Before we get to a discussion of the Cards improved performance in a 50 point rout of #343 Southern, I feel compelled to comment on the three fellows who turned this into the most boring couple of hours — or me anyway — since I attempted to watch on Netflix the new Orson Welles release, “The Other Side of the Wind.”
It is the zebras to whom I refer. A.J. Desai. Tony Chiazza. Jeffrey Anderson.
As they blew whistle after whistle after whistle after whistle, throwing in a replay review now and again and again to ensure there was no flow to the game, I wondered if they hadn’t been watching “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” before the game.
“Just whistle while you work/ And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place.”
I mean, come on, guys. 65 fouls. A third of them on the offensive end. (Which, in context, was arguably a blessing. Otherwise, we’re talking 80-90 FTs, instead of a mere 64.) I know, the opener against Nicholls State was bad, but this seemed even more laborious.
Fortunately, this is so far U of L’s best performing gang at the charity stripe in years. The Cardinals were 31/39 against the Jags, which is but a smidge under 80%.
Those three Least Valuable Players in the stripped shirts turned the game into a wearisome slog. Shame on ’em.
(For contrast, take the threesome who worked the harum scarum up and down back and forth frolic that was Georgetown’s entertaining 88-80 W at Illinois. Pat Driscoll, Paul Szelc and John Gaffney were judicious with their foul calls, never impeding the play unnecessarily. What a pleasure that was to watch after the Cards took care of their biz.)
* * * * *
Let’s hear it for the Cardinals’ Animal Ball mentality.
That’s what Chris Mack advised he was trying to instill in the run up to this tilt.
He called the defensive effort “a huge step forward.”
On offense, he was happy his charges kept moving the ball. They adhered to his admonition “Don’t stop the music.”
All the Cards were significantly more aggressive with the ball. Save one exception. But I’m not going to name names, hoping this key cog in U of L’s plan for the season comes around. Hopefully soon.
Mack specifically mentioned the efforts of Akoy Agau (7 rebounds) and Ryan McMahon, the latter for his defensive effort. RM also dished out 6 assists to lead the team.
Of Jordan Nwora, who could very well turn out to be a serious weapon as an energizing 6th Man, Mack praised his O, but underscored that the forward “needs to play better defense.” He was beaten baseline at least a couple of times.
When this kid, who has a proverbial “nose for the ball,” learns to go full bore at both ends all the time, watch out. In addition to his team high 20 points, he had 7 rebounds, three offensive, two steals and a block.
* * * * *
Malik Williams continues to show grit and improvement.
He stole the ball on his first defensive possession, then tallied underneath on his first touch off the bench on the offensive end. At the 13:00 minute mark of the 1st, he lost the ball, but immediately went to the floor to retrieve it, getting fouled in the process of the hustle.
The Gruesome Threesome also hung a Flagrant 1 on Williams after a lengthy review for a “Hook and Hold,” which is apparently some new point of emphasis this season. Looked like classic old school jostling for position to me.
Williams numbers were nice. 17 points in 18 minutes. 5/7 from the field. 7/11 at the line 5 boards. More impressive his exertion, and steady ascendency to becoming a major force off the pine.
We often invoke the cliché about ballers “letting the game come to them.” That it’s a good thing.
So, let us now praise Darius Perry. For most of the tilt, he played his usual in your face D, and didn’t force anything when Louisville had the ball. Then came that flurry late, when he hit a couple of triples and a deuce with his foot on the arc.
* * * * *
Bottom line: U of L improved significantly both from and energy and execution standpoint from the opener. The Cards did what they were supposed to do against one of the worst teams in the land. Though they are far from where they need to be.
Especially as the schedule becomes significantly more difficult, starting Friday against always tough Vermont.
It is what is known as a gauntlet. After the Catamounts, come #5 Tennessee, #2 Kansas or #24 Marquette, #11 Michigan State and a visit to Seton Hall. Coming thereafter before the year turns, mingled with a few “breathers,” are #10 UK and #27 IU in Bloomington.
It has been literally decades — in the Denny Crum years — since Louisville faced such a daunting early, non-conference slate.
* * * * *
I hate not being in the gym for these games.
Given my post op knee rehab schedule, it will probably be at least a month before I’m able to get back to the Yum!.
It’s even worse when I’m forced to watch the games on computer. The feed is jerky, whether on my hardwired iMac or wireless MacBook Air. Because it is uncomfortable to sit in any one place for long, I need to switch back and forth.
(I know, all God’s children got problems. Bear with me while I vent a bit. Please.)
It’s not that I don’t love Kent Taylor and Jody Demling, both good guys, but there’s nothing like being in the House.
One thing I did notice last night, while switching back and forth between screens is how the timing of the feed shifted. Sometime the laptop was a few seconds ahead, then it would switch. Thought that back and forth kind of odd.
The other weirdness of the feed (ACCN on ESPN3 or ESPN+ ????), is that, during timeouts, there would be different commercials on each of my devices.
None of which effluvia has anything whatsoever to do with the game. But it was so tedious, I was looking for anything to keep my attention.
— Seedy K