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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday Cardinal Couple - Another Season Gone


Basketball's Last Hurrah? Or last "meh."


So tonight is the night.  Its always a little bittersweet for me.  As a born and raised Louisvillian, which also makes me a Kentuckian, I've been as gaga for basketball for all of my life as much as the next Kentuckian. Florida has beaches. Kentucky has hoops. 

I have to admit, however, that I'm having a tough time getting excited about this game tonight.

There was chatter in the mainstream sports media (MSSM, as I like to abbreviate it) about whether the UK Men going 40-0 would be good for the game of basketball or not.  That discussion is of course moot now, but I do find it an interesting discussion, and presents a stark contrast to some other sports.

I actually think that an undefeated Kentucky Men's team probably would have been good for the game on the whole, but on balance, I don't think it would be a huge win.

The story is very different in women's basketball, however.  Of course, there were no real contenders deep in this season for an undefeated run in women's basketball, though there have been in some recent years, and even some successes in that quest.  Were these dominant teams "good for the game"?  I fall firmly in the "no" camp on this one.  Now, to be sure, I don't lay any sort of blame for "harming the game" at Geno's feet, or Kim Mulkey, or any other coach with a successful undefeated season.  These coaches, and their players, are playing the game the best they can, and they are, or were, very successful, and no one should begrudge them that.

Even without an undefeated team, however, the perennial powerhouses in women's basketball are, at least in my mind, making the overall game a bit tedious.  There were a few upstarts that held my interest in the rest of the bracket.  The excitement came from seeing how well Dayton would hold up to UConn, though the overall outcome of that game was not in much doubt.  Another relative upstart, South Carolina also provided for some interest deep into the tournament, with close games against North Carolina, Florida State, and Notre Dame before finally bowing out.  Overall, though, most years, the ultimate post-season results, as often as not, seem to be a 'fait accompli'.

Its up to the rest of women's college basketball to step up to the plate and bring the competitiveness.  At the same time, I don't think its unreasonable for the NCAA and other organizations such as the WBCA to consider changes that would encourage more parity in the overall game.

Looking at other sports will show the same sort of patterns at play.  My beloved Volleyball, for example, frequently features some combination of Penn State, Nebraska, and Texas in the Final Four.  As much as I've been enjoying Lacrosse in the past couple of years, the nearly All-ACC Lacrosse Final Four that seems to happen nearly every year is already starting to feel a bit anti-climatic.

So what is there to be done?  I don't have any real answers, this is an issue that may sort itself out in time, and maybe there are some tweaks like scholarship counts that can be done to help the process along.  All I know is that I'm ready for the basketball season to be over this year, and I may not even watch the yet-another-UConn-Notre-Dame-Championship-game.

I'll see you at Ulmer Softball stadium for a sport that at least has a chance at some real intrigue in its post-season.


-- feeling a bit curmudgeonly, JMcA

25 comments:

  1. "For recreational purposes only"....UConn favored by 16 tonight. In the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. Against a fellow NUMBER ONE SEED. Against the SECOND-RANKED TEAM IN THE COUNTRY.

    Sorry for the caps, but that 16-point spread speaks volumes to the current state of WBB as it relates to the national stage. I'm taking nothing away from UConn - Geno built a powerhouse from scratch and has kept them at the top - and as a Cardinal fan we'll try to knock him off that pedestal - but, as compared to last night's MBB game (a pick 'em that went down to the final two minutes) the nation refuses to take much interest in the same old teams and the same old result.

    Now back to your regularly-scheduled programming.

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  2. Ditto, Jeff. Didn't watch last night and probably will not bother watching tonight. Would I have watched last night if UK had made it. Likely because it is a Commonwealth of Kentucky team and because of the "unbeaten" aspects. I'm okay with UConn - the purpose of the game/program is to win. But, it still is same-o, same-o and I'd rather do something different. Meh! Go Irish.

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  3. I will also "meh"...in terms of the already frantic research by game announcers in their thesaurus to find like terms to go with "dynasty", "domination" and "overwhelming". They might have a lot of time in the second half to kill in terms of keeping viewers entertained.

