Mike Marra joins UofL staff after fateful practice session

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Mike Marra has suffered his last injury as a college basketball player.

He’s done after suffering another ACL injury during the first 10 minutes of a University of Louisville practice session Friday. The 6-foot-5 senior played two games last season before incurring his first ACL injury to the same knee.

Marra has already been offered and accepted a graduate assistant spot, starting his career in coaching under Rick Pitino.

Louisville loses Marra for season

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Mike Marra suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the University of Louisville basketball team’s 68-48 win over Lamar on Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season.

Marra went down with 12:17 remaining in the second half .  A magnetic resonance imaging test at Jewish Hospital on Sunday night revealed the damage.  Surgery will be scheduled later and the normal recovery time from an ACL reconstruction is 9-12 months.


Another day, another injury as Louisville coasts past Lamar

A few takeaways from the University of Louisville basketball team’s 68-48 win over Lamar University:

  • Chane Behanan is the kind of player Rick Pitino has been missing during his first 10 years, already playing with a confidence that eludes many players during their college careers. He has a presence around the basket, unseen in Louisville since the days of Rodney McCray, very comfortable whether he’s shooting or rebounding the ball.
  • Jared Swopshire is going to contribute, the light switch turning on for him. There was an unmistakable new look in his eyes following one of those second half put backs, the expression of a player who expects to someday making a good living playing basketball.
  • Gorgui Dieng is way ahead of the learning curve but there’s so much more to absorb. He will make a brilliant move, only to follow it up within a couple of minutes with an awkward and inexplicable action that leaves a bewildered Rick Pitino wondering whether to laugh or cry.
  • Peyton Siva makes this team go, no doubt about that. However, he’s either forcing too many of those dazzling layups or teams are becoming better at defending them, at least in the first two games.
  • Kyle Kuric apparently has a challenge in getting excited about playing some teams, attracting too much Pitino attention against Lamar, spending a little more time on the bench than normal. He may be saving it, coach.
  • Mike Marra appeared to be in the best shape in quite a while before twisting his knee. Let’s hope the MRI is negative.


Mike Marra emerges, Louisville rips Marquette

Not a typical Louisville-Marquette game, or the everyday race-to-the-wire so commonplace in Big East games.

Probably the easiest win U of L will ever get in Madison Square Garden, this 81-56 decision over Marquette in the quarterfinals of the Big East basketball tournament.

What Louisville fans will remember from this one and look forward to in future games is the performance of Mike Marra. Showing why Rick Pitino has so much faith in him, keeping Marra in in previous games when he didn’t seem to be accomplishing much, the coach seeing potential everyday fans couldn’t comprehend.

Marra blocking two shots, passing for two assists, making a steal, getting inside his man’s skin on defense. Hitting six out of 10 shots from behind that arc, collecting 22 points, most of them when they really counted.

Marra taking some of the heat off of Preston Knowles, Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva, giving Louisville another dependable shooting option against a shocked Marquette defense. Who is this guy and where was he mentioned on the scouting report?

If Marra can turn in a few more atypical games, this Louisville team will keep on getting better at just the right time.

Then there was this Van Treese guy …

Another day at work for Louisville basketball

Not much surprises one after decades of following University of Louisville basketball, not even a heart-stopping improbable 79-78 double overtime win at UConn.

UConn with a six-game winning streak, fifth-ranked nationally, playing at home where it was 11-0 this season, with all-everything Kemba Walker running the show. UofL with almost a third of its troops in the infirmary, no shot whatsoever.

Don’t ever talk like that around Rick Pitino, or even in the vicinity of the practice facility. If one has doubts about any chance of winning, why play the game. As long as there are five players available, Pitino has a chance of winning. That’s his mindset.

Terrence Jennings has had Pitino in both ears since the horn at the end of a one-pointer over West Virginia, Pitino filling TJ’s head with visions of rebounds, follow-throughs on free throw shots, a few field goals. Don’t have to be a star or have much balance. Just stick close, hang around that basket and some good things could happen.

They would and did, the big guy coming up with 16 points and 10 rebounds, the most memorable double-double in Jennings’ career. Something to build on, something to get him through his self-imposed barriers. Something of which to get his doubters reason for renewed optimism.

Peyton Siva has uncanny speed at the end of games, when everybody else is trying to catch their collective breath.  He also has some unorthodox shots and a knowledge of ball English that gives UofL a great new weapon when games are on the line.

Siva also is gaining truckloads of confidence with his recent success, realizing he has another option besides his buddy Preston Knowles in those closing seconds, elusiveness and speed unmatched, just take advantage of one’s special gifts, and take it to the basket. Gotta do something about those sneakers, all that slipping and sliding. Some give adidas a call.

Preston, of course, will always be a good option, no fear of taking the difficult shots, even one from in the corner behind the basket, making the impossible look normal.

Then there are those Indiana kids, Kyle Kuric, connecting on six of eight field goal attempts, coming home with 15 points, and Stephan Van Treese, perhaps setting the tone with his opening basket from 15 feet out. Treese, where did that come from?

And what about that shot by Rhode Island’s Mike Marra, very necessary, crucial, no way of emphasizing how important that basket was, giving UofL a six-point lead in the second overtime.

Pitino thinking positive, as he noted after the game, making the seemingly impossible most plausible.