Tag Archives: Louisville Cardinals

Louisville CardFile: Clemson

The above image of the Sports Illustrated ’74-’75 preseason basketball issue heralds that season’s projected #1 Louisville Cardinals, who were honored at halftime of Saturday afternoon’s victory over Clemson. (At least until we get a Cease and Desist order from SI’s attorneys, and have to remove it.)

During his Friday pregame press conference, Chris Mack spent a majority of the opening moments extolling the virtues of the Tigers’ playmaking pivot Aamir Simms, emphasizing what a rigorous matchup problem the undersized center would be.

At 14.4 ppg coming in to Saturday afternoon’s battle in the Yum!, Simms leads Clemson in scoring. Same for rebounding at 7.7 rpg. While dishing out two and half assists a game, many when stationed out high and hitting backdoor cutters and guys off slip screens.

Mack’s concern was palpable and legit. He indicated it was going to have to be heady, mature, knowing defense that might thwart Simms.

Then he was asked the status of Malik Williams, who tweaked a knee in the Georgia Tech win, and advised the Cards’ energizer big was “day to day.”

At which point, I asked, if it would be fair to assume Aidan Igehan might see more action than he has recently, if Williams wasn’t available? Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Clemson

Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

“You’ve got to have a healthy respect for your opponent.”

Denny Crum said that.

“It’s great to win when you play like you left your game on a bus in Durham.”

I said that.

“When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.”

Bob Dylan said that.

So, soon after they switched out of an ill defined zone into man to man, and grabbed the lead, 12-11 at 15:19 of the 1st, soon pushed it out to five, 8-10, KenPom #96 Georgia Tech realized it had nothing to lose, and played free and easy. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Georgia Tech

Louisville CardFile: Duke

Have you ever taken notice of the difference between Coach K in the post game handshake line after a Blue Devil victory, and Mike Krzyzewski in the post game handshake line after Duke is vanquished?

Well, being an obsessive observer of all matters hoops — I’m an unrecovering hoopaholic, you know — and enjoying every Duke L as much as the next fellow, I have observed the habits.

When Duke wins, he’s head up, and patronizingly pats the losing players on their chest as he offers his commiserations. When Duke falls, he’s head down, perfunctory handshakes followed by a strident scurry to the locker room.

Did we savor the latter Saturday evening after Louisville won at Cameron Indoor for the first time since the ’83 Final Four squad schooled Jay Bilas and his cohorts, 91-76, or what?

Or what!!!!

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There are any number of blissful storylines to this huge Cardinal victory, its third in a row during a telling week on the road in the ACC.

The Cardinals’ Killer D.

A Star is born on the most improbable stage.


All those mournful , quieted Crazies who had to trundle back to their dorms in the chill, and then spend Saturday night cleaning off the blue greasepaint.

But I want to start with U of L’s “other” PG Star of the win. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Duke

Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Though metaphorically bleeding for the last eight minutes and eleven seconds of a bruising battle, the U of L Cardinals persevered to prevail 73-68 at Pitt.

I don’t know if it’s all happening at the Oakland Zoo, whether the orangutans are indeed skeptical of changes in the their cages, but I do believe this is true. Cards hung tough and won again on the road in the ACC.

With 3:11 to play in regulation, Pitt’s Justin Champagnie retrieved a missed Xavier Johnson three, then the ball got to Trey McGowens who banked in a second chance long ball for a 61-54 lead.

“DAGGER,” I noted in all caps.

Thus the mention of blood flow in the lede. (It’s a push, but work with me here.) Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

In the confusing aftermath of Louisville’s 67-64 hang-on-by-the-hair-of-their-chinny-chin-chin escape at Notre Dame, I had two questions for myself.

I brought in whisper counsels Smart Guy and Doc, but, as it always is with such matters, one must finally decide for himself how he really feels about matters of import.

Question #1: Can I as a Cardinal fan really feel good, feel satisfied with this this W?

U of L was up by as many as 16 in the 1st, leading 30-16 with 5:29 to complete before halftime. Notre Dame started to pull back in it, one time scoring on an inbounds play while Coach Mack was calling out the play the Irish would run from the sidelines, and his players still allowed the easy tally.

Despite a two minute drought heading to the locker room, the lead was still a dozen at 36-24. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

Louisville CardFile: Miami (Fla)

At the 7:30 media timeout of the 1st on Tuesday night, Louisville had outscored the visiting Miami Hurricanes 12-0/ 20-2 and led 30-10.

At +20 over an outmanned squad they had already beaten in Coral Gables in the season opener, all the Cardinals need to do was match the visitors intensity the rest of the way, and Quinn Slazinski would have some chances for garbage treys in the waning minutes of a rout.

Which is not what happened.

Which is not what happened at all. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Miami (Fla)

Louisville CardFile: Florida State

There are explanations both specific and systemic addressing how and why Florida State handled Louisville Saturday afternoon at the Yum!, 78-65.

