Two Villanova free throws bouncing off the rim with four seconds to go. Three shots at point-blank range failing to fall at the horn? Scottie Reynolds with only 11 points? It has been a number of years but maybe, just maybe, the law of averages is swinging back in the direction of University of Louisville basketball.

Enough Wildcats for a while.
Enough Wildcats for a while. (Associated Press photo)

Welcome back, Lady Luck. UofL had forgotten what you looked like. Great to see you again. A little good fortune, combined with relentless defense and decent shooting, will take you a long way. Actually, the shooting, 24 of 62 attempts, not that decent but Villanova was held to 20 of 53.

— Terrence Williams, with a fortunate bounce, making what would be the winning basket, but forgetting the advice of Rick Pitino seconds before about not getting beat long on the out-of-bounds play, setting Villanova up for what would ordinarily have been the killer.

— Jared Swopshire displaying his basketball I.Q. with the hard foul on Antonio Pena with five second remaining, sending a poor free throw shooter to the line. It will be a tough week for Mr. Pena.

— Earl Clark indispensable. Needs to stay focused, however, especially in the final minute when errors are unforgivable or unforgettable.

— Samardo Samuels not getting pushed around as much today. Knows what to do when he gets open, hitting six of eight attempts, winding up with 15 points. His getting open is the challenge, and he’s getting it, just not as fast as some would hope.

— Terrance Jennings may not know the plays but he has the natural abilities. He’s not about to get pushed around. He will keep getting better.

— Edgar Sosa fine mostly, but the Hail Mary passing with the game on the line is somewhat puzzling. The encouraging thing is that he is not hanging his head for three consecutive games.

Better lucky than good? Better to be good: The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.

*   *   *

Pitino Speak? — Fans never know when Rick Pitino says something whether he means it or not. Caught up in the emotion or thinking out loud? “I’ve looked forward to this year more than any other,” Pitino said after the game. “You’ll never see 12, 13 teams as tough as this. It’s special, I’ll tell you that. I’m getting the hell out of here after this year, I’m telling you that.”  Those words will be disected for weeks and months on end.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

11 thoughts on “Make It Louisville 61, Villanova 60

  • January 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm
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    Great first half for the Cards – sloppy 2nd but I am so thankful we came away with a win. A couple of weeks ago we would have folded and probably lost by 10 so I see improvement. Glad SS didn’t foul out the first half and even had a few dunks with his feet actually leaving the floor. E5 still looking good even though at the end he could have cost us big. Great 2-0 start for us in the BBeast. Man, what a physical league. I love the way the refs let them play though. Go CARDS!

  • January 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm
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    P.S. We ARE the ONLY “Ville” and we proved that today…hehehehe

  • January 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm
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    Poor shooting night from beyond the arc, the Cards may have totally routed ‘Nova if they’d have hit 35 or 40 percent.

    Samuels seems to be playing smarter, though he had a few TOs when the double team came.

    I’ll take the win, in gut wrenching fashion.

    I like our chances against Notre Dame, but if it turns into a shootout, it’s over for us.

  • January 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm
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    The big H can’t be hitting those three-pointers like he did last year.

  • January 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm
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    Pitino may not have meant to say that out loud. Just give TJ one more headache.

  • January 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm
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    The sky will be falling if Pitino leaves.

  • January 10, 2009 at 9:36 pm
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    I want to hear how he explains this next week. It’s going to get the wags talking for sure.

  • January 10, 2009 at 9:36 pm
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    He couldn’t retire if he wanted to. Coaching is what makes him tick.

  • January 11, 2009 at 10:13 am
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    Most likely Pitino was alluding to the post season trip he takes to his home in South Florida. A chance to reflect, relax and recharge. And after this season, he’ll need it. It is true that Rick thrives on the heat from the kitchen and the pressures of the college basketball world. Just can’t imagine him sitting for days on end on a sunny beach under an umbrella reading a novel and texting on his sidekick. But, it sure sound good on this cold morning in Louisville, doesn’t it?

  • January 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm
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    I don’t think the Cards (or anyone else) can contain Harongody. Much like last year, they will be able to win if they can shut down the rest of the team.

  • January 12, 2009 at 8:10 am
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    A great win – especially with the upcoming games against ND, Pitt, etc.

    I disagree that the Cards “got lucky” as some commentators have said — they were winning most of the game. Yes, it was helpful in the end that Villanova missed the easy shots – and the free throws- but the Cards played hard.

    I don’t understand why T-Will is on the bench so much. He makes things happen..drives, passes…an athelete!

    I watched Wake Forest beat North Carolina last night and now I’m hearing, once again, how great the ACC is and how Wake is THE team.

    Questions – Can U of L beat Wake? Can they beat North Carolina? What U of L guard will step up and take command? Can they ever reach the level off Jeff Teague, Wake, or Lawson, UNC?

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