Louisville still looking for take charge guy after North Carolina loss

Best crowd of the season, 21,210 fans for the Louisville-North Carolina game at the KFC Yum! Center (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

University of Louisville basketball fans, bless their hearts, hoping for the return of the good times. An electric atmosphere, a white out game, a crowd of 21,210 on hand at the KFC Yum! Center. Ready to make some magic happen.

The frenzied throng would will their team back from an early deficit of 19 points only to  see UofL fall short time and time again. Unable to handle the pass, make the play, grab the rebound or make the shot that would have put the game on the line.

Deng Adel missing on this shot but leading UofL with 20 points and six assists (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A team seemingly unable to match the enthusiasm or confidence of its fans. Unable to make shots within point blank range, blowing all kinds of layups. Not a threat on the offensive boards, getting outscored 22-6 on second chance points.

Missing from UofL was a lack of any defensive presence in the 93-76 loss to North Carolina. The Cardinals unable to sustain any intensity on the defensive end, allowing the Tar Heels to make almost 50% of their shots.

As in UofL’s previous eight losses, fans looking for someone to provide some positive energy — take over a game, provide some leadership, refuse to lose — would be disappointed. The leadership doesn’t seem to be there, either from an individual or collective basis, verbally or by example. 

The latest loss occurring after impressive wins over two of the worst teams in the conference, dashing any hopes that UofL had turned any corners. Exposing the Cardinals, and their biggest weakness, still looking for leadership with four games to go in the regular season. 

 

No sweat for Louisville in listless loss to Syracuse

Anas Mahmoud in a tight spot going for a rebound (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Apparently asking a bit much to get overly excited about playing Syracuse for a team that had lost three of its last four games and on a two-game skid. Easy does it, nothing to get worked up about for the University of Louisville basketball team.

Fire in the belly, what’s that? Never let them see you sweat. Not against Syracuse.

Another disappointing night for Deng Adel, third loss in a row (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

UofL seemingly just going through the motions, content with hanging around for much of the game. Syracuse, like Virginia and Florida State before them, sliding through the UofL defense with ease, making all kinds of improbable shots. 

Fans hoping for the Cardinals to make a run would be only partially rewarded. UofL would manage to cut a 10-point deficit to two points at the 4:05 mark. Getting back in the game with Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud repeatedly taking the ball inside, fouling out two Syracuse starters.

Ready to capitalize. But no.

For some inexplicable reason, Louisville will revert back to the outside game. Three-point clunker by Quentin Snider, three-point brick by Deng Adel, a two-point unanswered prayer by Snider. Forget about Spalding and Mahmoud, those guys won’t see the ball again.

Just a momentary scare, not a serious threat, and Syracuse will easily prevail 78-73. The Cardinals going from almost a sure thing to a desperate bubble team over the past week, their won-loss record falling to 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference.

The Cardinals showing all the signs of slipping away at a time when they need to be fine tuning. Not that they seem all that concerned, with the disappearance of any intensity. Maybe they know something we don’t, and they’re saving it for a stretch run.  Maybe. 

Quentin Snider keeps Louisville close, but finish is familiar

Quinten Snider scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, giving UofL a chance to win (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Quentin Snider heating up, his shots going in. The guy with the hot hand, the one one wants to make that last shot. Something for the fans to remember, maybe.

The senior guard making three of the University of Louisville basketball team’s four field goals in the last five minutes. Including two 3-pointers, UofL slashing an eight-point deficit to two points with 17 seconds to go.

Snider with a look on one trip downcourt that said he would not be denied, twisting to the left, around a defender to make one of those three’s from 25 feet. Setting up a dramatic finish, the highlight shot, the leading role. 

As Snider’s fate would have it, however, he would not see the ball on that final trip downcourt. V. J. King would take the shot, see it blocked, and Louisville was done. Losing to Florida State 80-76 in front of a crowd of 18,305 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Ray Spalding will leave no doubt with this shot (Cindy Rice Shelton).