It was the Seminoles second victory over the Cards in a row for the first time since 1978, which was several conferences ago, and for the first time ever consecutively in Louisville.

First the specifics.

Though he’s far from alone, the Professor has always been adamant that a team needs to win the last five minutes of the opening half, and the first five after intermission.

Specific #1. At the 3:42 media stoppage of the 1st, Louisville led 30-27.

Between then and the halftime buzzer, the Cards were out scrapped and outscored 2-12.

At a 1:58 timeout, U of L was still behind just 30-31. But Florida State tallied on its final three possessions of the stanza. A stepback trey, a corner three and a deuce overwhelmed a pair of Jordan Nwora FTs.

At the break, Louisville Cardinals not named Jordan Nwora had takeen 28 FG attempts, and made only four. That’s 14.3%. The Seminole bench had scored 22, to only a single bucket by a Cardinal reserve.

Had Jordan Nwora not bounced back from his lame effort against Kentucky, U of L would have been beaten for sure at the break. The Cards’ leading scorer was playing within himself and in the 1st drained 6/9, 4/5 from the burbs and netted all five of his FTs.

Though they had committed but five turnovers against the visitors, who had forced 96 during their five game winning skein coming in, U of L was down a dispiriting 32-39 heading to the locker room. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Florida State

Louisville CardFile: Mississippi State

How about that?

No, really, I mean How About THAT?

2019 Music City Bowl Final Score: Louisville 38, Mississippi State 28.

And who before it began might have ever really considered a line like that would be written as a capper for this Cardinal pigskin campaign?

Let’s set aside for a moment the debacle that was the ’18 season and how this regular campaign, despite some bracing setbacks, played out in an almost dreamlike fashion.

Let’s just make passing mention how U of L’s ever resilient squad shook off the whipping it took in this year’s finale.

Let’s mention but dismiss how the Cards best player decided not to participate with his former teammates in the bowl game to prepare his talents for the next level.

Let’s just talk about how Scott Satterfield and his staff had this band of Cardinals so ready to win Monday afternoon in Nashville that they simply shrugged off what could have been a debilitating start to dominate their SEC foe. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Mississippi State

Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

At the 11:54 media timeout of the opening half, the Louisville Cardinals had not scored for 5:45, missed their last eight field goal attempts, had given up an 0-5 run to Kentucky, and were behind 6-9.

But something eerily telling about the game’s outcome had already become evident.

The Wildcats had committed 6 fouls. Louisville would be in the bonus the rest of the half.

Because I am a diehard Cardinal fan as well as a conscientious reporter of the action, along with copious game notes on a legal pad, I also jot down in all caps along the margin, admonitions and exhortations.

Here’s what I wrote at the early juncture of the rivalry tussle: “MAKE FTS WIN GAME.”

In my mind, I was invoking a personal spirit force I call the Two Arts. That would be Arthur Kaplan, my father who introduced me to Cardinal hoops, and with whom I sat at games for the last 11 years of his life. And Art Zubrod, who had the seats right behind us in Freedom Hall.

They were obsessive about the importance of accepting the charity of freebies.

“Make the first one” still rings in my ears whenever a Cardinal steps to the stripe.

And so, sigh, it came to pass. Or, actually, didn’t.

Though it is a somewhat simplistic breakdown of how UK’s 78-70 win evolved — there were obviously other factors including the Wildcats tougher play and execution during critical moments — had U of L made its free throws, it would have won the game. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Kentucky

Contemplating the Cardinals Trip to Rupp

The holiday joyeux dissipated when, in the middle of last night, it struck me that it was big game week.

I awakened from slumber to relieve myself sometime in the early a.m..

From out of the blue — Literally? Figuratively? — I was humming the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” in my mind. But, instead of “Doo lang/ Doo lang/ Doo lang” it was “Juzang/ Juzang/ Juzang.”

Not that I haven’t started obsessing consciously and unconsciously about Arch Rival and will be for the next few days, or anything like that.

So, yeah it’s not just big game week, it’s Big Game Week.

No matter how much levity and maturity I’ve tried to muster through the years about this annual affair, no matter that I really don’t interact with any fervent members of the BBN on a regular basis, no matter how long it’s been clear to me that the outcome does not in the long run affect a season’s success, I. Still. Get. Too. Nervous. Too. Soon.

Especially in years like this, when U of L has to travel to Lexington for the game, but has a justifiably legitimate chance to prevail.

So, what I’ve done is gone back and taken a peak at the Cardinals’ victories in Rupp, since the annual series began after the one and only Dream Game in ’83. Which W is known to most Louisville fans simply as “Knoxville.”

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Saturday’s tilt in Rupp will be the 18th in the series. Of the previous 17, U of L has conquered the Wildcats only 4 times. Against 13 Ls. Uh, not so good. Continue reading Contemplating the Cardinals Trip to Rupp