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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Monday Before Le Déluge

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I’m ready for the dance party. Much to your surprise, I am so very sure.

Such that I’m inclined to touch my inner Elizabeth Cook, go Apron Strings on you, and provide my guacamole recipe. Which has been made easier to prepare after buying a way nifty avocado slicer/ de-pitter/ peeler at the grocery.

But I’ll save you that bit of verbosity.

Other than to mention again Ms. Cook, the country singer/ afternoon DJ at Outlaw Country, for whom I have a serious teenage crush. So smitten am I that I’ll actually leave the hoops action on on Elite Eight Friday to see her perform at Paristown Hall.

Naismithius, I ask your forgiveness.

Don’t expect a selfie. I don’t do selfies. But, should I summon the courage to actually ask her if she’d like to grab a bite to eat with me after the gig, and she accepts, I’ll report back.

Oh, how my mind wanders. Delusionally.

* * * * *

A couple of clean up notes from Selection Sunday.

(And, yes, stick around Louisville Cardinal fans, I’ll address that elephant on the chaise somewhere along the way here.)

Is there anybody in sports whose relevance, such as it is, becomes immediately disregardable, as Joe Lunardi’s after the bracket reveal?

I mean really.

But, give credit to the guy, who turned his love of hoops and fanaticism into what is now known as bracketology, and a gig at ESPN.

He knows his stuff. And has honed his predictioneering by observing how the selection committee works.

He advises that this year, he correctly chose 67 of 68 teams. He had Texas A&M instead of Wyoming. And had all but Boise State on the correct seed line, or one away. Impressive.

Also, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Seth Davis’s One Shining Moment. Which to his credit, he repeats yearly during the reveal telecast.

At the top of the show, Greg Gumble throws it to Clark Kellogg who, as is his wont, prattles on for too long. Though I admire his use of big words and odd syntax. It seems eerily familiar.

Then Gumble goes to Davis. Who always says something like, “The last thing viewers want is to hear my talk. Reveal the brackets.”

Bless you, son.

He’s also a big JazzFest fan. So he’s got that also goin’ for him.

* * * * *

Yes, that’s Freedom Hall in the photo I use at the top of this periodic endeavor. Cincy in one of those early 60s Final Fours. Against Ohio State, maybe.

* * * * *

I’m not big on analytics. Was never really good at arithmetic.

But since the dawn of computerized assay, there has been no champ that entered the tourney, without both its offensive and defensive efficiency stats among the 25 best in the land.

This season that list includes Gonzaga, Arizona, Houston, Baylor, UCLA and Auburn.

Just a smidge outside are Kentucky (O #4, D #27) and Kansas (O #6, DS # 29).

Consider yourselves on notice.

* * * * *

That U of L elephant — the school is looking for a coach if you hadn’t heard — it is not really stirring.

Which doesn’t mean the whole fan base isn’t on pins and needles, wondering when and how we can get the pachyderm back to its proper environs.

As I always have said of this obsession, it would appear from the outside that the job is Kenny Payne’s if he so chooses. Which is not to say he would be the best choice. Or, even a really good one.

But, for any number of reasons, that appears to be the situation.

Other than that, the names being tossed out, both locally and nationally, are known to all. Cronin, Willard, Drew, yada, yada, yada. I even had a reader go all in on Billy Donovan.

As if.

Brad Stevens anybody?

Having some sense of U of L hoops history, I know this. Peck Hickman was coaching at Valley HS. Denny Crum was an assistant at UCLA, with minimal experience in the first chair at a juco.

The only “sure” thing hire was Rick Pitino.

The only “sure” thing hire now, it would appear, is Scott Drew.

But, the next Denny, the next Coach K, is out there. Why not swing for an up and comer? Tommy Lloyd seems to be having a pretty good season, and he sat on the bench at Gonzaga for years and years. Who among you had paid any attention to Mike Young? His team just stole the ACC tourney.

What about Jerome Tang, Drew’s long time assistant. Or the guy at North Texas State? Or the one at Cleveland State? Or Wyoming? There are others, one or two of whom are one day going to be Hall of Famers.

Have you heard this before from me? Yes, I’ll stop.

Other that to hope, Josh Heird is thinking outside the box.

* * * * *

So, yeah, Indiana/ Wyoming, Notre Dame/ Rutgers to get us started.

Then an enticing trio of games at noon Thursday. Colorado State/ Michigan, Providence/ South Dakota State and Boise State/ Memphis State.

Make sure you pick ripe avocados, ones with slight give when squeezed.

— c d kaplan