Helter Skelter Works In Cards’ Favor

For everybody who held their breath all day long and nearly suffocated early in the second half: Sit back, relax, put your feet up and take a deep one. In and out, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Now try grinning from ear to ear. It’s for real: Louisville 79, Tennessee 60. Cards are in the Elite 8 again.t-williger.jpg

ul_cardinal_head_logo2.jpg The analysts expecting a track meet were right on the money. Tennessee is a talented, ram it down your throat type team, always in a hurry, with incredible hops. Wouldn’t want to have to play those guys again Saturday night. The Vols restored some much needed respect back to the Southeastern Conference, even in losing. They also may have been their own worst enemy, playing themselves out of the game with all the chaos.

ul_cardinal_head_logo2.jpgESPN analyst Jay Bilas said several times early in the skirmish that the team that played smarter would win. He was right. Just dashing around, running over people, launching shots from all over as UT was doing is quite a spectacle but it also explains why they lost games they should have won in the SEC.

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The experts also said Tennessee was a good three-point shooting team. The Vols connected on only five of 18 three-point attempts. Chris Lofton, who entered the fray third in NCAA history with 429 three-pointers, missed his first seven attempts, finally connecting on one with 8:21 remaining. Still more eye openers for the folks who early on criticized Rick Pitino for relying so heavily on a 2-3 zone defense.

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Earl Clark made up for some noticeable bobbles and missteps in the first half, going on a tirade in the second, contributing 13 points and six rebounds in another impressive performance. Wound up with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the game. No longer Mr. Humble, he wants it bad now.

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Did Terrence Williams play one of his best games ever? You know he did. Throwing some unbelievable passes, especially that half court alley oop to Clark. That no-look, behind-the-head jewel to David Padgett had to be seen to be believed. Finding 12 points and eight rebounds while disorganizing Tennessee’s vaunted “organized chaos” time and time again.

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The David Padgett, Derrick Caracter one-two punch has reached a potent level. Just when the opposing defense thinks it has solved Padgett, here comes Caracter with a totally different game.

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If Terrence Williams is the heart, David Padgett is the brains, Andre McGee has to be the absolute soul of this team. Never flashy, always positive, Andre is still another Pitino model player, exceeds his abilities on a continuing basis. His layup with U of L leading by only one point 37-36 at the 16:09 mark was crucial, absolutely crucial, denying the Vols a chance to take the lead.

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Jerry Smith continues to Mr. Reliable, offensively and defensively. Notching two three-pointers, 13 points, four rebounds, getting inside Chris Lofton’s head, he, Preston Knowles and Earl Clark.

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UofL outrebounding the Vols 43-28. What a welcome sight to see those Tennessee shots bouncing off the rim, several of them not even hitting the rim — and, always, it seemed being wrapped by a UofL player, clinging to the ball, withstanding the slapping and snatching of the desperate ones.

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Rick Pitino coaching a team to another win in the Sweet 16, never having been defeated in eight tries in this round of the NCAA Tournament. This one was special, making it to Elite 8 once again, not only overcoming but building on the trials and tribulations of the early season gauntlet.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Helter Skelter Works In Cards’ Favor

  • March 28, 2008 at 8:56 am
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    Great win by the Cards last night.

    Now for Louisville to beat North Carolina!!

    I think Padgett and Caracter MUST stop Carolina’s inside game — and NOT get into foul trouble. Caracter has 15 pounds on Hansborough and Padgett has a couple of inches. The Cards must use this to their advantage.

    Palacios will need to man-up big time too — he matches up well on height and weight with Stephenson – another player who must be held in check.

    I think T-Will and Clark will be the difference makers…they need to be on their game if Louisville is going to pull out a victory. And Louisville, once again, must play great defense — put Earl Clark on Lawson and use that 10″ height advantage!!

    GO CARDS!!!!

    Tyler Hansbrough 6’9″ 250

  • March 28, 2008 at 10:53 am
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    Musings from Charlotte:

    2:25 am Charlotte. Bobcat Arena.

    I’m 3 Jacks and Coke and one sweet 19 pt ride of ecstacy.

    My life-long BBall friend, Perk, and I — emotionally spent. As if we had played the game.

    Tonight, a blissed game dream.

    Saturday: A blissed Dream game.

    9:57am Friday

    Now

    one game

    anything can happen.

    An epic game in U of L history–whichever way it falls.

    Big, big talent on both sides and coaches at the peak of their games.

    Yes, a game I’ve waited for many,many, MANY years…

    Just for the fun of it, think I’ll go goof with some of the Davidson students just down the road, today.

    Wish you all were down here with us!

    Frank

    http://hellinthehall.wordpress.com/

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