LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Warriors vs. Bucks, who ya got?
Penny Hardaway vs. John Calipari, who ya got?
And, Jeff Walz vs. Dan McDonnell, who ya got?
It’s not Rivalry Week. It’s time for the Monday Muse. I’ll make time for the first two questions later this week. But trying to choose between Walz and McDonnell for the remarkable work they have done at the University of Louisville is as difficult as it gets.
1. Walz or McDonnell?
You saw what happened to the University of Louisville football team last season. The record shows that the U of L men’s basketball team has won a single NCAA Tournament game in four seasons.
If you’re making a list of the Cardinals’ programs that never have off years, two names soar to the top of the list:
Jeff Walz with the women’s basketball team and Dan McDonnell with the baseball team.
Walz directed his team to its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament in March, earning a No. 1 seed. Connecticut stopped the Cardinals one game short of the program’s fourth Final Four since 2009.
This is a program that has replaced Angel McCoughtry, Shoni Schimmel and Myisha Hines-Allen — and will now have to replace Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter next season.
Credit Walz for that — and for a winning percentage of .778.
McDonnell and his squad are bound for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Durham, N.C. after earning the top seed in the event for third time in four seasons.
Weather, tradition and proximity to players should make Miami, Florida State and Georgia Tech the programs to beat in the ACC. It’s Louisville.
The Cards are a lock to host an NCAA Regional next week and figure to position themselves to host a Super Regional as well.
This is a program that has also replaced MLB draft pick after MLB draft pick. When the season began, the Cardinals were ranked as low as No. 11 nationally by Baseball America.
No Brendan McKay. No Corey Ray. No Lincoln Henzman. No Adam Engel. No Burdi brothers. No problem. They have replaced all of them and simply kept winning,.
Credit McDonnell — and for a winning percentage of .718.
The only step both coaches need to take is win a national championship. Maybe McDonnell takes this group to Omaha (again) and does it this season.
2. Terry Rozier Takes Manhattan
New York Knicks fans are breathlessly waiting for the end of the NBA playoffs and the start of the free-agent sweepstakes.
They’re excited about the NBA Draft but not as gaga as they would have been if the Knicks had earned the first, not the third, pick in the lottery last week. They’re going to get a Duke guy but it will be R.J. Barrett not Zion Williamson.
But in free agency, the Knicks are hoping for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Would they be OK with Durant and Terry Rozier?
Maybe, because Rozier, the former University of Louisville dynamo, has been making a lot of noise that he wants out of Boston. And, for the price, Rozier could be a better option for the Knicks than Irving.
#Celtics RFA Terry Rozier on possibility of playing for #Knicks: "I definitely can [see it]...It would be great.""I'm looking for a team that's gonna let me be myself and treats me like family. I'm not a hard person to work with. I'm a team-first guy."pic.twitter.com/CKjiGNUWtN— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) May 14, 2019
In a recent appearance on a radio show, Rozier said that he could see himself playing for the Knicks and that it "would be great."
Rozier can also flash this credential. With Rozier running the team, Boston made the Eastern Conference finals last season. With Irving in charge, Boston crawled out of the playoffs with a four-game beatdown against Milwaukee in the semifinals.
There’s only one downer: Boston will make the final decision. Rozier is a restricted free agent. The Celtics can match any offer.
3. The Raiders Doubted Josh Allen
This one I don’t get. Josh Allen took on all comers during his four seasons at the University of Kentucky. Guys like Allen helped make the Wildcats a legitimate force in the Southeastern Conference, beating teams UK has not been conditioned to defeat.
I don’t remember Mark Stoops questioning Allen’s motor.
Now comes the report the Oakland Raiders passed on Allen with the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft last month because they did not believe Allen played with enough "dog" in him. (Story link.)
Apparently that is code for saying Allen took plays off or didn’t play at top speed on every snap.
