Hoopaholic’s Gazette (Diggin’ the Scene with a Pigskin Lean)

b-ballOther than Gisele Bündchen, in the thrill of victory, agony of defeat Wide Wide Wide World of Sports (wider than wide, wide Dixie Highway), the happiest person after Pete Carroll’s epic strategic Super Bowl blunder was Rick Pitino.

Because, The Rick was the leader in the clubhouse, after allowing, condoning then prevaricating a last second trey in regulation against North Carolina, by Montrezl Harrell for heavens’ sake, for ESPY Award’s Boo Boo of the Year.

Fortunately, for the Cardinal hoops mentor, as well as the perplexed, but eventually relieved U of L faithful, the Cards prevailed over the Tar Heels, making for a Saturday Night Alright Alright Alright, save the fighting for the contestants at the end of that football game.

As well as, all together now, The Thrill of Victory.

While Carroll, a befuddled and distraught Paul Allen, the descendants of Jimi Hendrix & Kurt Cobain as well as the übercaffeinated denizens of Seattle’s Starbucks Nation were left with, yes, The Agony of Defeat.1

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As for Coach Gum Chewer’s last second strategic snafu, allow me to pile on.

I’m not sure I can recall in the decades of my septuagenarian sports fandom, any issue about which there has been such unanimity.

There is simply no reasonable explanation whatsoever for a pass over the middle, on 2d & a yard, with the less than a minute to play, timeout in hand, in the Super Bowl, when you can dial up Beast Mode.

Let the flogging continue.

* * * * *

So football season is finally over, except for Johnny Manziel’s rehab, the kerfuffle over the possibility that the Falcons piped taped crowd noise in at the Georgia Dome, lingering Deflategate considerations and dialog about that insurance company’s bummer of a Super Bowl advert.

Which means we can now give our full attention to hoops.

As if we weren’t doing that already.

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In a recent Iowa State game, George Niang banked in a trey from an incalculable spot in the deep corner.

Commentator Reed Gettys observed, “I didn’t know that angle existed.”

In the most erudite retort since Willie the Shakes spent a season on the BBC, covering the English Premier League, excellent play by play announcer Anish Shroff responded, “I’m not sure Euclid knew that angle existed.” 2

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On a personal note, I have been advised by both my physician and therapist to avoid any ESPN games, on which the announcing team is Mike Patrick and Bobby Knight.

Their short diagnosis, in essence, “Life’s too short.”

My doc also advised, and I quote him directly, “There is no antidote for the calamity that exposure to such virulence can cause.”

I’d advise you do the same. If it’s your favorite team playing, do the healthy thing.

Turn off the sound. Or prepare for the pox.

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Former C-J hoops writer C.L. Brown was in town for the U of L/ Carolina encounter.

He now covers the ACC for espn.com, and is stationed in Tobacco Road.

So I asked him what the skinny is on the Rasheed Sulaimon affair in Blue Devil Country.

He shook his head. “I don’t know. They’ve got a pretty hefty firewall over there.”

* * * * *

Even though UK is an 18 point fave over Georgia tonight, the game is still getting some attention, since the Bulldogs are considered the best of the also rans in the SEC.

Mark Fox’s team has No Chance. The Athenians’ leading scorer and rebounder Marcus Thornton won’t play. Looks like another happy night for Ashley Judd.

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The Big 12 seems to be the Flavor of the Month, heralded, as the league is, by more than a few pundits, as “clearly” the best top to bottom in the country.

Six schools — Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Iowa State — are considered Top 25.

But, after Rock Chalk Jayhawk prevailed last night at the Al, league standings look just the same as they ever was. Kansas, which has won the league every year since Wilt Chamberlain played pivot before jumping to the Globetrotters, sits at the top with but a single league setback.

Bobby Huggs’ Mountaineers are perched a game and a half behind. Love him, or, more likely, hate him. The former Cincy leader who bedeviled U of L for seasons, can really coach. And this WVa squad has the look of team you won’t want to draw on your Big Dance card.

* * * * *

Despite its rather glossy 18-3 record,  there lingers significant consternation among the Red & Black faithful.

Oh, how we fret.

But . . . the Cardinals have three Ws over Top 25 schools. And the only Ls have been to Top 15 squads.

Statistically, U of L ranks in the Top 25 in ten categories, both offensive and defensive (#8 in steals, #10 in blocked shots, #11 in scoring margin, #12 in rebounds/game, #15 in turnover margin, #17 in FG % defense, #18 in threeball % defense, #18 in offensive rebounds and #25 in scoring defense).

