Louisville CardFile: North Carolina State

Kevin Keatts’ excellently-coached NC State Wolfpack, playing without its team leader, PG Markell Johnson, the reigning ACC assists leader, battered U of L on the backboards, 38-26, overcame a ten point Cardinal lead in the 1st (hitting 11/12 FGs in one stretch), then did it again in the second, and in a tight game held U of L without a FG for the last 4:18 of action.

U of L’s steady as he goes engine, Dwayne Sutton, sputtered for most of the game, got in foul trouble early and was only on the hardwood for 23 minutes, grabbing but two boards, and turning it over four times. Jordan Nwora, of whom Cardinal fans had started worrying about a jump to the next level, slipped back to the norm, missing all 7 of his longball attempts, firing up more than a few selfish shots, and lazily turned it over several times, four to be exact.

The offensive funk of VJ King, but for one really aggressive score, and Darius Perry continued.

The Cards coughed up the rock 15 times.

Yet . . . yet . . . Louisville came out victorious in the exciting Top 25 match up, 84-77.

Just how did the Cardinals do that? Continue reading Louisville CardFile: North Carolina State

Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

It did not take long to find out who in Not So Hot Lanta, if anyone, was going to stop the juggernauts-on-Saturday Louisville Cardinals.

The guy(s) in charge of the shot clock in the gym.

After Tech went up 2 zed on a second chance score during the game’s first possession, before the Cards ever had the rock in their hands, the game was delayed while the timepieces in the facility were synchronized. Five minutes? Ten minutes? Seemed interminable.

The visitors, again in black, stood around, waiting to rock.

Which they did, as in the DeanDome, as soon as the tilt recommenced. Malik Williams found Dwayne Sutton for a deuce on the U of L’s first attack. Khwan Fore drove for a bucket on the next. Jordan Nwora netted a floater next time down court, following it with triple on the next trip.

Four trips. Four shots. Four makes. General ineptitude by the more Wreck than Ramblin’ hometowners.

At 15:07, after several errant Cardinal attempts, Williams drained a trey. Twelve seconds later, Christen Cunningham converted a couple at the charity line. 14-4.

Ball game. Tech never came closer the rest of way.  Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Well now, that was bracing, considerably more nerve rattling than Cardinals fans expected when U of L, humming along harmoniously, was up 23 on Boston College with 9:10 to play.

At which point, the home team was tested. And passed. And hopefully learned some valuable lessons, as this intriguing season moves on.

Have you heard this one before, class? Basketball is a game of runs.

“Why yes, Seedy, we have, more than a few times.”

I inquire because last night’s eventual ten point victory was a classic game of runs.

“How many runs were there, Seedy?” Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Zone vs. Man, the L to Pitt, UVa & Michigan, & More: Seedy K’s 1/16 Hoop dee Doo

I’m among the many who wonder why, with this group of Cardinals, Chris Mack doesn’t eschew his pack line a bit more, and go more often than he has with a 1-3-1 or another zone? Mix it up.

Well, Ken Pomeroy is the guy who has firmly established himself as the college hoops analytics guru with the numbers to establish or debunk any theory. In a recent post at theathletic.com, he undermines any theories that mixing defenses between man and zone in conference matchups is the way to go.

Teams that play all man to man have a .547 winning % in league play. Those, like the ‘Cuse who are all zone, are a little less successful at .501.

And those that mix ’em up win but .463 of conference battles.

My astuteness just took another hit.  Continue reading Zone vs. Man, the L to Pitt, UVa & Michigan, & More: Seedy K’s 1/16 Hoop dee Doo

Louisville CardFile: North Carolina

Oh sure, you saw this coming. Yeah. Right.

Three days after a defensive effort, Chris Mack called “deplorable,” and a disturbing loss at underwhelming Pittsburgh, the University of Louisville Cardinals charged into the DeanDome and melted the Tar Heels faster than Saturday’s short-lived snowfall.

U of L’s first W ever in Chapel Hill.

Roy Williams’ worst home loss ever at Carolina.

An opening tip to final buzzer smackdown by the visitors in black that turned the Baby Blues black and blue. (Oh how such a fun win forces me to want to wax poetic!)

Louisville 83- North Carolina 62.

Really. I mean, really. No, kids, it’s not a typo.

This is finally taking down the Christmas tree and discovering one last gift that everybody forgot about, and it’s a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

And, yeah, the Cardinals shot the Tar Heels eyes out.  Continue reading Louisville CardFile: North Carolina

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

As a diehard, I’m not sure whether to be really pissed, or moderately pleased and accepting with U of L’s efforts in an 89-86 OT L at Pitt last night.

As is my way, I’m writing this the morning after. Win or lose, I like to let the game sit in my soul for awhile before weighing in. Kind of like how expert chefs advise to let a dish cool after taking it out of the oven.

So I’ve gone back and forth in my mind.

 * * * * *

Pissed because the Cards fumbled the ball away 10 times in the opening half, which the vastly improved Panthers turned into 14 points. Pissed because U of L was throttled 16-4 to finish the 1st, making but 1 of its last 13 FG attempts. While the victors canned 6 of 7.

Pissed because, after settling a bit and draining 12 of its first 17 FG attempts after the break to pull within three with 7:50 to play, the Cardinals surrendered that momentum immediately after a Pitt timeout. The Panthers pushed ahead for a 13 point advantage in just over a couple of minutes of playing time.

Pissed because Louisville continued to be loosey goosey with the rock, giving it away seven more times in the 2d. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Louisville CardFile: Miami

I’m not much of a traditionalist when it comes to social conventions. Yet, I find Sunday night college basketball games odd, somewhat off putting, out of place.

So, maybe that was why the Cardinals were without much energy when the game tipped at 6:00 p.m. on the Day of Rest.

Or, perhaps, the lethargy was some remnant of the loss a week ago Saturday. Or, just the eight day layoff.

Whatever, U of L came out flatter than a low profile Hankook after losing its battle with a pot hole in the Cochran Tunnel on 64

How flat were they?

They were flatter than the objet de desír of the IHOP $4.99 All You Can Eat Pancake Special.

Midway through the opening stanza, Louisville found itself -15 against the short-handed, 8-5 Hurricanes, visiting from Coral Gables. At 9:28, after a +1 by Ebuka Izundu, the scoreboard read Louisville 15, Miami 30.

There was no life on the court. There was no life in the stands.

At which point, Jordan Nwora said, “Enough is enough.” Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami

It Was A Hoopaholic’s Saturday

Mr. Bunny’s calls would come.

Oh yeah, for sure, they would come.

More often a Monday. On Big Monday.

“You watchin’ this incredible game?”

I would prevaricate. Or, out and out lie.

“Uh, what game?” or “It’s on but I haven’t been paying attention, I’ve been paying bills.” or “No, who’s playing?”

It would be maybe ‘Cuse versus Providence, and the Friars actually had a dude named God playing point guard.

So, as if it were an Abbott and Costello routine we played out time and again, I’d bellow into the phone, “I hate the Big East.”

Because I was tired of Mr. Bunny extolling the conference’s virtues all the damn time. Because of Jim Boeheim’s whiney demeanor. Because of that ugly ass sweater Lou Carnesecca wore. Because of that ’82 national semi in New Orleans, when, in the most intense defensive battle I’ve ever witnessed live, imperious John Thompson’s Hoyas smote my Cardinals, 50-46.

Etc, etc, etc. Yet, make no mistake, I was tuned in. Because I’m a hoopaholic. I love college hoops. Continue reading It Was A Hoopaholic’s Saturday

Hoop dee Doo: Let the Conference Campaigns Commence

Schools don’t often get an eight day layoff during the season. But U of L’s Cardinals have been given that respite to move on from loss to arch rival.

It’s a good thing. Though my guess is by Sunday the guys on the squad shall be itching to ball against fellows wearing a different color uni.

As has been noted before, the Cards ACC schedule is back loaded. Which, frankly, puts more pressure on these guys in January, if they wish to dance in March. Other than Carolina, arguably, the other three road tilts — Pitt, Georgia Tech and Wake — are eminently winnable.

But we must remember Seedy K’s Rule #8: League games on the road are never a gimme. Nevah evah. (Except for maybe last year in Steel City.)

But, you just never know. Take this week for instance. Marquette, which had a serious hum goin’, was blistered at St. John’s. (Not so good for U of L’s NET.) While Seton Hall secured a precious road W at Xavier. (Better for the Cards’ NET.)

The Cards’ four January home contests are all winnable. NC State is obviously the toughest of the ACC visitors. Miami, BC, and a return visit from Pitt, not so much.  Continue reading Hoop dee Doo: Let the Conference Campaigns Commence

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Early Saturday evening, Doc and I were doing our usual post mortem autopsy. This time with a shroud of melancholy, because the victor was arch rival Kentucky.

I shared an analogy I was conjuring in order that this rehash might be elevated a bit literarily. Such as it can be.

Something like how when you’re making potage, you need more than a soup bone for maximum flavor. How you need vegetables, spices, robust meat or fish, all the necessary ingredients in a confluent meld, etc, etc, to create excellence, a taste above.

And how this gritty band of Cardinals, as game as they are proving to be, are but soup bone. There is only so much flavor to be extracted.

While the Wildcats do have that blend, along with any number of condimental players who can break out and cause observers to say, “Wow, savor that.”

Yesterday it was Tyler Herro, who tallied 24 on 10/13 marksmanship, 4/6 from long range, 5 rebounds and adhesive, clamp down defense. (Example: Ryan McMahon was only able to launch two attempts.)

So . . . sigh . . . yet again as it has come about for the last decade or so, I feel compelled to acknowledge that UK is taller, longer, quicker, faster, more assertive, and, yes, simply better. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky