Final Thoughts (Probably), Mostly Peripheral Re: U of L Cardinals W Over Michigan

I’ve watched the game in replay.

I’ve perused the box score.

I’m not sure I’ve got much more to offer viz a viz the game itself, beyond what I’ve already observed and what you’ve read in many different places.

But a couple of things.

Michigan hit 55% from the field in the 2d half (11/20). But was outscored by 7, because the Wolverines took 15 less shots than U of L, which made 16 FGs after the break. The Cards outrebounded Michigan 20-10 in the 2d. I remain astonished that Chane Behanan’s 11 were more than than the whole maize team.

Louisville won, despite forcing only 12 turnovers. The teams hit the same number of threes (8) and FTs (18).

U of L’s 9 steals obviously were a factor.

I thought playing Hancock and Blackshear at the same time was a key move on Pitino’s part. Russ Smith was obviously off. Tim Henderson, overmatched.

What Luke did is obvious. He was named Final Four MOP.

What Wayne did, less so. He was a monster on defense, one of the key components of the victory.

* * * * *

I’ve got a little colloquy going with a former boss of mine, who has resided in Ann Arbor for years and become a big Michigan fan. He’s an astute hoops observer.

The give and take has reminded me yet again, that no matter how objective we might attempt to be, when we’re considering our favorite team’s performances, we view them through school colored lenses.

Bergie, and some of his Wolverine buddies who have joined the fray, feel that Michigan was jobbed on a number of official calls. Which errors by the zebras, they say, greatly affected the game in the Cards’s favor. I said I thought the calls evened out.

Their response to that was: That’s what winners say to justify their W. To which I said, well, blaming the officials for an L smacks of sour grapes.

Etc, etc. Which I pass along just to confirm yet again that winners and losers most always have a different perspective of the action, and how it affected the outcome.

I did agree it made no sense, and was truly surprising, when three zebras who call a lot of Big East games were assigned the title tilt. They made some bad calls. Seems an epidemic these days. More may have helped U of L than Michigan. I still think the best and most stalwart team won. And that none of the calls affected the outcome of the game.

* * * * *

It took an email from a reader to remind me I’d picked the Cardinals to win the national championship in LEO’s preseason basketball issue in early November.

“Just some wishful thinking on my part, ” I replied.

Actually, the paper also ran pieces, in which Bill Doolittle, inveterate Hoosier, picked IU to prevail. And Evan Hilbert projected UK to repeat. (He in now, as I understand it, in the federal witness protection program. His new name is not, I’m also advised, Robert Morris.)

Anyhow, if you’re interested in reading my “prediction,” here’s the link.

* * * * *

I started to put Tuesday morning’s C-J in the recycle bin. Then I realized I wanted to save the sports section to put with my collection of writing about ’80 and ’86 titles.

Unlike those pre-internet, pre-blogosphere, pre-dot com era Ws, there’s a lot more content and perspective this time around. I’ve also saved hard copies of some of my favorite stories from those forums also.

So I’ll have the reminders to refresh my memory when the details have been forgotten in the distant future. Like, you know, in three months or so.

* * * * *

My favorite homage to U of L’s third national title — so far — is the red Louisville hoodie now adorning the statue of General Keepright a/k/a General Castleman at the corner of Cherokee Road and Cherokee Parkway.

* * * * *

Another long time reader wrote and offered that his new second favorite school is The U. As in Miami (Fla.)

“And I decided my new #2 school is the U.  They fire Shannon and we get Teddy.  They hire Larranaga and we get Luke.  Wonder who they are going to give us next?”

* * * * *

The final AP men’s basketball poll was released.

Guess who is #1?

And #2?

And the schools in the 3 and 4 slot?

If all those bracketological predictions lose their half life at 7:00 pm on Selection Sunday, so too does the AP (and any other) Poll when the NCAA tournament tips off.

Margin of victory. Style points. Strength of schedule. Computer algorithms. Idiotic “experts.” Nothing matters after the tourney starts except score more points than the other team on the court. One team wins six. That school is the champion.

To have a poll after the tournament has been played, and the champion crowned, is, well, stupid.

– Seedy K

6 Comments

  1. doug
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Hoping not to sound hyperbolic, I declare this UL team best in school history. Emphasis on TEAM. Most talented probably not. Most impressive about this year was that our guys brought it every single game (very much unlike the ’86 bunch). One loss by more than 5 points against very tough schedule, finishing season with 16 straight in the toughest conference, the grit and determination to find a way to win will make this group hard to surpass during this fan’s lifetime.

  2. david
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree that this is the best U of L team ever, better even than the Murphy Bridgeman team that lost to UCLA and the 1980 team that included my all time favorite U of L player, Derek Smith (Russ has tied him by the way in my affection)

  3. Seedy K
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, there is something about these guys and how they melded together that has captured our hearts. In their own way, even more special than the previous champs.

  4. cbcard
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    This probably was the best team in terms of chemistry. But no team will top the ’80 group in talent (and they had pretty good chem too).
    That team had six NBA players including three who had long, productive careers including the All-Star game. And it had another guy who made an NFL practice team roster. Not too shabby.

  5. fred
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    As we have often discussed, I believe that officiating has a tremendous effect on the outcome of a game and that some of these guys are less competent than others. (Why does Karl Hess still have a whistle?) Did Michigan get the wrong end of some calls? Definitely. Did that determine the outcome. No, not anymore than the calls that went against Louisville.The fouls were 23-15 with Cards on the higher end. Their “consensus national player of the year” didn’t deliver and neither did their coach. He managed to ice Trey Burke and wear down Spike Albrecht.The best team won.

  6. ken
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    This team had the apparently calm equanimitous base of a mature Gorgui mixed with the unending if sometimes reckless intesity of Siva, and the willingness of ego-release of some otherwise highly touted players to allow Russ to be Russ and the persistence and self confidence of a mid-major transfer to not let hoards of detractors discourage. Very special.

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