During Fats Gonder’s iconic intro of “The Amazing Mr. Please Please Himself” at the Apollo in ‘62, he lists James Brown’s big hits to that time.
Bewildered is how I felt watching, mouth agape, U of L’s stunning lack of, well, everything, in an absurd 16 point loss. At home. To an 8-8 team. With a 1-4 league record. Whom the Cards had beaten previously on their home court.
Bewildered is also how Louisville coach Chris Mack appeared on the sidelines as the ineptitude played out.
Bewildered is how Chris Mack looked during his post game press conference, when he admitted, “I have no explanation.”
Bewildered was how I felt as I sat before my computer screen after the game, needing to purge my discombobulation before hitting the sack.
So bewildered, I was able to type but four words. The only ones that would come.
There is a difference though between Mack’s puzzlement and mine.
I’m getting compensated pizza money to provide some entertaining snark about the Cards.
Mack is getting paid millions to carry on the tradition of an upper level hoops program, to fashion a tournament level hoops squad year in and year out. And, if things aren’t going well, to understand what needs to done to plug the hole in the dike.
* * * * *
So, let me take a moment to publicly apologize to Mike Pegues.
During his interim stint while Mack was serving a way too short suspension for his idiotic lack of program control, the First Assistant went 5-1. Which included a couple of impressive, focused performances against P5 schools in the Bahamas.
I continually expressed Pegues wasn’t ready for prime time.
Which may or may not actually be the case.
But in retrospect he did a pretty sterling job, all things considered.
When Chris Mack returned, U of L lost 3 of 5.
The questions have increased.
Answers remain ever elusive.
* * * * *
During that Mack-less opening stretch of a half dozen games, I iterated how U of L fans wouldn’t know until mid January what this team would really be like.
Well, Here We Are.
I’m pretty sure we know.
Ain’t it somethin’!!!!!
I haven’t a clue of insight to offer.
You might say I’m, yeah, bewildered.
Unfortunately, so too is head coach Chris Mack.
Who has not heretofore displayed any character traits that would indicate he can gather the troops in any meaningful and fruitful way going forward.
It’s not going to happen. This team will not Dance. Yet I believe there is a tournament worthy team in this group. But . . .
. . . I don’t believe Chris Mack will figure it out, and/or keep the team together.
Of the many messages about the situation I’ve received in the aftermath of last night’s defeat, this was the wisest bit of perception, coming from a long time observer now living in the DC area.
“Yet the greatest “sin” of CCM is his seeming ignorance of what his personnel can do and how to meld the individual talents.”
* * * * *
I had an old pal from high school, who would express himself diffusely.
We dubbed him, The Riddler.
He used to refer to that other post season tourney as the “N One I T.”
Tickets on sale soon.
Plenty of good seats available.
— c d kaplan