Cautious Approach Leaves Louisville Flat

Rick Pitino made a big point about taking care of the basketball in his pre-game remarks, pointing out how teams with fewer than 10 turnovers had done well against Georgetown.

May have been a little too emphatic. University of Louisville players perhaps concluding, “Take fewer chances, make less mistakes, our team wins.”

So they go overboard taking care to protect the ball. No crazy stuff, no reckless abandon, and no emotion but a lot of missed hook shots, layups and other close-in shots.

Reminded the observer of a mid-season NBA game, players expending a minimum of effort on both ends of the court. A plodding, mechanical, methodical affair with a minimum of risk and emotion.

Louisville makes only nine turnovers. Mission accomplished in that area.

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The crowd also being careful, guarded, tired of being jerked around, displaying a minimum of emotion in the next to last scheduled game at Freedom Hall. Little, if any, spontaneity, cheering only when expected, sitting on hands, young and old. Against Georgetown, the nation’s 11th-ranked team.

Perhaps U of L having been spoiled by late February runs in recent seasons, waiting for it to happen again on schedule. Poke us when it’s time to get excited, okay?

By the time many Freedom Hallers returned to their seats after the intermission, Georgetown was in the midst of a 21-3 run.

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With apologies to Edgar Sosa and his 24 points, eight assists and two rebounds, Terrence Jennings seemed to be the only Louisville player not on automatic pilot. His backboard rattling dunk was one of the few genuinely exciting moments all night. He was also intimidating Georgetown shooters, daring them to shoot over him.

Alas for Jennings and anything to get the crowd stirred, Jennings would become a rare commodity in the second half, wasting away, getting still more on-the-job training riding the bench.

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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.

19 thoughts on “Cautious Approach Leaves Louisville Flat

  • February 24, 2010 at 12:03 am
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    Where was Mike Marra with 3 pts.? – where was the action I saw from this team the last few games?
    I just get so disappointed – not even a sage coach like Pitino can get through to them.I am exhausted with this roller coaster ride of a season.

    • February 24, 2010 at 8:37 am
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      Lori, the player development routine has definitely been unpredictable, more so this season than any I’ve seen.

  • February 24, 2010 at 6:59 am
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    Seven straight offensive possessions in the second half where Louisville did not score. A definite game changer.

  • February 24, 2010 at 8:33 am
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    Charlie –

    What was going on with crowd and Cardinal Bird last night in the last few minutes??

    I was watching the game – and, of course, pulling hard for the Cards. I saw Jerry make a three-pointer…and then Edgar drive the lane, make the basket, get fouled and make his free-throw. A minute or so left in the game and we’re done by six (I think) — and it seemed like they were playing in a library – it was so quiet (at least on t.v.)

    But what REALLY REALLY irked me was seeing the Cardinal Bird laying down on the sideline with his arm proping his head up, legs crossed..as if there wasn’t anything going on! This at a time when the Cards were making their desperation run!! It was embarassing!! If U of L still gives scholarships to the mascot, it needs to be pulled immediately. What a LAZY, LAME, kid in that suit! Absolutely NOT doing his job! He needs to take lessons from other mascots — one of the best is the St. Joseph Hawks. The Hawk constantly moves his arms throughout the whole game — even during timeouts and halftime. At a Dayton/St.Joe’s game a few years ago, I spoke to a guy who was a former mascot – the former Hawk. He said he got tired from “flapping his wings” but said it as a lot of fun. In fact, over the history, there are numerous stories where the opposing teams’ fans try to stop the Hawk from flaaping his arms — fraternities storming the court and trying to hold him down — even throwing tires around him to try to pin his arms down!!

    The Cardinal Bird used to do some fun things – like dropping from the ceiling. I hope that when the Cards move to the new arena, that it brings some life and enthusiasm back into our mascot – and the crowd. Laying down on the court – on national television- in a six-point game with a minute left is pathetic!

