NCAA finally acts, UofL can resume journey again

The worst possible outcome.

The ultimate indignity of the result of Andre McGee’s actions has become a reality with the NCAA’s decision that the University of Louisville must take down the 2013 NCAA banner. 

Any official references to UofL’s third national championship must be removed from the playing facilities and future media guides. And the athletic department is subject to a $600,000 fine. 

The irritating thing about running afoul of NCAA restrictions is the time involved in the investigative process. The revelation about McGee was made in October 2015, making UofL subject to all kinds of ridicule and angst for almost two-and-a-half years. Agonizing and unnecessary.

Small wonder that many Louisville fans feel a sense of relief now that the NCAA has announced the punishment. The legal process is flawed, the punishment is not justified, and the NCAA has once again suffered a self-inflicted blow to its credibility.

The problems within the NCAA that are reflective of what have been happening with higher education over several decades. So much competition, jealousy, arrogance in a class system of universities. They preach publicly about “fairness and equality” while crushing institutions and athletic programs for the actions of one or two individuals.

It never mattered that the University of Louisville tried to do the right thing, self-imposing an NCAA tournament ban, reducing its recruiting budget and the number of scholarships. This was a chance for a group of officials from other schools within the NCAA to throw the book at another school. Especially gratifying to them because UofL’s growth had been so phenomenal over the past decade.

UofL will recover and move on from this, much stronger from all of the trials and indignities. Louisville alumni and fans have been through a lot but the vast majority of them will remain supportive and loyal. 

The athletic department has hit bottom, and there’s nowhere to go but up from here. It begins here. Now.

Louisville still looking for take charge guy after North Carolina loss

Best crowd of the season, 21,210 fans for the Louisville-North Carolina game at the KFC Yum! Center (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

University of Louisville basketball fans, bless their hearts, hoping for the return of the good times. An electric atmosphere, a white out game, a crowd of 21,210 on hand at the KFC Yum! Center. Ready to make some magic happen.

The frenzied throng would will their team back from an early deficit of 19 points only to  see UofL fall short time and time again. Unable to handle the pass, make the play, grab the rebound or make the shot that would have put the game on the line.

Deng Adel missing on this shot but leading UofL with 20 points and six assists (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A team seemingly unable to match the enthusiasm or confidence of its fans. Unable to make shots within point blank range, blowing all kinds of layups. Not a threat on the offensive boards, getting outscored 22-6 on second chance points.

Missing from UofL was a lack of any defensive presence in the 93-76 loss to North Carolina. The Cardinals unable to sustain any intensity on the defensive end, allowing the Tar Heels to make almost 50% of their shots.

As in UofL’s previous eight losses, fans looking for someone to provide some positive energy — take over a game, provide some leadership, refuse to lose — would be disappointed. The leadership doesn’t seem to be there, either from an individual or collective basis, verbally or by example. 

The latest loss occurring after impressive wins over two of the worst teams in the conference, dashing any hopes that UofL had turned any corners. Exposing the Cardinals, and their biggest weakness, still looking for leadership with four games to go in the regular season. 


No sweat for Louisville in listless loss to Syracuse

Anas Mahmoud in a tight spot going for a rebound (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Apparently asking a bit much to get overly excited about playing Syracuse for a team that had lost three of its last four games and on a two-game skid. Easy does it, nothing to get worked up about for the University of Louisville basketball team.

Fire in the belly, what’s that? Never let them see you sweat. Not against Syracuse.

Another disappointing night for Deng Adel, third loss in a row (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

UofL seemingly just going through the motions, content with hanging around for much of the game. Syracuse, like Virginia and Florida State before them, sliding through the UofL defense with ease, making all kinds of improbable shots. 

Fans hoping for the Cardinals to make a run would be only partially rewarded. UofL would manage to cut a 10-point deficit to two points at the 4:05 mark. Getting back in the game with Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud repeatedly taking the ball inside, fouling out two Syracuse starters.

Ready to capitalize. But no.

For some inexplicable reason, Louisville will revert back to the outside game. Three-point clunker by Quentin Snider, three-point brick by Deng Adel, a two-point unanswered prayer by Snider. Forget about Spalding and Mahmoud, those guys won’t see the ball again.

Just a momentary scare, not a serious threat, and Syracuse will easily prevail 78-73. The Cardinals going from almost a sure thing to a desperate bubble team over the past week, their won-loss record falling to 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference.

The Cardinals showing all the signs of slipping away at a time when they need to be fine tuning. Not that they seem all that concerned, with the disappearance of any intensity. Maybe they know something we don’t, and they’re saving it for a stretch run.  Maybe. 

Quentin Snider keeps Louisville close, but finish is familiar

Quinten Snider scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, giving UofL a chance to win (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Quentin Snider heating up, his shots going in. The guy with the hot hand, the one one wants to make that last shot. Something for the fans to remember, maybe.

The senior guard making three of the University of Louisville basketball team’s four field goals in the last five minutes. Including two 3-pointers, UofL slashing an eight-point deficit to two points with 17 seconds to go.

Snider with a look on one trip downcourt that said he would not be denied, twisting to the left, around a defender to make one of those three’s from 25 feet. Setting up a dramatic finish, the highlight shot, the leading role. 

As Snider’s fate would have it, however, he would not see the ball on that final trip downcourt. V. J. King would take the shot, see it blocked, and Louisville was done. Losing to Florida State 80-76 in front of a crowd of 18,305 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Ray Spalding will leave no doubt with this shot (Cindy Rice Shelton).

Quentin would score 11 of his 15 points in that second half, giving his team a chance. Showing how it’s done, handing out seven assists for the game, but still looking to be reciprocated. Deng Adel getting scoring honors with 19 points, Ray Spalding with 13, and King with 10. 

Lots of indecisiveness in those closing seconds, mindful of earlier losses. Seemingly obvious choices overlooked. Uncertainty, lack of confidence, lack of awareness and lack of direction, it was all there. The player with the hot hand lost in the confusion.

UofL’s record falls to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, slipping from second to sixth in league play during the week. A chance to get back on track, with Syracuse visiting Monday at 7 p.m.

Find Snider if it’s a nail biter at the end. Please.

Down week for Louisville basketball

Good times and bad times seeming to come in bunches for University of Louisville basketball.

The women’s 20-game winning streak is snapped, the men fail to win their fifth straight, and the NCAA appeal looms heavily over the latter’s program.

From the way this week is going for the Cardinals, and based on some questionable information from a crappy source, the immediate outlook for a successful appeal from the NCAA is not good if the decision comes by Friday.

Best news thus far is that Katina Powell, the hooker at the heart of some of the program’s woes, was detained for shoplifting at a local Walmart.  For a toothbrush, no less.

Louisville’s fifth loss in 19th games would be a 78-75 decision in overtime to Miami. A game marred by flashes of freshman guard Lonnie Walker, the performer with a three-inch high bird’s nest on top of his head. Oblivious to the weirdness, having his way with the Cardinals. 

Walker having a coming out party, scoring a game-high 25 points.  Circus shots keeping the Hurricanes close, including one in the final seconds of regulation sending the game into overtime. His teammate, 6-foot-11 Dewan Huell, equally difficult to stop, with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Still waiting for Quentin Snider to hit a winning field goal for Louisville this season. But not a bad night for him, however, scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second half.  Anas Mahmoud with 15 points, four blocks, two assists and steal. Ray Spalding with nine points and 13 rebounds.

A game Louisville deserved to win, with Coach David Padgett getting everything he could from his team. Doubtful his predecessor or many other prime timers could have won with the way things were going on hump day for UofL basketball.