The astute among you should be able to quickly answer this question.
What do the Georgia State Panthers and Gonzaga Bulldogs have in common this season?
Very good, class, each of those school’s squads has a former U of L Cardinal, as well as a former UK Wildcat.
The leading scorer for the 15-7 Panthers, who currently sit 2d in the Sun Belt, is one Ryan Harrow. Who has the singular distinction of being the only former Coach Cal PG of the last, oh, decade or so, not to be talked about in hushed, reverential tones.
Harrow’s averaging 20.6 ppg, while hitting 49.7% of his shots, and 4.3 apg.
His more nationally renown teammate Kevin Ware is the school’s third leading scorer, at 8.3 ppg in 29+ minutes of action per.
Mark Few’s Zags stand 22-1, sitting as they usually do, undefeated, at the top of the WCC standings. And are actually playing well enough at both ends of the court to maybe, perhaps, possibly finally make it to their first Final Four.1
Gonzaga’s leading scorer is that other former Wildcat who escaped the BBN, Kyle Wiltjer. He’s averaging 15.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg, while playing only 26 minutes a tilt, 5th most on the team.
Meanwhile, former Cardinal Angel Nunez is averaging 3.6 ppg in only eight minutes of clock on the court.
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A big Kentucky fan I know, a decent fellow, but oh so very full of schadenfreude — Read: He Hates Hates Hates U of L and never passes up an opportunity to let it be known — was, for some reason, in Miami this week. And, inexplicably chose to spend some of his time there in Coral Gables, sitting close to the U of L bench during the game the other night against the ‘Canes.
He posted a photo on Facebook of That Coach Who Shall Remain Nameless Who Coached At Both Schools, while assuring his friends that he rooted as vehemently as possible, though unsuccessfully, for a Miami W.
Of course, the usual virulent banter ensued among members of the rivals’ fan bases.
One UK fan mentioned disparagingly how there are no Cardinals currently playing in the NBA, as opposed to all those former Cats.2
His point is worth considering. He is correct that U of L has sent very few ballers to the League during the Pitino Era.
Nor, did many make it for pay during the Denny Crum Era. Which the two-time national champ, Hall of Fame mentor pointed out to me years ago during an extensive interview. While he certainly didn’t wish such fate on his former players, he took it as a point of pride that the Cards were so successful,3 without a lot of future pros.
All of which colloquy confirms yet another difference of opinion between feathers and fur.
As if we needed more.
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If you don’t read Mark Titus’s weekly College Hoops Top 12 at Grantland.com, shame on ya.
He’s the very astute, very literate, very funny pundit, originally from Indy, who walked on at Ohio State. During his stay in Columbus, he blogged about his hoops experience, and wrote a book about it.
Love his perspective.
Anyway, he has an interesting, well-observed take on the current Cardinals, whom he ranks 10th this week. You can read it here.
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Quick football recruiting note. (But don’t pass it by, Cards and Cats fans, it’s about your teams.)
First, let me say, I paid very little attention to all the signing silliness yesterday. Enough indulgence already.
But, if my arithmetic is correct, it would appear that there were only six seniors in the Commonwealth of Kentucky good enough to sign with a Power 5 league school, or other recognized national name.
Louisville signed Zero Kentucky prepsters.
UK inked two.
Four others chose Alabama, Michigan State, Purdue and BYU. And, considering those last two of consequence is a push.
Which underscores yet again, that any success the Cards and Cats have is surprising.
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While I find Bill Raftery way too cute, way too often, while announcing games, he’s a very nice, engaging fellow. An easy chat up in the media buffet line.
So, I’m happy for him, and that he’ll join Jim Nantz and Grant Hill on Final Four coverage.
I did wonder why no Greg Anthony? Was he too erudite for these times to continue as a color guy?
Turns out, he’s in a bit of legal trouble. Seems he’s charged with soliciting a lady of the night, and offering to pay her cash $$$$US for her pleasures.
Which is apparently why CBS/Turner decided to, as the euphemism goes, “move in another direction.”
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Not to beat a dead horse, but I must note that, during his pre-UVA presser, Rick Pitino mentioned several times what a good season Wayne Blackshear is having.
Here’s a link to my U of L/ Miami game story, in which I take on the topic of Wayne vs.the Cardinal fans who aren’t pleased with his game.
Today’s Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Virginia, West Virginia.
— Seedy K