Rick Pitino met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to give a summer update on the team. It’s only July, and there wasn’t any breaking news, but it sure was nice to hear Coach talk some hoops and about this year’s team! I expected it to be about a 20 minute press conference, but it ended up being just over 45! You can click here to watch the video of the press conference from CourierJournal.com. Below, I will give you the key notes from it…
The new Pelican…
-Pitino started out by talking about Russ Smith. He said that Russ wasn’t pleased with dropping to the 2nd round in the NBA Draft, and wanted to prove people wrong. Instead, Pitino said he should prove people right, and that’s the people that believe in him.
-Also with Russ, he got a guaranteed contract from the Pelicans. That is huge news, as second round picks have to make the team and are not guaranteed a spot just by getting drafted.
It is obvious that our team will look much different next year. Losing such key components like Russ, Luke, Montrezl, and SVT will do that to a team. Pitino expects Montrezl to enter the NBA Draft, and I don’t think that will come as a surprise to any of us. Here is a look at what next year’s roster will probably look like. (After typing out the roster and actually looking at it, that whole “looking much different” part is a huge understatement, wow.)
I have been up since early this morning and in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t gotten one thing done today. I have only listened to local sports talk radio and been on social media keeping up with everything UofL-UK for tonight. But isn’t that what I am supposed to be doing today? I suppose it’s finally time to come up with my prediction post, so here we go…
First of all, the December 28th game at Rupp means nothing to me. For one, it was at Rupp. Russ Smith and Luke Hancock shot a combined 10-31 that game. Speaking of Luke, he wasn’t even starting at the time, Wayne Blackshear was. Mangok Mathiang started and played 22 minutes. Chane Behanan played 20 minutes and played that game knowing he was about to be kicked off of the team. Does any of that sound like the Louisville Cardinals that you have seen recently? We are a completely different team, and yes UK is a little different as well, so that is why the last game doesn’t mean much to me. Actually if I do take anything away from it, I am glad that UK doesn’t have a revenge factor for this game. So they can have that game at Rupp, I’ll take this one tonight.
Jeff Borzello of cbssports.com took the 16 teams that are left in the NCAA Tournament and ranked the starters from 80 to 1. Borzello says that “It’s not based on potential, NBA prospects, or purely college numbers. It basically comes down to, if I need a player for the next two games or four games, which guy am I taking?” Let’s take a look at how he ranks the starters for both Louisville and Kentucky.
75. Stephen Van Treese, Louisville: Without Chane Behanan, Van Treese has had to play a bigger role down low. He’s averaging 9.3 rebounds in his last six games.
48. Chris Jones, Louisville: Jones came to Louisville with plenty of hype, but he’s been inconsistent at times this season. He needs to pressure the Kentucky guards.
34. Luke Hancock, Louisville: Hancock is Mr. March for the Cardinals. He was the Most Outstanding Player at last year’s Final Four and is averaging 18.5 ppg in the 2014 tourney.
14. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Harrell’s emergence down the stretch took the Cardinals to a different level. He has racked up six double-doubles in his last 10 games.
2. Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith has been a little too out of control in the tournament, with 13 turnovers — but Louisville needs him to a menace at both ends of the floor.
PRESS RELEASE VIA ESPN
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rick Pitino switched from coach to lobbyist the moment his Louisville Cardinals won their third straight conference tournament title.
Of course, Pitino thinks the defending national champs deserve a No. 1 seed, even if he knows they likely won’t get one.
Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and fifth-ranked Louisville beat No. 21 Connecticut 71-61 Saturday for the inaugural American Athletic Conference title in the Cardinals’ lone season in the league.
Pitino said he’s extremely biased.
“But I’m very impressed with our guys,” Pitino said. “What they’ve done to win a regular season, conference tournament the way we have done it, in the fashion we have done it fits the eye test. I can’t talk about the strength of the league. If you want to blame anybody, blame football. Don’t blame us.”
The Cardinals (29-5) clinched their 40th NCAA tournament berth in style with their 19th overall tournament title. They took the last two in the Big East and added the American to go with their share of the regular-season title with Cincinnati. They will play next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“To win a regular-season championship and a tournament championship back-to-back is not easy. You have to have special players, and these two epitomize exactly that,” Pitino said, praising Russ Smith and Harrell.
Smith, named the tournament’s most outstanding player, scored 19 points. He also had five steals to move into a tie for Louisville’s career record with 254. Chris Jones added 11 points.
Smith said he thought a year ago that he had done almost everything a college athlete can, but he wanted to enjoy being a senior on campus and work on his game. Now he has another title to enjoy.
“I have a lot of fun being at Louisville,” Smith said.
UConn (26-8) came in looking for an eighth tournament title to go with seven from the Big East. It was barred from postseason play a year ago, but is a virtual lock to return to the NCAA tournament this year.
The Huskies left Memphis with a third loss this season to Louisville — all by double digits.
“Louisville’s playing great basketball,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “They won the championship last year, they went to the Final Four the year before. They got pretty much their whole team back, an experienced bunch, they play hard and well coached. But this tournament is wide open. It’s a one-game elimination. Somebody can get hot, and hopefully that team will be us.”
Ollie also looked ahead to a conference that will be losing Louisville and Rutgers and adding teams like Tulsa. He said UConn plans to continue being at the top of the American.
“This conference is going to be great,” Ollie said.
UConn outscored Louisville 32-28 in the paint, but the Cardinals turned the Huskies’ 13 turnovers into 13 points. Louisville also outrebounded the Huskies 38-33 and enjoyed a 14-6 advantage on second-chance points.
Louisville routed UConn 81-48 a week ago on the Cardinals’ home court. But the Huskies were a confident bunch heading into the final, coming off victories over No. 19 Memphis in the quarterfinals and No. 13 Cincinnati in the semis.
The Cardinals grabbed an early lead and controlled the action for much of the game. Harrell scored 10 points in the first half and was a blur at times, blocking Brimah twice on one possession. He also swooped in for a dunk off a Smith assist that looked more like a layup that just missed the basket short.
UConn stayed within six of the Cardinals down the stretch, but Louisville finished the half on a 10-2 run that included 3s by Terry Rozier and Luke Hancock. Smith also had a steal and a pass ahead to Rozier for a fast-break layup that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead yet at 37-23 going into the break.
“We just didn’t find our rhythm,” Napier said. “They did play good defense. Once we got into the middle, guys had open shots, and we just couldn’t knock them down.”
The Huskies tried to take advantage of Louisville’s shooting woes to open the second half.
The Cardinals missed their first five shots, but Harrell had big three-point play for a 45-28 lead. Louisville went up by as much as 20 a couple times, the last at 52-32.
Basketball really is just a game. In the state of Kentucky, we often make it seem like life and death. After hearing about what happened in Memphis on Saturday, it does put things in perspective at a time (March) when they probably need to be put there the most. Chris Jones could not be excited about his great game at SMU on Wednesday night, and there was a reason. His stepfather’s son, Chris’ best friend, was shot and killed in Memphis on Saturday afternoon while the Cards were taking on the Tigers.
I will let the Courier Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach take it from here. He details the story and spoke with Jones about it. Here is some of the article. Below there will be a link to read the rest of it.
Jones said that 23-year-old Demetrius Ray — his stepfather’s son and his best friend — was shot and killed outside his Memphis home on Saturday afternoon. Jones said Ray died while the Cardinals were playing their game at Memphis, and after U of L’s loss, Jones’ mother pulled him aside and told him about a much greater one.
I don’t have the CBS Sports Network, but I am very glad I made the 20 minute drive to Portland to watch the game at my parents’ house. Gamecast updates or score alerts on ESPN just would not have done the trick. I would have missed out on maybe the best game that this team has played all season.
The title of this post was inspired by a tweet I sent out in the 2nd half while Russ Smith was making his ridiculous run.
Chris: I got the 1st half.
Russ: I will take the 2nd half.
Trez: I will dunk a lot in both.—
Justin Renck (@JRVille25) March 06, 2014
That is really how this game felt, you know after the initial “14 point deficit” thing we had going on. From the start, Chris Jones was hitting his shots. He finished 6-14 from the field and 4-7 from 3. And he made two more 3s that didn’t count and probably went unnoticed by most. When Mangok Mathiang was called for the illegal screen, Jones knocked down a 3 that obviously was waved off. A couple possessions later when Jones got fouled, he shot a 3 after the whistle and made that one too. So I knew that even though those did not count, he was in some kind of zone this game. It was just what he needed after how the Memphis game ended.
