Louisville Card File: Rutgers

dunikcardLet me start out by repeating myself.

I know, as if, that isn’t my normal M O.

Any conference W on the road is a good one. No matter how abysmal the foe may be. Period.

Don’t believe me? Today’s referrals: UConn, again. Duke, who learned how strange things most always seem to happen when visiting South Bend. And, Oklahoma State, who came up short in Manhattan. Kansas, that is.

Yeah, I know the Bearcats won in Memphis. I would offer that it’s that old exception, proving the rule thing.

The Cards win at RAC was U.G.L.Y.

So what? A win is a win is a . . .

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The more this season progresses, the more I believe scoring at the free throw line shall prove important.

U of L is only 68% as a team from the line. But, more in depth, analysis indicates that’s somewhat of a misleading stat.

The Cards have made almost as many FTs (276) as their opponents have taken (319).

From an individual standpoint, Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear are hitting just short of 90%. Russ Smith and Terry Rozier are solidly above 70%.

So, one of the reasons why yesterday’s less than glamorous, slogfest win doesn’t bother me so much is how the Cards reacted when it turned into a FT shooting contest in the second half.1

Here are yesterday’s stats at the charity stripe for U of L’s best there. Hancock: 10/10. Rozier: 7/7. Blackshear: 7/8. Smith 14/16.

When it mattered, the Cards were mature enough to get the ball in the hands of the guys who were going to knock ’em down. And they did to the tune of 38/41. Hitting 92% in a free throw shooting contest is spelled W I N.

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I’ve never talked with Montrezl Harrell about his aspirations to play pro ball.

So, I don’t know if the talk talk about him putting his name in the draft after this season is really what he’s thinking? Or, if it’s pundits punditizing?

What I observe is he’s delusional if he thinks he, with his current raw potential is ready.

In the first half yesterday, he had a quietly efficient output. Six points on 3/4 shooting. 7 rebounds. 2 steals. Yet, his missed FG was a bricked jumper. And he missed his only FT attempt.

In the second half, shackled by fouls, Silent L missed his only FG attempt, and grabbed exactly zero (0) rebounds.

Which is to say, he’s a work in progress. And, also to say, if this Cardinal team is going to make any noise nationally this year, that progress best start progressing sooner rather than later.

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Obviously I hope Chris Jones recovers quickly from his injuries.

After missing about five minutes of game clock time yesterday, he did return. In less than a minute of play before it was pine time for the rest of the tilt, he turned it over and committed a foul.

He tallied six after halftime before he was hurt. I liked that he didn’t force his offense, but displayed it’s there to be used whenever it’s called for.

This team absolutely positively needs a healthy Chris Jones to succeed.

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Russ Smith misses Peyton Siva more than anybody.

He is still trying to find his game, which just came easier for him last season when he didn’t have to consider point guard duties. Pressing to do too much, as is his wont this season, he was only 4/11 from the field yesterday, with 5 turnovers.

He did hit his FTs (14/16), despite that lean to the side motion of his.

It would not surprise me if Terry Rozier evolves as the premier point guard this season, letting Smith & Jones play it a bit, but mostly rotate at the 2.

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Louisville needs more than 6 rebounds a game from the 5 spot.

I liked Tim Henderson’s 7 minute stint, for the first time agreeing with The Rick that he can be a short term factor in a game, other than as a spot up shooter.

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I’m not a superstitious guy, I don’t believe.

Okay, I don’t wear anything whatsoever blue on the day of the UK game. Not socks. Not jeans. Not u-trou. And, I never wear red to U of L games, except during tournament time.

But other than that . . .

Yet, I was surprised that after one game without — and a good league W at that — Hancock and Rozier were back with t-shirts under their jerseys yesterday. And Luke is working on another beard, after showing up clean shaven on the court in Orlando New Year’s Eve.

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I’m not sure Steve Lapas is a “great” color announcer. But he’s sure more astute than most, and explains why he likes or doesn’t like some action on the court.

— Seedy K

1 thought on “Louisville Card File: Rutgers

  1. Lappas is no Greg Anthony but not a syncophant like some. Silent L will be a 1st round pick for a team wanting to use a first round pick with guarantees to someone who might with improved rebounding turn out to be another Ben Wallace. Can’t think of any NBA GM’s in that category right now. It would be nice if Wayne could finish and not fumble and TR would settle for pull-ups or passes rather than driving prayers… Other than that….

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