Tag Archives: NCAA Tournament

Cards Salvage Series, Sweep Two

The U of L Nine’s seriously important weekend series against the dudes from the Land o’ Crash Davis had, shall we say, an inauspicious beginning.

After Friday night Cardinal ace Michael Kirian’s first 7 pitches in front of increased attendance at The Jim, Louisville was down, 0-3.

It was only the beginning of troubles.

Meanwhile Duke hurler Jack Savoy, if not exactly Ebby Calvin LaLoosh after Annie Savoy fixed his mechanics, did go seven, surrendering just 4 hits and a lone run.

After a disastrous weekend at Clemson, where the Cards came away clobbered Dabo-style, they had bounced back Tuesday against the Commodores. Yet Louisville’s necessary midweek W over vaunted Vanderbilt had nary a smidgen of carry over effect.

Cards bats were somnambulant. Continue reading Cards Salvage Series, Sweep Two

Pesky, Persistent Cards fall in Hockey Shootout Semi

Context: My relationship with field hockey was a score of years ago, short-lived, and lasted for only several years.

The prepster-aged daughters of friends played for their schools. I learned the importance of the season-opening Apple Tourney.

My last game watched before yesterday was during that bygone interlude, when a Collegiate Amazon, who lived in my condo building, scored a scintillating, break away goal to win the state championship.

Despite a general lack of expertise and full understanding of the sport, I shall report on U of L’s heartbreaking defeat to Michigan.

Here’s what I do know beyond peradventure, be the hockey on ice, or artificial turf.

You got to put the biscuit in the basket. Continue reading Pesky, Persistent Cards fall in Hockey Shootout Semi

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?

Hoopaholic’s Countdown to Tipoff

What I still haven’t figured out yet in advance of watching tonight’s to die for Gonzaga vs. Baylor clash for the title is caffeination level.

I have the same conundrum every year on the last Monday of the season.

I’m an early to bed early to rise hoopaholic. The 9:20 tip time is frankly mighty close to when I usually hit the hay. I forget from year to year exactly when I should consume an energy boosting beverage, so that I’ll be alert the whole game, but be able to fall asleep after One Shining Moment?

Do I take one of the several green tea laced drinks in the fridge? A cup of joe? And, more important, how much and at what time?

Decisions, decisions.

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Other than that, I’m wondering just how historical is this matchup between clearly the two finest squads in the land? Teams that were supposed to be the best heading into the season, and remained the best throughout. Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Countdown to Tipoff

Now for the One We’ve Been Waiting For

What a long strange trip it’s been.

After a Bill Waltonish, did we really swallow the brown acid, twirly bird stop and start season we have been forced to watch from our recliners, we get to the One We’ve Been Waiting For.

Ali vs Frazier.

Lily vs. Chuck, Spike & Samuel L..

Attila the Hun vs Hannibal Barca.

Godzilla vs. Kong.

Gonzaga vs. Baylor.

But, oh my, how about Saturday night’s prelude? Continue reading Now for the One We’ve Been Waiting For

Hoops & Pucks: Dancin’ on Saturday

OK then, getting in touch with my inner Paul Harvey, here’s the Rest of the Story.

The it’s-probably-interesting-only-to-me tale of my ’63 Loyola championship t-shirt, come and gone and coming again, sigh, later rather than sooner.

Yeah, I jump on the touch the hem of Sister Jean’s Rambler letter jacket as much as the next hoopaholic. But my affection for the maroon and gold is legit, and long-lived. The Professor and I were in the Hall when the underdog Ramblers bested reigning two-time national champ Cincy for the crown.

So, sometime years ago, surfing the interweb, looking for some garment to purchase I didn’t really need, I came across the maroon and gold beauty. All the better that I’d be able to lord it over my fellow hoopaholics at our next meeting.

At some point, I gave it away. Much to my chagrin this post season, when the lads from the Second City turned out to be the Darlings of the Dance.

I’d forgotten to whom I’d passed it along. Until last Monday, when I got a text from my pal, a Loyola grad, to whom I’d bestowed it. He included a photo. “You’re killin’ me here,” I responded.

Then I culled the Google for a duplicate, hopefully to arrive in time for Saturday’s Round of 16. Nuttn’ honey.