I must have taken off the plays that Allen took off because I usually spotted him in the opposing backfield.
The Raiders’ over-analysis became Jacksonville’s gain. Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden is the guy who did not need Khalil Mack. Allen will be fine away from the Raiders.
4. Do You Know this Clown?
There is one of these guys in every crowd. On Saturday night he was in Portland, watching the Trailblazers go down 3-0 to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
I doubt he will make it to Game Four Monday night.
5. Another Reason to Like Bill Belichick
This is my favorite picture from the Preakness — and not just the shot of race winner War of Will.
Look on the far left side of the photo. See the guy studying the finish as if he is trying to read which direction the hips of the linebackers are pointing. That’s Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots.
Amazing photo from the Preakness of Bill Belichick (left side) locked in on War of Will. One champion watching another. pic.twitter.com/Tsp01JOmVG— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 19, 2019
Guess what I really like about the picture?
Belichick is one of the few people actually watching the race, not watching it through his phone.
6. Another Reason to Like Bob Huggins
OK, it’s cranky old guy day, First an ode to Belichick. Now an ode to West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
Apparently, Huggins made a speaking engagement where he was asked to talk about the difference in players today and players from several generations ago.
Huggins has never been reluctant to deliver an opinion. I believe he is on to something.
Bob Huggins 💎: “Today’s players don’t play the right way because they don’t play on the blacktop w/ older guys. You’d take a bad shot, wouldn’t play defense, wouldn’t play hard, you wouldn’t get picked. There’s nothing worse than sitting out in the hot sun and not being picked”— AJG (@AJG_20) May 18, 2019
7. Katie vs. Shaq
The Milwaukee Bucks should have hired Katie George a long time ago. They recruited her from WDRB before the start of the season and the Bucks are two wins from advancing to the NBA Finals.
They’re 10-2 with George working as a sideline/digital reporter for FoxSportsWisconsin.
On Sunday night, the Bucks lost to the Raptors, but George won this interview with Shaquille O’Neal of TNT’s NBA crew. It’s definitely worth a look.
Katie: You kissed Charles Barkley during my last interview. Do you usually greet him like that? Shaq: I have no idea who that is, but my favorite song is I Kissed A Boy and I Liked It. 😂 A must-see interview with @Katie_George05 and @SHAQ: pic.twitter.com/X6UssDtsC1— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 19, 2019
8. Brooks Koepka is Better Than …
Apparently football and basketball players are not the only ones who can play the Disrespect Card. Golfers can do it, too,
Brooks Koepka was a talented and productive golfer at Florida State. But when Koepka finished with the Seminoles nobody was predicting Koepka was the Next Great Thing, a guy capable of winning four major titles since the summer of 2017.
The folks at Gold Digest remember the names of the golfers who were supposed to be better pros than Koepka. Interesting list.
Brooks Koepka has won four majors in the last two years and is once again the No. 1 player in the world.But these ten players were supposed to be better than him: https://t.co/j4ZmwykFrf pic.twitter.com/W6tmGc4JKo— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) May 20, 2019
9. MLB Rankings
1. Houston (2 last week) — The Red Sox ended Houston’s 10-game winning streak Sunday but the Astros should start another with four home games against the White Sox this week.
2. Minnesota (3 last week) — The Twins have hit 87 home runs in 46 games. Last season they hit 166 in 162. Check the baseballs.
3. Tampa (4) — Only team with an earned run average of less than 3. They must not be using the same balls as the Twins.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (5) — Leading the NL in runs scored, third in the NL in fewest runs allowed.
5. Chicago Cubs (1) — They lost a series to the Reds last week.
10 Rick Pitino Tweet of the Week
The Greeks have made me feel so welcomed here. Thank you! Basketball is to be enjoyed. Moments, like Kawhi’s shot, are so special. Let’s put this nonsense behind us & compete with respect for each other. Let the best team win with camaraderie & friendship.— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) May 13, 2019
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