Louisville Card File: Saint Louis

dunikcardOf last year’s national champs, it was Greg Anthony — Or, perhaps, Kenny Smith? — who astutely observed that U of L played ugly better than any other school.

“Ugly” is the apt descriptor which has been used yet again, locally and by the national punditocracy, as it was after the Manhattan win, to describe yesterday’s Round of 32 W over the Billikens.

So too, “slog,” “a slugfest,” “sputtering” and “a grinder.”

Yesterday’s 15 point victory was more De Kooning than Monet.

But, “Survive and Advance” is the mantra of the season, and this year’s version of the Cardinals abide. So far.

* * * * *

For the first 5:45 of the second stanza, here’s what the Cardinals did on defense.

They allowed three offensive rebounds, and permitted the Billikens to score 13 points.1

Meanwhile, at the other end of the court, the Cardinals were peculiarly inept.

Hancock turned it over on a bad pass to Harrell. SVT missed a point blank lay up. Jones missed a layup. Shot clock violation. Jones missed another layup. Jones, Smith and Hancock missed threeballs. Harrell missed a couple of layups, and turned it over.

Etc, etc, etc . . . enough with the details.

The Cards only scores were two technical FTs when Jake Barnett petulantly tried to slap the ball out of Luke’s hands after fouling him.

At which juncture, U of L, playing manifestly ugly, without a second half field goal, found itself down a deuce, 27-29.

Time out, Cardinals.

* * * * *

boomOf last year’s national champs, it was Mike Krzyzewski, who astutely observed that U of L could go Boom! at any moment.

I’m not sure St. Louis saw the Cards next haymaker coming. The Cards went Sugar Ray Robinson, the Billikens, Jake LaMotta.

Battered and partially broken Russ Smith layed one in :13 after The Rick steadied the ship. 29-29.

Terry Rozier stole the ball, resulting in two Russ FTs. 31-29.

Luke Hancock stole the ball. Silent L grabbed an offensive board, for a put back. 33-29.

In 1:07 of clock time, the Cards 6-0 run reeled St. Louis in.

powA few moments later, after a Van Treese reverse lay up and two Luke threes, the Cards had their foe measured, 41-35.2

* * * * *

Nineteen (19) turnovers, 10 by the starting backcourt, 7 by Smith.3

U of L shot a lackluster 45% from the field.

But, but, but . . . when it mattered, from the moment when the Cards, torn and frayed, went Boom!, Louisville hit 13 of its last 18 shots.

Saint Louis averaged 5.6 made threes a game over the course of the season. Yesterday, U of L held them to nil. As in ofer 15 from beyond the arc.

You can say Louisville looked awful Thursday and Saturday in dispatching two foes they “should” have handled easily. That would be true. It would also miss the point.

Which is, whether the result looks like a Picasso or a Ralph Steadman scrawl, Survive and Advance is all that matters.

* * * * *

This edition of the Cardinals is looking feisty and gritty.

This gang gits ‘er done.

But it so different than last year’s squad, which essentially stomped its way to the Final Four. Or, most of Pitino’s better teams here, and you know where up the road, which would trample their first three or four tournament foes like they were exhis against UPike.

Each year is unique though. Duh!

One guy’s opinion: U of L has reached its full potential by advancing to the Round of 16.

After last year’s title, I told myself I’d cherish any success this year’s squad achieved. So I shall. What happens from here on out is gravy, the florette on top of the icing on the cake, choose your own metaphor.

A win Friday night would be HUGE! Over Wichita State to say, “Yeah, we beat you again, suckers.” Over UK, because, uh, I don’t think I need to say because why.

And, if it’s not to be, so be it. The Cards haven’t made it to three straight Round of 16s in three decades. Three straight 30 W seasons.

I’m happy.4

* * * * *

CBS made an egregious production mistake near the end of the first half.

They were showing a tape of Russ Smith’s dad, who was miked during the game, while there was action on the floor, during which Saint Louis scored.

— Seedy K

6 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Saint Louis

  1. At the end of last year, I told myself I would look at future success as cake. Like you, I think we’ve about reached our potential. I’m happy, too, and will be for a long time.
    Now let’s go win another one!

  2. I’d call Louisville’s run more of a “Boomlet.” I’ll take it, too.

    If Reggie Jackson is Mr. October, is Luke Hancock Mr. March? He is the key in many ways. It was nice to see Wayne Blackshear contribute on 3-3 shooting and nice defense; he remains a foul machine. He must learn to move his feet on D. I wonder at times if T-Ro is a little nervous on the big stage. I still admire the cat.

    One thing you folks (sadly) don’t see during the tourney? Gorgui Dieng’s Nordstroms commercial. Pure class. I’m sure you can find it on the web. I encourage you to do so.

  3. Body language decidedly bad in Otown…not sure what was up. Hopefully measuring emotion for next weekend.

    We only played Cart-nal basketball in the last 10-12 minutes after StL took the lead by 2. Maybe the panic light came on, but after that we noticeably upped the tempo and within minutes the Bill’s goose was cooked.

    I will present that StL may be the worst team ever to win an NCAA game. They literally could not make a shot outside of 2 feet.

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