IT IS FINALLY MARCH and with one week left in the regular season the ACC tournament bracket is starting to take shape. Here is the bracket and standings if the tournament were to end today.
These weren’t bad to watch. The pass from Quentin Snider is a lot tougher than he made it look.
This past Monday, the day after Chris Jones was dismissed from the University of Louisville basketball team, I wrote that their “new season” would begin that night at Georgia Tech. It was a battle, but the Cards prevailed and started this new season 1-0. In just a couple of hours, they will try to improve to 2-0, with two regular season games left before ACC Tournament play. This will be their second game in a row on the road, and I think that is right where they need to be right now.
With just three regular season games left, the Louisville Cardinals are looking to keep one of those top 4 spots in the ACC standings, which would earn them a double-bye in the ACC Tournament. Here are the standings entering the weekend and the schedule of games for Saturday and Sunday. When looking at the standings, keep in mind that Syracuse will not be playing in any post-season tournament this year, and that includes the ACC Tournament.
“I think you have to give Rick and their players a ton of credit. I thought we did a good job for most of the game and they made some big plays down the stretch. Obviously a couple of those threes were big for them. We had some defensive lapses at the end of the game. But again, I am disappointed in the result. That’s a tough one to swallow again. We played much more like we are supposed to play though in terms of the defensive effort, the energy that we played with, and in terms of sharing the ball and taking care of the ball. We ask a lot of Marcus [Georges Hunt] as a junior. He’s kind of a go-to-guy for us. And against this team, he’s got to handle the ball a lot, make plays and make shots. And on the other end, he has to defend their best perimeter player in Rozier. So he’s getting challenged quite a bit in every area. But he keeps coming back, which is good to see, in terms of his attitude and the effort-level that he is playing with.
“I’m as proud of this basketball team as any game I’ve ever coached because I’ve never seen a team have so many open looks from layups to wide open shots off good ball movement and (the shots) not falling. Earlier this year we had the same thing happen and we got down and we didn’t play good defense. But these guys kept their attitude and just focused on one thing: winning the game. You know Georgia Tech is just like us. We have two better players than them, but they’re just like us. They run great stuff, but the ball doesn’t go in. They’re not a good shooting team and we’re not a good shooting team. And that’s the most frustrating thing because they do so many great things offensively and so many great things defensively, and so did we. But when the shot doesn’t go in, you struggle. But they’re a team that played Duke to the wire and had them. Notre Dame in overtime. They’re young right now and they suffer the same things we suffer and that’s ‘you have wide open shots and they don’t go down.'”
Anybody know what the heck happened in those last 30 seconds? Wow! Louisville battles all the way back after looking so bad offensively and they finally get the lead back at 48-46 with 1 minute to go. Then with 25 seconds left Georgia Tech scores, and “just like that, in the blink of an eye” Terry Rozier gets a layup and the Cards lead again by 2 with 22 seconds left. After a turnover, a missed shot, and clutch free throws by Wayne Blackshear, Louisville held on to beat Georgia Tech 52-51. I plan on this being a few quick thoughts. We will see…
This team still has some fight left
“Sheldon said it very well, we played a terrific first half. At halftime, I was told by our trainer that our big guy, 23, Tonye Jekiri, had sustained a concussion when the ball was thrown at his head. They called for the doctors to check on him, we started the second half without him and I think our players’ minds were on Tonye’s health to start the second half. We came out and weren’t very sharp to begin with, and then Tonye came out and our trainer told me that their doctors, I assume the Louisville doctors, had cleared him and that he had a headache or I don’t know what the diagnosis was but they said he could play. Once he got back in there we settled down, we kept the lead for almost the whole game. We fell behind a few times but we basically played out in front for 35 of the 40 minutes. The last couple of plays, we just were not able to finish it. The shot that Angel Rodriguez got I thought was a great shot, he got it right in rhythm, right in transition, and he hits that shot a lot.”
“Well I’m buying beer because we finally got 35 deflections. And we needed it. Montrezl (Harrell) got 11. We needed the deflections tonight because our defense had to win it for us. The reason we got off to such a bad start- I haven’t seen our guys do this- on every drive to the basket, including Montrezl, we were trying to lean into the guy to draw the foul, and it was taking us out of our offensive rhythm by doing that. Then, when you have a start like that, the guys start to panic and they don’t want to shoot, as Chris Jones had a wide open three. But in the second half, I said, `Let’s just play defense every possession. We will win the game. Get our deflections picked up because we had 20 at halftime, and that’s what I want to see.’
There are 6 ACC games on the schedule today. The Cards will host Miami and try to end their two game losing streak. They are still fighting to get one of those top 4 spots in the conference and earn a double-bye in the ACC Tournament.
Nevermind the freezing temperatures outside. If you get on social media, the world seems to be ending and it has nothing to do with weather. It has everything to do with Louisville losing their second basketball game in a row. This game had plenty of storylines if you are a Cards fan, from a suspended point guard to a senior not exactly stuffing the stat sheet. Here are just some of my quick hitting thoughts after the 69-59 loss at Syracuse. I won’t try to paint a National Championship picture, but I also won’t act like we should give up the sport for good after this season. This will just be honest opinions from yours truly, a fellow fan of the Cards.
Chris Jones did it to himself
ESPN blogger Andrea Adelson says that “this could be the year of the quarterback in the ACC” since so many teams have starters returning. She also says that some teams will have a bit of intrigue at the quarterback spot this spring. Obviously, the Louisville Cardinals are one of the teams with some intrigue.
Here is her full article to get you caught up on the rest of the ACC teams and their quarterback spots. This is what she had to say about Louisville:
Per Louisville SID Louisville point guard Chris Jones has been suspended.
Another day, another couple of Louisville Cardinals earning ACC weekly honors. This time around it is baseball player Kyle Funkhouser and women’s basketball player Mariya Moore.
Funkhouser – ACC Pitcher of the Week
Kyle Funkhouser was named ACC Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Not only that, he was also named as a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The junior righthander gave up just one hit in seven shutout innings in Friday’s season opening 5-1 win over Alabama State. Funkhouser also added 12 strikeouts. He is now 19-4 in his collegiate career. Not too bad!
Coach Pitino comes on around 1:40:30 of the teleconference.
Well it’s (the snow) pretty bad for Louisville, KY. The only way we get rid of snow here is the sun coming out so we don’t handle it as well as Syracuse, where we’re heading. We know Syracuse has always been a tough place to play for anybody. They’re playing extremely competitively right now. Three of their players are averaging 38 or 39 minutes right now. So their best players are on the court, and we have to be ready for a very active 2-3 zone.
Great comeback win for the Cards over North Carolina. Haven’t we said that that already this season?