    Send in the clowns. Break out the whipped creme pies.

    Yet, I will still watch Hoping for the upset. Seeing if the King can be dethroned. Hoping that the peasants can overrun the castle and troops inside.

    And, if UConn is the program that all other DI schools are striving to be...it is a hopeful yet sad mission statement. For as much success that they have had, there is an equal amount of disdain, aggression and dislike for what Geno has built. in 30+ years there....at least out of the state borders. Nobody likes the kid who always wins the jelly bean in a jar counting contest. We look for upsets, drama.

    Who will ever forget Shoni and the "shot"? Or Christian Laettner draining the jumper. Even further back...when Charles grabbed the errant shot and stuck it in so NC State could beat Houston? Jim Valvano running around the court like a frenzied mosue in a maze?

    It is these things we remember and discuss.

    So, I will hope for the unexpected. See if the car skids off the road. And, if not...there is plenty of other good TV available on Tuesday night. Or maybe a review of my sock drawer to see if I can match up those "onesies". I may pop in my Baylor v UofL DVD and watch "the miracle on Easter" again.

    In the meantime, get out the Geno Spaghetti Sauce and boil some noodles. It's what's for dinner. Meatballs and garlic bread optional. Maybe they'll bring in Uncle Vern Lundquist for comic relief...

    Paulie

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  4. (From the Urban Dictionary):

    Top Definition. Meh. Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care.
    A: What do you want for dinner?
    B: Meh.

    That would pretty well sum up tonight's NCAA women's basketball title game. Last night was fun to watch. Tonite is a good night for toenail clipping. .

    The Real Joe Hill

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    Replies
    1. make the huskies play in scuba gear and blindfold geno or give notre dame weapons

      Delete
  5. I'll also take this opportunity to announce our APRIL Cardinal Couple Contest !

    Louisville has 11 softball games left in April after the series with DePaul. How many total runs do you think Sandy Pearsall's batters drive across the plate?

    Closest to the total number of runs scored against Florida State, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Boston College and WKU will get you a ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS Cardinal Couple T-Shirt!

    YAY!

    Entries need to be in by April 12th...7 p.m....so move quickly on this one!

    (I will pick that Louisville scores 29 runs in the 11 games)

    You can leave your guess in the comments section or e-mail them to cardinalcouple@twc.com

    Good luck!


    Paulie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll say 26, and the vast majority of them, alas, are against BC and WKU.

      Delete
  6. Again will record tonight's game, watch the beginning then periodically check in. Without an unexpected earthquake, my tax preparation activity will take priority over another Geno route where UConn not only wins, but where per normal, he runs up the score where insult follows injury.

    Nothing will change until more of the top high school players recognize that it will be more rewarding and satisfying to be part of teams that begin the regular overthrow of UConn and contribute to the rise of women's basketball rather than just being part of the herd.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a very good article today and it does ring true. No one really cares about this game tonight except Notre Dame and Connecticut fans. I say Go Irish. Pull off the win.

    ReplyDelete
  8. aw pity on the poor Cardinal fans and their sour grapes. Everyone wants to be us, no one can. How about some cheese with your whine? I usually like your site, Paulie. Today would be an exception.

    Sue from Storrs, CT
    UConn Huskies #1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! I'm good for chipping in a few bucks toward the "Send Breanna Stewart To a Tanning Booth" fund. WHere should I send the money order?

      LOL...

      Paulie

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    2. Sue, I think you may be missing the point. UConn fan or UConn hater, anyone who knows anything about WBB has to acknowledge what Geno has accomplished. And, yes, any program that says it wouldn't want to be UConn is lying. The point is simply that UConn's dominance has lowered the opinion of WBB as a sport among the national media and casual sports fans.

      Let me ask you...I know that winning is fun, but do you really enjoy a never-ending series of blowouts? Doesn't it all get old hat after a while? Even UCLA in its glory years was challenged in pretty much every championship.

      Delete
    3. Everyone wondered what happened to Mackenzie Phillips from "One Day At A Time." You now have your answer. She married Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" and their daughter Brianna went to college in Connecticut.

