Tag Archives: College Hoops

Games That Never Came: U of L vs. Indiana State 3/17/79

Fans, coaches, and athletes of every school, team, franchise, and sport have those “If Only” battles through the years, the ones that never came about. 

This is the third installment  of a here’s-what-never-happened series of indeterminate duration featuring what might have been but never was for various Louisville Cardinal contingents through the decades.

Most always lost in the lament over the extremely disappointing final weeks and eventual meltdown of the ’78-’79 men’s hoops season is the intriguing encounter ahead, had the Cards not lost to Arkansas to end their season.

The Louisville Legend vs. Larry Legend.

Dr. Dunkenstein and mates against The Hick from French Lick and his fella Hoosiers.

The Cardinals would have battled Larry Bird and the undefeated Sycamores of Indiana State, in that school’s first Dance ever, for the opportunity to compete in their fourth Final Four, third of the Denny Crum Era.

But, history books chronicle how that campaign ended with the proverbial whimper, not a bang.

On the morning of February 9, Louisville stood 21-3 after besting Tulane in New Orleans for a 16th W in a row. The Cardinals were ranked #5 in the country by Associated Press. Continue reading Games That Never Came: U of L vs. Indiana State 3/17/79

Games that Never Came: U of L vs. Notre Dame 4/01/18

Fans, coaches, and athletes of every school, team, franchise, and sport have those “If Only” battles through the years, the ones that never came about. 

This here’s-what-never-happened series of indeterminate duration features what might have been but never was for various Louisville Cardinal contingents through the decades.

If you have any suggestions, put them in the Comments section below.

First up, the national championship tilt, Jeff Walz’s women’s basketball squad never played against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2018.

March 30, 2018. Columbus, Ohio.

The U of L Cards suffered a serious setback, down 2, with 2:42 to play in the national semi-final against Mississippi State.

Eye of the Tiger pivot Sam Fuerhing didn’t like a call. She slapped the floor in disgust and frustration. The T was her 5th. DQ.

The Bulldogs converted both charity tosses, for a four point advantage. Continue reading Games that Never Came: U of L vs. Notre Dame 4/01/18

Cardinal Fan Base on the Brink?

Going full PTI on you, let’s play, “What’s the Word?”

The first category from our producer?

“Fans of University of Louisville Men’s Athletics are _______?”

OK, then let’s not beat around the bush, and get immediately to the toughie.




“Gnarly?” (OK, that was just one surfer wannabe I saw wandering through the park with a U of L shirt on.)


Let’s just settle on this. Anecdotally from conversations with many longtime faithful I’ve chatted up in the last little while, the word that comes to mind, in addition to all the above, is “Unhappy!”

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I’ve had a couple of very recent conversations in which I’ve heard not very flattering reflections about U of L’s sports administration. Continue reading Cardinal Fan Base on the Brink?

Hump Day Hustle: Ch . . . Ch . . . Ch . . . Changes!

Now, as we bid a sad adieu to long time Cardinal fan favorite QB Luke McCaffery, let’s take a deep dive into his highlights in the red and black:








I mean really, the memories, so many memories, they boggle the mind. What a career here.

It was, allow me to be brutally honest, really difficult to pick and choose.

I’m sure that CardChronicle.com pigskin guru Keith Wynne will weigh in soon. He’ll have a more astute analysis.

The whole transfer portal thing is wacky enough. And, truly hard for us old school guys to take a liking to.

But this, this is the reality of the current state of affairs in its most severe form.

Mobility reigns.

The kid couldn’t win the job at Nebraska. Transferred to U of L under the delusion he’d immediately become the top dog signal caller. Then, before ever taking to the practice field, realized that wasn’t the case. Nor, obviously it appears, does he have the gumption to try and work for the job.

Luke, got a suggestion for you: Missouri State.

Oh yeah, sayonara. So long, it’s been swell to know ya.

 * * * * *

So, I gots to ask this about Donovan Mitchell.

How come at U of L we never saw this transcendent player he’s become — one of, oh, the ten best in the NBA?

He averaged 7.4 and just under a couple of assists per game as a freshman, on the team that purposely sat out the tourney, per the school prexy. As a soph, he was leading scorer at 15.6, on a 25-9 team that captured U of L’s last NCAA W, a first rounder over Jacksonville State.

But he wasn’t, you know, the Donovan Mitchell who’s taken the NBA by storm, averaging 20.5 ppg and 3.7 apg and 3.7 rpg as a rookie. Increasing those numbers every single season.

Three 45 point playoff performances. Putting him in rare territory.

So, yeah, I wanna know?

Is he simply a late developer? A kid who didn’t discover his mojo until he donned a Jazz jersey?

Or, was he handcuffed as a collegian, by his coach, who advised him he wasn’t ready to play for pay?

Asking for a friend?

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Read a great article today about all the changes in college hoops, and how schools are having to change and add to their staffs.

Analytical experts.

Marketing savants.

Specialized recruiting authorities. For prepsters and portal dwellers.

It’s a whole new game. As if you haven’t noticed.

Which is one of the reasons, I’ve become totally comfortable with Chris Mack’s staff changes.

