Amping Up for Shockers: Early Thoughts, Silly & Serious, on Final Four(s) bound U of L

I ate with the usual couple of suspects today at our regular Wednesday lunch.

One of whom made an absurd suggestion, only partially in jest. It was Mike, the fellow I mentioned the other day, the one who acutely observed that Kevin Ware’s injury might have been inadvertently caused by the leaping super sub’s subconscious attempt not to fall off the edge of the raised hardwood in the Dome.

When he went wackamundo at lunch today, I said something like, you won’t be reading that in my blog.

At which point, Don, the third of our lunch bunch, dared me to pass the suggestion on to the cybergalaxy.

Given that I haven’t weighed in for, oh, 48 hours — an eternity in the digital universe — on the magical Cardinal hoops success, I figured what the hell?

Here it comes. We were contemplating what changes Rick Pitino might fashion in the absence of Kevin Ware?

More Tim Henderson? Forty minutes each for Smith and Siva? Hancock or Blackshear to SG? A combination of the above?

At which point, Mike said The Rick should get Shoni Schimmel to take Ware’s place. “Women can play on the men’s team, right?”

Don and I humored him. Uh, well, maybe, but, uh, Mike she’s got a game to play on Sunday night in New Orleans?

“Hey, Jurich and Ramsey are going to be flying from Atlanta to New Orleans, and hopefully back. Surely by private jet. She can fly with them.”

Let’s hope my lunch mate was kidding. It’s hard to tell. He knows and I know and Don knows and you know it’s not gonna happen. But, in a year when March Madness is painted in red & black, when Ware’s injury has captured the attention of the nation all the way to the White House, when the women’s stunning upsets of Baylor and Tennessee have dazzled the hoops world, a Schimmel sighting on the court in Hot “lanta against Wichita State would be A Shocker for the Ages.

* * * * *

Before I read that Richard Pitino was negotiating to move from tropical Florida to ever wintry Minnesoooooooota to helm the Golden Gophers, I intended to write about him viz a viz another matter.

I have consciously referred to Pitino the Younger in this space as Little Ricky. Part of it was meant to be cute. Part of it was to adopt a dismissive tone about what I now know to be my misconceptions of his coaching acumen.

So, this morning, I vowed I would publicly recant my Little Ricky shtick, make a commitment to refer to the upcoming talent in more respectful tones in the future, because . . .

. . . well, because, 1) he proved this year at Florida International that he’s likely to be a future star on the coaching scene, and 2) the subtle but brilliant tweaks he suggested to dad about how U of L should run its pick & roll O against the Blue Devils. (Last time such a thing happened in a NC2A regional in Indy, it was Tom Crean as whisper counsel to his former boss Tom Izzo, to help Sparty smack the Cards for a trip to the FF.)

I’m not sure how Richard Pitino is going to do with the climate change — find some fleece, dude — but he should be fine along the raised sideline at Williams Arena.

* * * * *

The other day, in advance of the Duke game, I admonished it was time for talismans.

Given the Cards 22 point W over the B Devils, and the stunners fashioned by Jeff Walz’s distaff charges, I have to believe members of the Red & Black Nation chose the correct incense to burn.

The omens were certainly portent in my life.

The day before the Duke game I bought a new pair of jogging shoes at Ken Combs Running Store. When my man Chris — a big Cardinal fan — opened the box of the new pair of Brooks Beasts, those bad boys were black with red trim. Sweet.

Wearing them for the first time during my trundle down Frankfort Ave on the morning of the regional final, I jogged by a fellow, who shouted out, “Go Cards.” Running with my head down, as is my wont, and without my glasses, I didn’t recognize him.

Later, when he emailed me, I realized it was long time fan, Charlie Gabriel, who is more famously known to Cardinal fans as the Unknown Musician. He ruled the Freedom Hall hardwood during play stoppage in the halcyon years of the 80s.

The karma this post season is positive.

Looking for it to remain in place for another long weekend.

* * * * *

Of all the words I’ve read about both teams that are Final Four bound, all the interview clips, etc, my favorite is Shoni Schimmel’s quote after Baylor star Britney Griner had been rendered inconsequential and the defending champs and #1 rated Bears were sent packing.

“She may be Britney Griner, but, hey, I’m Shoni Schimmel.”

Indeed. My hat is doffed to her. She’s lost probably 20 pounds during the season, and has become the maturing force all expected her to be. She plays without fear, and with her inner Pistol Pete Maravich on full display.

Sister Jude is the steadying force for the Cardinals. As Bill Raftery might say, Jude showed some “eggs” when firing and draining that threeball with 2:06 to play for a nine point Cardinal lead. Ballgame!

– Seedy K

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