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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: It’s that time of the Year

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Ah yes, it’s that time of the hoops campaign.

Woe is Me season.

Expectations shattered. Fans on the precipice of the dark place.

How did we lose to that team? Wasn’t he supposed to be a Big Mac Super Sized Superstar, what’s the deal? Can’t anybody shoot? Why is everybody standing still? We can’t we guard anybody?

And it’s not just in my neck of the woods. Down the road, you know over there a little ways to the east, both the coach and fan base are on suicide watch. Outscored 0-7 at the end against Tom Crean’s Bulldogs, they lost on an open layup after a fumbled pass on an inbounds play with one tick of the clock left.

Just to the north, coach is under a little pressure. Can we stay hot seat?

But it’s not only around here, there’s The Sky is Falling ennui up, down and all around the Land of Hoopsylvania.

There seem to have been an inordinate number of very weird games this season. Outcomes that make no sense whatsoever, teams boffo one time, a no show three days later.

I’ve got a theory. Of course, I’ve got a theory.

The COVID.

I know, not novel. But perhaps not considered when some schools are outperforming expectations, while others just can’t find a groove.

This pandemic is insidious. I’m relatively experienced at dealing with life’s unexpected, unwanted twists and turns, reasonably adaptive at coping. But still, I’m so ready for a hint of normalcy to return.

Think about 19 year olds, used to the adulation of cheering crowds. Fellow students wanting to chat ‘em up on the way to class. Enjoying the company of that coed down the hall. Hangin’ out.

But they, like the rest of us who are being prudent, are just tired of feeling closed in, cloistered. It has to affect play, concentration.

So, for whatever reasons, some teams, and not just the mature ones though they have an advantage, are handling it better.

Some are not.

* * * * *

A few thoughts about my Louisville Cardinals, who are mired in a two game losing streak. One L to a considerably better outfit, one to a team they should have beaten easily. Plus there’s that perennial coming to town on Saturday, with their own issues, just as in need of a season-righting W as the Cards.

U of L is two guards short, without an imposing inside presence, young, without reliable outside marksmanship, shorthanded, missing guys who can score off the bounce, but still 9-3 with a couple legit Tier One Ws.

Yet, reality, they sit 43d in the NET rankings. That’s First Four territory. An 11 Seed.

Keeping my fingers crossed, hoping improvement ensues.

Saturday against the Blue Devils would be a great time for it.

* * * * *

A brief mention of Alabama.

Nate Oats’s Crimson Tide have caught a groove.

They have fully adopted the Mike D’Antoni philosophy. On offense, play super fast, treys and layups only. No midrange deuce attempts.

7-0 in SEC play, 47% of their FG attempts are from beyond the arc. They’re netting 42% of those.

Against LSU — still coached by Will Wade, though I can’t understand how — ‘Bama was 23/43 from long range.

This is a team to be reckoned with, arguably playing a style which will be the future of basketball.

— c d kaplan