Backsliding: UNLV 56, Louisville 55

By Charlie Springer

What was that about being a basketball school? The basketball season is not providing the emotional lift that University of Louisville fans had hoped would help them get over football. Sorry, folks, this is not the eighties. With the strength of the Big East this year, this could turn out to be another one of those rebuilding phases.

— Someone once said at least ten thousand times that if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. The Cards seem to be stuck in reverse gear at present. Still going through the motions, despite the Western Kentucky and Minnesota drubbings.

— Samardo Samuels is still on the first chapter in the instruction manual on playing college center, despite all the preaching and tormenting during those torturous practices. Don’t expect any kind of meaningful help from George Goode or Terrence Jennings anytime soon.

— How long will it be before fans start speculating against about a possible return of Derrick Caracter? It’s been a while now.

— Jared Swopshire goes from a starter one game to playing one minute in the next game. That promising performance in the UAB encounter must have been some of that “Fool’s Gold” that Rick Pitino keeps warning us about. Or is really just saving Swopshire for Big East play?

— I know this is getting redundant, but this team is never going anywhere until Earl Clark considers it cool to get excited about playing aggressive basketball. By that we mean using his superior height and strength to overpower people in his way. We’ve seen brief glimpses of it, but it usually disappears as quickly as it appeared.

— Does anyone want Terrance Williams to get rid of that ridiculous shooting cast on his arm? His best shot will always be the in-your-face, thunderous dunk. If he hits half of his layup and free throw attempts, UofL wins. Forget about the layups, T-will, dunk the blasted basketball.

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Charlie Springer

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

31 thoughts on “Backsliding: UNLV 56, Louisville 55

  • December 31, 2008 at 10:34 pm
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    Once again, Coach P didn’t have them ready MENTALLY to play. With all the talent we have on our team, they are all running the floor like they have no idea what play they are supposed to be running. I am NOT anti-Pitino BUT I still say he is a horrible 2 minute coach. He should be able to call some plays to make something happen in the final minutes of the game. Factor in the fact that I don’t think he WANTS to beat yUK, we could be in trouble Sunday. yUK is NOT a good team but as I said on another website, Western or Eastern could beat us the way we are playing. All that talent and we lose by ONE point in our house….what is gong on? THIS IS LOUISVILLE, NOT PO-DUNK U !!! Come on coach, we pay you a lot of money to motivate and teach these kids to play – EARN IT!

  • December 31, 2008 at 11:30 pm
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    Louiville is way overated,Samuels cant jump 3 inches off the ground.Pitino is not a very good bench coach.Patterson and Meeks will kill yo puusies.

  • December 31, 2008 at 11:31 pm
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    Classy as always. go CARDS!

  • January 1, 2009 at 12:23 am
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    Go soak your head Kythunder.

  • January 1, 2009 at 12:49 am
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    Just as classy as your loser coach not shaking Kruegers hand.

  • January 1, 2009 at 9:36 am
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    kythunder obviously still misses pitinoball in lexington and can’t get over the fact that so many coaches keep leaving the blue. keep your elvis outfit on and drive your pickup truck down to memphis to see ECU win the liberty bowl.

  • January 1, 2009 at 9:38 am
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    Kythunder:

    Hey Brother. I hope you are not from Wildcats Thunder. You sound just like them.

    I do not mind UK, but the majority of the fans are some redneck, inbred punks, with very little knowledge of their team. Like you over here f**king with us after a loss against a formidable foe. I would bet that I know more about the UK program than you do, from owning a UofL/UK website for years. I would love to talk sports off the top of our heads, without reference to the net, like I do everyday while I am working at a prominant sports bar, with 23 HDs, and EVERY direct TV/ESPN extended package available.

    Should I have raided the UK boards when VMI smashed you out and led the entire game? Fact: UK spent 9.9M on basketball for 2007 as the #1 spending program, VMI spent $99,000 in 2007, ranking dead last. You want to talk about something, talk about that. What a joke!

    You bitches are playing straight snackcakes, and we are playing Lon Krueger, Tubby Smith, Andy Kennedy, and Mike Davis….

    I wrote an article on Dec. 21, “Time to face reality: Top 25 team?”, where I outlined why we are NOT a Top 25 team, so I am not amazed at all. Predicted the football team to finish 5-7 pre-season.

    You like to talk smack and aggravate us? Hopefully on Gillispie’s next DUI, he don’t end up ramping into a church bus. You know how chronic alkies are.

    If you would like to man-up to the challenge, or I have said anything wrong, I am Shannon, owner of Cardinal Dominance.

    I don’t hide behind screen names.

    Good luck to the Cats the rest of the season after Sunday, Jodie Meeks is the BEST player on the team and a great talent out of Norcoss GA, NOT Patterson (I have been trying to tell you idiots that for 2 years).

    The rivalry game is a coin toss, and that is the truth.

    Just know that you guys getting laughed off the national stage with the Gardner-Webb and VMI losses, are nothing like losing to WKU, Minnesota, and UNLV.

    You want to talk real? Let me know. Talk in fact.

  • January 1, 2009 at 9:58 am
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    Now, let’s talk about the game.

    Lon Kruger is not a joke, and the article I wrote about “(5) headed MONSTER on the horizon”, was just about this STRONG (5) game pre-season stretch before going into BEAST play with USF.

    MAJOR Issues:

    1. I am kind of tripping on how we just stand around on offense. Watch other “good” teams. They are very animated trying to get “switch-offs”, cutting through the lane and post, mixing it up. We kind of stand there, pass the ball east to west, and WAIT for something to happen…… The same way we looked starting the 2005-06 season.

    2. We need to expand the floor. Rick will not let our guys shoot a long 3, from say 2-3 ft behind the 3-pt line. That makes our “offensive strike area” very small, and very easy to defend. Teams know we are not going to shoot more than 6 inches behind that 3 line, so when we back there, we are basically on “self check” for the opposition. EXTEND THE DEFENSE AND SPREAD THE FLOOR.

    Check this out:

    Hall of Fame Coach

    #1 recruit Samuels (Brandon Jennings went to Italy)

    Earl Clark Lottery Pick

    T-Will Draft Pick

    Jerry Smith and Will Scott 2 of the best shooters normally in the BEAST

    #4 overall recruiting class

    8-3

    We have a LONG way to go.

  • January 1, 2009 at 11:04 am
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    Reminder: The best player on the uk team, Jodie Meeks, was recruited by the latest basketball coach to bolt lexington. I still haven’t heard Tubby say he misses those fans down there.

  • January 1, 2009 at 11:53 am
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    Frank:

    No doubt. I am tickled Tubby is doing well at the Gophers. He will be a legend at UM, but not good enough for UK.

    I am satisfied playing competitive basketball, and making it to the tourney each season as a goal.

    I do not mind losing, and there are so many great programs and coaches now in NCAA D-I, unlike the “old days”. But the WAY we are losing sucks, IMO, with the stagnated offensive sets, no leadership, and not spreading the floor by shooting 2-3 ft behind the 3-pt line, instead of being all choked up on it.

    If we start letting them go from downtown, the defense will extend, then we can use our athletic forwards in Clark and T-Will to devistate the defense in the “belly of the zone” right below the FF line, and take the double and triple teams on Samuels away that are so blaringly obvious, the defense is extended, so rotating off to double and triple Samuels comes very hard.

    Basketball 101. I don’t know what we are thinking right now.

  • January 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm
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    We weren’t just out played, we were also out coached. At the end UNLV ran an offense with one goal, spread out the floor and create a mismatch with Samuels being forced to defend a small, quick guard at the top of the key with no help. UNLV scored four times out of four doing this. Rick finally adjusted by subbing Jerry for Samuels and we got a stop. But sure enough, he put Samuels back in and UNLV executed the play again for the winner.

    And it is worth noting that the last three times (perhaps more but I can only guarantee three) we had the ball coming out of a time out we did not score. What was drawn up in the huddle was well anticipated and defended by UNLV.