(Stick with me sports fans, I’ll get to the real stuff in just a sec. Bear with me. I need to vent.) Continue reading Hoops & Pucks: Dancin’ on Saturday

Cards start Slow then Roll, Monster Mash a-comin’? & More from Day 4

The Battle of the Behemoths is inevitable.

I, without a scintilla of prevarication, absolutely, positively guarantee it shall come to pass.

Walter Sobchak, mark it ten.

If not Baylor vs. Gonzaga, and more about that in just a sec, there shall be Godzilla vs. Kong at a cineplex near you starting this Thursday.

(FYI, there are actual odds on that battle. King Kong is -150. I’m goin’ with the ‘Zill, because it rhymes with the Ville.)

As for the Dance, the Bears vs. the Bulldogs is far from a given.

But, as much as I hate chalk, it would be a fitting end to this berserko season, and the Big Dance that always — always — delivers.

Here’s my analogy, a stretch perhaps. Won”t be my first, or the last. Continue reading Cards start Slow then Roll, Monster Mash a-comin’? & More from Day 4

Big Dance Cliché Rules: NCAA Day 3

“This is what the NCAA tournament is all about!”

How many times have we heard it? Through the years? The last three days?

A lot.

When the visual is Javion Hamlet’s dad, in his homemade North Texas sweatshirt, running up and down the aisles. Or Eric Musselman, flush with a Wooooo Pig Soooey victory, standing on a table.

Or, iconic Sister Jean in her Loyola jacket, applauding the Ramblers take down of the Illini.

The story about how Rutgers’ Jacob Young is the son of Phi Slamma Jama’s Michael Young. (Though I could do without the footage of the ’83 semi-final game.)

I’m somewhat more inclined to think of it describing the moments actually on the court.

Like 15 seed Oral Roberts, ranked #129 by Ken Pomeroy, coming from 11 down with under ten minutes to play to upend Florida.

Or, Oregon State, whom neither you nor I gave a nanosecond of thought to during the season, taking down Oklahoma State, who we heard about every day because of the Cowboys’ star freshman.

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But, for me, “This is what the NCAA tournament is all about” is about Loyola (Chicago) 71, Illinois 58. Continue reading Big Dance Cliché Rules: NCAA Day 3

Cardinals’ Bubble Popped

Slip slidin’ away/ Slip slidin’ away/ You know the nearer your destination/ The more you’re slip slidin’ away

Not that after their late season swoon, I was ever in any way really confidant that U of L would make the Dance, my attitude, if wary, was for some inexplicable reason tipping toward the positive until 3:34 Saturday afternoon. It was then revealed in the ESPN scrawl, that Bracketologist inventor Joe Lunardi had lowered the Cards to the First Four Play In Round. Just a week before, they were a projected 9 seed.

Even though Lunardi invented the whole guessing the 68 thing, he’s not proven to be the most accurate through the years. But he has a sense of what’s happening. And it was the trend spiraling downward by the day that dampened my spirits.

Twelve minutes later, Dan Gavett, NCAA hoops guru, was interviewed. He mentioned how 39 teams were locks. Then that there were something like 3-7 others to chose from. Queasiness ensued. Continue reading Cardinals’ Bubble Popped

Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Will Cards change leads & How wacked the Dance?

There’s not a Louisville Cardinal fan around who isn’t sad about the Malik Williams situation.

For the kid, a team leader who has been riddled with injuries, and college career may be fini.

For the current team, which isn’t as formidable without his presence in the middle and leadership in the huddle.

Hope springs eternal among the faithful that Williams might return for another season, taking advantage of the COVID-inspired one season eligibility exemption. But that’s another conversation for another day.

He doesn’t appear to have emptied his locker, and moved on. The kid’s a keeper.

Which leaves us obsessives with the contemplation: How do the Cards best move forward in his on court absence?

Which leads me to Jae’Lyn Withers, the redshirt rookie, who has spent most of the season uncomfortably out of position in the post. It’s been obvious for awhile that he’s better on O when facing the basket.

That hunch became all caps underlined when Malik returned, and Withers moved to the 4.

So, to use horse racing parlance, does Chris Mack change leads? Does he leave Withers outside, and play someone else in the pivot? Continue reading Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Will Cards change leads & How wacked the Dance?