngstown State
With its way-easier-than-the-final-score-indicated 87-74 evisceration of Miami Monday night in Coral Gables, the Louisville Cardinals ended the Carl Spackler jinx.
So they’ve got that goin’ for them. Which is nice.
Assistant coach Luke Murray’s dad is finally off the schneid. He showed up at several Cardinal games last year, but U of L dropped them all.
To consider last evening’s affair from a golfing perspective, as as a looper like Spackler would, I’d say it was like match play and the Cards were up 9 and 8, but they continued playing and ended 3 up.
OK, enough Caddyshack silliness.
Two men down, with plenty of stuff to still work on, U of L opened the campaign with a decisive conference win on the road. Always a good thing. Even if the foe is as mediocre as Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes.
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So, let’s talk about the Card’s heralded feature attraction, Jordan Nwora. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami
Hoops tips tomorrow.
Can I get a witness?
So, what you’ve happened upon here is the first edition of what I intend to be regular looks throughout the season at the world of college basketball.
The focus: My beloved University of Louisville Cardinals. Along with observations on those squads representing institutions in this vicinity, which is the epicenter of the sport. I’ll also provide take a gander at the national scene, as I see fit.
My intention: This will be a prediction free zone. No projected NCAA seedings or Final Four participants. It will be totally subjective, generally devoid of analytics, self indulgent, obsessive, and full of all the abundant expertise that can be provided by the last man cut from the J.M. Atherton High School Rebels jayvee team back in the days of yesteryore.
Let’s have some fun.
You got questions about hoops, or important life issues, you’d like for me to address, I’m at your service, maybe. Write me at email@example.com. I might answer them. I might not.
Ted Valentine, the guy with the big whistle whom the Cards get right from the start in Coral Gables, toss up that rock, let’s get hoopin’.
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I guess the Cardinals is the place to start. Continue reading Hoopaholics Gazette: Let’s Get This Party Started
Highly regarded Louisville’s hard won 75-65 exhibition W over Bellarmine was, at the very least, bracing.
It took an 11-3 run at the end to provide distance from the Norris Place visitors.
Given how good the crosstown DII power traditionally is under Scott Davenport, the victory was certainly revelatory for the Cardinals, as well as a testament to the Knights stature.
And, given that two definite Cardinal vet contributors — Steven Enoch and Malik Williams — and probable eventual go to PG David Johnson didn’t play, the game results could be considered a throwaway. At the very least, perspective, as it usually is when it’s still October, is required.
Frankly, there are a several concerns that have gnawed at me as the season dawns.
Is Jordan Nwora really the best player in the ACC, and one of the five best in the land? How will he handle that hype?
Is Louisville legitimately one of the major Final Four contenders, and how shall the team and the coaching staff handle those expectations?
Who will evolved as point guard?
Which of the freshmen are ready to contribute?
As expected, none of those questions were answered in full with the season opener a week ahead in Coral Gables.
But there is a bit more clarity. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Bellarmine
Noteworthy developments in U of L Cardinal hoops this week are positive, I suppose.
Though two have loose ends fraying about the edges.
At the third, Louisville Live, a good time was apparently had by all.
Juco phenom Jay Scrubb announced that he’ll bring his basketball talents back home to ball for the Cardinals. That is, if he does decide to continue his higher education, if he doesn’t jump directly to the pros.
It’s a good get despite the residue of uncertainty and sets a tone for other Cardinal recruits that the Yum! is the place to play.
So I’m happy about that, but somewhat ambivalent about the other news. Continue reading Cardinal Hoops: A Settlement & A Commitment
Like many in the throng, the thirtysomething brother was wearing a Cardinal throwback.
Unlike most, his was old school.
“Wes Unseld. Nice, he was the best,” I said. “We were in school at the same time.”
He was just one of the thousands of Red & Black loyalists who were out in force Friday night for the type of event that’s become de rigueur in college hoops.
The lights, cameras, action & loud loud music razzmatazz spectacular to herald the beginning of hoops. Fans were twenty rows deep and crowded on balconies around a Dunking Cardinal festooned half court under roof at Fourth Street Live. A red carpet half a block long awaited the entrance of the stars.
(Let’s hear it for the triumphant return of the Dunking Card, the greatest logo in U of L sports legacy.) Continue reading Reflections from Louisville Live
Because I’m an inveterate Louisville Cardinal fan, because I still shake my head in awe that the Cards now compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and because I’m justifiably accused of being OCD, I tuned into the premier evening of the ACC Network.
(Besides I’m not a huge fan of the LLWS, and the episode of “Texas Metal” on MotorTrend Channel didn’t intrigue me.)
It was mostly just Show & Tell, since there was no actual live sports action.
Here are a few of the things I learned: Continue reading Friday Squawks: Dabo, Roy, K, & the ’86 Title
This is last of a series of remembrances of U of L basketball seasons for years ending in 9.
Reality first struck as I sat in the ginormous media room of Lucas Oil Stadium before the Cardinals ’09 matchup with Sparty for a trip to the Final Four in Motown.
Expectations soaring after #1 seed U of L drew and quartered Arizona by 39 in the Sweet Sixteen, and with my belly full of Shapiro’s pastrami, potato latkes and carrot cake, I poured over Michigan State data for the first time.
My confidence quickly abated. I recall reading the numbers, looking up, staring into the middle distance, and thinking, “Louisville could lose this. Izzo’s team is good.”
And damned if I wasn’t prescient. The truth struck with terrible swift sword.
Michigan State 64, Louisville 52.
Louisville’s season and 13 game winning skein and strangest of seasons had fizzed out. Continue reading Cards on the 9s: Strange ’09 Campaign ends in Elite Eight
This is another in a series of remembrances of Louisville Cardinal basketball teams in years ending in 9.
It’s difficult, and not wise really, to talk about this specific ’98-’99 campaign, without providing context.
Finishing with a record of 12-20, the season before was not only the first losing one of beloved Hall of Famer Denny Crum’s career, it was the first for U of L since the Cards went 7-10 in ’41-’42.
How much did we love the graphic the networks would put on the screen during every national telecast, “Louisville has had 56 consecutive winning seasons.” A matter of pride had been shattered.
After two more seasons, including another 12-19 clunker in ’00-’01, the two-time national champion mentor, who at the top of his game was as good as any who ever coached, would be gone, becoming an ambassador for the university, and giving his time and lending his stature to many charities in the community.
But before that, something not so good was happening to U of L hoops, and nobody really knew exactly what it was.
There are lots of theories. Continue reading Cards on the 9s: W over Cats highlights ’99 Campaign