The idea of Ross McMains is growing on me.

Seems like a bold move.

If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just push him in the portal.

— c d kaplan

U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

The abrupt missive got right to the point.

No words were minced.

It came from the umbrella hoops writer’s association, to which I hope to keep my membership. BABBLE (Basketball America Back Benchers for Literary Excellence).

It was personally signed by organization prexy, Naismith Chamberlain, the only man known to be descended from both the inventor of the game and Wilt the Stilt.

Serious credentials, those. Not to mention, his mentor was Dick “Hoops” Weiss.

Dear Mr. Kaplan:

It comes to our attention that it has been 127 hours since the first reports that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire after the 21-22 season.

You have yet to write an article about the situation. This is a serious breach of organizational protocol.

Should you fail to do so before the end of the next business day, your membership in BABBLE shall be suspended, pending permanent dismissal.

(S) Naismith Chamberlain

Well then, I’d best get to it. Continue reading U of L Cards have Owned Coach K

Fate of Card 9 Caps Year to Forget

I remember the screed, the fuel-fired gist of which, subtle as an Oliver Stone movie, was there was no such thing as 12:00 AM or 12:00 PM.

That there was only 12:00 Noon or 12:00 midnight.

The former of which came midday when the sun was high in the sky; the latter in the dark of night, when the date flips and Cinderella’s carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

Except for this Memorial Day. The Louisville Cardinals’ baseball season expired at High Noon, when their name was not among those designated for a regional in the NCAA tournament.

It was a sad but justified end to this seriously disappointing campaign for the U of L 9.

It was a most appropriate finish to this academic year for the three major men’s sports programs. Continue reading Fate of Card 9 Caps Year to Forget

My Heart Aches; The Sky is Cryin’

I am very sad.

My beloved University of Louisville Cardinal basketball stands precariously on the brink, at the edge of a cliff, staring into the abyss.

Despite all the travails of recent years, most, to be frank, self inflicted, I have never until this very morning awakened with the belief that the program would be shut down for a year. Or more.

Outside the Jefferson County line, U of L hoops has been a pariah for some time now. In the aftermath of the latest imbroglio, the nation’s hoops scribes have commenced piling on.

It is not a good thing.

I need to vent.

I need to stay in touch with the joy my almost seven decades of fandom has wrought. Continue reading My Heart Aches; The Sky is Cryin’

Hump Day Hustle: Shaq>Cards Saga, Fathers/ Sons, Portal Chortle +

There’s been a persistent mythos for decades among some Louisville Cardinal hoops fans like myself, who obsess about such matters.

Which is that, had Shaquille O’Neal not matriculated to LSU, he would have been a Cardinal. Some are even, to this day, of the opinion that he was definitely going to wear the Red & Black, but Dale Brown came with the Benjamins to lure him to Baton Rouge.

The latter of which delusions disregards the reality that Brown might have been only mediocre as a basketball coach, he would have been the star salesman among the Tin Men. Or anywhere. He could sell buggy whips in the late 20th C.. Even to folks not named Mistress Dominatata.

This lore has had more of a half life than my favorite of such. Magic Johnson wanting to play for the Cards, down bit at the half to St. Louis, when he was on a recruiting trip. Love the story. Great story. Never happened. Continue reading Hump Day Hustle: Shaq>Cards Saga, Fathers/ Sons, Portal Chortle +

Whither U of L Hoops?: Some Random Musings

It’s been awhile since we’ve chatted about Louisville Cardinal basketball.

Long past due, don’t you think?

So we will, but I feel compelled to commence, I have to own, with some schadenfreude. Blame it on Lucifer, he makes me do it.

But when I watched the video click this a.m. with my morning java, my smile was as wide as the home stretch of the Derby. Delight ensued.

There was significant Cards’ objet de la haine from not so long ago, Grayson Allen, former Dukie now a Memphis Griz, at the charity stripe with a chance to ice a W, his team up a deuce with two seconds to play.

A 91% FT shooter, he double whiffed. Missed ’em both.

Allowing the amazing Luka Doncic, for whom U of L fans haven’t a bit of negative animus, to drain a game-winning triple at the buzzer, while stumbling forward and awkwardly off an opponent’s foot.

Should I feel guilty that Allen’s choke job brought me joy? Naaaaah! Continue reading Whither U of L Hoops?: Some Random Musings

Baylor: Shouldn’t We Have Known All Along?

There is but small comfort knowing I’m among the many erstwhile college hoops scribes, with a delusional belief in the power of our observations of the game we love so much, who misfired. Or, were leery of pulling the trigger.

We woke up this morning with egg on our faces, before even heading into the kitchen to make breakfast.

It’s not that I picked Gonzaga to win the title. I did not. You can go look.

But I certainly did not listen to myself.

If only I’d had the confidence to listen to my convictions, I’d be able to lord my “expertise” over all this morning after.

On Sunday, after the national semis, I wrote this about the eventual champion: “In its semi-final smackdown, Baylor looked, well, let’s be frank here, UN BEAT A BLE.” Continue reading Baylor: Shouldn’t We Have Known All Along?