They had lost four of five, and were but a missed put back at the buzzer from having dropped that entire caboodle of ACC contests.
What last night’s bedeviling 59-66 setback in a truly empty gymnasium to underwhelming Boston College revealed is that the Cards are bogged down in quicksand.
If you are a James Brown aficionado, you might say the Cardinals are “Bewildered.”
If Zep is your cup o’ tea, you would call them “Dazed and Confused.”
Whatever, U of L is seriously out of sorts.
It’s not that this lesser-than band of Cards is not competing at a tournament- ready (dance-worthy???) level, it’s the precipitous recent decline. U of L, let’s be frank, spit out the bit in a couple of early season Ls. Marquette? IU? I forget exactly which games, and it hurts to much to go back and look. So I didn’t.
Then came a spate of increasingly heartening efforts. That visit to Chapel Hill seems so long ago and far away.
The Duke 23 point 2d half meltdown is the easy place to point one’s finger, and not without legitimate reasoning. But U of L couldn’t close the game before in Tallahassee. Does this nagging propensity to give games away at the end go all the way back to, gulp, UVa a year ago tomorrow?
One must really research U of L hoops records to bring up haunting memories of similar interludes from the past.
In ’97-’98, Denny Crum’s worst team, lost five in a row and 7 of 8 in December, five in a row and 8 of 9 in January, then four in a row in February. The Tar Heelish outlier that season was a three point victory at Rupp.
The 12-19 ’00-’01 squad dropped five of six, but that was early, all before Christmas.
Rick Pitino’s third team lost six of seven in February, and finished the season on the short end of three of four.
So, what’s my point? Well, I’m not totally sure. I guess it’s that U of L basketball has floundered in such turbulence before, but there were good times ahead.
Such perspective is never much consolation in the moment.
* * * * *
Are there any positives to be gleaned from the loss to BC?
Not really, one wag’s opinion.
Steven Enoch scored a career high 22, but his porous defense surrendered 16 back to Nik Popovic.
Jordan Nwora netted 13, with 12 boards, but was totally disengaged when he didn’t have the ball in his hands. When he was in possession of the rock, he as usual rarely displayed any inclination to feed his mates, several times simply surrendering it to the opposition due to lack of focus.
VJ King was moderately more assertive than he has been. But, inserted early because of Nwora’s two stupid fouls, King still only hit 2 of 9 FG attempts.
Dwayne Sutton and Malik Williams were strong on the glass. Each snared ten rebounds. But Williams was 1/9 from the field.
The loss was a team effort.
Chris Mack is not without some responsibility. It is the coach’s charge during such dire times to fashion a way out. This is not Paulie Walnuts and Christopher lost in snowbound Jersey woods, waiting for Tony to come save them.
That said, I’ll repeat what I’ve admonished many times before. Cardinal fans love and appreciate these players, but . . .
. . . they simply aren’t talented enough to achieve hoped-for excellence.
I suppose there are some coaching tricks Mack could use. If so, he hasn’t found them yet.
And the Cardinals are now a beaten down bunch. Who really didn’t come to play last night.
Early on, a pal who texted and I agreed, the game looked like a Wednesday night rec league at St. Polycarp.
Color commentator, soft spoken Corey Alexander, prone to understatement: “Louisville never approached the game with a sense of urgency.”
At the conclusion, another buddy texted, “WEAK.”
Who am I to disagree?
* * * * *
It is generally believed that U of L will make the NCAA tourney. They were a consensus #6 seed before last night’s defeat.
Considering all that’s happened, it’s simply hard to fathom this flummoxed group crawling from the mire to solid ground.
— Seedy K