Quentin would score 11 of his 15 points in that second half, giving his team a chance. Showing how it’s done, handing out seven assists for the game, but still looking to be reciprocated. Deng Adel getting scoring honors with 19 points, Ray Spalding with 13, and King with 10. 

Lots of indecisiveness in those closing seconds, mindful of earlier losses. Seemingly obvious choices overlooked. Uncertainty, lack of confidence, lack of awareness and lack of direction, it was all there. The player with the hot hand lost in the confusion.

UofL’s record falls to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, slipping from second to sixth in league play during the week. A chance to get back on track, with Syracuse visiting Monday at 7 p.m.

Find Snider if it’s a nail biter at the end. Please.

Down week for Louisville basketball

Good times and bad times seeming to come in bunches for University of Louisville basketball.

The women’s 20-game winning streak is snapped, the men fail to win their fifth straight, and the NCAA appeal looms heavily over the latter’s program.

From the way this week is going for the Cardinals, and based on some questionable information from a crappy source, the immediate outlook for a successful appeal from the NCAA is not good if the decision comes by Friday.

Best news thus far is that Katina Powell, the hooker at the heart of some of the program’s woes, was detained for shoplifting at a local Walmart.  For a toothbrush, no less.

Louisville’s fifth loss in 19th games would be a 78-75 decision in overtime to Miami. A game marred by flashes of freshman guard Lonnie Walker, the performer with a three-inch high bird’s nest on top of his head. Oblivious to the weirdness, having his way with the Cardinals. 

Walker having a coming out party, scoring a game-high 25 points.  Circus shots keeping the Hurricanes close, including one in the final seconds of regulation sending the game into overtime. His teammate, 6-foot-11 Dewan Huell, equally difficult to stop, with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Still waiting for Quentin Snider to hit a winning field goal for Louisville this season. But not a bad night for him, however, scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second half.  Anas Mahmoud with 15 points, four blocks, two assists and steal. Ray Spalding with nine points and 13 rebounds.

A game Louisville deserved to win, with Coach David Padgett getting everything he could from his team. Doubtful his predecessor or many other prime timers could have won with the way things were going on hump day for UofL basketball.

Rookie David Padgett gets Louisville a win in South Bend

Long time ago, way back, an eternity.

Nobody ever taking anything for granted in South Bend. Not with the University of Louisville basketball team not having a won a game against Notre Dame since 1994. Twenty-five years between UofL’s 85-83 overtime win that year and the Cardinals’ 82-78 win in double overtime on Tuesday.

If David Padgett is still around a couple of decades from now, fans will be referencing the game in January of 2018 when he ended the losing streak. A 32-year-old interim head coach, no head coaching experience, the youngest mentor in the NCAA’s toughest division.

Padgett doing something his mentor wasn’t able to do in six chances at South Bend. Another major booster shot for him and, indeed, for a team that keeps getting better, improving its record to 14-4 overall and 4-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Finding a way to win while being outrebounded 48-34 by Notre Dame and with Matt Ferrell and Martinas Geben scoring 23 points and 22 points, respectively. Achieving a rare feat, with his team making more free throws than the home team at South Bend — UofL sinking 15 of 17 at the free throw line while the Irish were making only 7 of 11.

Convincing his people that they could win, trusting them, them trusting him, listening, executing, refusing to wilt. Something really good happening here, people.

— Quentin Snider needing 21 points to make the 1,000-point club, doing it with a point to spare with his 22 for the night. The last two the game-clinching free throws with six seconds on the clock. Seven assists extraordinary.

— Ray Spalding making those scary hook shots look easy, especially at crunch time, with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two assists.

— Deng Adel giving up the basketball, working it around, letting other people score, winding up with 12 points and a couple of assists.

— Ryan McMahon three from downtown and 9 points.

— Anas Mahmoud with four of those marvelous blocks.

A win in South Bend at long last, Padgett making it happen.