Send Jock Sutherland a birthday card, he will be 92

Jock Sutherland was a color commentator for UofL games on WHAS from 1981 to 2001 (Charlie Springer photo).

Gonna ask a favor of University of Louisville fans, especially those who enjoyed the color commentary of Jock Sutherland as the analyst on WHAS broadcasts of UofL basketball games from 1981 to 2001.

The favor is to send a birthday card or note to Sutherland who will be celebrating his 92nd birthday on March 14th. No, there’s not an email address because he doesn’t use computers . “Never did, only when absolutely necessary,” he once told the Observer.

The address: 

Jock Sutherland
234 Fairway Drive West
Nicholasville, KY 40356.

His wife Phyllis says Jock truly treasures the memories of covering Louisville basketball and all the UofL friends he made. “He would be thrilled if Cardinal fans could remember him on his birthday,” she said.

Send a birthday card, a generic card or a note, to Jock today while it’s still fresh on your mind.  Covering Louisville basketball was a joyful time for him.  Do it today.

Old rivals Louisville, Dayton back on collision course

Does destiny dare to match the universities of Louisville and Dayton in another historic showdown on one of college basketball’s biggest stages in March?  The once bitter rivals last met with a championship on the line some 64 years ago.

Charlie Tyra, father of Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra, adorned the prestigious cover of the Street & Smith Basketball in 1957, following UofL’s NIT championship year.

A lot has happened since the 1955-56 season, with UofL becoming a nationally acclaimed program. The program won three national championships — in 1980, 1986 and 2013 and joined Atlantic Coast Conference in 2015. Meanwhile, Dayton has quietly labored in the mid-major Atlantic 10 Conference except for a 1967 loss to UCLA in the NCAA championship game.

Not to worry, Dayton is back stronger than ever.  According to this site, Dayton is among the serious contenders to win the NCAA championship. The Flyers are 28-2 overall and 17-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Their odds of winning it all are placed at +1200, behind only Baylor, Duke and Gonzaga. Louisville is below Dayton at odds of +1400.

The Flyers have won 19 straight games to occupy their highest poll position since finishing the 1955-56 campaign with a 25-4 record and a No. 3 ranking. They are currently ranked third in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls.

They are led by Obi Toppin, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward, averaging 19.8 points per and 8.9 rebounds per game. They have three other starters averaging double figures as well.

Back to that 1955-56 season. Louisville, led by 6-foot-8 Charlie Tyra, and Dayton, with 7-foot-1 Bill Uhl, were both among the top 10 when they collided. They played three times, with UofL winning by two points on last second baskets during both regular season games.

They next clashed in the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament, which at time was considered by many to be the premier basketball tourney. Louisville won 93-80, its biggest win ever, joining the ranks of the nation’s elite programs in the years that followed.

Louisville owns a 39-27 edge over Dayton in a series that dates back to 1948. However, the Cardinals lost the last two games to the Flyers in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. And Coach Rick Pitino never pursued a resumption of the series after those losses.

The diehards, or anyone remotely familiar with the series, will strongly disagree that the rivalry is only a distant memory.   The stakes will be high for both programs and intensity levels will be off the charts if they cross paths again in March.

Magic at work, with UofL still having shot at ACC crown

^^ Keith Oddo bows out with 3-point buzzer beater – Mike DeZarn photo ^^

Coach Chris Mack huddles with David Johnson and Dwayne Sutton during the University of Louisville’s final home game at the KFC Yum! Center (Mike DeZarn photo).

Nothing more magical than a nylon-ripping three-point basket at the buzzer. Coming from a University of Louisville graduate transfer walk-on with less than nine  minutes of playing time and zero points for the season.

The delightful wizardry provided by Keith Oddo who had to be surprised he was even in the game. But it was Senior Day and this was his last game. Thrilled that Coach Chris Mack would call his number with 1:05 on the clock. No hesitation after David Robinson finds Oddo alone in the corner, no time to think, nothing but net.

David Johnson making his way through the Virginia Tech gauntlet for a basket (Mike DeZarn photo).

Just the thing the crowd of 18,104 at the KFC Yum! Center needed to close out UofL’s 2019-20 home game schedule. The win improving Louisville’s record to 24-6 overall. More magical is the fact that UofL is in first place in the conference with a 15-4 mark with one game remaining. By a half game over Florida State which has two games left.

