Sixty five minutes of frustration, underscoring the incredible luck of the Irish, extending through five overtimes, with Notre Dame finally prevailing 104-101 in five overtimes.
ESPN was quick to designate the game as a classic but University of Louisville basketball fans won’t want to be reminded of the ordeal. If they don’t blank it out of their memory banks altogether, there will be some lasting impressions:
- The contrast between the huddles on the sidelines, one coach, Mike Brey, smiling, chuckling, seemingly not even bothering to draw up plays during timeouts or between overtimes. The other, Rick Pitino, angry, frustrated, constantly in the ear of one of his players, wondering what he’s going to do next, but still plotting strategy.
- Russ Smith having an off night in almost every phase of the game, apparently ignoring everything the coach tells him, wanting to be the one with ball with the game on the line, oblivious to other teammates, distinguishing himself as probably the most trying player Pitino has ever coached.
- Peyton Siva fouling out again, afraid to shoot, never a threat offensively, unable to create any shots for himself, contributing only two points. Available for only five minutes during the extra 25.
- Chane Behanan will be remembered as much for the familiar bobbling of the ball as much as the career high 30 points and 15 rebounds during the loss. Flashes of greatness mingled with some major attention deficits.
- Gorgui Dieng, still not strong or heavy enough, getting beat up and pushed around inside, despite the 18 points and 14 rebounds in 44 minutes.
One could go on but this game magnified a lot of weaknesses with this UofL team, the same team that could seemingly do no wrong against Marquette last Sunday. The ups and downs, the inconsistencies, the collective mindset, the individuality, the weird nature of college basketball this days, all making it impossible to envision or predict what’s coming next as the season enters the stretch.