Throwdown Thursday: Cats Roll, Knights Stymied & Mo’

b-ballOther than his remarkable way with words, I don’t know much about T.S. Eliot.

Except this. He wasn’t a college basketball fan.

Contrary to his famous poesy, March, not April, is the cruelest month.

As the commercial goes, “everybody knows that.”

But, did you know . . .

. . . as with Murray State, whose chances for the Dance were thwarted by a late, late long ball, and whose advancement in the NIT was dispatched by a midcourt miracle, Bellarmine’s season was abruptly terminated last night in the DII national semis by a treybomb with the clock winding down?

Damn it.

In a scintillating basketball game, which met my expectations that it would be the most intriguing and exciting of the evening, top-ranked, top-seeded Florida Southern 79, Bellarmine 76.

That the game came down to the wire is a testament to the Knight’s unrelenting fortitude. Nervous, out of sync, BU fell behind by 18, 11-29, less than ten minutes into the action. Then their stunning comeback commenced.

Despite the woeful start, the Knights were only down four at intermission.

They continued to chase the Mocs, catching up after the break at 42 all, again at 53 apiece. Finally, with 9:27 to play, Corbin Maynard’s three pushed Bellarmine ahead for the first time all night, 62-59.1

The Knights stayed steady, keeping the Mocs measured . . . until the game turning sequence that Knights’ players, coaches and fans shan’t easily shake from their memories.

The Knights gained their second 5 point advantage, 72-67, with 4:19 to play on a Rusty Troutman layup off a feed from Chris Whitehead.

Then, much quicker than a plane flying into the side of a French Alp, disaster struck. FS’s Dominique Wilson drained a three. At the same moment, George Suggs, jostling for rebounding position, was whistled for his fifth foul. Michael Volovic bucketed both FTs, for a five point, game tying possession.

72-72. Uncle Mo switched benches.

Despite forging ahead by four at 76-72, the Knights, after playing from behind most of the evening against a more athletic, slightly more talented outfit, were spent, giving up the game’s final 7 points. Rusty Troutman, gassed, lost the ball with the score knotted and :40 to play. Weary Corbin Maynard simply couldn’t check the Mocs’ Kevin Capers as he launched the game winner at :08. Chris Whitehead’s attempt to tie didn’t come close.2

* * * * *

West Virginia’s fate was sealed the day before the game tipped off.

After Daxter Miles Jr. uttered his brash and idiotic putdown of the Cats on Wednesday, Bobby Huggs team was in ICU on life support with 0% chance of survival.

I viewed but a few minutes of this evisceration by the stampeding Kentucky Wildcats.

It was like watching action on the killing floor at a Butchertown abattoir. The Cats were slicing and dicing at will. The Mountaineers were processed oink, soon to be found in lunch boxes around the commonwealth, mayoed up between two slices of Wonder Bread.

Miles Jr.’s walk did not match his talk. No points. No impact. No comment.

Kentucky, undefeated, continues to impress.

* * * * *

Last week’s Wichita State vs. Kansas in Omaha was to the Sunshine State as Louisville vs. Kentucky in Knoxville was to the Dark & Bloody Ground in 1983.

The “underdog,” “little brother” city school prevailed.

Only to be eliminated from the Dance the following weekend.

What Houston was to U of L, Notre Dame was to Wichita State. Though the Wheatshockers never posted last night in the Round of 16. The Fighting Irish took charge from the get go, and the flat Shockers never caught up. Sayonara.

Note: The only thing more stupid than Greg Marshall taking the Alabama job would be for Bobby Hurley to fill the DePaul opening.

* * * * *

On this 50th anniversary of the release of “The Sound of Music,” here is one of my favorite things.

To this day, decades after his career ended, Louisville Cardinal Hall of Famer Wes Unseld’s name continues to be invoked every single time a player makes a long outlet pass. I mean, every time, without fail.3

Happened again last night, when the Tar Heels’ Kennedy Meeks fired the rock down court for a Carolina breakout.

To no avail.

The Wisconsin Badgers are steady as she goes. They stand 115-3 in the last five seasons, when up with 5:00 to play. 32 and zed this season.

With six minutes plus left to play, the guys in Carolina blue were up 4. 1:31 later, with the clock reading 5:11, Bucky’s Buzzcuts were up 5, after a 9 nil run. Now they’re 33-0 this season, when leading at the five minute mark.

Next up: Wisconsin vs. Arizona. Sweet.

* * * * *

Xavier’s got a player named Miles Davis.


— Seedy K