Tag Archives: College Hoops

The Brackets are Coming, The Brackets are Coming, Part Deux

Like the hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes, my Basketball Jones needs to be fed.

Thus I found myself Friday evening, still more than a week and a nation full of conference tournaments away from Selection Sunday, surfing hither and yon for a fix.

During which fixation, I happened upon Little Ricky’s Golden Gophers, finishing their less than scintillating regular campaign with a clunk in College Park. And who should be manning the pivot but none other than Matz Stockman in his umpteenth year of mostly pine time in the States.

Unless I again happen upon almost-but-not-quite-on-the-bubble Minnesota in some Wednesday afternoon B10 tourney afterthought, my last vision of Matz, a U of L Cardinal until cast off by Rick the Elder like a scuffed pair of tassel loafers, was of him missing a point blank layup against the Terps. But let’s give credit where it’s due. Earlier in the week, he had a career game — such as it was — against Purdue’s similarly oversized foreigner Matt Haarms.

Everybody who told me back when that Matz would be a significant force for the Cards by his junior or at least senior year, The Rick’s next Nazr Mohammed, raise your hands.

Uh, yoo hoo, where all y’all be?

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Unless you’re a fan of, say, Texas or IU, a couple of multi-loss schools still considered Dance possibilities, you want to be rooting for Murray State in Saturday night’s OVC Tourney final. Continue reading The Brackets are Coming, The Brackets are Coming, Part Deux

The Brackets are Coming, The Brackets are Coming, Part I

I’ve double checked my algorithms, hacked into the ACC database, perused the conference standings, studied the league tourney bracket, invoked the spirit of Billy Packer, crunched the numbers, consulted Madame Ruth at 34th and Vine, and thus make this prognostication:

The University of Louisville Cardinals will be the #7 seed in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Which, if said prediction is correct, means the Cards will play at 7:00 PM next Wednesday at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, and on your telly at Spectrum Channel 924.

They’ll play the victor of the 1st round matchup between the #10 and #15 seeds. Which could be any of the six bottom feeders of the league. When I tried to calculate which schools are more likely to settle into those spots, my computer said, “No Mas!”

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As long as we are looking and longing toward the horizon, let’s talk about Sunday a week, and the week that follows. Continue reading The Brackets are Coming, The Brackets are Coming, Part I

Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Soon enough we shall come to praise VJ King, as he deserves to be praised, as he deserves any and all accolades coming his way after his revivification Sunday afternoon.

But first, there’s this.

At this time of year when fan bases are entering gymnasiums across the land, wondering whether their favorite teams are pre- or post-bubblicious, when they are thinking maybe they should save themselves some grief and accept that dinner party invite the evening of March 17 at the home of their neighbors who just moved to town and don’t understand how sacrosanct that moment is around these parts, there’s a phrase that echoes across Hoopsylvania: “This game is a must win.”

For the reeling Louisville Cardinals, Notre Dame was indeed a “must win.”

If for self esteem alone.

And so V I C T O R Y That’s the Senior Battle Cry came to pass in a workmanlike manner, 75-61, over the underwhelming Fighting Irish.

There are any number of reasons why the Cards prevailed, the most important of which might be they not only didn’t fold down the stretch, not only did they hold on for the victory, but they actually increased the margin in the final quarter of the game.

They cut off the head of the beast to slay it. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Anyone who can read below the “E” on the eye chart at your neighborhood ophthalmologist’s office could advise the Louisville Cardinals were on shaky ground heading into the midweek visit to Beantown.

They had lost four of five, and were but a missed put back at the buzzer from having dropped that entire caboodle of ACC contests.

What last night’s bedeviling 59-66 setback in a truly empty gymnasium to underwhelming Boston College revealed is that the Cards are bogged down in quicksand.

If you are a James Brown aficionado, you might say the Cardinals are “Bewildered.”

If Zep is your cup o’ tea, you would call them “Dazed and Confused.”

Whatever, U of L is seriously out of sorts. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Louisville CardFile: Virginia

When a team is mired in a debilitative slump, as are the Louisville Cardinals, losers of 4 of their last 5, 5 of 7, it is human nature to seek out a scapegoat.

Sorry, seasonal affective disorder, which strikes many during dreary, cold, and gray February, doesn’t work.

Nor, frankly, is it fair, as many have been wont to do for the L to UVa, to blame the zebras.

Yes, Saturday’s striped trio — mind you, a Final Four quality officiating crew — made two seriously egregious calls. Still, they are not the reason the Cardinals lost.

