It’s been awhile since we’ve chatted about Louisville Cardinal basketball.
Long past due, don’t you think?
So we will, but I feel compelled to commence, I have to own, with some schadenfreude. Blame it on Lucifer, he makes me do it.
But when I watched the video click this a.m. with my morning java, my smile was as wide as the home stretch of the Derby. Delight ensued.
There was significant Cards’ objet de la haine from not so long ago, Grayson Allen, former Dukie now a Memphis Griz, at the charity stripe with a chance to ice a W, his team up a deuce with two seconds to play.
A 91% FT shooter, he double whiffed. Missed ’em both.
Allowing the amazing Luka Doncic, for whom U of L fans haven’t a bit of negative animus, to drain a game-winning triple at the buzzer, while stumbling forward and awkwardly off an opponent’s foot.
Should I feel guilty that Allen’s choke job brought me joy? Naaaaah! Continue reading Whither U of L Hoops?: Some Random Musings
There is but small comfort knowing I’m among the many erstwhile college hoops scribes, with a delusional belief in the power of our observations of the game we love so much, who misfired. Or, were leery of pulling the trigger.
We woke up this morning with egg on our faces, before even heading into the kitchen to make breakfast.
It’s not that I picked Gonzaga to win the title. I did not. You can go look.
But I certainly did not listen to myself.
If only I’d had the confidence to listen to my convictions, I’d be able to lord my “expertise” over all this morning after.
On Sunday, after the national semis, I wrote this about the eventual champion: “In its semi-final smackdown, Baylor looked, well, let’s be frank here, UN BEAT A BLE.” Continue reading Baylor: Shouldn’t We Have Known All Along?
What I still haven’t figured out yet in advance of watching tonight’s to die for Gonzaga vs. Baylor clash for the title is caffeination level.
I have the same conundrum every year on the last Monday of the season.
I’m an early to bed early to rise hoopaholic. The 9:20 tip time is frankly mighty close to when I usually hit the hay. I forget from year to year exactly when I should consume an energy boosting beverage, so that I’ll be alert the whole game, but be able to fall asleep after One Shining Moment?
Do I take one of the several green tea laced drinks in the fridge? A cup of joe? And, more important, how much and at what time?
* * * * *
Other than that, I’m wondering just how historical is this matchup between clearly the two finest squads in the land? Teams that were supposed to be the best heading into the season, and remained the best throughout. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Countdown to Tipoff
What a long strange trip it’s been.
After a Bill Waltonish, did we really swallow the brown acid, twirly bird stop and start season we have been forced to watch from our recliners, we get to the One We’ve Been Waiting For.
Ali vs Frazier.
Lily vs. Chuck, Spike & Samuel L..
Attila the Hun vs Hannibal Barca.
Godzilla vs. Kong.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor.
But, oh my, how about Saturday night’s prelude? Continue reading Now for the One We’ve Been Waiting For
Professor Jefferson Davis Futch was a history wonk of the highest order.
He loved the anecdotia, the lurid back stories that made the subject matter come alive. So taken was he by the peccadilloes of the Medici clan, which he shared with almost frothing at the mouth fervor, we never made it much past the Renaissance in History of Western Civ 101.
I couldn’t help but think of him years later, when while walking through Paris, I came upon the building where Catherine de’ Medici, the sign said, introduced the use of the fork to French society.
Professor Futch would have known which of her courtiers she would have bedded that evening.
I haven’t the slightest idea if the prof — as opposed to my longtime hoopaholic pal, the Professor — cares about hoops at all.
But, if he does, he’d know this college basketball season, and this NCAA tourney, is like no other. One for the history books, we might say. Continue reading A March Madness of Historical Proportions
U of L’s commanding 60-42 Round of 16 W over Oregon gave new perspective to the post season’s Rule #1.
Which dictum, if you recall, reads like this: “You only play whom you play.”
Under normal circumstances, it applies to looking ahead in the bracket. Like, if in the gentlemen’s tournament, Houston finds itself peering past Oregon State, taking the Beavers for granted, while focusing on Baylor or Arkansas.
But, as we learned yesterday, it also applies to squad makeup.