  • February 24, 2010 at 8:36 am
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    SteveKo, good point. I never noticed the Cardinal Bird except in passing. He or she was never a part of this game. The crowd was flat for such an important one. Maybe all the close games have taken their toll.

  • February 24, 2010 at 10:14 am
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    Just thinking….it’s a really good thing we have been able to have our attention focused on this being the last season in FH, because, without that, what would we have to remember this season for? Name just one player from this group who will be on the Jumbotron in future years as worthy of one of our “greats.” A season to quickly forget and move on. That said, still, GO CARDS!

    • February 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm
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      I’ll venture that Samardo and Siva will be “jumbotron” worthy after they graduate/leave Louisville. Sosa’s dagger against UK will get jumbotron time.

      Other than that, I’m not seeing any.

      I’ll also gripe that Francisco Garcia wasn’t included as one of the top ten Cardinals to play in Freedom Hall. Who comes up with these polls and results, anyway?

      • February 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm
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        And Swop.

  • February 24, 2010 at 10:20 am
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    Sometimes being a fan takes to much of an emotional toll. When a team is winning and clearly shows signs of being great, it is easier to invest emotionally. The probability of disappointment is greatly reduced when expectations are routinely met. When a team is in a state of mediocrity for much of the season, fans take more of a defensive mode. Expect the worst and hope for the best thereby diminishing the probability of disappointment. I think that is what you saw last night. In a way the erosion of the football program over the last three years has had an effect on the overall state of fan emotion. Especially this last year, fans have come to expect and accept losing and have adapted accordingly. That attitude has somewhat carried over into the basketball season.

  • February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm
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    You’ve all heard my sob stories about living here in Winston-Salem amongst all the ACC, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest fans…but here’s another one. A guy recently joined our company who is from Connecticut – and a huge UCONN fan. I pray that the Cards will beat them this weekend!!

    I did find a new friend however. I was with some co-workers at our favorite watering hole when another guy came in and joined us…his name is Scott Sexton, reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal. Turns out he grew up in Louisville and was a year ahead of me at St.X. He’s dad moved to Greensboro right after he got out of high school and that’s what brought him to the area. He also is a huge Louisville fan. We provide moral support for each other here in ACC country!

    Go CARDS

  • February 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm
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    Lot of Cardinal support around my winter home in Naples. Strong Cardinal fan club, gatherings and such. Definitely liking it a lot down here. May not return to Gatlinburg in the late spring.

  • February 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm
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    You apologize to Edger and then go on to imply he was on autopilot.

    One player. 40% of our points. 67% of our assists. YOu must have watched a different game than I did. In the game I saw, Edgar was the one bright shining light.

    • February 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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      Sorry for the typos.

    • February 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm
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      Sosa played better than anybody, true, in the first half. He had two assists in the second half. Pulled late in the game. Sosa is probably the closest thing to a leader we have so we don’t criticize him too much.

    • February 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm
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      It’s always been that for him. Sosa became the fan’s favorite whipping boy since that huge game he had against A&M. I guess everyone raised their expectations a little too high. I get tired of his antics and behavior, but the kid has been one bright spot for us the majority of this season.

      I wonder why people don’t criticize Knowles, who has displayed far worse decision making in shot selection and ball control?

      • February 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm
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        Knowles has tailed off quite a bit, possibly due to the wrist injury. Fans like to believe players recover quickly from injuries but they’re human beings just like us and they don’t heal any quicker than we do. He certainly doesn’t look like he plays defense like he did last season.

  • February 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    someday we’ll again have a coach to go along with our recruiters

    • February 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm
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      Someone said coaches are no better than their last win or loss. Seems to be true after losses especially.

    • February 25, 2010 at 11:32 am
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      I’m not ready to jump on the “fire Pitino” bandwagon, but count me in as one fan who is completely sick and tired of his constant stream of drama. He seems to enjoy interacting with the media more than coaching a winning team. I wish he’d just forget about using the media to motivate the players as well as the ridiculous hyperbole and just coach basketball.

      With that being said, I don’t think the majority of our fans would be too disappointed if he were to step down in the near future.

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