As for the cacophony of criticism aimed toward favorite whipping boy Wayne Blackshear, consider this.

He’s averaging 11.4 ppg. And 4.8 rpg.

As an undersized SF, who is the team’s fourth option, and for whom there aren’t many plays run to set him up.

Just sayin’.

* * * * *

Okay, one more thing about football.

I’m not sure I’m all that distraught by the Devonte’ Fields commitment to Louisville.

He’s never been convicted of anything. You know, there’s that old innocent-until-proven-guilty adage, as inconvenient as it might be for some folks.

And, kids, nay everybody, deserves a second chance.

I am however sad that U of L hasn’t quite risen to the status where more *****s with unblemished lifestyles consider matriculating to the Belknap campus right out of high school for their higher education.

* * * * *

Okay, one baseball thing, before I return to hoops.

There’s a new MLB commissioner. His name is Rob Manfred.

And he’s already in a batting slump in his first days on the job. Striking out in his first at bat.

One of his initial goals is to try and outlaw those suddenly popular defensive position shifts, that are becoming all the rage, now that computerized statistics have ingrained themselves into the national pastime.

This is an idea so godawful, unwarranted and ill advised, it may get Pete Carroll off the hook for snatching defeat from the maw of victory in the Super Bowl.

If a batter is so unwilling to alter his strategy at the plate, and hit to all fields, why should he, as an unwilling to adapt to the circumstances pull hitter, be rewarded by Manfred’s proposed abomination of the spirit of the game?

Whatever happened to “Hit ’em where they ain’t?”

This is an idea that Manfred should quietly toss in the trash can, and neither think of nor mention again.

* * * * *

Today’s Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa State, West Virginia.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Hoopaholic’s Gazette (Diggin’ the Scene with a Pigskin Lean)

  1. Niang must have pulled out old film of Lynn Schackleford from UCLA, or Kenny Sears from the Knicks, who both used the high part of the glass from the low wing/corner with regularity.

  2. Regarding Mr Fields. We all know that the highly popular position now is to pillage&post any athlete that is charged with abuse of a woman. All good–esp’ly after seeing Ray Rice deck his fiance on the elevator. To a degree.

    But, (even without considering the innocent until proven guilty” mantra upon which our country was founded), let’s suppose he did strike his gf after finding her in a compromising position with a “friend”. Should this moment of emotionally charged reaction blacklist this young man so that his future as a college grad/professional athlete is finished before it starts?

    Though I am not a criminal law scholar, I recall that if one sees ones wife or sig/other engaged in a tryst with another man, it can be used as a complete defense to a murder charge, which is obviously more severe than the punch he allegedly threw toward her. Besides, his “story” (I am told) is that he tried to punch the dude and she tried to protect her companion from Mr Field’s savage attack and she therefore took a Jackie Gleason right in the kisser, Alice. Plus, she recanted the allegation that he showed up with a gun which, in my opinion, would be the most serious allegation made, if true, even in free-packing Texas.

    Unlike Mr Crawford, Mr. Forte and others, I don’t pretend to know the truth at all, and I am sure that TomJ and Coach P know the young man and the situation a lot better than I ever will. With that said, I am proud that we filter through young men that deserve a second chance, assuming again, that they really do deserve one. For my part, I trust in the ath.dept and if he is good enough for them, he’s good enough for me.

    As to your second point, I also wish that our FB team could recruit 5 stars with the traditional powers, but i doubt that will ever happen in my lifetime, much less yours, old man. Unless, of course, we go all rogue/SMU. For me, I will take our present tactic of taking a few guys that deserve a second chance and hope that they will be motivated by the ability to regain their fame and stature and work to excel both on and off the field.

    Of course, we should be prepared to take some public relations hits in our present day knee-jerk sports reporting society. After all, we do have 2 “second chance” coaches leading our marque programs. But, as seen on numerous national sports boards since Fields committed, I refuse to not fire back when the righteous Cat fans proclaim indignation toward us and claim that we are Out-Law U. Unless they immediately dismiss all 3 EKU attackers (who all already have been give one second chance after they forced a lock down of the campus after their fun filled night with air rifles) they have no moral ground to stand upon.

    Will that stop ém? Of course not–but just enjoy laughing at their stupid blue mind set whenever you see a “CatFor#9” post on a local or national sports board.

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