Not long afterward — I still hadn’t even learned all the major chords yet — I ran into an acquaintance, Pete, who has serious chops on the 88s and gigs around town regularly. He’s a pro.
He looked at me, and advised, “Here’s all you need to know.
You know like the advice Mr. McGuire gave Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate”
“I’m just going to say one word to you. Listening? Plastics.”
Like Braddock, I didn’t have a clue what Pete was talking about. But, had Benjamin followed that advice, he’d be a rich man today, whether he and Katharine Ross were still together. I have also come to understand the importance of inversions when plunking about on my Young Chang.
Yes, sports fans, Cardinal fans, I’m about to talk U of L hoops, and trust you’ll soon understand the relevance of my extended prelude.
Lackluster is the best word to describe Louisville’s W last night over Kareem Richardson’s Missouri- Kansas City Kangaroos.
Like “plastics” and “inversions,” I have one word for the Cardinals.
When the ‘Roos were able to get the ball into front court, and the Cardinals were playing man, the visitors scored on more than half their possessions I’m sure, though I don’t have the exact stats. Penetration to the hoop was way to easy for a team of M-KC’s caliber.
The Rick was obviously not pleased: “We just got beat off of the dribble quite a bit. That is probably our biggest weakness to date, how often we get beat off the bounce. Whether it is the new rules or not, our better players are getting beat too much, and we have got to correct that the next few days, because this team was obviously very inferior to our athletic ability.”
The answer. Rotation.
Or, play zone.
Anyhow, that failure by the Cards allowed the visitors to make almost half their shots. They were 23/50 from the field, 46%.
The numbers tell us the issue was indeed half court D. The Cards’ press generated 20 turnovers, 14 steals. But forced to hunker down on D in the half court, U of L was way less than stellar.
* * * * *
My nemesis David, who matriculated decades back for a post-grad year at some little school in Cambridge, Mass., where he apparently spent more time in Boston Garden than class, never ceases reminding me of Red Auerbach’s constant mantra, when a Celtic foe was zipping up court with the rock.
“Stop the ball.”
Well, had Red been in the house last night, he could have put his shouted admonition on tape loop.1 U of L allowed the visitors quick guards to jitterbug relatively unimpeded to the hoop or passing point in the key all night long.
* * * * *
The Rick can say Chane was the only one who played well all he wants. I disagree.
Yet again, Russ Smith played a mature game. And a really good one.
In 12 first half minutes off the bench, Russ took only a single shot, but dished 5 assists and grabbed four boards. While committing nary a turnover. For the game, U of L’s leader had 10 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and only 1 turnover.
Behanan was indeed stellar off the bench. 11 points, the same number of boards, 2 steals and a block.
The other Cardinal who grabbed my attention, who finally started showing something was Akoy Agau. He grabbed 5 boards and had a block in a very short stint. The Rick noted that AA is still in his adjustment period, but the freshman was obviously more aggressive on the hardwood last evening.
* * * * *
Louisville, despite its mediocrity against woeful foes, remains atop Ken Pomeroy’s widely respected computerized standings.
The Cards do rank first in the land in turnover margin, and #5 in steals per game.
In the AAC, Russ Smith ranks second in scoring, 7th in assists, #10 in FT% and tenth in assist/turnover ratio. Silent L ranks #2 in rebounding and #6 in FG%. Luke Hancock ranks third in FT%, while Chris Jones ranks #15 in the same category. Wayne Blackshear ranks eighth in shooting from beyond the arc.
* * * * *
Next up: Louisiana Lafayette Saturday afternoon.
Get out your tire chains. It’ll be interesting to see how many show up when the weather’s frightful?
And don’t forget to dig into your pocket for two large to buy one of those celebratory bottles of Maker’s Mark.
— Seedy K