This week on 55…………
We talk Basketball watch party. We talk big win over Notre Dame. We talk ranked teams and end of seasons. I will share a story of my trip to Notre Dame, a gallery of the trip and more tidbits as we go. We talk kentucky football and much, much more. So without further adieu, get ready for the ride. Without further interruption, here are the things from this week that stood out to me the most. The most ridiculous, interesting and factual things I came across. This is 55……….
Photos by Tim Haag (@UofLBirdsNest)
The Louisville basketball team took the floor today for the first time. The White team got the win 75-72 when Chris Jones drained a go ahead 3 with three seconds left. The top 10 Cards lived up to the ranking without question but there were a few takeaways that stood out:
-Montrezl Harrell is without question a First Team All American! Trez finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assist with 9 of those 24 coming off his three 3 point baskets. Yes you read that right. Trez finished 3-5 from behind the arc and looked quite comfortable. But the major thing doesn’t show up on the box score is the leadership. There is no doubt this is Trez’s team and he led well today.
Pitino and the Louisville basketball team held a closed scrimmage yesterday and there was plenty to be excited about. The Cards were lead by senior Montrezl Harrell with 32 points but it was a couple of reserves that caught my eye. Soph. Anton Gill finished with 27 points in the game and Freshman Chinanu Onuaku led everyone with 14 rebounds and added 4 blocks. Gill and Onuaku could be exactly what the doctor ordered for a Louisville team that quite honestly has unproven talent on the bench.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville All-America forward Montrezl Harrell totaled 32 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots, three assists and two steals to lead the Black team to a 91-82 victory over the Red team in a private intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday.
According to Kent Spencer of WHAS-11 the Cards October 19th Red/White Scrimmage will be televised.
This will be the first of two scrimmages with the other being held the next Sunday (Oct. 26). Both games will tip at 2 pm and tickets are still available on Ticketmaster.
With all of the freshman now on campus for the University of Louisville basketball team, the roster on GoCards.com has now been updated. This includes what numbers each player will wear.
|#||NAME||HT||WT||POS||CL||HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)|
|0||Terry Rozier||6-1||185||G||SO||Cleveland, Ohio (Shaker Heights/Hargrave Military Academy)|
|1||Anton Gill||6-3||185||G||SO||Raleigh, N.C. (Ravenscroft/Hargrave Military Academy)|
|2||Quentin Snider||6-1||170||G||FR||Louisville, Ky. (Ballard)|
|3||Chris Jones||5-10||175||G||SR||Memphis, Tenn. (NW Florida State College)|
|4||Dillon Avare||6-0||150||G||RS FR||Lexington, Ky. (Lexington Catholic)|
|5||Matz Stockman||7-2||240||F/C||FR||Oslo, Norway (Canaria Basketball Academy)|
|10||Jaylen Johnson||6-9||215||F||FR||Ypsilanti, Mich. (Ypsilanti)|
|12||Mangok Mathiang||6-10||210||F/C||RS SO||Melbourne, Australia (IMG Academy (Fla.))|
|14||Anas Mahmoud||7-1||205||F||FR||Cairo, Egypt (West Oaks Academy)|
|15||Trent Gilbert||6-0||180||G||FR||Georgetown, Ky. (Scott County)|
|21||Shaqquan Aaron||6-7||175||G||FR||Seattle, Wash. (Ranier Beach)|
|22||Akoy Agau||6-8||230||F||SO||Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central)|
|23||David Levitch||6-3||180||G||SO||Goshen, Ky. (North Oldham)|
|24||Montrezl Harrell||6-8||240||F||JR||Tarboro, N.C. (Hargrave Military Academy)|
|25||Wayne Blackshear||6-5||230||G/F||SR||Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)|
|32||Chinanu Onuaku||6-10||230||F/C||FR||Lanham, Md. (Riverdale Baptist)|
We have heard rave reviews about Montrezl and Rozier all summer but they aren’t the only ones who have improved. This Chris Jones highlight from Adidas Nations should open a lot of eyes to just how good this back court can be.
We posted earlier about the dominance of Montrezl Harrell at the Adidas Nations camp. While he has been dominate, he isn’t the only Cardinal showing his skills. Louisville’s back court of Terry Rozier and Chris Jones has also been drawing rave reviews. NBC Sports’s Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips had this to say about the Cardinals duo:
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.
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.