    Perhaps February and March will be more kind to the team and it’s fans. Let’s hope so.

  • January 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm
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    First of all. Happy New Year to all!
    As disappointing and frustrating last night’s loss was…just as the two other losses before it…I have a very good feeling and confidence about this team as we go into the UK game. I won’t get into the rivalry factor, the win streak UK has going in to the game or Meeks and Patterson’s abilities. I just have two ask myself three questions…
    1) Who has the best coach on the floor?
    Winner, hands down, is Rick Pitino.

    2) Who has the best players on the floor. Maybe a little closer, but UofL. T-Will and Clark have been in tough battles their whole career here at UofL. Faced a lot better than Meeks and Patterson. Evaluate the talent of the first ten that play. Advantage: Cards. And, it’s in Freedom Hall.

    3) Which team has faced the toughest competition so far? Louisville.

    I know my comparisons are subjective, and tons of categories could be anaylyzed…with some giving UK an advantage, but when it comes comes to the basics…I’ll go with the best coach, best talent, home court advantage and difficulty in preparation every time. GO CARDS!

    By the way, Ky Thunder. Take two Tylenol and sleep it off. And, Shannon, Charlie and Frankie and Linda…way to represent!

  • January 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm
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    Sounds like we do not need any coaches; we have plenty out there. You all are idiots! Who would you rather have coach?

    The coach can’t shoot the ball for you. All the negative people out there should pull for Kentucky because you sound like typical Kentucky fans!!

  • January 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm
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    Mike:

    Sorry that speaking in reality makes you squirm. I have 100% faith in Pitino, and would not trade him for any other coach in the nation. Period.

    Granted the coach can not shoot the ball for you, but he can sit your butt on the bench if you do not want to contribute and execute his system, and get a kid in that will….

    Our Hall of Fame Coach was so rattled with this team and the loss last night, that he went straight into the locker room, and did not shake longtime friend Lon Kruger’s hand.

    Common sense Brother Mike. Watch the end of the game again.

    Just so I can establish my audience, what are your unbiased thoughts on Coach Krag?

    I love my Cards, but only an absolute fool could see that we have a number of issues to overcome over the course of the season, and the pre-season #3 ranking, was far from accurate.

    Win or lose, I roll with the Cards AND Pitino, and support Coach P 100%.

  • January 1, 2009 at 1:32 pm
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    The last time I checked no one was perfect. And that applies to this team and to a degree the way it is being coached. I am a loyal fan as I am sure many/most of the questioners are. But being loyal should not mean being blindly unrealistic. I have had season tickets to UofL basketball since 1953 when I was nine years old. I remember playing in the Armory. I remember teams that clearly out performed their perceived abilities and I remember teams that have done the reverse. I have pulled for both types, but I also can see when there is much room to improve. Happy New Year and let’s hope things improve.

  • January 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm
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    Random thoughts:
    #3 ranking–Based on the talent present and number of experienced players, this wasn’t all that ridiculous. But it was certainly premature.

    Ineffective offense–That’s what happens when only 3 or at the most 4 players are doing what the coach is telling them.

    Hero-To-Zero–(Swopshire and Sosa and Clark so far), This doesn’t mean Coach has given up on them, far from it. Anyone can see he is frantically trying to get a critical mass on the floor on the floor at the same time. When he finds five guys who will work together using the game plan–look out!

    Beating UK’s b*tt on our home floor–This will happen IF Coach finds 5 who will work together. If it doesn’t happen, my prediction is that a couple of upperclassmen are going to find their opportunity has passed them by, and Rick will point toward the future.

  • January 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm
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    Good posts. Love the Cards always, but as fans, we deserve to discuss the program we all love so much, and the pros and cons of issues.

    We have GREAT kids, and a GREAT deal of talent.

    We just need everyone on the same page, and play to our strengths,

    Before we meet Nova on Jan. 10th, our 1st HUGE BEAST challenge after USF, in conference, where it really matters.