Chris Jones has been getting a lot of heat on social media about the Memphis game, and probably rightfully so. He didn’t play very well and he forced the issue, a LOT. He took bad shots, drove 1 on 3, and dribbled too much trying to create on his own. But he isn’t the only player on our team to play bad against his hometown team. Earlier in the season, Montrezl Harrell didn’t exactly play great against North Carolina.
We have guys that play with a lot of emotion, and that emotion has gotten the best of them a few times this season. Hopefully if we run into these teams again this season, they play more for the name on the front of the jersey and don’t try to do too much on their own. Getting the win is more important.
Chris Jones will miss his 3rd straight game on Wednesday with an oblique injury when the Cards (16-3, 5-1) take on South Florida (10-8, 1-4) at 7:00 at the USF Sun Dome. Jones is averaging 11.3 points in 25.4 minutes per game this season. He has 47 assists and 26 turnovers.
Freshman Terry Rozier will get the start again in place of Jones. In the two games that Jones has been out, Rozier has averaged 7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. For the season, he has 38 assists and only 10 turnovers. He also has 67 total rebounds this season, while Jones has 35.
Jones is expected to be back for the Cincinnati game on January 30 at home. So it will be interesting to see if he or Rozier get the start when he returns. If the Cards take care of business at USF and are 3-0 with Rozier starting and him playing well, I don’t think it should even be a debate.
2013-14 AMERICAN STANDINGS
18/14 Louisville Cardinals (14-3, 3-1) vs Houston Cougars (10-6, 2-1)
Date: Thursday January 16, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Site: KFC Yum! Center
TV: CBS Sports Network (Dave Ryan, Pete Gillen, Evan Washburn)
Radio: WHAS 840 AM (Paul Rogers and Bob Valvano)
Series Record: UofL leads 13-5
Last Meeting: Houston won 70-67 (Jan. 5, 2005 in Houston)
Officials: Karl Hess, Bryan Kersey, Michael Stephens
This week…..on 55…..
We celebrated our birthday at CSZ (got 0 cake) and watched the Cards dominate their bowl game after falling a little flat during the basketball game. I really hope you guys love this feature. I really do do (hehe) this for you guys. If it’s a hit then awesome and if only 10 people see it (yeah right) then so be it. But alas, it is the time of the week I love, 55 time. As we say goodbye to 2013: The Year Of The Card and say hello to 2014, YOTC pt 2. Once again I share with you the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week.
1) CardinalSportszone.com turned 2 years old on Wednesday. Once again I couldn’t begin to tell Steve, Justin, & Daryl what this site means to me and how proud I am to call them teammates…..what a way to go out…..sorry Teddy flashbacks
2) 1 more year! 1 more year!
3) Hopefully CardinalSportszone.com will have many, many more years
4) I am gonna tackle football first. Saturday evening the Cards disposed of the Miami Hurricanes 36-9. Teddy Bridgewater threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score on Saturday night in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He threw for a career high 447 yards
5) Teddy come back…..
7) He gone
8) I digress
9) Junior wideout DeVante Parker had 9 catches for 142 yards and a TD. His 12th TD of the season ties Ibn Green’s 1998 mark and puts him just 5 away from Ibn’s career mark
10) DeVante come back…..
11) Kicker John Wallace outscored Miami by himself, threw a punch and laid the wood in a very eventful game for the kicker
12) Switching gears this also happened Saturday:
13) OK back to football
All this week we will be breaking down the match-ups at each position for the Louisville vs Kentucky basketball game for this Saturday December 28. Today we begin with the point guard position.
The 9th ranked Cards (6-1) got back on track Friday night with a dominating 69-38 win over Southern Miss (6-1). The Golden Eagles entered the game averaging 74 points per game and were held to just 38, which is incredible. After giving up 93 points on Sunday in a loss to North Carolina, it was clear that the defense had to be better, and they certainly did make a statement. Southern Miss shot just 13-45 (28.9%) for the game, and this one was 34-13 at halftime.
Freshman Terry Rozier got his first career start and scored 9 points and dished out 3 assists. He started for Chris Jones, who came in and led the team in scoring with 18 points, including 4-7 from 3 point land.
