Louisville CardFile: Grand Canyon

ccjoaniecardDespite a regrettable but predictable performance, U of L prevailed 79-70 in the hothouse that was Grand Canyon’s hostile home court.

Thus it is unlikely, despite its magnificence, that Cardinal historians like myself will long remember DeWayne Russell’s career, retell it to your grandkids ad nauseum performance as much as a couple of others I feel compelled to mention. (Because I couldn’t stop the images crossing my brain, as Russell stopped and stepped back and popped and swished trip after trip after trip down the hardwood.)

The Antelopes’ guard blistered the Cards for 42 points on 14/27 shooting, 3/6 from beyond the arc. He netted 11/16 at the line.

He was en fuego. The Rick was unable to find a Cardinal who could check him. Though for some reason, quick Tony Hicks was again a DNP. Nor was the coach, never among the best when it comes to in game adjustments, able to fashion a defensive triage. So Russell was able to have his way.

Yes, what Russell did was impressive. But it didn’t carry the day. The Cards won. Plus Russell was so self absorbed with his game that, at the end when the Antelopes still had a bit of a chance to catch Louisville, he hopscotched up the court for some selfish shots, instead of thinking about a possible W.

The names his game reminded me of: Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Grand Canyon

Louisville CardFile: Purdue

ccjoaniecardPurdue’s Game Notes in advance of last night’s encounter heralded Caleb Swanigan, Vincent Edwards and Isaac Haas as “The Nation’s Best Frontline.”

Thus, the trio’s first half stat line provides empirical evidence of how good the Cardinals’ defensive game plan and execution of it was.

In the first 20 minutes, Swanigan was 0/2 from the field, didn’t get to the line and corralled 4 rebounds. Edwards was 0/4 from the field, didn’t get to the line with 3 rebounds. Haas — truly a mountain of a man, he dwarfs Matz Stockman — was 0/6 from the field, hit one of his two FT attempts and had only three boards.

While Edwards is somewhat lithe, like his Cardinal foes, Swanigan is an NBA-ready beast. (Which he put on display after halftime.)

My point is this. U of L’s thin but long bigs proved they can perform at championship level when they have time to prepare and follow Rick Pitino’s game plan.

Because, it was proven yet again that the Louisville coach is as good as there is or has ever been when preparing a team for a game if he has time. His plan was to give up threes but minimize the impact underneath. Good strategy. Good execution.

It worked perfectly for a half. And was a winning formula for the tilt, as U of L prevailed, 71-64. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Purdue

Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week XIV

endimagesMy season of predictions online is ending almost but not quite as badly as that of my U of L Cardinals on the field.

The Cards gagged for the second game in a row, knocking themselves out of the Final Four conversation and, most likely, the Orange Bowl.

Bobby Petrino’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. So far he ain’t talkin’ much.

At least his team’s meltdown didn’t cost him his job. Charlie Strong went down at home to the Horned Frogs. Thus it became a fait accompli that he’d be $10 mill richer but have no team to coach. In Austin anyway.

The Buckeyes, the Seminoles and Western Michigan prevailed.

3-2 for the weekend. 43-22 on the campaign.

Thus we come to the last round of picks before the bowl games. (I know the knock on the door from Joey the Vig’s “associates” is not far away.)

This week’s winners: Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week XIV

Louisville/ Purdue: A Somewhat Personal History

ccjoaniecardGo!

Cards!

Beat!

Purdue!

If you know that reference, you are a Louisville Cardinal basketball fan of some longevity.

If not, it denotes you’re a relative newcomer. (Which doesn’t mean you are not as fiercely loyal as some of us old farts, just that you haven’t been at it as long.)

It hearkens back to the halcyon days of U of L hoops. The incident I reference came about sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. When the seats of Freedom Hall up close and far away were filled with true Cardinal fans, not corporate guests. When there were no commercials, no peanut tosses, no fans lingering in hallway bars, no Joey, and the cheerleaders actually led a cheer now and then and the old school crowd would participate.

One of which cheers had a cheerleader standing at each of the four sides of the court with signs that read, Go, Cards, Beat, then the name of the opponent. Louisville had played the Boilermakers the home game before, but at the next game the name Purdue again appeared. From such gaffes delight ensues.

And so started a charming tradition that lasted for years. No matter whom the Cards played, the cheer would always be Go! Cards! Beat! Purdue!. Always with gusto. Often drawing a confused look from the opposing players or their fans.

Oh what a time, such a time it was. Continue reading Louisville/ Purdue: A Somewhat Personal History

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

CardHelmetWhen the University of Louisville faithful are sitting around in the future, reliving beloved interludes from the past when the Cardinals were rockin’ on the good foot, they will not mention Thanksgiving Weekend 2016.

Hardwood meltdown in the Bahamas.

Which was trumped when the Cards were outcoached, outfocused, outperformed and generally punched in the solar plexus by an improving Kentucky football team that was not about to lose its sixth rivalry battle in a row.

