Tag Archives: Donovan Mitchell

Louisville CardFille: Miami

joaniecardGood teams should not lose at home come February.

Really good teams, i.e. legit contendas, do not lose at home in late February. Especially experienced ones on Senior Day.

Miami is a really good team. Miami is among those 20 or so schools that the pundits are saying could slip into the Final Four, and beyond. Miami, which starts three seniors and two juniors is experienced.

Miami is really well coached. Jim Larranaga is arguably the least heralded, excellent mentor in college hoops.

So, truth be told, the inevitable occurred yesterday in Coral Gables. On Senior Day, the Hurricanes did what really good teams do. They outplayed another good team, Louisville, down the stretch, and prevailed, 73-65.

 * * * * *

What a difference 72 hours and a change of venue makes. Continue reading Louisville CardFille: Miami

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

joaniecardAll things considered, U of L’s most impressive road W yet this season, 67-60 over the Pitt Panthers, should have been contested today, on Throwback Thursday.

For the manner of victory hearkened back to the First Golden Age of Louisville hoops, say, ’72-’86. Back then, on any number of occasions, the Cards would be contesting a good but beatable conference foe on the road. They’d fall behind, but, ever resolute, would pull back, and take a lead around midway through the final stanza.

The home team, eager for a victory over the Cards, would stay the course.

So, to close, Louisville would need to score every possession down the stretch. Which, on way more occasions than not, the Cardinals did.

Were my memory more intact, I’d recite chapter and verse. But, it isn’t.

But even with all those “program wins” the Cards have celebrated through the decades, I’m not sure I can recall one quite as prodigious as last night’s.

Of course, it was set up by one of Louisville’s worst interludes of the year, coughing it up on three consecutive possessions, when a 40-37 advantage morphed quickly into a 40-41 deficit. To which Pitt scored 7 more in a row.

Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Louisville CardFile: Duke

joaniecardLet’s tell it like it is.

Playing Duke is always big.

Beating Duke is always huge.

Beating Duke when it really matters confirms that life is good, and the basketball gods are shining their countenance down on the Cardinals.

Just as those ’86 national champs honored yesterday conquered the Blue Devils for the title, and the ’13 national champions throttled the Blue Devils in the regional final on the way to that title, the ’15-’16 Cardinals persevered yesterday at the Yum! in what was essentially a tournament game.

Louisville 71, Duke 64.

Sweet.

 * * * * *

Oh, and shame on me perhaps for admitting it in print, but we all know what our favorite moment is from yesterday’s come from 13 behind W.

With 12:58 to play, Jaylen Johnson did what every one of his Cardinal teammates loved, what every member of the L1C4 Nation loved, frankly, what college hoops fans across the land loved: He rocked a jackhammer elbow into the kisser of Grayson Allen.

As Christian Laettner was to the Land o’ College Hoops and most especially to the Big Blue Nation, Grayson Allen is to U of L. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke

Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

joaniecardIn the wake of U of L’s loss, 66-71, to the Fighting Irish in South Bend, it becomes even more fascinating that the ’86 national champions shall be feted next Saturday, when villainous Grayson Allen and his fellow Blue Lucifers come to the Yum!.

There is way more than a peripheral symmetry to the whole situation.

That title was won against the azure Princes of Darkness from Durham. This year’s squad, as we all too well know, won’t be competing for a crown at all.

Louisville’s second title winners started that quest with a 20 point W over Drexel. That Philly school whose mascot is Mario the Magnificent was famously referred to as “one of them academic schools” by star guard Milt Wagner. Who should know, since he was from Camden, just 11 miles across the state line in Jersey.

And, the Cards’ leading scorer this season is Damion Lee, a done&one from, yes, that “academic school,” which apparently doesn’t have a graduate program in Lee’s specific discipline, requiring him to transfer to U of L for his post-grad work.

Plus, as trivia-obsessed hoopaholics should recall, that ’86 tourney featured one of the great upsets in the history of the Dance. In the opening round, Bobby Knight’s IU Hoosiers were upended 83-79 by unheralded Cleveland State, which was coached by a fellow named Kevin Mackey, later busted while exiting a crack house with his mistress.

The coach-designated “leader” of this year’s Cardinal squad from his first day on campus,  Trey Lewis, is another done&one from — all together now — Cleveland State. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Louisville CardFile: Duke

joaniecardWinning at Cameron Indoor is not an easy task for the occasional visitor.

Nor, for that matter, for most of the regulars who stop by annually by league mandate, facing their usually lethal dose of the Blue Devildom and the privileged, raucus Crazies.

Unlike the 91-76 W there in ’83 by U of L’s national semi-finalists, who may have actually been the best Cardinal contingent ever, this year’s still raw squad gave its gutty all, but fell, 65-72.

