What … ?
You expected more from this Louisville basketball team in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Expected players to emerge from a season-long mediocrity, represent the name on the uniform, make a surprising run.
Nice dream. The wishful thinking clashed with reality quickly, California getting off to a 22-4 start. Rick Pitino’s team making some runs, getting within four a few times, but losing more impetus every trip down the court.
Everybody that is except Rakeem Buckles, with unbridled bundles of energy, never seeming to tire. Just when he seems unstoppable and U of L is within reach, Buckles is pulled to the bench. All signs of offense going with him.
- All the effort aimed at getting the ball in the middle to Samardo Samuels is wasted if he’s having still another off night. He ends the season where he began, having trouble catching the ball, posting up on anyone near his size, unable to make a decent pass, getting pushed around.
- Edgar Sosa getting three fouls early, the look creeping back on his face, too easily letting doubt control his game, something he will have to live with for a long time.
- Jerry Smith not really back from the hand injury, his shooting obviously still affected, even the clunker that rolled in off the back of the rim. He will largely be remembered for scoring 23 points in his first game as a freshman, hitting a three-point winner at Marquette, and scoring the first eight points in the second win over Syracuse.
- Reginald Delk didn’t receive enough exposure to really create much of an impression. A few three-pointers here and there, a few memorable defensive stops. Gone already.
- Terrence Jennings is going to bite his tongue off some game chewing that gum. Maybe it affects his thinking.
- Jared Swopshire should fatten up over the summer, eat mashed potatoes and gravy five meals a day, become the significant factor the analysts keep telling us he will become. But he should always be hungry, playing with a sense of urgency once in a while.
Rick PItino talked a lot about youthfulness on a team that started three seniors in the final game. Sometimes he outsmarts himself. He will have a few months to get back to a few basics.