Anybody else come close to dozing off during the University of Louisville-Bellarmine exhibition?
U of L running no set plays, making one of 19 three-point shots, getting out-rebounded 43-38 by a much smaller team, and making only 12 of 23 free throw attempts. Not encouraging.
If Rick Pitino’s team looked out of sorts, it may have been because he had run his team through a lengthy practice session earlier in the day. Part of the conditioning process, he likes for them to play through fatigue.
One got the impression that Pitino and Scotty Davenport, a former assistant, had collaborated before the game to expose their team’s weaknesses. It was a work session, not intended to be fun or bolster confidence. Ugly much of the time, mostly run and shoot, with some odd player combinations.
With all the talent Pitino has, he has the luxury of experimenting early on, exposing weaknesses. There is no shortage, with some players coming bck from injuries and off-season medical procedures.
The team one saw against Pikeville a week ago is more likely to be the one that shows up Sunday, the one with Peyton Siva making eye-of-the-needle passes, Gorgui Dieng hitting the elbow shots, Montrezl Harrell unstoppable under the basket, and Russ Smith as elusive as ever.
The overall impression, however, was of a team that may have been a little distracted by all the pre-season expectations. Hopefully, the shortcomings exposed during exhibition game accomplished what Pitino wanted to do, taking the collective ego of his players down a notch or two before the opposition does.