Idling at entrance of the Cul de Sac, the Cardinal Nine hit reverse in the ACC tourney, driving themselves out of a possible coveted Top #8 seed in the NCAA tourney.
So, a #12 it is.
It could be worse. There’s a regional on the home diamond at the Jim.
Last year the Cards were in line at the Dairy Kastle, when they ran out of soft serve at closing time. While 64 schools advanced to the playdown.
Despite the double meltdown last week at Truist Park, this campaign isn’t over, U of L lives for another day.
While the Cards might have hoped for more clutch knocks last week, it would appear they’re only going to advance as far as the guys taking the mound carry them.
Last week’s hurling performances fell short of engendering hope.
Their ace and closer gave up the tying and winning runs in the opener against Pitt. And umpteen hurlers failed to derail the Ramblin’ Wreck, who loaded the bases in four different innings, and scored a lot of runs.
But, as we wags are wont to offer, everybody’s equal at the moment.
A part of me wants to point out that U of L fans should also be pulling for TCU, Louisiana and Oral Roberts. Those are the three schools journeying to College Station to join #5 seed regional host Texas A&M. The winner of the foursome here plays the survivor of that one in a Super, at the home of the higher seeded school.
You do the math.
Then again, I must admonish myself as I so very often admonish others.
It’s the post season. You only play whom you play.
For Louisville, that’s Southeast Missouri State. Oregon’s Ducks and Michigan’s Wolverines will also be in town on the other side of the double elimination bracket.
First pitch for the good guys is 2:00 pm Friday.
* * * * *
Yes, I’m a hoopaholic. As if you haven’t noticed.
The NBA Finals start Thursday.
I’ll be locked in.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love the college game a lot more. The walks. The complaining about every call. The pushing and shoving. No, I don’t like it.
But I love the game basketball. And I love the Warriors.*
*On Golden State’s roster is one Damion Lee, a short term Cardinal once upon a time.
The history of the Louisville Cardinals informs how I view hoops.
The Dubs will be joined by the Celtics. Most of all because with seconds to go, Jimmy Butler pulled up for a trey on a fast break, not his game, instead of taking it to the rack for a tying layup and a conceivable +1, his game.
Of course, my mind flashed to Market Square Arena on March 24, 1980.
U of L found itself behind late. With 4:46 to play, there was a UCLA tally. 50-54 Bruins.
But a couple Jerry Eaves’ scores and the Cards pulled even with 3:26 left.
A minute five seconds later, the score still 54 all, Darrell Griffith brought the ball up on a fast break. There were teammates to his left and right.
I remember thinking as he crossed the timeline. He will not pass the ball. This is the shot he’s been destined to take his whole career.
He didn’t pass. Eighteen feet from the hoop, he stopped, he elevated, he fired.
Net. Nothing but.
For Jimmy Butler, not so much.
— c d kaplan