Cardinals’ Championship Considerations, Part II

I guess I didn’t know the whole story of how MOP Luke Hancock landed at U of L, though I allude to it in my championship story which comes out tomorrow in print and online.

Apparently, when Jim Larranaga left George Mason, Luke wanted to follow him to Miami. GM wouldn’t allow a release to that school. So, looking around for a place to land, he came down to two schools, which he presented to Larranaga for an opinion.

“Louisville or Michigan?”

Thank you Jim. Thank you Luke.

* * * * *

The general consensus among those far more objective than myself is that last night’s title tilt was among the very best ever contested, perhaps the best.

“Stupendous.” “A++” “Highest quality.’

Who am I to disagree?

Watched it again today at noon with a pal. We realized we weren’t comfortable about the outcome until less than a minute was left to play.

* * * * *

The general consensus among those far more objective than myself is that Jim Beilein was seriously outcoached last night, especially at crunch time. With fouls to give, he allowed his team to let way too much clock time to dwindle down before finally fouling.

I’d also say he failed to make any significant tweaks during the game.

Listening to his pre-game and halftime speeches to his team — at least the parts that were televised — he seemed overwhelmed and underprepared for prime time on the last Monday of the year.

* * * * *

I have to admit I’m somewhat surprised by the tweet from Russ Smith’s dad that #2 is definitely gone next season. He’ll certainly land somewhere, though it’s far from a certainty, to say the least, that it will be the NBA.

That said, if he wants to go, he leaves with my blessings and well wishes. Despite an off night last night, U of L never would have gotten to the title game without his stupendous play during the season and the games leading up to Championship Monday.

* * * * *

After watching the replay, I’m more convinced than before of the unsung effort and performance of Wayne Blackshear.

Again, he scored the Cards’ first five of the game. And opened the 2d half with a trey.

The box score shows him with only one rebound, but it was a biggie down that glorious stretch at the turn for home when the teams were trading hoops. He mixed it up the whole second half, playing himself to exhaustion at one point, to where he looked like a punch drunk fighter coming down on D to check Trey Burke.

* * * * *

Shout outs are in order for at least two assistants.

Ralph Willard, who was responsible for Russ Smith and Tim Henderson.

Kevin Keatts, without whose presence, we wouldn’t have Luke Hancock or Montrezl Harrell.

* * * * *

I love that the Wolverines tallied the last two points of the first half. (Though I’m even more glad the margin was only one.)

For some reason that is totally inexplicable, I’ve always liked being down a digit at halftime better than being up a point.

Go figure.

That said, there is no way to discount the importance of that 14-1 run before the break. From 12 up to one down, Michigan was shell shocked when they headed to the locker room for Beilein’s less than inspiring chalk talk.

* * * * *

U of L overcame a 12 point deficit last night, just like it did against Wichita State in the semis.

* * * * *

Trey Burke is the deal. Despite his fouls, did the deal.

24 points on 7/11 shooting, 3/5 from downtown. 7/9 at the line.

Worthy POY recipient. And national runner up.

* * * * *

Not many schools have had a Hall of Fame national championship coach directly succeed a national championship Hall of Fame coach.

U of L got Crum. U of L got Pitino.

– Seedy K

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