The Good, Bad & Ugly

Statistics never tell the whole story but it is enlightening to see the rankings in some strategic categories with nine regular season games remaining for the University of Louisville basketball team:


Good:  Jerry Smith, 21 
Bad:  Terrence Williams 51, Samardo Samuels 50 
Ugly:  Earl Clark, 63


Good:  Preston Knowles, 36good-bad-ugly
Bad:  Jerry Smith, 46
Ugly:  Samardo Samuels, 70


Good:  Terrence Williams, 191
Bad:  Samardo Samuels, 114
Ugly: Edgar Sosa, 31

Free Throw Shooting:

Good:  Samardo Samuels, 73.1%
Bad:  Terrence Wiliams, 60.3%
Ugly:  Terrence Jennings, 37%

3-Point Shooting:

Good: Preston Knowles, 41%, Jerry Smith, 40.3%, Terrence Williams, 35.8%
Bad:  Earl Clark, 27.5%, Edgar Sosa, 27.3%
Ugly:  Jared Swopshire and Reginald Delk, 25%


Good:  Terrence Williams, 94
Bad:  Edgar Sosa, 55
Ugly: Samardo Samuels, 19

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Remember When

Unfortunately, some Card Game visitors may not be able to view the video classics of Rick Pitino wearing his white suit, making his “not walking through the door” statement in Boston, and the old Budget Rental Car commercials. It is highly recommended that you use the Firefox browser or the most recent version of Internet Explorer (7.0), not only for Card Game but for greatly improved satisfaction in Internet browsing.

Lights Out: UConn 68, Louisville 51

If no one wipes that smile off Hareem Thabeet’s face, UConn will be foisting another NCAA banner in Hartford.

What’s bothersome is that Thabeet never works up a sweat. Just stands beneath the basket, blocking a few shots, making a few tip-ins, intimidating a few smaller inexperienced players. He is definitely a good free throw shooter, thanks to all the opportunities.

When one is 7-foot-3, one doesn’t have to be a good basketball player. Just don’t do anything stupid, which he doesn’t do, probably because the Tanzanian native is still fairly new to the game, not learning bad habits, but absorbing the coaching.

If Thabeet ever does become a good player, UConn could challenge a few of Johnny Wooden’s old UCLA teams.

— UConn coach Jim Calhoun says Rick Pitino made a mistake by pressuring his guards. Calhoun is dead wrong: pressure defense is Louisville’s game, the reason the Cards won nine consecutive games and are ranked among the top 10. Take away the pressure defense and Louisville is an average team.

One noticeable difference in Pitino’s approach was that Preston Knowles and Andre McGee were rarely on the floor at the same time. If there was a mistake, it may have been in not using the defensive combination that greatly exceeded expectations during the win streak. Put the microwave guards in at the same time, the pressure is multiplied by 10.

— Terrence Williams feeling it, obviously on his way to a special game before collecting two early fouls. His teammates, however, were apparently still thawing out from the weather emergency, their shooting still in the deep freeze.

— Is anyone else pleasantly surprised every time Earl Clark hits anything but a layup or dunk? He’s a physical specimen for sure, but two years of not taking full advantage of all the learning opportunities catches up with him at the most inopportune times. Those early morning solo sessions in the practice center need to become more intense. Two of 16 field goal attempts. Not good.

Another Epic Challenge

Still another game against a top 10 team, another game against a No. 1 team.

University of Louisville fans are still thawing out from the great ice storm of 2009, and the economic and emotional challenges accompanying all of the emergency situations. Many fans making it through some dire times, buoyed only by assistance from friends and strangers, and the heroics of their basketball team. Little, if any, time, however, to savor what has  been accomplished, too many challenges await.

The observer recalls a conversation over the water cooler with a UConn fan a dozen years ago, marveling that Connecticut was considered a national contender in anything sports-related. Those folks should stick to being a financial center, you know, taking care of the banks and the housing industry, ensuring that the economy is on a firm footing. Well, apparently they have become distracted by basketball, allowing the economy to go south.

Nevertheless, UConn arrives as a perennial power, the top team in the country.  Conference standings are more important to Louisville and Connecticut than the national implications of this game. But the rankings are important, don’t let anyone kid you.

The structural integrity of Freedom Hall will be put to the test in another game of epic proportions.

Groundhog’s Day Foretelling

By Sonja Sykes

At 1:45 p.m., the two yorkies Scooter and Rodney emerge from the back porch and walk out into the back yard, where they see their own shadows. This means, of course, that six great weeks of Cardinal basketball lie ahead:


Week 1. Beginning this evening, Rick’s guys beat UConn and win at St. John’s. Jeff Walz’s troops roll past Syracuse and West Virginia in Freedom Hall. T-Will and Angel both get Big East players of the week awards.

Week 2. Earl and the guys fly up to South Bend and bring Luke an unwanted, early Valentine’s surprise by beating the Irish. Then, they come home and rip past DePaul for a post Valentine’s Day celebration.  Angel leads the Lady Cards to a close win at Notre Dame a day before the guys do it, and celebrates Valentine’s Day by beating Cincinnati for the second time this year..receiving her coronation in the Queen City.

Week 3. The Friars pop into the Hall and get popped by McGee and the fellas, and then the Cards zip up to Cincy to put a Saturday smack down on Mick Cronin. On that same Saturday, Becky Burke returns to her home state and puts a “Rocky” knockout punch on Villanova.

Week 4. The President shows up to watch Samardo slam at Georgetown and the Cards roar into March like a lion with their win over Marquette in Freedom Hall. Angel ends the month of February playing her final game ever at Freedom Hall and pummeling Pitt.

Week 5. Seton Hall sails into the Freedom Hall and the Pirates get sunk by the deadly shooting of Smith, Sosa and Knowles. The Cards take the bounty to West Virginia and plunder Huggie Bear’s Mountaineers in Morgantown. Candyce and crew visit Milwaukee and make a loser out of Marquette to end the regular season. They zip up to Hartford to await a Sunday match up in the Big East tournament.

Week 6. The guys arrive in the Big Apple on Tuesday for the tourney and leave Saturday as the champions. By then, the Lady Cards have already shocked UConn in the Tuesday final of the Hartford Invitational, formerly known as the Big East Women’s tourney.

Good times ahead. The yorkies’ predictions are never wrong.