 * * * * *

The Cardinals were led by The Future.

After a lackluster opening half, sophomore Quentin Snider led the charge, during the Cards’ comeback after the break, when they steamrolled from a 15 point deficit to take the lead. Q netted a trey from the corner to cut Duke’s advantage to four. Then converted a +1 to narrow it to a single digit.

Then another +1 at 6:12 for the lead, 58-57. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke

Louisville CardFile: Boston College

joaniecardIn street clothes, hobbled by a minor knee injury, Damion Lee limped to the center circle for a ceremonial toss up.

Less fueled than normal for an early noon tip against ACC cellar dweller Boston College, the Yum! crowd was nonetheless more raucous than usual. Displaying to the Cards’ done&one leading scorer that they indeed have his back, a standing O ensued.

Ball game!

6:32 after the real tip, Donovan Mitchell drained a trey. The Cards led 19-2. Walk on Jay Henderson, who had garnered but 18 minutes of mop up duty on the season, joined the fray moments later.

By then, Boston College had already committed six turnovers. Sitting next to me, Ed Peak wondered aloud, “Could Bellarmine beat these guys?”

Meanwhile, I’m thinking the Eagles might actually be the worst team U of L has played.

At which point, I got a phone message from The Professor, sitting across the arena, “This is the worst team Louisville has played all year.” Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Boston College

Louisville CardFile: North Carolina

joaniecardThe University of Louisville Cardinals woke up on Groundhog Day, the morning after a season redefining 71-65 W over North Carolina, not having to worry whether some previously anonymous groundhog (a/k/a whistlepig, a/k/a woodchuck, a/k/a Marmota monax) in Puxnawhatever, Pa. sees his/her shadow.

After a weekend of soul searching, during which the Cardinals tempered their steel, while their fan base was wondering whether they might have to find some non basketball endeavors to occupy their time in late March, a major question was answered.

This U of L team may go down, but it will not be for lack of effort, or the lack of will to fight back.

Here’s what Louisville did to the Tar Heels, in front of 22,781 Yum! fans who turned raucous once they found their seats. They limited the visitors with the nation’s second best assist/ turnover ratio to 11 assists, while forcing 16 turnovers. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: North Carolina

Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

joaniecardWelcome to the Spin Zone.

Where there shall be no joking about a certain emerging U of L Cardinal’s ethnicity. No reference to last year’s Triple Crown winner. No analogy to Pyramids in the Paint. No hoops hieroglyphics.

No joking here, unlike The Rick, who, during his post game radio show after the Cardinals gutty 75-71 W over the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech, proved he knows more about the Play Book than the Good Book.

Yo, Coach, it wasn’t the Egyptians forced to wander the desert, but, uh, vice versa. Anyway, that’s another discussion for another time.

Like I said, welcome to the Spin Zone.

Anas Mahmoud, spinning from the right block across the lane for a nifty floating hook shot, southpaw from the Brooklyn side.

Anas Mahmoud, spinning from the left block across the lane for a nifty floating hook with his stronger hand.

Anas Mahmoud, spinning from the right block, feigning a full traverse of the paint, stopping, switching the ball back from his left hand to his right, for a deft little five foot push floater.

Anas Mahmoud, grabbing the eminently loseable tilt by the short and curlies, thus spinning into the hearts of U of L Cardinal fans hither and yon. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

Louisville CardFile: Florida State

joaniecardUpdated 1/21 at 1:15.

The dunk, ah yes, The Dunk.

Well, ever the contrarian, I shall not start with that moment. Though, rest easy and be patient, I shall get to it soon enough.

After all it has hoopaholics locally and across the B-ball universe ODing. And, should Dickie V have been telecasting U of L’s 84-65 W over Florida State, we may have had the unfortunate pleasure of watching him implode with hyperbole before our very eyes, his viscera blasting through 55 inch Samsungs across the country. (Thankfully he was elsewhere.)

So, yes, more in a bit about Donovan Mitchell’s splendorous slam, and its place in Cardinal lore. But first, I want to talk about my favorite play of his last night.  Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

joaniecardJust how justifiably pleased was the often prickly Rick Pitino after the focused Louisville Cardinals 59-41 Big East-ish beatdown of rival Pitt?

Well, during his meeting with the media, he shared some personal info, which is an alien concept for him, contrary to his default MO. He shared that he never eats on game days, such is his nervousness, but had chosen to do so Thursday, due to the late tip. And that he had to take his leave for a moment during a break in the action mid-game for a bit of personal purging.

Said he’d eaten a taste of turkey. No bread. Apparently it wasn’t bland enough.

But, a more telling expression of his pleasure at the Cards’ performance came during his radio interview with Bob Valvano. During which, he further extrapolated on his gastrointestinal discomfort, and the reasons therefor. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh