You could see it in Earl Clark’s eyes, looking disgusted and frustrated on the bench with the clock running out in Louisville’s 76-69 loss to Pittsburgh, actually showing some emotion for one of the few times this season. That may have been the best thing to come out of this game, Clark showing emotion. He really wanted this one, scrapping for loose balls, banging the boards, racking up 19 points, nine rebounds.
No other Cards, except maybe Preston Knowles, had the same look in the eyes, however, so the Cards were going to go down. Louisville will get past the second round in the NCAA Tournament only if the same Earl Clark shows up next week with some super motivated teammates.
Far too many up and downs among individual players on this U of L team. If the past is any indication, Clark could revert to being a non-factor next week.
One of the team’s most consistent qualities is the sub par field goal and free throw shooting. No reliable shooters. Every shot is a cliff hanger. Defense will take a team a long way, as it did during the Cards’ nine-game win streak but poor shooting will catch up with you in the end.
David Padgett is becoming less of a force in the middle. The injuries are bothering him, slowing him down, taking him out of the game too often, getting his shots blocked with increasing frequency. In a physical game, especially when the officials are letting the rough stuff go, Derrick Caracter is becoming the more effective scoring threat.
Terrence Williams is looking more like an average player, thinking too much, retreating to his going-for-the-sensational mode, wasting exceptional physical abilities.
Jerry Smith, hitting only one of 10 shots, must be wearing himself down with his scathing defense, having nothing left when he becomes a shooter.
The spin about Edgar Sosa becoming a team player was a nice try in attempting to bolster his confidence. It’s not there; you can see it in his eyes.
The looks in the eyes, as ESPN commentator Len Elmore noted, say much about how players will do in a game. One look at the expressions in the U of L huddle that final minute told you they were done. Not really that much different from the first timeout, blank stares still lingering from the Georgetown loss last weekend; the doubts were there from the opening tip against Pittsburgh.