Louisville CardFile: Clemson

joaniecardBefore I get into any specifics in the wake of U of L’s 62-66 setback to Clemson in the Orange & Purple’s home away from Littlejohn; before considering how the Polar Vortex not only chilled the Minnesota Viking triad of snapper Kevin McDermott, holder Jeff Locke and kicker Blair Walsh into Wide Left, but also reached its freezing tentacles to Bon Secours Wellness Arena, where it hovered beyond the Cardinals’ three point arc; before I reiterate the importance of Chinanu Onuaku’s time on the hardwood, the return of Mangok Mathiang, the reality that Damion Lee and Trey Lewis need to develop as much maturation as Ray Spalding and Deng Adel, the vexing softness of Euro-tested Anas Mahmoud and how Louisville’s offense stagnates under stress and defense continues to be a work in progress; before I get to all that, let me comment about perhaps the most fascinating affectation of this ’15-’16 season, which is Rick Pitino’s unusually positive deportment.

(Non-sequitur. For those of you wondering if that’s the longest run-on sentence I’ve ever written, it is not. That can be read here, if at all interested, in a James Joycean piece I did to honor the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday.)

* * * * *

Yes, I have been among the loud complainers about The Rick’s avoidance of press conferences this season, a condition that seems to have abated after the coach had his vent, in the aftermath of the annual L to Kentucky and prior to the commencement of the ACC campaign.

I have also been on him in seasons past for his penchant to criticize players ceaselessly in the press. Where are you now, Shaqquan Aaron?

Buuuuuuuut, in a fascinating and endearing turn, he seems to have come about with this unseasoned squad. Not only has he been spotted actually patting guys on the butt as they leave the court, and applauding plays on the hardwood, he has gone to lengths to remain positive in his comments about the team and its play.

Even after yesterday’s defeat to the Tigers.

It is a calculated psychological ploy, I must assume.

But a welcome one.

We’ll see if it works, starting with a monumental tilt this Thursday with Jamie Dixon’s always Ben Roethlisburger, Iron City tough 14-1 Panthers of Pittsburgh.

 * * * * *

Onuaku made his and the Cardinals’ first four shots from the right block. At the second media timeout with 11:48 to play in the first, he had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and the Cards’ had the game in hand, up 5, 12-7

He committed his second foul with 7:54 to play before the break, and U of L still up by three, 14-11. Goodbye hardwood, hello pine time.

Louisville was -9 the rest of stanza, trailing  25-31 at the break, and, having lost its early mojo, never regained the lead.

 * * * * *

In one forty minute game, Louisville matched California drought for drought.

One in the first half lasted 6:05, during which U of L went from 14-7 ahead to 16-19 behind.

The fallow period after halftime lasted 5:47, during which Clemson increased its advantage by 9 for a 14 point lead, 29-43.

 * * * * *

In a four point setback, Louisville was -21 at the foul line.

Louisville: 11/16. Clemson: 32/44.

The refs called a fair game.1

Funky footwork. Faulty defensive technique. Moving screens. Reaching in.

 * * * * *

Commentator Mike Giminski commented on how much he dislikes noon tipoffs.

Louisville played like they knew it was Sunday morning and wanted to sleep in. The team had 7 turnovers in the first 12 minutes, 17 for the game.

While the Cardinals made feisty comeback — U of L was down 10 with 1:08 to play, and cut its deficit to a deuce — nobody wanted to take charge. Donovan Mitchell amped up for a bit, but it was short lived.

Even with its generally lethargic effort, Louisville had plenty of opportunities to prevail. The 53-31 advantage on the boards, included 24 offensive rebounds. But U of L only tallied 22 second chance points.

And there was that Polar Vortex thing. 3/23 (13%) from beyond the arc ain’t gonna cut it in the ACC, the league that is proving yet again it’s the best in the land top to bottom.

 * * * * *

Bottom line: It was a conference game on the road, in a league where there are no South Floridas.

Ask UVa how much it enjoyed its sortie last week to the Techs, Georgia and Virginia? Louisville follows that same TripTik later this month.

Thursday’s 9:00 game with Pitt is HUGE. It’s no time to give your tickets away and watch on the telly, because of the late hour.

— Seedy K

10 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Clemson

  1. Seedy, how about a shout-out to Walz’s resurgent WBB team. They have risen from the dead, so to speak, and are improving game by game. Moore, Hines-Allen and Walton are providing upper-class (soph/junior) leadership, Jackson plays every minute as if it were her last, and Durr is a special talent. Lower arena seats for ten bucks.

  2. seedy you are a pitino hater i believe.. he hated last years team cause they were anti him and he loves thi team because they are high character team first and listen. youre eyes see the game ok but your heart is wrong sir

  3. I also agree with pitino’s point that the Cards did not recognize how the game was being called by the refs, and respond in kind. Clemson was “chuck/checking” (no, not you CD) out cutters throughout the game without whistles and we did not aggressively impede progress regularly so that when we did, it “stood out’ enough that it was different enough to get a whistle. Anas has to be willing to invite and draw contact to be rewarded for his weakness, as does Ray. While JJ did actually make his first jumpers of the season, I wonder if he wasn’t overly cautious around the boards so as not to get in foul trouble, as he was the only player who wasn’t accumulating many.

  4. Disappointing lose that may well haunt the Cards seeding line.

    I have to wonder if the none existent “crowd” caused our team to play flat, esp’ly after going up 8-0….??????

    If we can figure out how to keep Nanu on the floor we can beat anybody. Come back soon, M & M…

    As for the women, as a season ticket holder, ahem, this years struggles were both surprising and understandable. The team is very young, but I have always thought that we had a real Charlie Weiss-like “schematic advantage” with Coach Jeff. But this year, I guess the youth counter-balanced that factor, at least for awhile.

    The women are a joy to watch—for the most part—though they can be as frustrating as yesterday’s mens game at times. But, it is never for a lack of effort.

    I highly recommend those that haven’t gone out to catch a game or two.

  5. Seedy, you have been steadfast in pointing out the increasing proclivity of our guards to tom-tom the ball, and not pass. It was wildly manifest yesterday. And the absence of Mathiang is notable in terms of interior toughness. Anas has backslid a good deal, but to be fair, I know little about how bad his ankle injury is. Q needs to start IMHO. And if teams hedge us off the screen. put Mitchell in, so there are four players who can handle the ball and (hopefully) score. Small ball is all the rage in the Bigs.

  6. Benjamin, I believe it a bit harsh to call me a “Pitino hater.” How can I hate the man who led my beloved Cardinals to that 3d championship I hoped for all those decades? I believe he’s a great basketball coach, but I’ll always prefer Denny Crum. Though I will acknowledge that the game did pass Denny by in his later years on the bench. What I do not like about Pitino is all the drama that seems to have surrounded the program during his reign, scandals both personal and programic, his throwing players under the bus in the media (though I mentioned how he noticeably hasn’t been doing that this season) and the reality that he can’t make in game adjustments like his predecessor.

    As for my heart, well, my heart is with the U of L Cardinals, the great love of my life since I was 7 years old.

  7. Mike D, you’re correct. I should give more ink to the Women. I was at the Florida State game, and meant to write something, but it slipped away.

    It is my firm belief that if Walz can make the recruiting breakthrough and start getting some McD AA-quality bigs, U of L will be the next Tennessee/ UConn.

  8. This one is a headscratcher. Playing in a venue 30 miles from campus at 12:00 noon in front of a small lethargic crowd with most Clemson fans concentrating on the National Championship game yet we still take the pipe. Yeah, I know it’s the ACC baby, but still, very , disappointing..

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