Nowhere to hide from bad losses for Louisville basketball

For all the talk about the University of Louisville basketball team not having any bad games, there sure have been a lot of downs for Coach David Padgett’s team. Posing a real threat to UofL’s chances of receiving an NCAA invitation.

The latest downer was a 75-58 loss to top-ranked Virginia in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Almost a week after the Cardinals had fumbled away a sure win in a 67-66 shocker against the Cavaliers at the KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville would be humbled again a couple of nights later in a 76-69 loss to North Carolina State that was not as close as the score indicated. A couple of weeks ago UofL lost to Duke and North Carolina by deficits of 26 and 17 points, respectively. And, of course, there was there was that inexplicable 29-point loss to Kentucky earlier in the season.

References to the turmoil off the court may amount to little more than excuses or rationalization

Yet there was Coach David Padgett being optimistic in the post-game press conference saying, “If you look at our overall body of work, we haven’t done anything wrong. I think that’s getting lost a lot in the shuffle this year is people used to put a lot of emphasis and a lot of weight on these, quote-unquote, bad losses.”

As much as one may like and respect Padgett, all of the above-mentioned losses could be construed as less than stellar to NCAA selection committee members. To add to the challenge, there have been no wins against ranked teams.

When the Cardinals did impress this season, it was always against lesser competition. Raising the hopes of their fans, only to have them dashed against better one. At times seeming to play without purpose or leadership, employing a confusing variety of lineups, some players disappearing for weeks at a time.

Rarely was there much evidence of the confidence and passion required for a team to meet or exceed expectations. Even with the off-the-court hurdles, UofL was still expected to be among the nation’s top five teams this season.

There were a few exhilarating moments, but they were few and far between. The passion exhibited by Louisville teams in the past was missing. If a switch was turned on in one game, the duration was all too brief, nowhere to found in the next. Little evidence of consistency from one half to the next, or from one game to another. 

All the references to the turmoil off the court amount to little more than excuses or rationalization. If anything the controversies could have brought the team closer together, you know, the us against the world mentality. One never sensed that to be the case, almost as if the players were in collective denial. One also has to wonder about the motivational approaches or lack thereof with so much drama to feed on during the season.

There were a few fun moments, including two wins over a good Virginia Tech team, and wins over Indiana and Memphis. Fitting the feel good category nicely but getting lost in the shuffle between all those disappointing losses. A season in which the optimism and patience of long-time UofL fans was severely tested. 

An NCAA invitation would be surprising, whether Padgett believes his team is deserving or not. A lot of shortcomings for the selection committee to overlook. Best for Louisville fans not to get those hopes up too high.

Louisville eases up again, but survives Florida State surge

One never knows what to expect with this particular University of Louisville basketball team. Nothing assured as long the game clock is running. The opposing team, not about to roll over, knowing there will always be a chance.

Give these UofL players a decent lead, they will let up, get ahead of themselves, look ahead to the next round.  The Cardinals racing to a 23-point lead with eleven and a half minutes in the second half. Florida State not rolling over, aware of Louisville’s recent history, using the adversity as motivation.

The Seminoles would start making every shot, good, bad or indifferent, cutting the deficit to six points in the final minute. But the Cardinals would make five of their last six shots, Quentin Snider would hit both free throw attempts with 15 seconds to go. Louisville would hang on for a 82-74 win in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

Snider, playing like time is running out on his collegiate career, playing with authority, trusting his 3-point shot, leading the way. Leading his team with 19 points, including three of seven behind the 3-point line, five rebounds and six assists. Deserving, perhaps earning a chance to play NCAA tournament ball his senior season.

Ray Spalding, missing eight minutes with two fouls in the first half, providing a steady presence beneath the basket. Playing with confidence, wanting the ball, making those little hooks look smoother and easier of late.  One wonders what if he had another season to work on them. 

Deng Adel playing a supporting role  in this game. Laying off the dizzy-whiz stuff, passing the ball, getting eight rebounds and two assists, taking what the defense gives him, winding up with 15 points.

Anas Mahmoud still missing those sure-thing, two-foot shots but blocking five Florida State shots, making six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Not bad but one still has to wonder what he would be doing had added some weight to his frame. 

Dwayne Sutton, making his case for more playing time when it counts, contributing 10 points and, notably, six rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes.

Hang on. Another Louisville-Virginia game this way comes.

Time is now, Louisville women cut ACC tournament threads

A time to celebrate for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team with the program’s first ACC tournament championship (UofL Women’s Basketball photos).
Sam Fuehring and Myisha Hines-Allen go just a little bit crazy celebrating UofL’s first ACC tournament championshp.

No shoulda, woulda, coulda’s for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. No looking past anyone, no waiting until next year, and no getting blinded by the spotlight.

Your UofL women are the winners of the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference championship, the best all season long. Defeating Notre Dame 74-72 on Sunday in the tournament finale, claiming the Cardinals’ first ACC tournament championship and their first conference tournament title since 1993.

Defeating the Irish for the second time this season. Denying Notre Dame a fifth consecutive tournament championship and handing the Irish first loss  ever in ACC tournament play. In the process, the Cardinals earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and a most desirable spot in the Lexington Regional.

A milestone win for a group of players Coach Jeff Walz has often described as a wonderful group of young women, people who enjoy working and playing together, and pulling for each other to succeed. They have carved a unique niche in program history, positioning themselves for something even more special.

Arica Carter solidified herself as a major 3-point threat in the ACC tournament, with eight of them in three games (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Notre Dame wanted this one, wanted it bad, wanted redemption for a 33-point loss in Louisville in January. The Irish, who have dominated the ACC the past four seasons, weren’t going to wilt in this one, holding a 42-37 lead at the 8:30 mark in the third quarter.

That seemed to be all the incentive the Cardinals needed to get down to business. Asia Durr would hit her second 3-pointer, Myisha Hines-Allen would get a layup, Arica Carter  her third 3-pointer, Hines-Allen another layup, Jazmine Jones a layup, followed by a layup by Sam Fuehring, propelling Louisville to a seven-point lead at one point.

Five players scoring in double figures for UofL — Durr with 17, Carter 16, Hines-Allen and Fuehring with 15, and Jones with 11 — and with a total of 22 assists, personifying an all-out team effort. Players stepping up at all corners of the court.

With Durr struggling for much of the tournament, her teammates had to come through and they did.  The ACC player of the year went six of 27 — and one for 12 from 3-point range — in her first two tournament games. But it would be Durr who would hit all four of her free throws in the final seconds assure the win in the final game.

Jeff Walz reaffirms with ACC tournament title that he’s in this thing to win championships.

Hines-Allen, with combined totals of 48 points and 26 rebounds in three games, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. She was joined by Fuehring on the all-tournament first team, and Carter and Jones on the second team.

Walz, the ACC Coach of the Year, ecstatic but not fully content with the latest conquest, apparently eyeing an even bigger prize in the days and weeks ahead.  “I hope it puts a smile on everybody’s face,” he said. “It’s been a remarkable run, but we aren’t finished. … We’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Much bigger.

Louisville takes Virginia to the brink but flood wall collapses

Louisville was ready to take down Virginia until the last second (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

For 39 minutes and 59 seconds on Thursday evening, University of Louisville basketball was reliving the glory days, building on a glorious tradition, casting out the demons, putting the finishing touches on the nation’s No. 1 team. 

Whut? Whoa. What should have been a routine ending suddenly takes a dramatic turn.

The dark clouds would re-emerge in that final second, slamming UofL fans in their collective gut, punishing them for their flirtation with exhilaration, shaming them for being optimistic. Back again, the implausible but undeniable scourge that has pummeled  the basketball program for months.

Quentin Snider would score 13 points in 35 minutes on Senior Night (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Louisville leading by four points with five seconds to go. Just take care of business. Wouldn’t happen, however. Darius Perry would foul a three-point shooter, cutting the margin to two. Deng Adel would travel on an out-of-bounds play, and De’Andre Hunter would throw up a 3-point shot with zero-nine-tenths of a second to go. 


Virginia defeats UofL 67-66 to the absolute astonishment of 19,413 disbelieving Cardinal fans. That bloody dagger of a shot potentially a life-altering shot for members of the UofL coaching staff and their families.

One win could have decided so much for the program, a spot in the NCAA tournament for a young coach, making it next to impossible for David Padgett to be denied the permanent position. That’s all up in the air again, prolonging the continuing uncertainty.

So many downcast faces departing the KFC Yum! Center, many apparently believing this may have been the crushing blow for this team, some wondering if their team could recover. Typical reactions in the immediate aftermath of a loss, only one second away from shaking off some of the misery of the recent past. 

Maybe all is not lost, however.

One must remember that Louisville was competing against the No. 1 team in the country. David Padgett had a good game plan, his players executed, and the UofL dominated Virginia for much of the game.  UofL would have won were it not for two improbable plays and one miraculous shot. That close.

In fact, the Cardinals may well have played their best basketball of the season in the past two games, after being written off by many after a 26-point loss to Duke. Just in time for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. 

Don’t count Louisville out just yet. The misery can’t last forever.

Lavey blast powers Louisville past Xavier, Cards are 8-0


Pat Rumoro is welcomed home by his teammates after scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, thanks to a two-run home run by Justin Lavey. The blow gave the University of Louisville baseball team a 6-4 win over Xavier before 2,163 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Louisville also benefitted from a solo home run by outfielder Ethan Stringer in the second inning. Lavey and Stringer each have two home runs and a total of 13 runs batted in between them.

Right handed junior Bryan Hoeing was chased from the mound in the fifth inning after giving up four runs on seven hits. The win went to righty Bobby Miller, a freshman who allowed only hit, improving his record to 2-0. Sam Bordner would come to the rescue in the eighth inning with the bases loaded, shut the Musketeers down, and earn his third save.

Justin Lavey comes through in the seventh inning with his second home run to improve UofL’s record to 8-0 (Photos by Cindy Rice Shelton)