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
If a team plays their defense and they allow you to shoot so many open three pointers, there is probably a reason. They either can’t stop you going to the basket, or they know you struggle to shoot. In this case, both were true. Louisville did whatever they wanted in the first half, and that usually meant driving to the basket and scoring or getting fouled. So what did UNC do? Made an adjustment and went zone or a packed in man-to-man defense. Rather than still trying to get to the basket, the Cards basically said “OK since you changed your gameplan, we will adapt to you. Let’s shoot!” And so it began. Clank, clank, clank.
I don’t care if all 5 defenders are packed in the lane. If getting to the basket was working, you keep attempting to do that. I also think that Division 1 basketball players should be able to knock down more shots than what we did, but we are what we are I guess. Louisville shot 4-22 from the three point line for 18.2%. Ouch. On two pointers? 18-41 for 43.9%, just slightly better than 18.2% I’d say. From three, Wayne Blackshear was 3-8; Terry Rozier 1-8, Quentin Snider 0-5, and Anton Gill 0-1. UNC only made 5 three pointers, so that wasn’t the difference in the game. The difference for them was they only shot 11. They kept attacking the basket and let the Cards to the launching.
Pitino in the post-game
If you hadn’t heard by now, Rick Pitino had a very rude answer to someone asking a question at the post-game press conference. That person was a student reporter for UofL’s student newspaper. There are a couple of things to be mentioned here. The question could have been worded better, or perhaps he shouldn’t have even asked a question at all. However, regardless of any of that, there was no reason for Pitino to belittle the young man in the way that he did.
I know he was mad. I hate losing more than anybody. I am not pleasant after playing basketball and even losing in a pick-up game. But I also don’t get paid millions to represent a University and a program. Something like that could easily wind up on SportsCenter and it just makes us all look bad and like sore losers. Do better, Rick. Just answer the simple question of why our guys can’t hit shots and then this isn’t a story.
Need more Egyptian
Pitino eluded to making a change with the center position. Hopefully this means Anas Mahmoud will play more than the 2 or 3 minutes that we usually see him. It just appears that he has so much upside and never gets to play much. All you hear is about how skinny he is, but how often do you really see him get dominated down low? Some, but not as much as it sounds like.
I don’t remember much of Chinanu Onuaku from this game at all. Looking at the stats, he grabbed 6 rebounds in 19 minutes, so that isn’t bad. He did not take a shot. I thought Mangok Mathiang played well. He played with a lot of effort. He played 19 minutes as well and had 4 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. So he produced much more than Onuaku. Rather than type it again, here is what I said at one point about Mathiang.
The save by Mangok led to: James' 3rd foul, Trezl tip dunk, quick UNC bucket, quick Terry 3. Good job Mangok.
— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) March 12, 2015
Just going after a loose ball led to all of that. I have no problem with Mangok’s play against UNC.
Feed the beast
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first part of this post. The Tar Heels never really showed that they could stop Montrezl Harrell. He finished the game with 14 points and 12 rebounds, 4 of those being offensive. This felt like a game where he should have had at least 20 points. But we didn’t really get him the ball much in the second half because we shot so many three pointers. At least that’s what it seemed like to me. I have only watched the game once, and I plan on keeping it that way.
Not over yet
This team is odd. We will find out on Sunday who we play in the NCAA Tournament, and that is always an exciting time. Regardless of who we are matched up with, this team seems like they could lose in the first round or make a run to the Final Four. To think that losing today means our season is over would just be naive.
After all, we blasted UConn three times last season and the Huskies went on to win the National Championship. Anything can happen. We really don’t have a bad loss on the season as far as to a bad team. The NC State loss may have been a surprise, but they have proven to be a decent team.
But regardless of all of that, this one still hurt. Losses don’t bother me near as much as they used to, since I realized that I have absolutely zero impact on the game and that life is so much bigger. But this one did sting for just a bit longer than usual. Being up 30-20 and feeling like we were running UNC out of the gym in North Carolina, it felt awesome. I was already envisioning the ACC Semi-Finals with Louisville, Virginia, Duke, and Notre Dame. Big time basketball over the next two days. And now, we just wait.
Just needed to get this out there to vent. That game just hurt and made a lot of us feel like poo.
However, Go Cards…Go Krogering!