Hoops, Hoops & Mo’ Hoops

b-ballLet’s get one thing out of the way at the start.

You’ll find no revelations here about Coach Cal’s infamous tweak, the one that he’s declared is going to turn around UK’s season.

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I’ve been reading Seth Davis’s bio of UCLA legend John Wooden.

It contains two interesting anecdotes, which should be of more than passing interest to U of L fans. Of one I have faint recollection that I might heard it before. The other is a revelation, contrary to a long held understanding.

Wooden was hired by UCLA in the late 40s, right after his Indiana State Sycamores were bested by Peck Hickman’s Louisville Cardinals in the NAIB post-season tourney. At some point, Wooden approached Hickman and asked that he advise if hears of any college coaching positions coming open?

Hickman told him that UCLA was looking for a coach. Which info Hickman knew, because the Bruins had contacted Peck about the job.

I believe I might have heard that story before, but had long since forgotten it.

But here’s a scenario described by Davis that I never knew.

Wooden decided before the ’74-’75 season that it would be his last. He advised Bruin AD J.D. Morgan, who then needed to choose a replacement. Wooden assistant Gary Cunningham was the first choice. He advised he wasn’t interested, that he’d leave when Wooden did, expressing a desire to get out of coaching entirely.1

Davis writes that Morgan did consider Wooden protege, U of L’s Denny Crum, but only briefly. And, according to Davis, not seriously. Morgan focused on Gene Bartow, who was then at Illinois, after his successful stint at Memphis State.

In fact, Bartow was in San Diego at the Final Four, when and where John Wooden finally revealed his impending retirement, advising his players in the locker room after they’d beaten Louisville in OT in the semi-final.

Which is to say, all the worry by U of L fans that Crum was gone back to LA was misplaced. If Davis is correct, Denny Crum was never offered the job, nor seriously considered for it.

Hmmmmmmm? Next time I see Coach Crum, I’ll have to ask him his memory of those events?

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No school from the state of Indiana in the NCAA tournament?2

Say it ain’t so. I mean, what in the name of Calbert Cheaney is going on here?

It just ain’t right.

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Something about the whole Frank Martin suspension doesn’t make sense.

The fiery South Carolina mentor was put down for one game, after he F-bombed and A-bombed one of his players during a timeout in the Gamecock’s televised L to Florida.

Yet, the game before he did exactly the same thing, during the team’s upset of Kentucky. Near the end when it was obvious the Gamecocks would be victors. But with no repercussions.

Guess he got a pass when his gang won. But not after a beatdown by the country’s top-ranked team.

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Much gets made every year about Northwestern’s ofer the NCAA streak. Which, unless the Wildcats win the Big 10 tourney, shall remain in tact.

What about William & Mary? The Tribe3 has also never had its ticket punched to the Big Dance.

This year had to really hurt. The Tribe was six up on the Blue Hens of Delaware with a few ticks over a minute left in the conference title game. And lost.

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In the He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best Dept., who is guffawing at this juncture more than anybody.

The American Athletic Conference, that’s who.

Five teams in the upper upper echelon. Three guards, who seem to be making most all of the All-American teams. Russ Smith. Shabazz Napier. Sean Kilpatrick.

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All who follow statistical rankings with some expertise seem unanimous in the belief that the RPI is not a very good barometer of how good a team might be.4

Yet, yet . . . yet . . . the committee that selects and seeds the schools for the NCAA tournament still uses it a one of its primary considerations in making those choices.

Louisville fans thus need to remember that, despite lofty rankings in both the human and computer polls, the Cardinals RPI rating is 24th. Which translates to a 6 seed.

So, don’t be surprised if the Cards are “underseeded” come Sunday night.

If so, don’t be expecting much immediate comment from Rick Pitino. The team was “underseeded” in ’05. After which, Pitino’s press conference lasted all of about 34 seconds.

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Had enough of this season already? Looking forward to next?

Duke has the nation’s highest rated recruiting class, followed by, in order, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisville and Ohio State.

At least, according to ESPN.

Who am I to disagree?

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For the rest of us, those more in tune with the now.

The Selection Sunday Big Reveal is 98 hours and four minutes away.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Hoops, Hoops & Mo’ Hoops

  1. Every spring, after a winter of rumination, I come upon a “tweak” for my golf game. That small adjustment…grip change, ball position, swing plane change…. that will instantly propel me to lower scores, joy and satisfaction. “I have found the key,” I say. It never works.
    I wonder if Cal plays golf?

  2. I don’t know if he cheats. But I’m sure his caddie takes a ton of shit…along with the clubs

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