BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Disrespecting basketball fans in Louisville; Tiger's tumble
Who ranked Louisville the No. 181 basketball city in America, behind San Marcos, Texas? Tiger's Tumble. Hat Tip to Frank Deford. Akoy Agau on the move -- again.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I've heard basketball fans in Louisville called the best in the nation. I've heard them described as passionate, consumed and unable to get enough hoops in their lives.
The area is packed with people who love Louisville, Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Bellarmine and a list of other schools.
But here is one thing I had never heard about basketball fans in Louisville: They rank below basketball fans in Emmittsburg, Md.; Rosemont, Ill., and Statesboro, Ga.
Who created such folly?
Welcome to the Tuesday Muse.
1. Disrespecting Basketball Fans in Louisville
The idea sounded noble. A website named WalletHub.com ranked the best basketball cities in America. When I received the e-mail that shared the results, I knew it was a topic local fans would read, discuss and challenge.
Didn't matter what the criteria was. Attendance. TV ratings. Facilities. Amount of pizza purchased at the concession stands. Number of appearances by Red Panda at halftime. Wait time for the restrooms or vodka bars.
Create any silly methodology. Louisville had to rank in the Top 10. Top 25 at worst.
Ask anybody at ESPN, the ACC, the NCAA or the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Just don't ask the folks at WalletHub. They have a king-sized credibility problem.
Look at their rankings: Louisville ranked No. 181 of 293 cities.
Just behind San Marcos, Texas.
Apparently a city's desirability as a spring break location was more important than its ability to rank in the Top 10 in college basketball attendance for decades.
The Top 26 teams on the list are all NBA towns so the methodology obviously tilted toward having an NBA franchise in town.
But then places like Durham, N.C. (27), East Lansing, Mich., (No. 30) and Morehead, Ky. (No. 60) made the list, well ahead of Louisville, too. Silly. The criteria allegedly included items like the performance level of teams, fan engagement and minimum season ticket price.
If you're looking for a great laugh, here's a link to the complete list.
2. Troubled Tiger
For as long as I can remember, the snapshot of Tiger Woods in my mind has been the one of Woods dashing across the green with his right index finger extended as he chased his putt into the cup during the 2000 PGA at Valhalla.
He was joyful, confident, vibrant, the dominant face of American sports. I don't remember how many more major titles Woods needed to overtake Jack Nicklaus for the record. It didn't matter. Woods would get to 18 -- and beyond.
That's not the snapshot of Woods in my mind today. The Valhalla picture has been replaced by the mugshot that flashed across the Internet Monday as news broke that Woods had been charged with DUI in South Florida.
He was forlorn, shaken, confused, disheveled, the face of an American celebrity who has fallen further faster than anybody I can remember.
I'm not here to kick Tiger Woods. I'm here to hope his family and friends ensure he gets the support he needs so there can be a fresh happier picture to replace the one the world saw Monday.
3. Charles Matthews Sighting
Charles Matthews did not deliver many unforgettable moments during his time at Kentucky. He was not one-and-done to the NBA. He was one-and-done to another program.
The program was Michigan.
The Wolverines lost several significant pieces from their 2017 Sweet Sixteen team but word from Ann Arbor is Matthews can do some things that Derrick Walton or Zak Irvin did for John Beilein's squad.
Michigan is excited about the arrival of Matthews, even though he averaged only 1.7 points while playing about 10 minutes a game for John Calipari. Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press explains in this story about the UK transfer.
4. Akoy Agau Sighting
Akoy Agau arrived at the University of Louisville four seasons ago, with Chris Jones, Terry Rozier and Anton Gill. Rivals.com ranked him a four-star prospect at power forward because Agau had the bulk and power to produce around the rim.
It never happened.
His two seasons under Rick Pitino were mostly uninspiring. Injuries were a factor. He played in 22 games, averaging 0.8 points and 1 rebound.
Numbers like those usually lead to a transfer -- and Agau left for Georgetown. He sat for a season. He got his knee healthy. But Agau still never looked like a four-star recruit, averaging 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds for a Hoyas team that missed the post-season and got coach John Thompson III fired.
Agau is still looking for The Big Finish.
He'll try to get one at SMU. Agau told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that as a graduate transfer he'll play his fifth and final season for the Mustangs and coach Tim Jankovich. (Link.)
5. Congrats To Vince Taylor
After a year away from the game, former Louisville assistant coach and Lexington high school star Vince Taylor has returned to college basketball. Johnny Dawkins hired Taylor as one of his assistants at Central Florida.
Like Dawkins, Taylor played at Duke, the school that recruited him from Tates Creek High School in 1978. Taylor worked for Denny Crum and Rick Pitino at Louisville and later joined Tubby Smith at Minnesota and Texas Tech.
He's back at UCF, where Dawkins won 24 games last season and advanced to the semifinals of the NIT.
6. I Will Do The Opposite
I hope you're a Seinfeld fan. If you're not, we don't have much to discuss with this item.
I have 73 favorite Seinfeld episodes. One that always makes the cut is the one known as "The Opposite."
Simply put, confirmed loser George Costanza discovers an amazing way to change his run of bad luck was to do the opposite of his initial instinct. (Watch this link and enjoy.)
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN should consider that strategy. So should anybody who listens to Smith discuss the NBA. Word is that Smith has failed to pick the winner of the last six NBA Finals.
Rest well, LeBron. Smith likes the Warriors.
7. Worst Tweet Ever
A four-decade career can disappear in 140 outrageous characters. One nasty and needless Tweet can topple four decades of column and feature writing.
Ask Terry Frei of the Denver Post.
Or formerly of the Denver Post.
Typically, Frei wrote about the Broncos, Avalance or Nuggets. On Sunday, Frei tweeted about the Indianapolis 500.
Bad choice. Bad idea. Bad execution.
I won't share the entire Tweet, but Frei said that he was not comfortable with the idea of a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day.
The backlash was immediate, harsh and unrelenting.
By Monday, Frei was no longer employed by the Denver Post, even after he deleted the offensive Tweet and apologized.
Four decades of writing, taken down in 140 characters.
8. Simply The Best
This is the best way to describe how much I enjoyed Frank Deford's writing. The first thing I did after I pulled my copy of Sports Illustrated from the mailbox in the Seventies and Eighties was check the front of the magazine to discover if Deford contributed anything that week.
Nothing from Deford brought a sigh.
A story by Deford, especially a bonus piece at the back of the magazine, led me directly to a chair so I could savor every word, anecdote and insight Deford shared.
He was that good.
Deford died last weekend in Key West, Fla. He was 78, a towering contributor to sports writing and magazine journalism who also tried to develop a daily national sports publication (The National, which failed) and a regular radio commentary (on NPR, a massive hit).
If you wonder what the fuss was about Deford, visit Sports Illustrated's web site and search for his byline. If you'd like to read one sample of his extraordinary work, I recommend this story about former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight.
9. Poll Results I
Better College Baseball Conference?
ACC – 74.3 percent
SEC – 25.7 percent
10. Poll Results II
How many games will Louisville football win in 2017?
9 or more – 71.1 percent
8 or less – 28.9 percent
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