The Cardinals may need ever bit of Houdini they can conjure up with their final game of the season coming next Sunday at Virginia. Both teams may have played their best game of the season when they met recently in Louisville, with the Cards prevailing by 80-73.  Virginia has only continued to get better and is anticipating its own special Senior Day observance.

Continue reading “Magic at work, with UofL still having shot at ACC crown”

Louisville women turn lights out on Virginia Tech

^ Kylee Shook for two of her 15 points – Cindy Rice Shelton photo

Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook lead their fellow seniors for a victory lap after their day at the KFC Yum! Center (Mike DeZarn photo).
Bionca Dunham and Yacine Diop battle for a rebound (Cindy Rice Shelton photo0.

Senior Day for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Time to officially recognize the incredible accomplishments of a class that participated in a record number of 124 wins over the past four seasons.

Talking about Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook, Bionca Dunham, Jessica Laemmle and, yes, Yacine Diop, the transfer from Pittsburgh. Having wrapped the first unfettered Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship during their final season.

Jessica Laemmle in a rare start role, getting her team off to a good start and a lead they would never relinquish (Mike DeZarn photo).

Laemmle, the 5-foot-2 dynamo, getting her first start in a Cardinals’ uniform, connecting on a 15-foot jumper. Those would be her only points, but she had set the tone, with Louisville rolling to a convincing 70-53 win over a very good Virginia Tech team.

Shook with still another double-double, with 12 points and 15 points, plus three assists, a steal and a block. Jones with a game-leading 17 points and three assists. Dunham with nine rebounds and eight points. Diop with eight points and two steals. 

Jeff Walz with flowers for each of the seniors, celebrating still another ACC regular season championship (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The other good news, witnessed by a crowd of 10,423 people at the KFC Yum! Center, was the return of recently injured Dana Evans and Elizabeth Balogun to action. Entering from the bench, Evans would score eight points and make four assists in just over 24 minutes. Balogun with three points in her 15 minutes.  Both on the way to recovery.

The Cardinals would force Virginia Tech into 18 turnovers, earning 21 points over the VT errors, while making only seven turnovers themselves. 

“Our kids did a fantastic job,” said UofL Coach Jeff Walz. “We went into this game knowing Tech could shoot the three point shot, especially Dara Mabley and Aisha Sheppard. We knew that if Elizabeth Kitley gets 30, she would get 30, but we only going to give them two-point attempts …”

Between Mabley and Sheppard would get only five 3-point attempts while making only one of them, contributing only seven points collectively.  Kitley, a  6-foot-5 candidate for ACC freshman of the year, would get 17 points.

Gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton

UofL women are your ACC regular season champs

Jazmine Jones leading the cheers from the bench. along with Mykasa Robinson (Mike DeZarn photos).

Boston College with everything to play for, riding a five-game winning streak, vying for a top four finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Knowing the University of Louisville women were again without starters Dana Evans and Elizabeth Balogun. 

Big, strong, sharp shooting BC ready to catch UofL on an off night, maybe looking ahead to the ACC tournament. That was the upset scenario anyway.

UofL, however, not liking that script, not going along for the ride, not taking anything for granted. 

The Cardinals would race to 46-24 halftime lead, never looking back en route to 68-48 win before a crowd of 8,514 at the KFC Yum! Center. Standing alone atop the ACC standings with a conference record of 15-2 this time around. The Cardinals shared the title with Notre Dame the past two seasons.

  • Kylee Shook continuing the rapid improvement evidenced in her last few games. Still another double-double, with a game-leading 18 points and 10 rebounds. Also credit her with an assist to go with two blocks and two steals.
  • Jazmine Jones, bringing extra levels of enthusiasm in this one, her sole focus on winning a conference championship, scoring 17 points, with three assists and three blocks.
  • Yacine Diop, making things happen when things had to happen, scoring 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and two assists. Reaching her considerable potential at just the right time.
  • Last but certainly not least. Mykasa Robinson standing in for Dana Evans at point guard, keeping that well-oiled offense running smoothly. Adding seven points while making five assists, three steals and a block

The win improving UofL’s overall record to 26-3. The final home game is Sunday at Noon, designated as Senior Day to honor the seniors, having contributed to 123 wins over the past four seasons.