Updated 1/21 at 1:15.
The dunk, ah yes, The Dunk.
Well, ever the contrarian, I shall not start with that moment. Though, rest easy and be patient, I shall get to it soon enough.
After all it has hoopaholics locally and across the B-ball universe ODing. And, should Dickie V have been telecasting U of L’s 84-65 W over Florida State, we may have had the unfortunate pleasure of watching him implode with hyperbole before our very eyes, his viscera blasting through 55 inch Samsungs across the country. (Thankfully he was elsewhere.)
So, yes, more in a bit about Donovan Mitchell’s splendorous slam, and its place in Cardinal lore. But first, I want to talk about my favorite play of his last night. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State
Closing the Deal.
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Rare is the team whose fatal flaws — the ones that shall spell ultimate doom — don’t manifest themselves during the course of a long, long season.
There are exceptions. The recent Kemba Walker-led UConn Huskies were certainly were one outfit that overcame previous bouts of malaise to win it all. This year’s Kentucky Wildcats might be another.
The Louisville Cardinals, with 31 Ws against but six losses, proved the rule. Not the exception.
Closing the Deal. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Kentucky
Rule #1: Survive and advance.
It was no less an authority than Al McGuire, who once opined that you’d always have at least two nailbiters along the way, if you were going to advance in The Dance.
Last night, the Cardinals got one out of the way — 71-64 over Manhattan — in the Round of 64.
Remember style points matter not in the tournament. There are no Russian judges to please.
Score more points than the other team. Play in the next round.
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At THE critical juncture of last night’s heart attack of a game, I was reminded of a conversation with Luke Hancock at Media Day before the season. I asked him how the Cards were going to fill the void of leadership with Peyton and Gorgui gone?
Without haughtiness or bravado, but with steel-eyed quiet confidence, he looked at me and said, “I’d like to think I had something to do with that.”
Point taken. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Manhattan
Okay, hmmm, uh . . . well . . . uh, ahem (throat cleared) . . . uh, well . . . uh . . . okay . . .
. . . Truth: There’s simply not much even a verbose fellow like myself can say about that, uh, I guess you can call it a game against Rutgers.
Of course, I’m sure I’ll find some things to say, if only to keep you occupied for a few more minutes. Though, to be honest, there’s really nothing to dissect about yesterday’s 61 point blowout.
Louisville is much better. Louisville was ready to play.
Rutgers sucks. Rutgers wasn’t ready to compete. Rutgers quit.
The Scarlet Knights should be ashamed. Coach and former star Eddie Jordan should be ashamed. AD Julie Hermann should be ashamed. Calista Flockhart, Mario Batali, Alexi Lalas, David Stern — notable Rutgers alums all — should be ashamed. And I’m sure Paul Robeson and James Gandolfini, also grads, who surely watched in the clouds, were both disgusted and ashamed. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Rutgers
It is said this is the winningest senior class in U of L basketball history.
116 Ws. Which is not to mention two Final Fours and a national title. And counting. The Cards seem to have swallowed the pill to make that number — those numbers — larger. Go ask Alice.
Ever the contrarian, I feel compelled to ask. Shouldn’t we count the 20 wins from SVT’s freshman year? After all, this is his fifth season as a Cardinal.
Or subtract from the total those of the transfer season that Luke Hancock sat out?
Do we call in the Roger Maris Asterisk Committee?
Of course not. Just wanted you to know I’m paying attention.
I do recall an indelible moment, which memory puts this incredible recent run by the Louisville Cardinals in perspective.
Join Mr. Peabody, Sherman and me in the Way Back Machine, as we travel to the basketball luncheon before the ’10-’11 season. Continue reading Louisville Card File: UConn
On a night when there were Cowboys in the corral, past, present and always — That would be Troy Aikman, Tony Romo and Jerry Jones — they were confronted with the new sheriffs in town.
Not TV’s Hannibal Heyes and Jedidiah “Kid” Curry, but the REAL Alias Smith and Jones — That would be Russ and Chris — who rode into town, tamed the Mustangs, went veni, vidi, vici before the school marms could flutter their lashes and were vámonos with a W before Dubya in the front row could figure out what was happening.
Yes, kids, it was that kind of victory. One to savor. One to joke about. One worthy of the most purple of prose.
Thus I must opine that the 7300 or so rabid SMU fans did not savor a Night In White Satin.
They remain in Search of the Lost Chord.
Their Days of Future (have) Passed. At least momentarily. Continue reading Louisville Card File: SMU
There is, of course, much to be said of Not So Silent L’s best game ever as a Cardinal. And I shall in due course.
USBWA requirements mandate I talk about that whole ejection thing, and the play that precipitated it. So surely I will.
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But first, a breakdown of the most important four minutes and 29 seconds of U of L’s season so far.
U of L led by 6 at the half. A lead which the Huskies swallowed in a rush at the start of the 2d, on 3 FTs and a Shabazz Napier trey. Immediately after which @ 18:31, The Rick called one of those patented knee jerk timeouts of his.
Wise move on Pitino’s part.
Coming out of the timeout, Luke Hancock drained a three. 37-34. Boom!
Then Terry Rozier tallied on a lay up. 39-34. Pow!
Followed by another Hancock score on a driving layup +1. 42-34. Bang!
Soon thereafter, Russ Smith, said “I can do that too.” Layup +1. 45-34. Bam!
In a Gampel Arena more raucous than Jay and Dickie had ever seen it, in a truly important league game for both teams, the Cardinals displayed their steel for the first time this season.
They grabbed the game by the short and curlies. More important, they never let go. Continue reading Louisville Card File: UConn
One’s expectation about the actions of others is a pot of resentment ready to boil.
When Wayne Blackshear committed his 5th foul yesterday with 4:07 to play, a fellow behind me turned into a Ralph Steadman caricature. Bellicose and frothing at the mouth, he bellowed, “Sit down Blackshear, that’s where the hell you belong, on the damn bench.”
Such animosity is my least favorite trait of ardent fandom. Many take personally play that is less than the stellar standard we expect. It’s as if the guy figures Blackshear is bagging it just to piss them off.
I bring up Blackshear because a) the Cardinal Nation has been expecting more from the Golden Arches All-American than he has delivered so far, and b) one guy’s opinion, the Chicagoan is the X factor on this Cardinal squad that’s still searching for its identity, personality, and success in March. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Southern Methodist
During halftime, as I usually do, I wandered from the press area over to my peeps for a quick breakdown of the game.
My greeting: “Welcome to the 2014 Louisville Cardinals. This isn’t a very good basketball team.”
Doc is a double alum, a long time diehard, and a fellow more inclined to doom and gloom than myself. Which is saying something.
He simply shook his head in agreement.
Then said, “This is a lose to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT kind of team.”
Ouch. My knee jerk reaction: “Oh, these guys will make the NCAA.”
Which knee jerk reaction, I, frankly, reassessed on the ride home after the L. My certitude is wavering. Continue reading Louisville Card File: Memphis State
Let me start out by repeating myself.
I know, as if, that isn’t my normal M O.
Any conference W on the road is a good one. No matter how abysmal the foe may be. Period.
Don’t believe me? Today’s referrals: UConn, again. Duke, who learned how strange things most always seem to happen when visiting South Bend. And, Oklahoma State, who came up short in Manhattan. Kansas, that is.
Yeah, I know the Bearcats won in Memphis. I would offer that it’s that old exception, proving the rule thing.
The Cards win at RAC was U.G.L.Y.
So what? A win is a win is a . . . Continue reading Louisville Card File: Rutgers