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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: New Favorite Player, Rescheduling Curiosities ++

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If Naismithius is still in charge of college hoops — Lord help us, if he isn’t, and has completely turned the reins over to Coach K — the University of Louisville Cardinals will return to the hardwood Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin against the B10 Badgers in a makeup tilt.

It’s apparently taken awhile for the moment to come to fruition. (Keeping fingers crossed, it actually does.)

Early last week, before the original schedule date of the anticipated ACC/B10 matchup, but after it had been postponed because of COVID in the Cardinal program, I heard an interesting rumor from pal, Cheesemaker.

The Wisconsin alum told me he was hearing that the game was rescheduled for last Saturday, a couple of days after the original one, and on the same day as U of L’s football game with Wake Forest. Had I heard anything, he inquired?

I had not. And, never did. I called him back and in the usual dismissive manner we long time buddies converse with each other, admonished him that the rumor was obviously false.

Well, here’s what happened on Saturday, just prior to the Cards’ kickoff with Wake.

There’s a website, available to media only, that provides running, very complete stats of college games in most all sports. It’s turned into the gold standard for such affairs.

To access, you go to the site, click on today’s events, then on the school you are following. All of the events of that day appear, be it a volleyball match or whatever.

Listed there, before the link to the football game numbers, was a link to U of L vs. Wisconsin basketball. On that day, last Saturday, at the Kohl Center.

Obviously it wasn’t contested. But, just as obviously, it had been a consideration, and maybe even agreed upon. Until the COVID issues continued.

My apology to my pal was, might I advise, less than profuse, but within the broad parameters of contrition.

Really looking forward to watching Louisville back at it.

* * * * *

I recall mentioning during this campaigns earliest stages how I fell in love with babyfaced Ohio Bobcats PG Jason Preston, while watching him go head to head with Illini Ayo Dosunmu.

I long to see him play more. But, there’s not a lot of televised MACtion when it comes to hoops. A look at their schedule on the team’s site makes no mention of TV games.

Sigh.

But there is a cool story at espn.com, which reveals just how determine young Mr. Preston is, and all he had to do to play DI hoops.

You can read it here.

And if you see an Ohio U. game listed, check him out.

* * * * *

As a lifelong died in the wool Louisville Cardinal fan, I have no love for arch rival Kentucky.

Yet, I do my best when posting, even at cardchronicle.com, a fan site, not to enflame the enmity that exists between fans of feather and fans of fur in the Dark & Bloody Ground of the Commonwealth.

Matt Jones in red, I am not.

Which doesn’t mean my schadenfreude is not ever present.

So I will own what happened last Saturday when the Cardinals were on one station, battling Wake Forest on the gridiron, and the Cats were on another channel, looking to break a three game losing skein.

So, yeah, I’ll own it.

During stoppages in Cardinal pigskin action, I clicked over to see if maybe the Wildcats could fashion a fourpeat.

During the stoppage, before the commencement of what would be U of L’s first scoring drive of their big season ending W, intermission was just commencing in Rupp.

Notre Dame 48, Kentucky 26.

Ebullient calls and texts indicated I wasn’t the only U of L fan doing the channel back and forth.

The other significant look in on the fortunes of Big Blue, was during the break in pigskin action, after Louisville went up 28-10 on the first drive of the 3d.

Kentucky was down 1, with the ball out of bounds with 12 seconds to play.

Missing a play or two of Louisville’s battle, I stayed with it.

UK didn’t score.

Louisville did again. And again. And again.

* * * * *

Speaking of Kentucky, I’m still not sure, after reading any number of articles, why its foe in the CBS Sports Classic this coming Saturday was changed from UCLA, which will now play Ohio State, to North Carolina?

It’s said to be something about matching schools with similar virus protocols.

Riddle me that one, Doc Fauci.

Somebody been injecting Clorox?

* * * * *

The Big Game of Saturday is Gonzaga vs. Iowa.

Unfortunately for U of L fans who are also bonafide, diagnosed hoopaholics, they who are still reeling from the Baylor/ Zags cancellation, would normally tune in to Hawkeyes vs. Bulldogs.

Except that it’s a noon tip, as is the rescheduled Cardinal game against Wisconsin.

But the mention of Iowa, gives me a chance to rant on Fran McCaffery.

He obviously can coach, but . . .

. . . I just don’t like the guy.

Never met him. But you know how you just develop affection or disdain about people just from seeing them on TV or in a movie or at cocktail party? Well, the Iowa coach just turned me off, the first time I even saw him coaching.

Which was at a subregional in Dayton a few years back, when McCaffery was at Siena.

He was cantankerous on the sidelines, cranky in his press conference.

So, for no other reasons, I’ve rooted against his teams since.

The flip side is Tom Izzo. Whom I also have never met, but only observed on the sidelines, in person and on the telly, in interviews, and once at a press conference after State had defeated the Cardinals in a regional final in Indy.

I’ve appreciated the guy since years ago, when he was reaming out one of his players he had pulled from the game. Yet the kid was standing there, with his arm around Izzo’s shoulder.

I also love his attitude about having such a crummy record against Coach K.

So, go Zags.

Go Sparty. Unless you’re playing the Cards.

— c d kaplan