It has been forever since I last posted to this site. Work has kept me pretty busy, and there was a computer change, and more work, and …no one cares. Anyway, this will be a short and sweet post just to get the juices flowing again as time begins to slow back down.
This is by no means an ACC Tournament preview. There are still games to be played and seeding to be established. It is simply a cautionary tale. A small piece of my opinion. A quick check in on what to look forward to and how to manage expectations.
Manage expectations? I know that sounds like someone predicting bad things but just the opposite. I look forward to, and expect big things from this team and this Hall of Fame head coach.
I simply wanted to check in because I missed the game last night and did not miss much. I assumed it would be a loss. I assumed it would be a blown lead, and I assumed (correctly) that some people would react poorly and question the whole year and this team.
I, for one, do not question Coach Pitino…or Q, or Donovan Mitchel, or the new and FINALLY dunking Ray Spalding for that matter. I pretty much trust that all of the guys on this team are working hard to get better every day. That is what Coach Pitino teams are all about and what he emphasizes. I know there is a bigger force and goal than a win at Wake Forest and a loss there is not the end of the world.
Simply put, the ACC is tough and Wake NEEDED that win. They needed to boost their resume, and they saw that lead by Louisville as a death sentence for their season. They responded, Louisville did not match it. That is what March looks like, especially in a conference as stacked as this one. This is not SEC basketball…pretty much everyone is good. This is not an excuse, or saying losses are not bad, they are but they should be viewed with the correct perspective or through the proper lens. We forget the games in that ridiculous Big East that sent the record number of teams to the NCAA Tournament. Top teams lost and it was a back and forth and somehow Louisville survived. That is the best course of action in a league like this, survive and improve while getting ready for the ‘dance.’
This morning and on the way home from work I refused to listen to local radio and stayed away from Twitter. Everyone is entitled to their own reaction and feelings to a loss or a bad game and no one should ever be able to tell YOU how YOU should feel about any event. I understand that completely and in no way want to dictate how someone should feel. I do, however, know that I don’t get too excited over a win or too down over a loss. That is why they play the game, and until late March and early April, there is always another one to make up for the game before.
I know the down games suck. I know it is frustrating to play such a tough schedule when some media likes to focus on teams that play terrible teams. It is like work…most of us have jobs and we enjoy them sometimes but a lot of the time work is work and you do it for one reason. We work for that direct deposit to hit…we work for payday.
Payday will come soon enough for Louisville, and people just need to keep the faith. This conference is brutal but guess what, after the ACC Tournament, we don’t really play each other and very few teams in the bit tourney will be the caliber that you see in the ACC every day.
Teams in either tournament will not have time to prepare for this system that Coach Pitino has perfected over the years. They have never played against this matchup zone that shifts mid possession. Just like the pre-season games that we get frustrated when Coach Pitino starts Random Guy X just to see what that lineup looks like, and Louisville beats Bellarmine by 20 instead of the 70 other programs are doing in their exhibition games, people get frustrated. But those moves and some of the ones at Wake are all part of the grander plan. Coach Pitino and the team are working for that direct deposit too..they look to the ultimate goal. So should everyone else, starting this weekend and then on to Brooklyn.