UConn is Louisville three weeks ago, a team losing four out of its last five games, loaded with talent but missing essential elements, lacking confidence and chemistry, getting hammered, down and out.

An eternity in college basketball, three weeks, much can happen.

Like U of L dusting itself off, claiming five straight wins, toying with the defending national champion, 80-59.  Nice, but nothing to get too excited about for U of L partisans, having experienced the highs and lows. A methodical dissection by a team steadily carving a new direction for itself.

  • Welcome back, Gorgui Dieng. No sign whatsoever of a game time decision or a debilitating ankle injury. Floating like a gazelle but not dominating the boards, needing another offseason to overcome UConn’s muscle. Still, a demon on defense, scrambling for loose balls. When was the last time a 6-foot-10 player had six steals?
  • Mr. Chane Behanan, the man, not imposing his will offensively against the big guys either but his total of 12 rebounds would seem to indicate otherwise.
  • Peyton Siva passing up sure layups time and time again, favoring those open three-point shooters in the corners. Accumulating nine assists, only two turnovers. Finally making a three-pointer himself, no choice but to make it from downtown.
  • Chris Smith plays quiet, sneaks up on the opposition, slowly twisting the knife, all the while padding his stats, leading all scorers with 16 points, four of six attempts from behind the 19-foot line.
  • Russ Smith rolling his right ankle, the habitual sucking the air out of the arena incident. Returning to the courts, along with the air conditioning. Maybe, just maybe, this injury thing is finally turning in the right direction.
  • Kyle Kuric, heeding the coach, getting in on the rebounding act, racing up a double-double, 10 rebounds, 10 points. Not too docile.
  • Jared Swopshire getting into the act, a nifty three-pointer and a surprising hook among his nine points.
  • Kevin Ware showing signs of becoming more comfortable now and then, but every move seemingly directed by the piercing voice of one Rick Pitino. May get it in three weeks.
  • Angel Nunez, a preview of coming attractions.

Enjoy it. Huggie Bear and the Ruskie await Saturday at Morgantown.

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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.

One thought on “Louisville drubs former mirror image”
  1. Gorgui just continues to amaze me. He wasn’t blocking shots because UConn’s guards weren’t attacking the basket and their big guys were just too big. But he was all over the court on defense. Six steals, just amazing!

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