Hoopaholic’s Gazette: 2015’s Last Morning After

b-ballIt is a dark and stormy day.

A real Edward Bulwer-Lytton kind of day.

E B-L’s the British novelist, who opened a novel with the now hackneyed sentence paraphrased above.

Sometimes, even the most overused descriptor is the most appropriate. Which, I suppose, is reason why such are so overused.

Before tipoff of the Badgers vs. Blue Devils title match, I got a text from SmartGuy. “It feels like closing night.”

True dat.

And the end of this college hoops campaign is especially depressing, given that the victor is the most despised of all the programs in the land. When what could have been a season of historic resonance was thwarted in the semi-finals. When a feel good story out of Cheese Country coulda, woulda, shoulda, but wasn’t.

No Cinderella. Nothing to make us feel all goosey inside.

Just Duke. Again.

Coach K, now with five titles, the most of any coach not named Wooden.

And four freshman. (Somewhat relevant video to follow. I can’t help myself.)

* * * * *

In a season when the caterwauling about one-and-done ballers reached epic proportions, when most of the enmity about the phenomenon was directed toward John Calipari and his UK NBA Draft mill, the school formerly known as the bastion of “all that’s supposed to be right about college basketball,”1 Duke prevailed over seasoned Wisconsin.

Thanks to this remarkable stat:

Every single one of Duke’s second half points was scored by a freshman, 60 of 68 for the whole game.

See my jaw drop.

* * * * *

Grayson Allen : Duke ’15 :: Luke Hancock : U of L ’13.

Everybody who saw this kid coming, raise you hand?

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

When the Blue Devils fell behind by 9 with 13:23 to play, Allen catalyzed their comeback with a trey moments later, and scored Duke’s next 5 in a row.

The kid, bad hair and all, was ready. Taking nothing away from Tyus Jones’s MOP performance, Allen was the difference.

* * * * *

Bo Ryan is known to be prickly of nature.

His ingratious post-game comments were most unbecoming.

His hardly veiled plaints about bad officiating and “rent a players” reeked of sour grapes.

His disappointment is certainly understandable. How he expressed it, execrable.

A couple of odd officiating decisions notwithstanding,  ones that might have altered the outcome,2 the Badgers simply weren’t up to the moment last night.

* * * * *

I’m not going to get into analytics here, just to say, one guy’s opinion, what Mike Krzyzewski has accomplished is, at the very least, equal to the success of John Wooden. And, frankly, for any number of reasons, more impressive. To me, anyway.

Hate him if you must, he’s the best.

* * * * *

Moving On:

Frankly, as a U of L fan, I’m sad that Trey Lewis, formerly of Cleveland State, is becoming a one and done Cardinal.

Of course, I’ll root for him. He may be a great kid, and a major contributor next season. I simply would have preferred that The Rick went for younger players and built the program back from bottom up.

It smacks of desperation.

* * * * *

Speaking of next season, cbssports.com’s Gary Parrish has, this morning after, revealed his wisely named “Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one).”

Nowhere to be found: The University of Louisville Cardinals.

Kentucky is ranked third, behind UVa and North Carolina.

IU is ranked #12. Duke is #15.Maryland and Kansas fill out the Top 5.

You can see the whole list here.

— Seedy K

9 thoughts on “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: 2015’s Last Morning After

  1. I lost some respect for Bo last night. His teams play beautiful basketball, but I guess his age and the Badgers need to rebuild may have gotten the better of him. Still, to think that Cow got in the HOF before him boggles my mind. IMHO, Cal couldn’t coach a bunch of girl scouts to give away cookies on a fat farm. His record at Ky is pretty shameful considering the overwhelming talent he has “recruited” to Lexington.

    I would hope that the recent book published by the uncle of a former Mempiss player, who is a pastor of some sort, detailing that Asst Coach Tony Barbee gave the uncle $20,000 for the kid to sign with MSU while Cal was the head coach will lead to something…but probably not…which leads me to suspect that everybody is probably doing it to some degree…..

    Speaking of Lexington…I was in Court there yesterday. The whole town was in mourning. It did my Cardinal heart good to see the suffering—esp’ly after listening to Matty J on the ride back. A fat Cat fan in a handicapped van was stopped in traffic behind me. I guess she saw my cardinal license plate and she laid on her horn and shook her fist at me at a stop light. I guess I should have taken my plate off before I entered Fayette Co. LOL!

