Nothing But Net: with Special Guest, c d kaplan

Local NCAA hoops afficianado, c d kaplan, joins Matt & Mark to offer his take on all things March Madness. See above? Even Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Louisville’s Peyton Siva, is psyched. It’s always fun when the author of Score, at LEO, and WFPK’s Culture Maven joins us. Please join us, too. On Nothing But Net, the sports report that swings.

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Nothing But Net: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad March

The University of Kentucky (32-2) is the overall No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament bracket announced Sunday evening.

The No. 1 seeds in order are Kentucky (South), Syracuse (East), North Carolina (Midwest) and Michigan State (West). The South will play the West and the East will play the Midwest in the national semifinals.

The University of Louisville Cardinals are the 4th seed in the West (meaning they were the last team to be rewarded the 4th seed). A disservice? Not really. That’s what happens when you go 1-4 after a 12-0 start that included just a single game away from the Bucket. No shame in losing at Kentucky on New Year’s Eve, but the home losses to Georgetown and Notre Dame — before either proved themselves as Top 25 teams — were cause for concern. Then the Cards got gobsmacked in Providence by 33. Redemption came in the Big East Tournament. Now the Cards face a hot shooting Davidson squad, who BEAT KANSAS in December, in the First, er, Second Round.

Matt and Mark run it down in this edition of Nothing But Net, the sports report that swings.

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Nothing But Net: Cards Big East Tournament Champs

Coach Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals, a team we discounted and even the hometown crowd had written off after a 33-point loss to Providence in January, topped Cincinnati 50-44 to win the Big East tournament title. Here’s how they did it. Mike Marra, torn ACL, out all year; Rakeem Buckles, torn ACL, out since January; Stephan Van Treese, patellar injury, out all year; Wayne Blackshear, shoulder surgery, out 25 games; Siva, sprained ankle and concussion, missed three games; Kyle Kuric, sprained ankle, missed three games; Jared Swopshire, recovering from groin injury, missed two games. Instead, by playing tenacious defense throughout and mustering just enough offense to hold off a closing run, Louisville gave Pitino his latest title with a 50-44 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday night in the Big East championship game. Guard Peyton Siva was named Tournament MVP.

Congratulations Cards. Matt and Mark will be back tomorrow with a wrap-up, and an NCAA bracket rundown. For now? Enjoy!

Nothing But Net: Is the Cards’ Season Over?

Chane Behanan’s missed dunk in the second half of Wednesday’s debacle, is a pretty good icon of the night, and the last 5 games for the Cardinals. An inability to score. It’s also the fourth game in the last five that Louisville has failed to score more than 57 points; the Cardinals have lost three of them. Simply put, Coach Rick Pitino has failed at creating an offense that works, or failed to recruit the personnel that can execute on offense. Too few shooters, too many bad passes and poor free throw shooting. U of L realistically is looking at playing 3 more games this season, then, mercifully, it’s over.

UK’s Wildcats continue to trend in the opposite direction. Freshman Anthony Davis improves each game, and is listed as one of the two players involved in the player of the year race (the other being Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.) Coach John Calipari, long considered merely a recruiter, is showing he’s also a very good coach, capable of motivating his players at the right time, and having the personnel to execute properly. They will likely run the SEC table, and possibly achieve the same in the NCAAs.

Down the road in Bloomington, Indiana, the IU Hoosiers continue to play David to some of the Goliaths in college basketball. Coach Tom Crean has to be a shoo-in for Big Ten Coach of the Year. Join Matt & Mark as they survey the local hoops landscape, and looks at trends nationwide. Plus, the first Nothing But Net All Net Team will be revealed. Join us for Nothing But Net, the sports report that swings.

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Nothing But Net: Cards’ Hearts Broken

Last week was one of the best of the season in College Basketball. Unfortunately, Matt was sick, and we didn’t get to offer our in-depth take on all the wonderful trends and, of course, games.

Now? We’re both sick. Louisville squandered a perfect opportunity for the taking to knock off the number two team in the land, Syracuse, and climb up the Big East standings. Instead, the team was plagued by a litany of poor free throw shooting, poor offensive execution, and ONE REALLY REALLY REALLY STUPID FOUL (PEYTON!!!) Not to mention aimless drives into a grove of Orange Uniforms and missing outside wing shooters, including a potential game winner from the Orange Slayer Himself, Kyle Kuric. From The King’s Corner, no less. This one hurts.

UK has no such heartbreak in The Big Blue Nation. The SU v. U of L tilt reaffirmed my belief that Cats’ Fans need to make their reservations in New Orleans now. It’s gonna be a party.

Elsewhere, Michigan State, Kansas and Duke all are flexing their talent, smarts, toughness and muscle at the right time. Missouri is a real threat; Baylor is not. And Bellarmine is riding a 17 game win streak that propels them to a very realistic chance of repeating as Division Two champs. Hear what we have to say on this week’s edition of Nothing But Net; the sports report that swings!

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Nothing But Net: Taking Stock, with c.d. kaplan

Louisville basketball fans received a “week off” with the Cards idle until this Saturday’s tilt against Rutgers. Time to let the furor over this year’s team’s deficiencies and injuries die down a bit. Who’s emerged as U of L’s MVP and Most Improved Players? Who’s the biggest bust? Can this team emerge with a win in the second- and third-round NCAA Tournament? Will they make the NCAAs??

UK is back on top, with Anthony Davis emerging as perhaps college basketball’s most dominant player, or at least the one most fun to watch. Can anyone stop the ‘Cats? What about Murray State? Are they destined to become college basketball’s first undefeated team in over 3 decades? And what are Bellarmine’s chances of repeating as Division II Champs?

Special guest, c.d. kaplan, joins Matt and Mark with the answers and insights into these questions, and more, on this week’s Nothing But Net, the hoops podcast with a beat.

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