The images that will linger from the University of Louisville basketball team’s 71-65 win over North Carolina are those of Damion Lee knocking down those three-point shots.
Was this what the Las Vegas oddsmakers envisioned when they made UofL a two-point favorite over the nation’s second-ranked team? Not logical, not mathematically possible, or very likely for a team that looked so disjointed Saturday in a 16-point loss on Saturday.
The gaming wizards are familiar with Rick Pitino’s pedigree, cognizant of UofL’s rich tradition, and they, more than anyone, know that anything can happen in college basketball this season. Why not just make Louisville a two-point favorite? Yeah, that made a lot of sense.
None of that mattered to Damion Lee. This was where he wanted to be in the spotlight, prime time, against North Carolina, 22,781 Cardinal fans fully engaged from beginning to end.
Right on cue, there he was, Damion Lee back in his groove. One, two, three, four 3-pointers from a player who was lost in the wilderness two days ago. He would score 22 of his 24 points before North Carolina all but shut him down at the 9:35 mark. He would collect his final two on game-clinching free throws with eight seconds to go.
Trey Lewis — When Lee cooled down, his fellow transfer would take stock, control his emotions and take over from that point, except for one slip and a turnover that would enable North Carolina to keep it close. Lewis would score eight of his nine points, in the final seven minutes. Fully in control, sinking those two free throws near the end.
Chinanu Onuaku — The big guy is still unpredictable, spinning back and forth between regression and progress every other play. Still lacking full control over his body, he’s too unpredictable for officials when he’s bouncing around. He makes the easy look hard so when he makes a good move he shocks his most loyal fans. Onuaku back in the double-double category again with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Stay well, Chinanu.
Anas Mahmoud — The look on his face says he’s just about got this basketball game figured out. The problem still is that his body has yet to catch up with his smarts. That behind-the-back pass to Damion Lee in the first half, a move that had Pitino wondering whether seeing was believing, needing Ralph Willard to confirm what had just happened.
Donovan Mitchell — Brings a level-headed approach to the game, along with occasional bursts of energy, which if he can manage better, will make him an All America candidate before he leaves UofL. Good for 10 points and five rebounds.
Ray Spalding — One never knows what he’s going to do next, throwing up all kinds of shots, a couple of them finding their way through the net. A little more self control and he could work some wonders. Gotta quit flailing, control himself, collecting too many fouls, four in this one.
Not an upset, this win, not when Las Vegas has made you the favorite. Certainly surprising after a miserable performance on Saturday. Definitely the best win yet, a harbinger of more to come this season.
Meanwhile, check out these audio highlights from Paul Rogers.
Chinanu Onuaku back in the middle, factor or non-factor?
Thrust from a stomach disorder into the helter skelter against Virginia over the weekend. Doesn’t go well.
Zero points. Zero rebounds. Did manage three fouls in 19 minutes.
What’s it’s going to be against North Carolina?
The reborn player with a brand new future who had six straight double-double games? Or the throwback 6-foot-10, 235-pound wanna be who get pushed around like a rag doll?
Future is now.
He was gone for a while, looking over Nebraska and Arizona. Even Indiana.
But on Monday afternoon, Dez Fitzpatrick, a four-star wide receiver from Watermont High in Detroit, was firmly back where he started a year and a half ago, firmly recommitting to play his college football at the University of Louisville.
Blazing speed and air tight hands are his trademarks, and he transfers them into lots of yardage and touchdowns. During his senior year in high school, Fitzpatrick caught 60 passes for 1,350 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also excelled in the secondary, returning one of his two interceptions 99 yards for a touchdown.
His commitment brightening the future of UofL football. Considerably.
A confession here that even the observer gets excited about watching the commercials that make their broadcast debuts during the Super Bowl. Symbolizing what’s best about America, the event annually attracts one of the largest TV viewing audiences of the year, a must-see for sports and non-sports fans.
One of the most dramatic commercials ever was Apple’s introduction of the MacIntosh computer during the 1984 Super Bowl game between the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers. Everything in the room came to a halt when that commercial started, and people couldn’t believe what they had just seen. The madness and extremes of Steve Jobs obviously at work but working well.
Everybody also remembers seeing the Budweiser Frogs for the first time during the 1994 game between the San Diego Chargers and the 49ers. In fact the commercial is the only thing that most people remember about the game, certainly not the score or who actually won the game. The frogs could still stop a Super Bowl party today.
Check out Super Bowl Commercials 2016 for one of the most comprehensive sites around to relive many of those memorable moments in advertising history.
Not taking any team for granted, not this University of Louisville women’s basketball team.
UofL defeating Wake Forest 78-54 Sunday before a crowd of 9,673 at the KFC Yum! Center. Fourteenth win in a row, improving to 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Wake Forest making the game physical early, hanging around trading baskets with UofL, trailing by only six points at the half.
Jeff Walz wanting his best shooters to take more shots, quit being so unselfish, needing them to take control. Urging them to shoot in the second half. And they would, with Mariya Moore leading all scorers with 26 points. Asia Durr would score 13 of her 18 points in the second half.
Myisha Hines-Allen and Briahanna Jackson added 10 points apiece for the game.
Next up is the University of North Carolina on Thursday at Chapel Hill, followed by a home game against highly-ranked Notre Dame at 2 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.