Increasingly one gets the feeling that this season is one of preparation for seasons to come. Going chin to chin with the looks-deprived, muscle-bound, blue collars at Pittsburgh was a major challenge for this University of Louisville basketball team.

Leading most of the game, mixing it up, taking the blows, falling short, but learning what it takes for a team to win in this rugged conference. Not succeeding but taking note, even if grudgingly.

Initiation time for freshmen and sophomores on the road in the Big East gauntlet.

  • Senior Edgar Sosa missing three straight free throws when they count the most. From that point on, just a matter of time. Senior Jerry Smith fouling a player who has hit between 45 and 50 straight free throws to the line for two automatics, sending the game into overtime. Senior Reginald Delk is a phantom player, out of sight until he hits a shot or commits a foul.
  • Samardo Samuels benefiting from lessons learned and getting the ball more often, no longer intimidated by opposing brutes or fearful of hurting someone. He’s more aggressive, wanting the ball, not dribbling, taking it to the basket, earning every one of those 25 points the right way.
  • Preston Knowles, or Preston! as he is known by some, plays with intensity and confidence. But most of all he wants to win. He knows no other way. Watch and learn, seniors.
  • Peyton Siva back to playing tentative, like a typical freshmen, perhaps intimidated or beaten into submission by brutal play in college basketball these days. Never fear. Andre McGee will bring him around.
  • Mike Marra will be a shooter. Give it time.

They’re also learning that a building full of jumping Duke wannabes and ugly T-shirts is more like the atmosphere at Chuckie Cheese’s than a college basketball arena. Students having the most visible seats can be a bad thing. Even embarrassing for the institution.

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By Charlie Springer

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

6 thoughts on “Louisville Absorbing Tough Lessons”
  1. 1 for 6 at the line in the last two minutes and missing the front end of the bonus twice will lose almost every game. Leaving a guy wide open for a late three and then commiting a silly foul with 2 seconds to go when the opponent is going to be lucky to get a decent shot off is unbelievable. We just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I had no idea our uniforms had such tight collars.

  2. are free throws not practiced anymore? its sad when your center shoots a better free throw percentage than your 2 senior gaurds. as a matter of fact bench them, we can lose with or without them. senior leadership?

  3. I think dear old Coach P. has earned another dark circle around the eye. Can’t say this was pretty.

  4. The game was lost because UofL has a lack of an ability to close. No way that thing should have gone to O.T.

    Senior guards need to hit clutch free throws in pressure situations. Senior guards need to be able to guard effectively at the end of a game.

    I’m ready for Rick to turn it over to Siva and Knowles the rest of the year in the backcourt. Might as well. Our two senior leaders and captains cost us that one yesterday.

  5. Pitt has been voted by opposing teams as the toughest place in the league to play–has now won 31 straight home games. Excuse the fans for being excited throughout the game, even when Pitt trailed most of the game, always kept the faith, and were rewarded. Coach Dixon has gone out of his way to compliment his fan base, particularly the Oakland Zoo. Far from “embarrasing the institution”, Pitt has embraced the students who have supported the team that was voted 9th in the league before the season, and sits at the top of the BE standings.

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