Louisville Card File: Houston

dunikcardNowhere to be found last night — and I know for sure because I sought him out — was the dunderhead mentioned in my SMU report, who ragged incessantly on Wayne Blackshear that whole game. More’s the pity.

Whattayathinknow, asshole?

Anyway, it was after that game, and interlude, that I wrote this:

I bring up Blackshear because a) the Cardinal Nation has been expecting more from the Golden Arches All-American than he has delivered so far, and b) one guy’s opinion, the Chicagoan is the X factor on this Cardinal squad that’s still searching for its identity, personality, and success in March.

He is not without game. Yet that talent has not consistently been on display. Most important, the switch can still be flipped.

At Media Day before the season, I asked Blackshear what he’d been working on this summer?

“My confidence.”

Yet to come, that remains elusive. I, for one, am not giving up on Wayne Blackshear. It’s not like he’s playing below his talent level on purpose. Besides, if his game clicks into gear, this Cardinal team becomes significantly better.

One game does not a seismic shift make. But it’s sure a hopeful start.

23 points on 8/10 shooting (5/6 from beyond the arc). 7 rebounds, 2 offensive. 2 assists and a block. Steady defense, including any number of deflections. The Windy City Golden Arches All-American played like he had a McDouble McCheese McNuggets buffet waiting for him in the locker room.1

In one three minute span late, WB tallied 11 points in a row for the Cards, three treys and a deuce, grabbing a couple boards during the interlude.

Arguably a more important number on Blackshear’s stat line is this one: 29. Which is the number of minutes he played, most of any Cardinal.

Credit, of course, where it’s certainly due. To The Rick, who doesn’t shy away from mid-season tweaks. Sitting down Blackshear at tip off certainly worked last night. It wasn’t some coaching trick either, but a legit move.

So far, so good.

* * * * *

Here are a few things we learned about Houston last night:

1) Phi Slama Jama remains on Double Secret Probation. Apparently in perpetuity. Clyde Drexler and Larry “Mr. Mean” Michaux aren’t walking through that locker room door.

2) Were present Cougar coach James Dickey inclined to attempt to emulate predecessor Guy Lewis, by literally throwing a towel on Cards as they ran down court, it would have been to no avail. He could have used the highest quality 900 gram Egyptian cotton kind, fully soaked in West Virginian chemically-infused Ohio River water, and the Cardinals would still have won by 25.2

3) Despite the Card Chronicle’s amusing attempts to bring Chicken to the Bucket, there’s a reason why Danrad Knowles was never recruited by U of L. He’s not very good. His 2/7 shooting included a couple of air balls . . . from the paint.

4) The Cougars could use some tighten up. Which gives me an excuse to post this musical interlude:

* * * * *

The visitors might have a W over UConn on their resumé, along with that one point L to Cincy, but they were never — literally never — in last night’s game.

At the first media timeout, U of L led 12-2 on 5/8 shooting.

At the second commercial interruption, the Cards led 28-14, and had already drilled 6 of 7 from Treyville.

Etc, etc, etc.

When the Cardinal Cocktail Crowd headed up the narrow aisles for halftime libations, U of L was a seriously comfortable 29 points ahead, having canned 21/30 from the field, 11/15 from 4th and Broadway. 15 assists. Glossy.

* * * * *

Almost as heartening as Wayne Blackshear’s performance was SVT’s 18 foot jumper at the 15:13 mark after intermission.3

One guy’s opinion. It looks like it could be a weapon.

Rick, should you perchance be paying attention,4 try working it into the team’s repertoire.

On the other hand, Silent L should forget about entering the draft no matter what the “experts” and his peeps say. His jumper remains scary, needing work. A lot of work.

* * * * *

Terry Rozier is without question Louisville’s lead guard of the future. Perhaps the now.

Steady, steady, steady. Great D. 9 points. 8 assists. 4 rebounds.

Russ Smith was a stealth bomber. 18 points on 6/8 shooting, 4/5 from the stratosphere. 5 rebounds. 4 assists. 3 steals.

* * * * *

Hear me now and believe me later, U of L’s post season success (or lack thereof) shall depend on FTs.

On a night when they hit well over half of their FGs, including 54% of their threes, the Cards were a totally unacceptable 8/17 at the line. 47% won’t cut it.

* * * * *

Even the crowd was on its game, choosing Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” to boogie to, a knowing and most appropriate choice on an evening when the Cards were making baskets as easily as a good ol’ boy throwing his boots in the back of a F-150.

* * * * *

My favorite pre-game story.

Former coach Pete Gillen was doing color for CBS Sports. In the media men’s room he was chatting up a pal, who advised that he’d seen Marshall Henderson play for Ole Miss a couple of nights earlier.

“An interesting guy, Pete,” he said. “I don’t know if you’d have liked coaching him or not?”

“I did have to coach God Shammgod.”

* * * * *

Next up: U of L’s biggest game of the year so far.

UConn, conquerors of Memphis State last night at Fed Ex, in Gampel.

— Seedy K

5 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Houston

  1. What? Not a word about Blue? What’s wrong wid u?

    Sad what has happened to the Coug’s program. They were awful. But I guess they realized that Denny still has a few timeouts left from ’83 and that disspirited them. How did they beat UCONN and only lose by 1 to UC?

    Watch for the revenge of the AmCon refs Saturday night; with UCONN stayin and us leavin’….I don’t like the smell of this one already. Trez with 2 fouls during warm ups? Maybe so…and he will definitely go Pro…lots more time to work on a jumper when USHistory and Geography of Latin America class can be avoided.

  2. Nice choice… pulling Archie Bell and the Drells “from Houston Texas” up for this one. Was the towel throwing at Scooter, pointing out that at least Dickey could have minimized the point spread by having us shoot FT’s instead of getting all the way to the basket and actually scoring?

  3. Remember that Wayne B beat out some Cat by the name of Anthony Davis for Player of the Year in Chicago during HS … not once, but TWICE. He has the game and is beginning to show it. Go Cards!

  4. At the 9:54 mark in the first half the Cards were 6-8 / 75% from two point land. Which stunk to high heaven. At least compared to the 6-7 / 85.7%. Everything’s relative.

Comments are closed.