      Delete
    4. Winning never gets old. Championships never get old. Blowouts and making a statement never gets old. You put yourself in our shoes. Wouldn't you love to see the Cardinals advnace to the Final Four every year, play for the title most of the time and win their conference?

      I read this site. I see how the comments go when Louisville wins.

      Sue from Storrs, CT
      UConn Huskies #1

      Delete
    5. Take it back over to your board, Sue. You showing up over here to gloat is akin to a guy leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet and belching on starving kids.

      Go Irish

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    6. Sue, I would love for UofL to make it to the Final Four every year, play for the title most of the time and win our conference. Without a doubt.

      I also know that of all the games I go to for UofL (essentially every home game, and a few on the road, in typical seasons), I end up watching the close ones a lot more intently and end up enjoying myself a lot more. I don't complain about blow-outs, nor do I complain about UConn being as successful as they are, but in the overall concept of what's good for the game of women's basketball overall, there's very little doubt in my mind that some better competition for the top teams (whoever they may be in any particular year) is a Good Thing.

      No sour grapes, here, I'm just looking at what would best grow the game overall.

      Delete
    7. I would agree with my esteemed colleauges comments here. We DO love to win, no doubt...but close games are ultimately exciting and I'll always remember how Shoni shot us back into the Maryland game in the regionals last year. Yes, Louisville lost...but that buzz of electricity and excitement as the Cards cut into that 10-point lead was pure adrenilin.

      Paulie

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    8. Yea, can't wait to watch another 51 point game. Really jacks up the interest level in women's basketball.

      Delete
  9. Softball has scored a mere 2 runs in their last four games. Are they using wiffle ball bats up there? Give me 10 runs, Paulie.

    Nick O.

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  10. I guess I'm in the minority around here but I'm looking forward to watching the game tonight. The regular season ESPN broadcasts of UConn crushing everyone else in the AAC I'm not interested in but the NCAA championship game, you bet. ND is the only program not intimidated by UConn and it's not outside the realm of possibility that ND wins. They've got some great kids. Other than UConn AAC games the only other game I don't want to see for the next year or two would be vs our Cards. When our incoming recruits are Sophomores I'd be very interested in a rematch with the Huskies.

    I'm not a life long WCBB fan but I've always wanted to know the true background story of why UConn and Tennessee quit playing back in 2007 or so. I think if there was any one event that set back the rise in the popularity of WCBB it was the cancellation of that series.

    I've read a ton of articles about how and why it happened and most of the time they are biased one way or another. I ran across a new book titled "Unrivaled" by Jeff Goldberg who used to be a sportswriter for the Hartford Courant that appears to be pretty evenhanded. I'm going to pick up a copy but I ran across a podcast interview of him about the book that was pretty interesting. If you've got a spare thirty minutes to listen it's highly recommended. Here is the link:

    http://www.hoopfeed.com/content/2015/04/06/a-dishin-swishin-special-edition-uconn-versus-tennessee-a-series-that-was-unrivaled/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will watch and I look forward to it because I am a basketball junkie and realize that it's just the pros, Euroball and USA teams until October after tonight. I love the college game.

      Curtis Franklin

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    2. Won't be able to listen to that later...but the Tennessee folks always implied impropriaties in the receuitment of Maya Moore by UConn. Geno still denies them. Can Holly W. toss that aside and schedule with Geno again? Tough to say.

      Do we need this rivarly to be reinstitiuted to "save" WCBB? No, of course not. But it's a game I would watch...early season or post season.

      Paulie

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  11. Yep. I believe ESPN tried to get them to schedule regular season again and Geno was having none of it unless he got an apology first from Tennessee. Lots of bad blood still. I would love to see them play again just to watch the throw down. With all of the talent the Vols have stockpiled now it might actually be a good game. After Stewart graduates who knows?

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't bring your advertising spam back here again. I have sent you an invoice for advertising (one time only) and strongly suggest you pay and stay away. Trash belongs in the garbage can, not our front yard.



      Paulie

      Delete

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