  • January 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm
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    If T-Will makes the final shot, the critcism and worry lessens. We go thru this every year with Rick. Drama, intrigue. One week a guy is a superstar and the next week he has a learning disability. This team has a lot of talent and they’ll be fine. We are a basketball school, Charlie….a women’s basketball school…GO LADY CARDS!

  • January 1, 2009 at 6:41 pm
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    Watching the replay today, saw Angel wearing a tiara with the words “Happy New Year.” None of the “knowledgeable” ESPN commentators had any idea who she was. Those guys need to get out more.

  • January 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm
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    Charlie — if there is any question as to how little the ESPN guys know, check their picks in this years bowl games. I bet every bookie in the country fights to be the one who books their bets.

  • January 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm
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    LOL, especially Corso’s picks.

  • January 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm
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    Meeks and Patterson are much better Than Clark and Williams.Williams is out of control most of the time and cant shoot at all.Clark is up and down more than Wall St. He needs to visit the Wizard and get a heart.

  • January 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm
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    When Krueger was at SC He owned Pitino.He ran the same plays.

  • January 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm
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    Clark does need to get down to business.

  • January 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm
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    Kythunder:

    You do realize that Meeks is a 2 spot shooting guard SG, and T-Will is a shooting forward SF 3 spot. Two totally different positions.

    Patterson has more experience, and yes, he is a good player, but didn’t our Latoka West football player WALK-ON shut his water off last year, 6-8 Josh Chichester? Who will be checking Earl Clark on your roster? Perry Stevenson or Josh Harrelson, JUCO transfer? Who is going to match up with T-Will at shooting forward? The Alaskin Bricklayer Ramon Harris?

    We will see on Saturday. You guys look to be playing well against those snackcakes last 6 games, but we have a bit better talent than Tennessee State, Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Mississippi Valley State, and so on.

    You know. All those games you won that has your cumulative chests’ stuck out, and talking crazy.

    See you in the Hall on Sunday.

    Better feed that “stick-man” Stevenson some beef jerky of something, trying to check Clark, or get Josh Harrelson on the treadmill.

    That “power forward” situation you guys have looks like it will be exploited soon enough.

    Shooting forward looks slim too for you guys, not to mention Michael Porter at point out of Modesto, CA.

    Again, don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. I think we will be ready to play Sunday.

  • January 1, 2009 at 10:49 pm
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    The ESPN announcers didn’t know who Angel was? They will by the end of the season.

  • January 2, 2009 at 10:12 am
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    Yeah, they said something like, “that young lady stole your hat.” Pretty clueless. At least the camera man knew that she was something worth picking out of the crowd.

  • January 2, 2009 at 11:20 am
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    Sonja it was Jay Bilas who was the one that failed to recognize Angel. That Jay Bilas. The one that Pervis punked in the 1986 final game. I bet it knots his shorts every time ESPN assigns him a UofL game. The only thing better would be to have Christian Laettner doing color commentary on the Big Blue Network.

  • January 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm
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    Why does Rick continue to try and get Sosa going. He is never going to change, and probably won’t start most games next year with a better scorer and passer in Siva coming in. Also Rick has to get Jerry Smith some looks, the point thing is not Smith, he is our most consistent outside shooter and needs somone to give him the ball. With all my complaining I just can’t understand how only one player on this whole UofL team looks to have improved since last year, and thats Preston Knowles. Pitino has to do a better job at getting these kids motivated and show signs of improvement. We can all agree Pitino was never the best “coach”, but a master motivater and preperation specialist he has been. Lets see that this Sunday, lets see a lights out defense, a smooth offense from the start. Lets see a game great game plan. T-Will shouldn’t get free passes on his bad shots, but I’ve been saying for years that he does for some strange reason. I would love to see more of Swopshire and Kuric because they can shoot from the outside. Sorry for the ramblings but this is getting old. I’ll be there Sunday and still think the Cards win by 6-8 points.

  • January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm
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    C-Dom Shannon,

    I am not squirming; we haven’t played a game in 09. As far as needing to sit players not performing; isn’t Sosa a 4th gaurd now.

    In regards to Coach Krag; he has another year. Will he make progress? I hope he does but it doesn’t look good.

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