Injury-plagued Louisville pummels St. John’s

Forever since the University of Louisville enjoyed a blowout over another Big East team. This win super satisfying, especially with all the injuries. Extra sweet because the opponent was St. John’s, the team with all the seniors, the team Rick Pitino had picked to win the conference race.

The New York media depicted St. John’s as a team bursting with confidence, ready to put it all together, expose Louisville on its home court and make a legendary stretch run.

Pitino telling his troops he wants them to be just as aggressive on offense as they are on defense. He tells his coaches not to show concern over the dwindling numbers, but keep raising expectations. Players believing they have a chance to win every game despite the odds.

  • Confidence has never been an issue with Preston Knowles. Having completely recovered from the wrist injury a season ago, Preston is ready to carry this team on his back if necessary, aches and all. No situation on the court is foreign to him, living and dreaming basketball 24 hours a day, seven days a week his entire life.

Peyton Siva, Preston Knowles (Card Game Photo By Menefee Seay)
  • Peyton Siva probably appreciates Knowles as much as any player, getting accustomed to the college pace, growing in confidence, his teammate showing what’s possible when one wins Pitino over, when one is a team guy, when one is thrust into a leadership role. He’s finding his shot, feeding his teammates and making steals as well in the learning process.
  • Kyle Kuric leads in other ways, owning the left side of the court, Kuric’s Corner if you will. When his shot is on, the opposition is in trouble. What’s really pleasing with this team’s challenges is his ability to mix it up on the boards, always surprising, never getting old.
  • Chris Smith is better during the early part of game, possibly still getting used to the pace. More endurance and he becomes a Greg Minor-clutch type player in the wire-to-wire affairs.
  • Gorgui Dieng learning, always learning, grasping things, a masterpiece in progress. If he can avoid breathing on opponents, he might get fewer fouls called on him.  (PS: Happy Birthday, Gorgui.)

    Relax, just cramps. (Card Game photo by Menefee Seay)
  • Stephan Van Treese may shoot like the snowman, Marty Pulliam, once did but that big, sometimes out-of-control body of his is a problem for opponents. Just goes out there and does what he’s told to do. Sometimes that’s enough.
When Van Treese finally found a seat on the bench after the cramping episode, he heard and saw a smiling Rick Pitino yelling at him, “Stephan, get back out there!”
Just kidding, of course, and even Van Treese smiled. It was that kind of night.
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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.

3 thoughts on “Injury-plagued Louisville pummels St. John’s

  • January 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    A casual observer would have to look at the score and wonder why the heck Louisville won this game. It’s not like we were full strength or anything. And at full strength, we were picked ‘way down in the conference.

    I’ll give you two reasons and let you shoot them down if you wish. I’d say it was the jump shot and Rick’s coaching. That gives Rick the credit for the philosophy of ball movement, unselfishness and tenacity on defense. (I know–philosophy doesn’t win games, player execution does. But it starts on the bench and in practice.) Whatever the reason–great game, Cards!

    • January 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      I guarantee it was Rick’s coaching. The man is as focused as he’s ever been this season, on top of everything, using every motivational and coaching tool at his disposal. Let’s just hope they work as well on the road as they do at home. The good thing is we have Pittsburgh and Syracuse at the Yum Center.

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