The pre-game motivational stuff from Rick Pitino, Terrence Williams, Andre McGee and company was enough to get their Louisville team sufficiently pumped for the first 15 minutes or so. Somewhere around that point, however, Jay Wright would do a little motivating of his own, collecting a technical foul, shaking up his players and the guys wearing stripes.

Before Wright stormed the floor, this was a Louisville team reminiscent of some of the great ones in headliner games, the kind Cards would usually win, turning fans into fanatics. Whether it was adrenaline-inspired, simply an apparition or a preview of things to come, U of L’s performance before Jay Wright’s theatrics provide encouragement for what lies ahead.

  • Samardo Samuels, with a different look in his eyes, playing like coaches and fans had hoped he was capable, aggressive, going after the ball, not getting pushed around. Hitting an oh-my-God hook shot, hitting all four shots he takes, including 13 of 13 free throws. Samuels gained considerable respect in this game. Now if his teammates can get him the ball often, he’s ready and willing.
  • Peyton Siva, now that his wrist is better and he’s gotten over the newby syndrome, displayed why he was so highly touted coming out of high school. Two great steals, questionably classified as fouls, could have turned the game at the end. He knows his way down the lane, twisting and turning, somehow getting the ball to Samuels. He’s only just begun.
  • Jerry Smith, as the person next to me observed, will either do something spectacular and incredibly stupid, just often enough that fans have come to expect it. One nice three-point shot but he remains in a shooting slump, hitting one of six shot attempts.  Six rebounds but five turnovers? Something’s not right.
  • Preston Knowles looking like a player who actually has a few flaws, making surprising turnovers, missing those surprising shots he has hit so often fans have come to count on them. No doubt those qualities will return.
  • Jared Swopshire, getting in foul trouble too early, just not enough of him to go around.
  • Kyle Kuric is fearless around the boards. Find your shot, Kyle, soon.

Rick Pitino, fearless wearing the white suit. He had this team ready to play. Some just couldn’t finish.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Louisville Misses Finish Line”
  1. The cards played great press defense last night. But for the life of me I don’t understand why more attention is not given to the fact the cards play an ‘outside-in’ game that is just not useful for sustained success. ANY good team always plays from the inside-out but the Rick Pittino utilizes a ‘3 first'(7 of 33 for 21% !?!) mentality that is not sufficient to be successful. Coach Pittino is going to have to learn how to utilize his bigs better and more often (I stopped counting how many times the commentator Bilas said that Samuels wasn’t getting the ball enough!).

  2. Rick got outcoached inthis one. Why he didn’t insist that his guards feed Samuels and give up on the futile three point efforts is beyond me.

    Take six of those erronious 3 point flings, make them passes in the paint to Samuels and Louisville wins this game. Failure to feed the hungry beast proved fatal. Failure to tell your guys to do it is a blunder.

  3. I’m pretty sure that referee John Cahill had a wager on this game, but with whom I don’t know.

    Samardo and Peyton kept us in this game.

    The defense in the first half by the Cards was some of the most outstanding I’ve seen in a long time. Just wished it would have lasted the whole game though.

    Good effort but I hope they get over this rather soon.

  4. FWIW, Dickie Vitale seemed to think Villanova has the best overall guard play in the nation last night. He managed to squeeze in the compliment after making verbal love to John Wall, Coach Cal and the Cats last night.

    Sad but true, he’s going to do the women’s game between UConn and Notre Dame Saturday. I hope Doris Burke turns his mic off…

    1. So you noticed the dick vitale cheesy porn too sonia? I swear I was waiting for some “Bow chicka bow bow!”

      Someone should do a youtube rendition.

  5. The early novelty of Dick Vitale doing basketball games on TV wore off pretty quickly for me. I do think he knows the game of basketball quite extensively but I just can’t handle his approach…his shtick, if you will.

    Maybe he can replace Billy Mays on those infomercials.

    His “Oh, Baby…oh, baby” stuff once caused Paul to comment that his sounds like a hard up businessman at a hooker convention. LOL

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