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U of L’s Bubble Popped

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The Cards are #69 out of 68

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.

And then, and then, and then, I watched Georgetown, not even in the tourney conversation before the Big East get together in the Garden, play like Hoyas in the days of Paranoia to win a bid.

I awoke Sunday morning to see that the Beavers of Oregon State, similarly not even being considered, had beaten Southern Cal for the Pac12 automatic bid.

At which juncture, the voice I heard in my brain was not Paul Simon, but Mercury Theater grad John Houseman’s stentorian proclamation on how Smith Barney made their money. The Old Fashioned Way.

“They Earned It.”

Which Georgetown did. Which Oregon State did. Which Georgia Tech did. Which Hartford did for the first time.

Which the University of Louisville Cardinals did not.

I am sad. But it’s not like it’s a travesty of the process or anything.

It cannot be said that U of L deserves to be in the tourney more than any of the teams that made it.

* * * * *

As the first team out, Louisville tops the replacement list. So, if one of the at large teams has to drop out because of virus issues — and I haven’t the foggiest idea how the protocols work — the Cards will dance.

It’s like back in the day when you and your stoned buddies got to the Baskin Robbins just after they locked the doors, and you’re standing outside lips to the window, making funny faces, imploring the manager to let you in. And she relents.

Apparently U of L will not play in the NIT. Along with a number of other “name” schools.

Good on them. What a useless endeavor that is in these times.

— c d kaplan