It ranks among the holiest of the Holy Days.
Easter. Christmas. So sacred that there was a humbler time when commercial establishments actually closed so the faithful could focus on their faith.
Yom Kippur. A day of fasting from sundown to sundown. A day to atone for a year’s worth of transgressions.
Ramadan. Trips to Mecca for the most ardent of the acolytes.
Festivus. Pole dancing as religious sacrament.
For the followers who call themselves Hoopaholics, there is an even more consecrated day of the year.
Opening tip of the season. For Louisville Cardinal fans, it is the opportunity to savor their favorites against an outside opponent in the Yum!, the World’s Most Incredible Ab Fab Arena, that also is the only venue in town larger than SE Christian.
(OK, truth be told, I personally have one other day that is just as sacred, the first day of New Orleans JazzFest. But, that’s music, this is life, work with me, I’m riffing here.)
In the Days of Yore, Opening Tip annually arrived on the first Saturday of September, following a Varsity vs. Frosh encounter the week before, or sometimes scrimmages at high school gyms around and about.
But the season blessedly has crept ahead, and now there are “exhibition” games against lesser foes, and the campaigns have increased in duration, and have been extended forward a month.
It’s a good thing.
And so on this Sunday past, the sabbath for many -- Coincidence? I don’t think so. -- the new look, new regime 2018-19 University of Louisville Cardinals tipped it off against formidable crosstown foe Bellarmine.
Can I get a Hallelujah?
Can I get an Amen?
* * * * *
Missed shots. (Lots of missed shots.) Tentative offensive flow. Defensive lapses.
All were present. All forgiven.
This most transitional of seasons, one fraught with peril against a daunting schedule with a limited squad, has arrived.
Just in time to provide succor in a world gone Mondo Cane, and a football campaign that has nosedived.
Thank you, Naismithius, Great God of Hoops.
* * * * *
You shall read no technical breakdown of the Cards here. Nor the Knights for that matter.
For U of L, this whole campaign is a learning curve, a metamorphosis. Opening against Scotty Davenport’s always disciplined charges is the perfect intro.
New coach. New system. A patched together unit, holding down the fort until next year’s boffo recruiting class arrives like the cavalry charging down the hill.
V.J. King still looks a bit tentative, but Chris Mack knows that. And it shall change.
Malik Williams still appears a bit lost at times. But the defensive flash he displayed at moments shall prosper.
Jordan Nwora shall be more prudent with his shot making.
Darius Perry shall defend. And mature.
Akoy Agau, well, Akoy Agau shall provide 98.6 on the bench and a mature presence.
Steven Enoch shall be solid in the middle, improving before our eyes as the season progresses.
The term “pack line” shall be heard in dinner conversations around the Ville.
Like Itzhak Perlman on the violin or Derek Trucks on the guitar or Professor Longhair on the 88s, Chris Mack has thus far hit all the right notes since he took the stage.
How refreshing is this? He was a few minutes late for his post game presser, to watch his Bengals hit a game winning FG. Such endearing perspective.
Smell the sweet, sweet fresh air.
Louisville prevailed over the preseason DII #1 by 11, 71-60.
The details matter not. The season has commenced. Our Basketball Jones is being treated.
-- Seedy K