Of course, De’Andre Hunter double dribbled in the 1st, instead scoring a +1, after he was given a free pass, and fouled by Jordan Nwora. Jerry Heater almost Teed up apoplectic Chris Mack along the sidelines but held his breath. Nwora immediately answered with one of Louisville’s ten first half treys. And the Cards were uncomfortably ahead by ten at the break.

Yes, after intermission, on the possession subsequent to the one giving UVa a lead for the first time at 47-49, Nwora was incorrectly whistled for a charge. The Cavalier defender’s foot was visibly inside the circle. This time Mack’s wrath did not go unpunished. Hunter’s two charity tosses doubled the Cardinals’ disadvantage.

U of L didn’t recover from that one, never really challenging from that point on. But, as easily as the propensity to blame the refs may come, they were not why Louisville lost. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia

Louisville CardFile: Syracuse

The 2018-19 University of Louisville Cardinals are not the first team to become discombobulated while attempting to decipher Jim Boeheim’s infamous zone defense.

They are not the first team to become disoriented while trying to find its shooting touch in the nation’s largest campus hoops homecourt.

They are simply the latest.

Combine those realities with the fatigue that February’s backended schedule has caused for this thin Cardinal squad, and the verisimilitude that this squad’s clay feet are starting to crack and crumble and you get what happened Wednesday night in Syracuse.

A disheartening 49-69 setback to the Orange. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Syracuse

Louisville CardFile: Clemson

Though it might sound too dramatic, it is frankly not too hyperbolic to say that Jordan Nwora’s focused, intuitive, game-rescuing block of Marcquise Reed’s floater just before the buzzer Saturday afternoon at the Yum! saved the season for the University of Louisville Cardinals.

There is the macro view. One doesn’t need to impose a Jungian Archetype Test to realize how fragile the psyche of some of this band of Cardinals might be. Most of these guys signed on to play for a two-time national champion HoF coach, at a three time national championship program riding high, to play in front of a packed house every game in the World’s Most Whatever Arena.

Now these not yet adults are two coaches, a scandal, a title, and a fractured fanbase removed from what they expected.

Resilient as these young athletes may be, it has to wear.

The micro view. This inarguably overachieving bunch of U of L Cards has failed to hold on to leads late on several occasions. It happened early in the season. It happened most famously the last time out with the whole hoops world watching.

After thirty nine minutes of slogfest — both teams played stultifying defense — the Cardinals appeared clear of Clemson with :17 to play, after a Steven Enoch FT pushed the margin to a three score advantage at 56-49. But a trey by the aforementioned Reed, a mental turnover by Dwayne Sutton and another three by Reed and the Cardinals were treading precariously on quicksand.

The specter of Duke and UVa filled the arena. Would this be disappointing deja vu all over again? Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Clemson

Sifting through the Detritus after Duke

There are Cardinal losses through the decades that have caused me to be as despondent as I was last night when scurrying, head down, out of the Yum!. None more so.

U.S. Reed. SMU in the ’67 Regional Semis. UVa last season.

And the MF of them all, as I, dazed and confused, trundled through the diesel fumes and idling buses outside the arena in San Diego, after a date with the Cats for the national crown was lost to UCLA.

So, I had no words. And so reported.

A fitful night of tossing and turning. Morning sunshine and a blessedly cloudless sky. A long workout to sweat out the toxins. My regular Wednesday lunch with a couple pals. Some laughs. And my tongue has unlocked. I need now to reflect on the wreckage.

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What I must remember most is the reality of how flawed this team is.  Continue reading Sifting through the Detritus after Duke

Tuesday’s Hoop Dee Doo

Late on weekday afternoons during hoops season on ESPNU, they show replays. Sometimes from games the night before, or from the previous weekend. Sometimes classics from the past.

On Monday, in advance of UVa’s bounceback W in Chapel Hill, the station showed a couple of Cavalier/ Tar Heels battles from yesteryear. Which I found both fascinating and telling, fostering memories.

The first was an ACC tourney semi from ’91.

Kentuckian Jeff Jones, then the youngest coach in the land, was leading the Wahoos. Rick Fox and King Rice were ballin’ for Dean Smith. The three point line was that short one they used in its early days.

They cut to the studio for an update from the SEC tourney. John Saunders sidekick was a fella named Rick Pitino with a full head of hair between coaching stops. They chatted briefly about whether Allen Houston, then playing for his dad at Tennessee, would leave early for the NBA.

The play by play and color guys were Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale.  Continue reading Tuesday’s Hoop Dee Doo