Mark Stoops and his staff outcoached Bobby Petrino and his.

UK had a great game plan, and never wavered. They were able to pass on the Cards. They were able to run on the Cards. They were able to defend the Cards.

Stephen Johnson — Stephen Johnson??? — outplayed Lamar Jackson. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Louisville CardFile: Baylor

ccjoaniecardNote: This piece was written before I became aware that Rick Pitino, in his post game comments, blamed himself for the loss.

In this age of hyperbole people, especially sports fans, are inclined to speak with exaggeration.

That’s the best ever. He’s the worst.

So and so played his best game of the season in the second half against Whatchmacallit A&M. Youknowwho couldn’t hit a jumper if his life depended on it, he’s the worst.

I’m as guilty as anybody.

But I’m going there this time around in the wake of U of L’s second half meltdown against Baylor, during which the Cards blew a 15 point halftime lead, losing by three, 66-63.

There’s one more caveat before I make my point.

As much as I think I know about basketball, as closely as I observe every dribble, back cut and sneeze of every U of L Cardinal down to whether Ray Ganong has a firm hold on the timeout stools, I realize that Rick Pitino knows more. Much more.

He’s in the Hall of Fame. He’s coached two national champs. He’s generally recognized as one of the best now and best ever. He sees these guys every day in practice.

So, as much as I sometimes question his moves or motives, as much as I occasionally disagree with how he prepares this squad or coaches in game, I keep it to myself. He knows more. Much more.

That said, there’s always a first time.

While he himself obviously didn’t turn the ball over, didn’t fail to get back on defense, didn’t block out, didn’t take a bad shot or short arm one, this loss is squarely on Rick Pitino. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Baylor

Louisville CardFile: Wichita State

ccjoaniecardAfter Louisville played its best half of the season, on a short turnaround no less, and led the slightly favored Shockers by an almost difficult to comprehend 16 point margin at halftime, there was but one question as the second stanza tipped.

Could the sure to be weary Cardinals stay the course, not run out of fuel, and hold Wichita State at bay for what would easily be the most significant win of the young season?

The first possession after the break was not promising.

The Shockers inbounded, and in :31, what could have been disaster struck. Twenty seconds in, Mangok Mathiang, who sat all but two minutes of the opening period because of fouls, committed his 3d. Three seconds later, Deng Adel was whistled for his 3d. Eight ticks after that, Jaylen Johnson was flagged for his third infraction.

The possession ended with a Zach Brown trey.

Visions of Cardinals in precipitous free fall ensued.

Anas Mahmoud then traveled ending the Cards first offensive opportunity.

But . . . but . . . but . . . U of L was nothing if not steely and stalwart for the rest of the game.

To coin a phrase, they bent but did not break. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Wichita State

Louisville CardFile: Old Dominion

ccjoaniecardToo often my readers complain that I harp on U of L’s FT % way too much.

Well, kids, there’s a reason.

Which became obvious tonight as Louisville escaped Old Dominion 68-62 in OT on Paradise Island.

The Cards were hitting 61% from the line coming into the game. And that came against three rummies in the friendly confines of the not so full Yum! Center.

At the end of regulation, with the score knotted at 49, the Cards had made but 8 of their 17 charity attempts. 47% will not win many — any??? — games against major college competition. And it certainly wasn’t enough tonight. Especially given how god awful disgusting U of L played for most of regulation, until they kind of woke up to salvage a draw.

Ah, but in OT, the Cards, who were 2/4 from the field in extra time, canned 14 of the first 16 free throws they attempted. That’s a seriously lofty 87.5%.

That’s a game winning 87.5%. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Old Dominion

Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week XIII

endimagesThe less said about last weekend the better.

My team, in the biggest football game in the school’s history, never left the hotel, and were throttled in eastern Texas. West Virginia similarly received its comeuppance against a long time power that had been there done that many times through the decades. And LSU couldn’t punch the ball into the endzone from point blank range to win at home in a game that was meant to be contested on the road.

But the Cats finally settled in against Let’ Go Peay. And Colorado continued its wheredidthiscomefromseason out west.

2-3. Not acceptable, but reality. 40-20 on the campaign.

Rivalry Week is upon us.

Here’s who gets bragging rights: Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week XIII

Louisville CardFile: Houston

CardHelmetEye Test.

That’s what Louisville Cardinal fans have been screaming to the pundits and Final Four Selection Committee.

Forget the strength of schedule and other metrics you take into consideration, the faithful have brayed, watch the Cards on the field and see for yourself.

Which the nation was able to do on Thursday Night Prime Time.

So how’d the Louisville Cardinals do?

I won’t mince words.

The University of Louisville Cardinals choked.

The coaches graded out an F. The players graded out an F.

In the most important game of the season, arguably one of the biggest in the history of U of L football, the program wasn’t ready for Prime Time. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Houston