Louisville not nice for Mike Rice

A nice little 78-66 win for University of Louisville basketball over a Rutgers team that, thankfully, had to play the one game between the teams in Louisville.

Mike Rice, the Rutgers coach ejected after two quick technicals in the first, would confirm that officiating calls for real or imagined infractions rarely go the way of visiting teams in the Big East. Not that we’re complaining or insinuating, mind you.

Nature of the beast, U of L taking full advantage Saturday in front of 21,298 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. Had this game been played at Piscataway, N.J., possibly a disappointing outcome.

  • There’s an obvious loss of efficiency when any of Louisville starters leave the game, even when Russ Smith is hitting shots and making assists. No expectations or aspirations of becoming a point guard.
  • Peyton Siva picking up his second foul with Louisville leading 20-12 at the 12 minute mark of the first half, sitting for the next eight minutes. Gonna be a game, Rutgers trailing by only five points at halftime.
  • Gorgui Deing landing badly on an ankle, nobody around to block or intimidate Rutgers shooters, everybody knows it. But, wait, there is hope. Gorgui has returned from the dressing room, disguising a limp. ready to go again.
  • No double-double, not even close for Dieng for the first time in six games, but he was forcing Rutgers’ shooters to have plenty of second and third thoughts.
  • Chane Behanan, fortunately, staying out of foul trouble, playing the best 35 minutes of his college career, dominating the offensive boards with his 23 points and eight rebounds (plus three on the defensive boards). His role is cleanup hitter around the basket and he’s claiming everything in his vicinity.
  • One never knows what to expect of Chris Smith, just that he will be good for a “Wow” at least once a night — as in the left-one-handed monster dunk that left prompted “oohs” from his fans and teammates, probably surprised himself. Somehow, inconspicuously snatching 13 rebounds and making six assists while no one was watching.
  • Kyle Kuric, good for three three-pointers, but missing more than his share of open shots. Three rebounds and the coach wants more, suggesting he might not start Monday. Like anyone would believe that’s a possiblity.

A long night ahead for Gorgui Dieng and his fans, his ankle heavily wrapped in ice in an effort to alleviate the pain, limit the swelling, and to promote the fastest recovery from injury for a Louisville player this season.

When asked about his chances of playing Monday, Dieng replied:  “I’m ready to play. . . . I care about this team more than anything.”

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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.

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