    Speaking of rebuilding, I think we can all agree that next year is the first time in a long time we shouldn’t have great expectations. But then neither did ND this year and they turned out to be pretty good. I tend to agree about building from the bottom up, but in today’s college basketball, that may not be possible without one-and-dones which we just can’t get. Plus, Rick isn’t getting any younger and i am sure he doesn’t want a post 2005-2008 period to settle back in and finish on his sword like Denny did.

    As for Coach Ratface, he doesn’t bother me like he used to—I guess Cal is now public enemy number one…but I still think something just doesn’t add up there…

  2. Duke’s freshman had the athleticism of Cal’s plus strong fundamentals at the defensive as well as offensive end (exception W-C-S and little Ulis). It was the Blue Devil’s combination of fundamentals plus athleticism that could take Dekker and Gasser et al off their previously great game. AAU does not focus on D or fundamentals. Judging by Rick’s boys and Cal’s kids neither of them do, while “K” must

  3. Last night, after the game, Seth Greenberg delivered a most insightful description of what goes on and how fast it goes on for the losing coach after a big game loss, i.e. the time he has to prepare to talk to his players and how quickly he is then moved to the press conference. From final horn to in front of a mic is no more than a few minutes. We all need to take a deep breath and cut Bo Ryan a large section of slack. You deal with the disappointment of a lifetime, have to talk to your players and then confront a bunch of reporters who have the brilliance to muster , “So how do you feel?”
    That aside, he had legit complaints about the officiating. It didn’t change the outcome but the officiating in the tournament as a whole was pretty bad. Something needs to be done about college officiating.
    I’m not a fan of Cal. I find him, well.. unctuous. But it’s interesting that he’s a cradle robber if he brings in one-and-dones, but if Coach K does the same thing, he’s “adapting to the times.”
    I just saw a 2015-2016 poll on ESPN that has the Cards 19th and pretty much right where they left off in the ACC: behind Virginia, ND, NC, NC State and Duke.
    Finally, good for Duke. Coach K and his freshmen were terrific. Who would have thought they could beat Wisconsin with Okafor as a non-factor. That’s coaching!

  4. I heard Greenberg’s observations. Well taken. However, Ryan’s reaction, to me, indicated an innate lack of graciousness.

  5. I think that the faith of Kentucky fans in Calipari and one-and-done has been deeply, deeply shaken by the loss to Wisconsin [and on the heels of the loss to an underwhelming Connecticut team in 2014].
    Coach K can get away with a reliance on freshmen and OAD players for several reasons: notably, Coach K can actually coach.
    Pitino’s addition of Trey Lewis seems desperate to me, although I think it’s necessary and clever. Rick’s somehow painted himself into a corner on the OAD-issue. It brings back memories of Denny Crum, the 3-point shot, and his unwillingness to adapt late in his career.

  6. I disagree with your statement that Dook is “the most despised of all the programs in the land.” That distinction belongs to the Lexington Basketball Factory. Here is Chocolate City, most folks curl their lip and look like they’ve smelled carrion when Cal, UK or their players are mentioned (with the exception of John Wall, who we all love, now that he is a member of the Bullets*.) Besides, if I had a son who had mad D1 skills and was being courted by the elite cage programs, I would very much want him to play for K and matriculate at Dook. It’s a fine school, hoops program, and K’s alumni usually do very well for themselves.

    (* I cannot bring myself to use the “W word.”)

  7. It would be interesting to see a survey as to whether UK or Duke is hated more nationally? I’d bet Duke would be so designated, because the BBN would inundate the pollsters with responses, thereby skewing the results. I stand by what I said. Dickie V’s incessant braying about Duke through the years has simply turned people against the Blue Devils. We’re tired of hearing it.

  8. Your question about which team is most hated is interesting. It’s probably a wash because the only two states in the US of A that really care about college basketball are Ky. and N.C. That was proved to me when I read a story recently that said that tv ratings for baseball are higher than college basketballj during their respective seasons. Of course college and pro football were miles ahead of both, as was NASCAR which I can’t understand at all! But my guess is that the average person in middle America doesn’t give a rat’s behind about either Duke or UK basketball, but does have an opinion on Mich. and OSU football!

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