Louisville CardFile: Clemson

If we learned nothing new from Louisville’s defeat in an eminently winnable game at Clemson, there was some confirmation of what we should have realized and accepted all along.

Given the eruption of circumstances immediately before the season commenced, there was simply too much to ask of the survivors who would carry the Cardinal banner into the ’17-’18 campaign.

We should have known it wouldn’t be close to business as usual.

It was too much to expect neophyte David Padgett and his put together on the fly patch work staff to provide any sense of mature continuity.

It was too much to expect players used to dictatorial Parris Island-style regimentation to self propel into the Final Four-quality unit they were incorrectly thought to be.

I will admit, as someone who loves this program and this beleaguered squad and prays for a turnaround starting in Tallahassee,  I’m fighting falling prey to a sky is falling take of the season.

These Cardinals have four times faced Top 25 teams and four times fallen.

In three victory was in reach.

Especially yesterday in Littlejohn, where the Cards, despite their flawed ball handling performance, kept coming back in the 2d and had the ball all to themselves with :50 to play in regulation . . . but couldn’t close the deal.

The first foray out of a Louisville timeout, ended with Deng Adel committing his fourth turnover. But the Tigers panicked with the ball, and VJ King snared an errant pass from Clemson star Elijah Thomas with plenty of clock left, 19 seconds.

Quentin Snider, with David Padgett just a few feet away providing instruction, tom tommed the rock outside, made a move toward the hoop too late, and was forced to throw up an out of balance trey.

It was deer in the headlights basketball.

You know the old shibboleth about giving a home team a second chance on their own court?

Well, it proved to be true Saturday.

VJ King coughed up his fourth giveaway on U of L’s first possession of OT. Then fouled to avoid a gimme Clemson two, but Marcquise Reed hit both FTs anyway. 55-57.

Ray Spalding had a close in shot blocked on U of L’s next attack. But fought for consecutive rebounds. Neither of which putback would fall.

After another stop, and almost another giveaway by Deng Adel, Quentin Snider did commit U of L’s 21st turnover of the tilt, leading to a Clemson bunny. 55-59.

Spalding cut the disadvantage in half on the next possession.

Then Louisville allowed consecutive uncontested threes.

Ball game.

 * * * * *

What’s so frustrating is that for all the mistakes Louisville made, all the lack of steadiness on display, the game from the start and until the end was there to be won.

Louisville turned it over 21 times. Yet, thanks in part to its defense, only surrendered 12 points off of them. While scoring 13 on Clemson’s 11 giveaways.

It was still, as Padgett pointed out again and again in is post game comments, 21 lost opportunities to tally.

In conference games on the road, that modus operandi ain’t gonna work.

 * * * * *

As I alluded to above, taking in account the entire pall that enshrouds Louisville hoops these days, it’s after games like these that one wonders if this is a season on the brink?

Can the Cardinals do the tighten up?

Next chance is Wednesday against Top 25 Florida State.

— Seedy K

9 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Clemson

  1. Another lost opportunity and yet I ask my brethren in hoopsville when, I say when, was the last time Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina all lost on the same day!!!!!! While I, like the Maven, have not yet thrown in the towel I do not see the discipline necessary for this team to be a consistent winner against good teams.

  2. Seedy, for a pick-me-up I suggest a visit to the Yum! today at 2PM as the women go for 18-0.

    This team is special, and Asia Durr is a transcendent talent.

  3. I do not now, nor will I ever, understand the play that Louisville persists in deploying when time runs down at the end of a period. I DO somewhat understand when it’s used at the end of a half. You either score or you don’t. Yesterday, with time running down and Quentin Snider yo-yoing the ball on the perimeter, Louisville had a chance to beat Clemson and plenty of time to do it. Rick Pitino, the architect of this play, always says you start at six seconds. But what happens is the guard with the ball – and lets use Q in this case – waits until he sees six seconds on the clock. When he makes his first step toward the basket, there are now a shade less than five seconds remains and he is 30 feet from the basket. Remember, we don’t need a three, all we need is one. So, he sets sail toward…well, I’m never sure where but he’s usually cut off or double teamed. Now he needs to pass the ball. Now ,there’s three seconds left. He passes to someone..anyone and now there is about a second and a half left. There is only time for an immediate shot and no chance for a put back. The only time I can remember this working was when Edgar Sosa buried UK with a three from about four feet beyond the arc. He took two steps forward and let it go. That’s a 30% shot. If that’s the ploy, then McMahon needs to have the ball, not Q. This play, as it is run, leaves NO chance for error. None. I don’t understand why they don’t start earlier, work for an open jumper, or send a cutter to the basket to draw a foul, which is two free throws, which we shoot at about 70%. All we needed was one fucking point.

  4. Mike D, I’ve been there for several of the women’s games, including Duke last week. I may not be able to get there today, but will be in the house for Notre Dame. I will go on record in saying Asia Durr is the best shooter ever to wear a Cardinal uni, male or female.

  5. SmartGuy, Padgett said in his post game presser that he was just going to leave the ball in his senior guard’s hands and let him make a play. Which, as I implied in my post, is another bit of evidence that, unfortunately, DP, thrown into the breach, isn’t quite ready for prime time. Coach was standing just feet away from Q and could have shouted “Go” with 10, 12 seconds to play. Both he and his senior guard weren’t up to the moment. That there seem to be no sets with the specific purpose of getting the ball to McMahon — or King or Adel for that matter — where he/they can fire it away is another frustration.

  6. Some great points, as always, Seedy. My kindler, gentler side says it has been totally unrealistic to expect great things from this team. I like the analogy I read in a CardChron comment after the game. To paraphrase, it’s a three-ring circus, with the tents on fire, and the players are in the center ring. Not a one has the ‘eye of the tiger’ to rise above such distractions.

    That last play was horrible. LBJ, Kyrie Irving or John Wall might go into motion with 6 seconds left, but few other Pros are capable of pulling that off. 8-10 seconds is a wiser point to initiate. While other players are in some motion. Our guys stood there the whole time; maybe one wing set in the corner for a trey is wise, maybe. I point the finger at DP for the breakdown. Nothing was drawn up, methinks and Q had a deer in the headlights demeanor.

    Continuing a riff, VJ and Deng are just not the answer. Especially the latter. I do not care that “he is our best player.” That’s an indictment on the team, and he simply cannot dribble the ball. Or defend. Or rebound. Bench him. Please.

    I believe the season is on the brink. So gamble. Use Malik and Jordan a lot more. Otherwise, they’re gone. If they aren’t already. Both can score, if allowed some sort of rhythm. Even La.Thomas. McMahon should start.

    #itsgonnabealongseason

  7. I think it was Deng’s best game of the year. However, we have no one with the handles to get their own shot. That’s why Ricky P’s end of the game play (hardly) (n)ever works, Geeze…

    The women need to learn to play for 40 minutes. If they do, watch out…

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