The Peyton Siva Show

University of Louisville verbal Peyton Siva scored 29 points as Franklin’s boys basketball team beat Jeffersontown 72-55 on Tuesday in the championship game of the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic. He was the hands-down pick as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The Quakers, from Seattle, Wash., became only the sixth out-of-state team to win the tournament and the first since Berkshire of Homestead, Fla., in 1999. Franklin (7-0) won all four of its games in the 16-team event, three against Louisville opponents.

Monday night, he had 32 points, 10 assists and no turnovers in a 91-88 semifinal victory over Coral Reef of Miami. In the title game, he shot 9 of 14 from the field and 11 of 13 at the free-throw line, with three rebounds, three steals and two assists. Siva made 28 of 31 free throws in the final two games.

Although he’s only 5-foot-11, Siva does it all: Check out some file footage:

Between Tearing Packages Open

Between family and friends’ Christmas gatherings today, there was a basketball game. It was one of those typical pre-conference early season games where things should have been coming together but didn’t come close. University of Louisville basketball fans have been there before and they will be back there again, hopefully not this season. No danger of peaking too early.

What will be remembered about this day is all the fun with the kids, grandchildren and friends, all the hugs, the laughter and good times. The holiday season is in high gear.

Finding A Leader: Louisville 77, Ole Miss 68

A former coach turned broadcaster, whose TV career didn’t last long, once said when you get a team down you have to step on their collective throat and crush the life out of them. That’s what the University of Louisville basketball team didn’t do when it had Mississippi gasping for breath in the first half.

The lack of a killer instinct reared itself again, threatening to turn what should have been an easy win into another loss which would have further embarrassed the Big East against a mediocre SEC team.

The reason it didn’t happen was Earl Clark, and some timely three-point baskets from Edgar Sosa and Terrence Williams.

Fans saw what the pro scouts have been anticipating but had never actually seen – Clark assuming control of a game for almost 10 minutes in the first half, making moves he had never shown, hitting shots he had been missing, rebounding, blocking. He what? 25 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks.

He showed why he changed his mind about going to the NBA last summer, wanting to return to Louisville and his teammates. He’s taking the college game more seriously this time around, becoming more of a force than a role player, putting the load on his shoulders if that what it takes to win.

A new outlook, a whole new weapon for the Cards, against Mississippi anyway. Clark just may have assumed the leadership role vacated by David Padgett. Now that he has shown he can do it, it will be expected of him. And he should want it, badly.

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Samardo Samuels looked like a freshman for a second time this season, struggling mightily for anything he could get around the basket. Had it too easy in those early games against the no-name teams. Puts all the things the coaches have been preaching to him in perspective. Keep your eyes on the basket, go strong to the goal. Finish.

Getting It Started

The stadium stalker may have discovered clear evidence that things are going to start happening soon at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The backhoe’s big brothers will be along shortly to handle the heavy lifting. The observer has heard estimates of upward expansion of between 53,000 and 57,000 for the first phase. Nobody seems to know for sure, possibly depending on how low steel and oil prices go — the lower the better. The best news of all may be that interest rates are at historic lows. Hey, Tom, if the economy keeps dumping, maybe only one phase would be needed to get it to 63,000 seats.

Cards, We Barely Know Ye

Not at the point of looking for answers, at least not yet.
Crunch time has arrived in Rick Pitino's most recent chapter.

The time has finally arrived.

The exhibition games, the embarrassing early-season loss, the coming back down to earth for inflated players and fans, the uncomfortably close games and run-away wins against no-chance schools.

Done.

Time for testing, time for growth, time to take the real measure of this year’s University of Louisville basketball team. The results during the early going really haven’t revealed much about how the Cards will perform. What we do know is that this is a team missing the leadership skills of David Padgett, and still waiting to see who will fill the void.

Rick Pitino says he likes this team but it’s obvious he has been using the early season to find the best player combinations. The question is whether he has found a few solutions or whether questions still outnumber answers.

The Cards have gotten off to slow starts in most games, even against lesser talented teams, largely relying on superior depth to wilt the opposition. No evidence whatsoever of a team that will dominate even average teams and little indication of a killer instinct.

At least, not yet.

Time to see how quickly a group of freshmen with vast potential will mature against real competition. Thus far, the Cards have played down to the level of the competition, or even below the level in the loss to Western Kentucky.

The real season begins against Mississippi in the Big East-SEC basketball challenge at Cincinnati. Conference pride at stake, time to salvage some of it after the the Big East lost the first two games in the challenge. Not good to lose to SEC schools; they will never let you forget.

Next in quick succession come Minnesota, UAB, Las Vegas, and Kentucky.

The time has arrived.