Archive for the Basketball Category

What’s In the Weeklies? Week of Apr.9

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Drink, Food, Kentucky News, Louisville News, Media, Music, Politics, Sports, What's In the Weeklies? on April 9, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means!

LEO April 9

LEO Weekly, April 9, 2008 issue:

Overall Score: 34 points

Velocity April 9

Velocity Weekly, April 9, 2008 issue:

Overall Score: 27 points

This might be the closest in score the two weeklies have been to each other since we started this column. Frankly, we might have weighted the Jay Bruce cover story in Velocity a little too much, but hey, what can we say? We love baseball. And clearly, LEO‘s cover story this week was the alt-weekly equivalent of a grand slam. Interestingly enough, Velocity published a story involving the 930 Listening Room — the music venue inside Sojourn — a few weeks ago, but it didn’t go nearly into as much depth on the fledgling Baptist church’s philosophy as Stephen George does in LEO. George’s article gives us great pause as to whether we’d bother going back to the 930 — unless we’re on the guest list.

As with last week, please feel free to comment! Especially as regards stuff we don’t cover that’s in the weeklies:

And one final note about our weekly tabulation: we know we don’t really take art, dance, theater or film coverage or criticism into consideration by either LEO or Velocity. If you’ve got a preference between the two, please let us know in the Comments section below. If, in a particular week’s What’s In the Weeklies? post, you’d like to call out either weeklies’ coverage (for either positive or negative reasons), please by all means, be our guests!


Not-Quite Cinderella Makes the Times

Posted in Basketball, Kentucky News, Media, Sports on March 27, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Clem Haskins

It’s not particularly news — at least to Kentuckians — that the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, feted in this year’s tournament as the possible Cinderella upsetters of UCLA tonight, were once dominant on the hardwood during the 1950s and 1960s. However, what might be news to some in this day and age is how the ‘Toppers became so dominant: by integrating far before most of their in-state rivals and peers. While those in the know — such as the excellent eponymous blog Billy Reed Says — have discussed Western’s rich basketball history, today’s issue of the New York Times takes the ‘Toppers unique story national:

…Memories of Western Kentucky’s run of dominance in the 1960s seem to have faded with the set shot and canvas sneakers. In part, the run came about because of Western Kentucky’s willingness to integrate its team at a time when such a policy was still taboo in the South. Those involved with Western Kentucky still take great pride in the university’s breaking of racial barriers.

“There’s so much that people don’t know,” said the former Western star Clem Haskins, who went on to coach at the university. “Western was out there, just like everyone in the country is captivated now with North Carolina and Duke.”

But memories of the 1971 Final Four, deep runs in the National Invitation Tournament and high national rankings come with raw memories of overcoming the thick racial tension in the South.

Haskins, who along with Dwight Smith in 1963 were the first African-Americans to play basketball for the university, recalled not being able to eat in segregated restaurants and watching movies from the balconies of theaters because seats in the lower sections were reserved for whites. Jim McDaniels, another black player, went to Western Kentucky in 1967 and recalled the former Kentucky Coach Adolph Rupp’s halfhearted recruitment of him, which included spending just 15 awkward minutes with Rupp in the six days he spent in Lexington. The Southeastern Conference did not integrate until 1966, and Kentucky did not integrate until 1969.

The Western Kentucky coach at that time, John Oldham, had a police officer check his car at times in 1970 because of threats directed at him after he began starting five black players.

“So much of what we deal with right now is stuff that’s absolutely trivial,” said the current Western Kentucky coach, Darrin Horn, who played at Western in the early 1990s. “Coach Oldham and the players from that era, they were dealing with serious issues. That’s one of the reasons that I have so much respect for them.”

And that’s just the beginning. Anecdotes from Haskins, Oldham and McDaniels throughout the piece illustrate the tough times they and others associated with WKU’s basketball program had to go through — and with no Glory Road to immortalize them 40 years later.

Though our main rooting interest is in tonight’s Louisville vs. Tenessee game (tipping off just before 10 pm), we’re glad to root on the Hilltoppers in their game (running almost simultaneously).

Slow News Day

Posted in Basketball, Churchill Downs, Horse Racing, Kentucky News, Louisville News, Sports on March 21, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Cats Lose

It’s a slow news day out there this Friday. Not surprising, we s’pose, considering the Wildcats lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last night, so Kentucky fans will have nothing to do for the next few weeks except cry and point the blame at either:

  1. Billy Gillespie
  2. Tubby Smith
  3. Injured Players
  4. The NCAA Selection Committe
  5. All of the above

We’d rather not get too into any debates about why they lost, so instead let’s do a roundup of whatever news we can find on this slow, but beautiful day.

Dozens sickened in parish church (from the Courier-Journal):

At least three dozen pupils at St. Martha Elementary School were sickened while in the parish church this morning, according to Louisville emergency officials.

About 400 pupils were in church when one child fainted and then several others started complaining of other ailments, such as headaches and nausea, said Dr. Neal Richmond, director of Metro Emergency Medical Services.

None of the children was seriously ill, but 34 students have been taken to area hospitals to be checked out, he said. A few others were being checked at the scene at 2825 Klondike Lane in the Buechel area.

