There is no clever intro to write for this one. The Cards were in complete control on Thursday afternoon against the Tar Heels and wound up losing the game. Sometimes, that is a matter of one team just coming back and taking the game from the team that was winning. Other times, the team with the lead just gives it away. This one was the latter. Rather than talking about where to watch the rematch with Virginia on Friday night, we have nothing to do until Sunday, when the brackets come out. Here are a few thoughts from the game, and I am not here to sugarcoat anything.
Open for a reason
Well that one didn’t turn out very well. The Cards got down early, but rallied with an 11-0 run to start the second half to tie the game up. From there, it was a back and forth battle, with the Irish pulling away in the last few minutes. Louisville drops to 2-1 in their new season that I proclaimed them to have, and have one big regular season game left when Virginia comes to town on Saturday.
Nobody likes to relive losses, so if anyone is even reading this, thank you. I won’t take up much of your time. Just a few quick hitters from the game.
Rozier trying to impress?
Well there are times that this season has gone by quick, and times it has gone by slow. It seems like the last month has gone by at the snap of a finger. Now we’re faced with two really difficult games to get to a double bye. Our fate is in our hands, and we’ve got two very difficult teams to go against. One team is, percentage wise, the best offensive team in the country. The other team is the best, well one of the premier defensive teams in the country. So certainly we have our hands full. But I think our guys are up for the challenge. We’ve got to do a lot of things well to have any chance of beating either one of those teams.
This week on 55…..
We are coming to the end of another season of 55. Don’t worry though, still 3-4 episodes left this season and I am confident it will be renewed for a third season. Seeing that I am the only one who could approve or cancel 55 I would have to be a dufus to deny the approval. (Shout out to Steve) Speaking of Steve. Did you tune into the brand new CardinalSportsZone podcast yesterday? We will talk about that too. The ACC Championships have wrapped up for some and are about to gear up for others. Where did the Cards start the week in the polls? Find out here.
Without further adieu, here are the most ridiculous, outlandish, interesting or just downright obnoxious things I have heard this week. THIS is 55…..
“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
“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.’
Rick Pitino met with the media on Friday afternoon for about 20-25 minutes to talk about the Miami game, along with many other things. He talks about Chris Jones, Wayne Blackshear, team meetings, and much more. Here is the transcript.
There are a lot of big games that come into play when you’re in a league like the ACC, but by far this game has the most significance to us at this time. It’s probably the most important game for us that’s come in here this year with more significance than just an outstanding opponent. Because if you look at the standings, if our hope is to finish in the top four and get a double bye, we suddenly go with three other teams, including Miami, record-wise. So we need a win desperately at this point. There’s a lot at stake for both teams and certainly we need a very loud, very enthusiastic crowd, we need great defense from our team, need a lot of emotion tomorrow afternoon.
You know, we played well. I thought Quentin Snider played outstanding. It wasn’t his play, it was Wayne Blackshear not getting in foul trouble. We had to go substitute out of weakness rather than strength. But I thought we moved the ball great in the first half, did a lot of really good things. We missed a lot of shots that would have kept us in the game in the second half, wide-open, we had two in the corner.
But what’s stopping us from being a very good basketball team is the last three years we’ve been one of the most feared defensive teams in the nation, with steals, turnovers, and we’ve just been void of both. I’m going to put out there on Kenny (Klein’s) web site to try and motivate our guys — who’s getting the deflections. Again, we’re falling short of it, so I’m using you to motivate my players.
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
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.
Check out these photos from the North Carolina game on Saturday. These were taken by Tim Haag. Follow him on twitter for more great pictures @UofLBirdsNest.
Here are Coach Pitino’s comments after the thrilling comeback win over North Carolina on Saturday. The video is from TheCrunchZone.com and the transcript from the Courier Journal is also included.
(Opening Statement) “As far as playing at home, what’s really applicable is what John Wooden said a long time ago, `Be quick but don’t hurry.’ That’s really the reason why we haven’t played well at home, we are rushing things offensively, from the pick and roll on and not letting our movement set in. In the second half, we didn’t do it but I am real excited because we didn’t play well offensively and we won it. This team needed to get back to, I told them in the one timeout we were up 11 at their place and now we are down 11 and we need to get this game back, but I needed the old Louisville team back. I can’t have the one that just wants to score and they dug in, the rebounding was a big edge in their favor, in the second half we held them to two and we got 22 second-shots ourselves. Real, real proud of our guys, took a heck of an effort to win the game but we believed we were going to win it.”
Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen after a loss is a lot of time off between games. It feels like the Cards haven’t played in a month. They will finally hit the court again on Sunday at 4 p.m. when they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road. The game will be on CBS.
Rick Pitino talked about the game at his press conference on Friday afternoon. Here is what he had to say.
“As you all know, Pitt’s had a great winning record at home, nearly 88 percent, and certainly, they have a great home court with their student body. It’s always been a tough place to play, and we’re looking forward to it. Obviously it’s a nationally televised game, and I know our players are fired up about it.”
The Cards defeated Clemson on Wednesday night by a final score of 58-52. For most of the game, it wasn’t pretty. But pretty or not, Louisville now finds themselves 14-1 and 2-0 in the ACC. Here are my 5 quick thoughts from this game…
1. Montrezl foul trouble hurts
With 14:36 left to play in the first half, Montrezl Harrell picked up his 2nd foul and went to the bench for the rest of the half. With 1 foul already, Harrell made the unwise decision of trying to take a charge. Even if it was a charge, you are putting a 50/50 call in the hands of the referee. Picking up that charge is probably not worth the other side of the coin, which is you sitting for the next 14:36. For what it’s worth, it was the correct call as a block and it wasn’t really close. You just can’t put yourself in that position if you are Montrezl.
One of the main reasons I have this website is to be able to voice my opinion and have a forum to do it on. Rather than send 50 tweets or make a Facebook status (which I rarely do about sports anymore) about a particular game, it is easier to be able to make a post on here, where I have all the room that I need. If people choose to read it, then that’s great. If not, well I still survive so it’s OK.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game on Saturday afternoon. Like I did a few times during football season, this will be a post of thoughts from me without watching the replay yet on TV. It is always different being at the game or watching at home, where you can hear the announcers and probably have more information. I am not sure I will watch the game again, but these are just 5 thoughts that stick out just from being at the game and seeing it only once.
When the Cards and Cats take the court on Saturday afternoon in one of the most anticipated regular season games of the season, Kentucky will do so with a significant height advantage. This is a pretty well-known fact, however I feel it is still worth noting. I knew Kentucky overall was just tall, but looking at the heights side by side, it is pretty staggering.
An ugly win is better than any kind of loss. Go Cards!
On Sunday evening, the 4th ranked Louisville Cardinals (8-0) will return to action in the 13th Annual Billy Minardi Classic, which honors Rick Pitino’s late brother-in-law who died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This year the Cards will face UNC Wilmington (3-2), who are coached by former UofL assistant Kevin Keatts. He was with UofL for 3 seasons.
Louisville enters the game as heavy favorites, I believe by around 28 points or so. But in just five games this season, the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington have scored over 100 points twice already. They beat VMI 110-93 and St. Andrews 105-47. Their last game was on December 3, so they have had 11 days to prepare for this game.