Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cup O' Jones : Senior Edition

- As I said yesterday and has been known throughout Cardinal nation all season, Earl Clark will be a part of senior day ceremonies as a junior like Francisco Garcia before him. As most know, I'm a huge fan of E5 and am glad he is going to get the appreciation he deserves in his last game at Freedom Hall Wednesday. Some say it might tarnish the true meaning of "senior" day, but in this day and age when a player with the potential of Earl Clark even stays for 3 years it should be celebrated and not treated as the proverbial elephant in the corner of the room. We all know he's gone just like we all knew Cisco was gone. He's projected too high to come back and ruin the chance to set him and his family up for life. It would be selfish for a Card fan to ask for more. Earl's stock was sky-high after the gigantic tourney he had last year, so I feel lucky he was smart enough to not make the easy decision and come back to develop his game and help the team we all love. Earl's true place in the hearts of fans is still pending on the outcome of this year's tourney. If passive, NBA-scout watching Earl shows up his legacy could become tainted. If mean Earl shows up with that look in his eye like he's on a mission - he could become one of the all-time favorites.

- Including Earl, this class stacks up pretty nicely against some of the best in recent memory. None really started out well - McGee was too crazy with the ball and couldn't shoot. T-Will was always trying for the highlight reel and not the victory. Earl was a point guard trying to learn the PF position on the run...in the Big East. To see how much each player has improved is awesome and a testament to their work ethic and ability by into Pitino's system. I think it is one of the most gratifying things in being a fan - getting to watch a player come in and look lost, confused and helpless and 2-3 years later they are mature and poised leaders. Now McGee is a 3-point threat and one of the best on-ball defenders in the country. Earl has evolved from a McDonald's All-American point guard into a NBA lottery pick forward. And T-Will has totally baffled me in the way he has matured over the last 4 years - he went from a ball-hog to a creator in what seemed like the blink of an eye. I'm not leaving out Will Scott - he is a model-citizen and will make more of a difference on the world than anyone on the team. However, I am still looking for him to make that "big shot" Pitino always talks about.

- This class will not be judged among the best at Louisville yet because...well...they haven't really done anything yet. The Billy Thompson/Milt Wagner 1986 class was known for winning a title as was Darrell Griffith's in 1980. The O'Bannon/Myles/Garcia/George class will always be remembered for their Final 4 run. This year's group is up against some pretty tough competition, but have the ability to be included amongst the greats. It will take a deep run into the tourney to solidify that legacy - which is very possible.

- There is still a lot of work to be done before the tournament talk should start, but it inevitably happens anyway. As TC said yesterday, Bracketology has up as the #2 seed in the bracket where Oklahoma is the #1. If that is the case - and the Cards have too many blemishes for a #1 - that would be the ideal bracket to be in. It would mean the Cards would face the worst possible #3 seed as a potential Sweet 16 match-up. The #3 seeds are - Duke, Wake, Villanova and Washington. Pitino, the players and the fans should be fine with a draw that has Oklahoma (whom we're familiar with) as the #1 and Washington (not too scary) as the #3. Again as TC said, as long as we don't see UNC, PITT or UCONN in our bracket, we shouldn't be scared one bit.

- I'm still wondering what the national media's lack of interest in the Cards is all about. First, the National Basketball Writers' Association snubs T-Will in their Final 15 for the Oscar Robertson Award - in favor of players like Dante Cunningham of Villanova, Evan Turner of Ohio St. and freakin' Tyreke Evans of Memphis. Is this a joke? Do these guys even watch the games? Do they realize Williams is the most-important player on a top-5 (ok..6) team in the country? This just goes to show that the media is getting lazy and just going by what they hear or read and not by the product that is on the floor. If you can't see by watching the game that T-Will is a better player than a glorified roll-player in Dante Cunningham then covering basketball may not be your true calling. Also, this obsession with Memphis and their "great defense" is making me want to vomit. Did you ever think they might look a shade better because they don't play anybody worth a crap? Yet 4 guys this week thought Memphis was the best team in the country and - after beating two tournament-bound teams - the Cards should just stay put. There's nothing the team can do but keep winning. However, this media spin-machine that Memphis has been thrown into has catapulted them over teams that would probably be 7-10 point favorites if they ever played.

Starting 5

1. Jeff Goodman - FoxSports.com - Bubble Watch: Notre Dame Sinking Fast (Favorite CBB writer of the L Yes! breaks down who's in and who's got some work left. The best is how he never buys the Kentucky hype. If you listen locally, you'd think they were a shoe-in. Goodman is there to say "not so fast my friend")
2. Jenny McAsey - The Australian - Powell accelerates under bonnet (Catching up with our favorite Jamaican sprinters - Usafa Powell and Usain Bolt - as they spend a little down-time fixing up Honda Accords...really)
3. Jody Demling - Courier-Journal Recruiting Blog - Teague to Louisville? (I try not to talk too much recruiting during the season, but I don't think Jody would put something up if it wasn't more than just a rumor. Looks like Teague is close to committing to the Cards)
4. Brad Evans - Yahoo's Roto Arcade - Bracket Big Board: Misled bracketologists cling lovingly to Cowboys' waist, RPI (A differenet perspective on bracketology and it's sometimes hidden agenda)
5. Rick Chandler - Deadspin -
Book Excerpts That Might Suck: Alyssa Milano's 'Safe At Home' (Always been a fan of Alyssa Milano - and it looks like she's always been a fan of baseball players)

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