Make no mistake, Jeff Walz’s Cardinals played their best game in awhile on Sunday, arguably its most complete all season.
But, they had help. In the form of Duck injuries and foul trouble. Continue reading Elite 8 Cards, Take Advantage, Quell Quack
OK then, getting in touch with my inner Paul Harvey, here’s the Rest of the Story.
The it’s-probably-interesting-only-to-me tale of my ’63 Loyola championship t-shirt, come and gone and coming again, sigh, later rather than sooner.
Yeah, I jump on the touch the hem of Sister Jean’s Rambler letter jacket as much as the next hoopaholic. But my affection for the maroon and gold is legit, and long-lived. The Professor and I were in the Hall when the underdog Ramblers bested reigning two-time national champ Cincy for the crown.
So, sometime years ago, surfing the interweb, looking for some garment to purchase I didn’t really need, I came across the maroon and gold beauty. All the better that I’d be able to lord it over my fellow hoopaholics at our next meeting.
At some point, I gave it away. Much to my chagrin this post season, when the lads from the Second City turned out to be the Darlings of the Dance.
I’d forgotten to whom I’d passed it along. Until last Monday, when I got a text from my pal, a Loyola grad, to whom I’d bestowed it. He included a photo. “You’re killin’ me here,” I responded.
Then I culled the Google for a duplicate, hopefully to arrive in time for Saturday’s Round of 16. Nuttn’ honey.
(Stick with me sports fans, I’ll get to the real stuff in just a sec. Bear with me. I need to vent.) Continue reading Hoops & Pucks: Dancin’ on Saturday
“This is what the NCAA tournament is all about!”
How many times have we heard it? Through the years? The last three days?
When the visual is Javion Hamlet’s dad, in his homemade North Texas sweatshirt, running up and down the aisles. Or Eric Musselman, flush with a Wooooo Pig Soooey victory, standing on a table.
Or, iconic Sister Jean in her Loyola jacket, applauding the Ramblers take down of the Illini.
The story about how Rutgers’ Jacob Young is the son of Phi Slamma Jama’s Michael Young. (Though I could do without the footage of the ’83 semi-final game.)
I’m somewhat more inclined to think of it describing the moments actually on the court.
Like 15 seed Oral Roberts, ranked #129 by Ken Pomeroy, coming from 11 down with under ten minutes to play to upend Florida.
Or, Oregon State, whom neither you nor I gave a nanosecond of thought to during the season, taking down Oklahoma State, who we heard about every day because of the Cowboys’ star freshman.
* * * * *
But, for me, “This is what the NCAA tournament is all about” is about Loyola (Chicago) 71, Illinois 58. Continue reading Big Dance Cliché Rules: NCAA Day 3
It was Lights Out on Day 2 of our favorite annual basketball indulgence.
First of all in Assembly Hall, Saturday’s surprise team in green, the Ohio U Bobcats were trailing favorite UVa, 39-40, with a smidge less than 8:00 to play.
Then Ben Vander Plas, besties pal and rival of Sam Hauser since youth, went Lights Out. Triple with assist from Jason Preston, about whom you’ll read more in a bit. 42-40. Another trey by BVP, after another assist by Preston. 45-40. Followed by a crafty, slithering deuce at the hoop, then more of the same, after a Wahoo tally. 49-42 Bobcats with less than 4:00 to play.
Then it was Lights Out at Seedy K’s Hoops Hacienda.
As in, I mean really, a power outage. Darkness. Continue reading Card Loyalty, JP Soars: Lights Out @ NC2A Part Deux
The phrase jumped out at me.
It was in theathletic.com’s Justin Williams’ autopsy of the travails of Cincinnati basketball, and the mass exodus of Bearcat netters, unhappy with the style of their coach.
Louisville fans are far from the only ones wallowing in angst, while watching 68 schools other than their favorite dance.
Given my forgiving and, I believe, understanding view of the Cardinals’ underwhelming performance this campaign, the words resonated.
Referring to the mental strain of college aged youngsters playing in this weird, COVID-impacted season, Williams underscored the difficulties, citing this:
“restrictions of the pandemic and the emotional anguish it levied” Continue reading One Last Cardinal Post Mortem (As if We Need It)