What caused the children to become sick was not immediately clear. No chemicals or gases were found inside the sanctuary, said Maj. Richard Haines of Louisville Fire & Rescue.

Professional jobs increasing in Louisville (also from the C-J):

Louisville has a greater share of professional and technical jobs that pay well than regional competitors like Indianapolis and Memphis, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The report, to be released today by the nonprofit Greater Louisville Project, shows that nearly 36 percent of Louisville’s workers are in fields ranging from law and health care to finance and information technology.

And since 2000, the city has added those positions at a faster rate than nine of its peers in the Southeast and Midwest — including Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus.

“We are just beginning to see some signs of momentum around trying to grow more of what we call ’21st century’ jobs,” said Carolyn Gatz, director of the nonpartisan civic group, which issues an annual update on efforts to make the city more competitive.

By the way, we haven’t commented on the Courier‘s web site redesign, mostly because our opinion is not too far out of line with the consensus. That is, it stinks.

Churchill looking for ‘Chief Party Officer’ to oversee Derby infield (from Business First):

Churchill Downs has launched a nationwide search to find someone to fill a brand new executive position — Chief Party Officer of the infield at this year’s Kentucky Derby.

As the official host of the infield party, the CPO will get to walk the Derby red carpet, participate in media interviews, and spend Derby Day in an elevated infield “boardroom” that includes private wagering machines and restrooms.

The CPO will get to choose seven “board members” with whom to share the experience, and those members each may bring three friends.

The CPO also will receive Derby merchandise valued at $500, while each board member will receive $300 in merchandise.

A video from Churchill Downs describing the kind of applicant being sought for the CPO position is available online at

The CPO contest is free and open to U.S. residents age 21 and older. Contestants must upload a video to describing why they should be selected. They also must complete an online application at and include a link the YouTube video.

Applications will be accepted through Sunday, April 13, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 15.


What’s in the Weeklies? Week of Mar. 19

Posted in Basketball, Louisville News, Music, What's In the Weeklies? on March 20, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Apologies from Casa de Commonwealth about the lack of updates this week. Due to our internet service going out on Tuesday, a bad reaction to some allergy medication, and the general lackadaisical-ness induced by, oh, two days in a row of nothing but rain, we just didn’t get anything accomplished. Oh well.

Enough of that, and on to our normal feature, What’s In the Weeklies? This week, we’re going to adopt a “scorecard” format with a completely arbitrary and somewhat useless rating system, so here goes:

LEO 3/19

LEO Weekly, March 18, 2008 issue

Overall Score: 30 points


Velocity Weekly, March 18, 2008 issue

Overall Score: 4 points

The overwhelming winner this week is LEO. Tune in next week to see who wins!

3 Is the Magic Number: Cards Heading to B’ham

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Monday Morning Sports Roundup, Sports on March 17, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Card Fans

If you’re a Cardinals fan as I am, you’ve got to be more than pleased that Louisville received the three seed in the bound-to-be-tough East Region during last night’s NCAA Tournament selection. Weirdly enough, I didn’t get a chance to see any of the selection show, as I was in the middle of one of my fantasy baseball league’s draft with a bunch of friends from New York. I guess my friends were not that concerned since New York City ain’t much of a basketball power.

But nevermind that, I’m excited for the Cards. They start their tournament bid in the first round against fourteenth-ranked Boise State this Friday in Birmingham, Alabama (read the C-J‘s preview of the matchup here). Most likely the Cards will defeat the smurf-turfin’ Broncos, but anything can happen in the tournament. I’d consider going, but I’ve got to work Friday. But hey, check into it:

U of L has received a limited supply of tickets for Birmingham, Ala.

Season ticket holders who submitted NCAA post-season ticket request forms and were selected in the lottery will be contacted by email no later than tomorrow night.

Those tickets will be available for pickup at the Brown and Williamson Club, located on the third floor of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. or Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

U of L students who have season tickets may sign up for a ticket lottery by visiting the U of L ticket office located on the third floor in the Swain Student Activities Center.

Those who enter the ticket lottery will be notified by email by Tuesday evening and will be notified with the procedure to pick up their tickets in Birmingham.

U of L will also accept additional ticket requests on a waiting list by calling (502) 852-5151 or 852-5863 starting Monday at 9 a.m. U of L is trying to obtain additional tickets at the Brimingham site.

With only a limited number of tickets available within U of L’s allotment, the best way to purchase tickets is through Southtix.

Cardinal fans may purchase tickets online for $153 plus service fees by visiting online or calling 1-800-732-4849.

Well that’s complicated. Additionally, my old pal Nadim Ziady was mentioned in the Courier‘s coverage as he and his buddies Chris Brown and Todd Yates were watching the bracket selection show at Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Matthews (see photo of Chris and Todd above). Way to go, dude!

In less-inspiring baseball news, the Cardinals lost to Kent State on Sunday, 9-0. That said, they won the series against the Golden Flashes 2-1, and they’re 9-5, and ranked 23rd nationally. Wednesday they host the Tennessee Volunteers at Jim Patterson Stadium at 3:00 pm, then begin a three-game home stand against Big East rivals UConn on Thursday (admission to all home games is free!)