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Card Loyalty, My Fave Prevails: Lights Out @ NC2A Day Deux

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It was Lights Out on Day 2 of our favorite annual basketball indulgence.

Figuratively.

Literally.

First of all in Assembly Hall, Saturday’s surprise team in green, the Ohio U Bobcats were trailing favorite UVa, 39-40, with a smidge less than 8:00 to play.

Then Ben Vander Plas, besties pal and rival of Sam Hauser since youth, went Lights Out. Triple with assist from Jason Preston, about whom you’ll read more in a bit. 42-40. Another trey by BVP, after another assist by Preston. 45-40. Followed by a crafty, slithering deuce at the hoop, then more of the same, after a Wahoo tally. 49-42 Bobcats with less than 4:00 to play.

Then it was Lights Out at Seedy K’s Hoops Hacienda.

As in, I mean really, a power outage. Darkness.

During, you know, the best tilt of the day, the most intriguing tilt of the day, the game that featured my favorite non-Cardinal hoopster in the sport.

Disgruntlement ensued.

Fortunately as I trundled to grab a flashlight, electricity returned.

But, the cable and interweb needed to reboot. The latter returned first, but I couldn’t log into the battle on March Madness Live.

I finally got back to the tussle with less than a minute to play, and the Bobcats up 58-51. Then I got to watch UVa work its last minute legerdemain, which seemed eerily familiar, stealing inbounds passes and draining threeballs.

Where I have I seen this before, I wondered?

But all’s well that ends well. To coin a phrase.

Ohio survived and advances.

* * * * *

Yes, I intend to be an I Told You So.

Deal with it.

Here’s what I wrote on this pages, dateline November 28, 2020, in post titled, “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Sorting Through the Opening Daze.”

The most pleasant surprise, the who-is-this-guy-? none of has heard of: Ohio Bobcat Jason Preston.

Despite scraggly goatee-ish chin hair and an attempted ‘stache, the baby faced kid looks like he should be starting for your daughter’s middle school team.

Yet there he was going toe to toe, belly to belly, tally for tally with my former favorite collegiate baller, Illinois’s Ayo Dosunmu. The Illini hung on for a hard fought 77-75 W.

Dosunmu’s numbers: 25/7/8.

Preston’s numbers: 31/6/8. And while handling the rock 80% of the time when it was the Bobcat’s ball, No Turnovers. He backed his All-America counterpart down into the paint for a turnaround score at seven seconds, but the Green just couldn’t hang on.

Then, to make sure you were paying attention, here’s from December 17, 2020, “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: My New Favorite Player, Rescheduling Curiosities ++.”

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 determined 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.

Against the Cavaliers, Jason Preston scored 11, snared 13 boards, and, controlling the whole affair, dished 8 dimes.

One of ESPN.com’s purported college hoops “experts” listed the 50 best netters in the tourney before the event tipped off.

Missing?

Need I say his name?

Jason Preston.

Tsk, tsk.

* * * * *

Even though the Louisville Cardinals didn’t make the Dance, they remain the primary focus of the Faithful.

So, during the day’s first game — Colorado’s plundering of Hoya Paranoia — Doc lamented that triple-netting wünderkind Jabari Walker, son of Samaki, wasn’t a Cardinal.

This was after reports leaked that a pair of Cardinal commits had decided to take their talents elsewhere.

The day finished on a happier note for the Red & Black Faithful. (Though not as happy as Abilene Christian fans.) Malik Williams underscored his fealty, announcing he’ll return next season.

The declaration “This is HUGE” comes to mind.

* * * * *

During the day’s opening window, Steve Lappas was the color guy.

When Smart Guy texted me about him, I commented that Lappas should have laid off that third cup of Joe. He sounded seriously caffeinated.

But, during the long day’s final encounter, hours and hours later — UCLA’s measurement of Brigham Young — Lappas was still jacked to the max.

The guy could have used a Thorazine drip.

Yo, Steve, lay off the Red Bull, dude.

* * * * *

Speaking of Mick Cronen’s Bruins, I couldn’t help but wonder while watching, what Big Blue fans must be thinking?

Johnny Juzang, former resident of Wildcat Lodge (or whatever sumptuous living accommodations UK provides its ballers these days), rang up 27 on the Cougars. In a most efficient manner, draining 10/17 from the field.

This after he bombed Sparty for 23 on Thursday in the First Four.

Two tilts. Fi’ty points.

* * * * *

Prediction: Maybe next weekend, if some ad company is on the ball. Or, next season, fer sure.

We’ll see Eastern Washington Mountain Man Tanner Groves in those beef jerky commercials. The bearded, head-banded pivot laid 35 on Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

* * * * *

Speaking of commercials. Which by the by, as much as I hate ‘em and their redundancy, I accept. Because that’s how we get to see every second of every game.

Anyhow, speaking of commercials, don’t tell me you wouldn’t be scared if you got a fraud call, and heard Danny Trejo at the other end of the line.

Samuel L., Spike and Chuck are still driving around Annapolis. Which is not in Indiana. Always makes me smile.

* * * * *

Twenty seven minutes until Sister Jean and Ayo hook up.

Let’s tip.

— c d kaplan