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A Bubbilicious Hoopaholic on Tenterhooks

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Cards not a given to Dance

Mr. Bunny’s call before U of L’s regular season finale began, as is his MO, not with a salutation, but a leading question.

“You agree, right, the Cardinals are a lock for the NCAA?”

“Uh, no.”

Louisville lost to Virginia, as they most always do, and didn’t look especially good doing it.

Thus, I am fully in touch with my inner Seth Greenberg.

Not the guy in the studio with ‘Phons, who sometime Wednesday night will be discussing the state of the Cardinals amid the Championship Week chitter chatter.

The Cards will have beaten Duke. At which point, the conversation will hearken back to some time in the long distant past when the talking heads will wonder if anybody’s bested the Blue Devils thrice in a season? Like maybe the Tar Heels back in the day of Charlie Scott or Lennie Rosenbluth. Duke will be the focus; U of L, an afterthought.

Or, the Cards will have fallen to the Evil Empire. At which point, the conversation will be the old saw about how hard it is to beat a school three times in one season. And, more so, will Coach K actually be able to pull this off, and get his team a tourney title and dancing?

Then, cut to Joe Lunardi, who will opine that he believes the Cards are still in, as part of the First Four . . . maybe.

Or, the Cards will have beaten Boston College. And the game will get but passing mention.

Or, the Cards, perish the thought, will have lost to the coachless Eagles.

Then, cut to Joe Lunardi, who will opine that Louisville might, possibly, maybe still make the Dance . . . if Colorado State loses to Yadda Yadda A&M.

But the spate of verbosity above notwithstanding, that is not the Seth Greenberg ulcerating inside of me.

It’s the Greenberg, who coached Virginia Tech. And every Selection Sunday about 8:15 or so, he’d be interviewed from Blacksburg, his head in his hands. Because the bubble of his Hokies had burst. As it seemed to do every year, before he was canned, and Louisville was able to sweep in and harvest Montrezl Harrell.

That Seth Greenberg.

So, it’s Tuesday morning of Championship Week, and the Truth . . .

. . . The Truth is U of L’s visit to Indy next week is far from a given.

Or, so I would offer.

Bracket Matrix, a consensus compilation of a 130 or so Lunardi wannabes, posits Louisville as an 11 seed, after the Cards were a 10 seed last week, and an 8 or 9 the week before that.

The bubble be a slippery place. Especially when your favorite school is in a grouping of similarly situated institutions of higher learning, jockeying for one of the last 8 spots on the Dance Card.

Ken Pomeroy has U of L ranked #52.

One must scroll down more than a bit of the official NCAA NET rankings to find the Cardinals at #51. To underscore just how perilous that positioning is, the 9-15 University of Kentucky Wildcats sit at #46.

Ouch.

Only Jay Bilas provides any inducement for optimism. He’s got U of L ranked #36.

I feel compelled to point out, he is not on the Selection Committee. Nor is Joe Lunardi. Nor, any of those wonks whose brackets figure in that consensus.

Hopefully, Louisville will dispatch Duke or Boston College on Wednesday.

Then really prove its worth with an upset over Florida State on Thursday.

When, should it come about, you can forget every bit of worry expressed above, tune in Sunday at 6:00, knowing the Cards name will be called.

Lots of unknowns between now and then.

— c d kaplan