Here is what happened the weekend of Friday November 22nd through Sunday November 24th around CardNation:
Friday November 22nd
Swimming and Diving: The Cardinal swimming team completed its first day of competition at the Michigan Open in Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan with five wins and another school record. In the 200-free relay, the foursome of Rachael Lewis (23.40), Johanna Cowley (23.27), Andrea Cottrell (23.30) and Mary Mittel (23.27) combined for a 1:32.91 and a second place finish. The men’s 200-free relay won with a time of 1:20.98 as Rudy Edelen (23.73), Aaron Young (20.38), Pedro Coutinho 19.98 and Trevor Carroll (19.89) touched first. of L women took four of the top five spots in the 200-IM led by winner Tanja Kylliainen’s 1:59.68. Andrea Cottrell was second in 2:01.63, with Abigail Chin touching fourth in 2:02.40 and Lucy Kramer touching in 2:04.83 for fifth. For the men, Evan Noble won the event with a time of 1:47.81, with teammate David Boland touching second in 1:48.70 and Ryan Massey was fourth in 1:50.13.
Volleyball: Senior hitter Emily Juhl had 13 kills to lead the University of Louisville to a 25-12, 25-15, 25-22 sweep over the University of Cincinnati in AAC volleyball action on Senior Night at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville remains unbeaten in the AAC at 16-0 and improves to 21-7 overall. The Cardinals hit .343 for the match. Janelle Jenkins hit .474 with 10 kills and Randi Ewing contributed seven kills and hit 1.000 for the match. Katie George had 41 assists and Maya McClendon and Caitlin Welch each added 16 digs.
Russ Smith scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the first half and No. 3 Louisville made 12 3-pointers to set the tone for a 97-69 rout of Hofstra on Tuesday night. Louisville’s victory in the first of four games in the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament was its 18th straight dating to last season, tying a school record. Chris Jones added 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven assists for Louisville, while Montrezl Harrell had 19. Having a couple of regulars back helped Louisville. Besides Luke Hancock, Louisville also welcomed back junior forward Chane Behanan. Cardinals fans only had to wait 3:45 to greet Hancock, the Final Four MVP, with cheers of “Luuuke!” as he checked in. “It felt great, 100 percent,” Hancock said. “Felt good. Just trying to play hard and play defense. I felt good about them playing mostly zone so I was going to be able contribute and help out. I was really trying to help out on defense, trying to do the little things.” Behanan came in with 12:09 remaining in the half to cheers as well, putting the defending champions close to full strength. Wayne Blackshear added 9 points off of 3-5 shooting from the three point line and Luke Hancock added two threes himself for a total of eight points. The Cards next face Cornell on Friday.
Tonight at 7:00 pm ET, the 3rd ranked Louisville Cardinals (1-0) will host the Hofstra Pride (1-1) in their first of four games in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff. The Cards are 33 point favorites in this game and should not have too much trouble fending off the Pride, who have gone 17-47 the last two seasons and are picked last in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.
Here is what happened the weekend of Friday November 8th through Sunday November 10th around CardNation:
Friday November 8th
Women’s Volleyball: Senior outside hitter Emily Juhl had 17 kills to help the University of Louisville remain unbeaten at 12-0 in the American Athletic Conference as they held off a determined University of Houston in five sets, 25-17, 25-18, 13-25, 23-25, 15-6. Brooke Mattingly added 10 kills and Janelle Jenkins pitching in 11 kills. Maya McClendon and Katie George each had double-doubles for Louisville with 10 kills and 20 digs and 34 assists and 18 digs, respectively. Caitlin Welch led the Cards with 25 digs, including her 2,000th career dig, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish that feat.
Chris Jones scored 19 points and Montrezl Harrell added 18 as the No. 3 Cardinals went on to a 90-61 exhibition victory over Pikeville. The defending national champion Cardinals shot 33 of 64 from the field (51.6 percent) and held the NAIA Bears to 34 percent. Russ Smith added 12 points, and Wayne Blackshear had 10 for Louisville. Kevin Ware, who had that gruesome injury last March, returned to action tonight and scored on his first attempt from the field, a 3 point basket. Ironically the shot was taken and made from almost the exact spot on the court that the injury occurred in Indianapolis. It was good to see him out there doing what he loved again. When asked how he felt:
“Basketball-wise I feel like myself,” said Ware, who wore black wraps on both of his lower legs. “My speed and everything, jumping-wise, feels back to normal. I feel fine.”