Louisville Card File: Syracuse

joaniecardCorrected 2/19 at 11:25 am

It didn’t take long after the final buzzer for the calls and texts to come rolling in.

“Did you hear that thud? The sky just fell.”

“Boeheim totally shut us down in the second half. Why didn’t The Rick adjust?”

Something about the ineffectiveness of Anton Gill’s game, in a conversation with Doc, the details of which I can’t recall. Because, by that time, my brain was shortcircuiting due to the whirligig of despondency over the Cards’ second half meltdown, second loss in a row, and its third in the last four outings.

And, oh yeah, some more sighs and the invocation of this too often heard refrain, among friends and in the media, “Where are Luke, Peyton, Russ and Gorgui when we really need them?”

Which posit makes me think of Buckminister Fuller, an erudite, big thinking neo-futuristic systems theorist, who was all the rage during the counterculture. He was the type of big word guru, who made a scintilla of sense . . . if the ganja was good and that bespectacled gal you saw every day in the stacks at the library was finally willing to go out with you to hear Fuller lecture. (As long as she met you there, of course, instead of allowing you to pick her up at the dorm.)

One of Fuller’s most outrageous claims was that he could recite the entirety of his knowledge in XX number of hours and minutes, the exactitude of which audacious approximation I’ve long forgotten.

More germane to this flurry of U of L consternation is Bucky Fuller’s polemic about what constitutes a knot? Is it the rope or string? Or, is it the pattern? Or, some sort of continuum, which dictates the construction, whatever it’s made of?1

Anyway, Fuller was, frankly, no Marshall McLuhan, another public intellectual of that era, a thinker of extraordinary consequence, who actually made sense and saw the future of culture.

Just as these current Cardinals who constitute the continuum of U of L basketball aren’t the same as those from yesteryear.

Not only are those former stars mentioned early, often and above, given the team’s current travails, not walking onto the hardwood, neither are Wes Unseld, Billy Thompson or the McCray brothers.2

What we are seeing during this 2014-15 hoops season is what we get.

This year’s edition of the Cardinals is a Gordian knot.

* * * * *

Though I don’t yet believe matters are quite this dire . . . yet . . . the Cards could keep slip, slip, slipping into darkness, you know, #8 or #9 seed territory.3

We are going to find out soon enough what the intestinal fortitude quotient of this contingent is. Miami, Georgia Tech and Florida State are all games this team, despite its woes, should win.

During these days of intense, microscopic examination, we will attempt to learn what’s really going on with Chris Jones?

And why Shaqquan Aaron didn’t step on the Carrier Dome court?

And why my man Wayne Blackshear . . . ?

* * * * *

Yes, kids, there were some positives.

It surprises me not in the least that Pitino was somewhat upbeat after the loss. If only to keep the spirits of his squad on the plus side.

Despite his defensive lapses checking (trying to check?) Rakeem Christmas, Chinanu Onuaku played arguably his best game as a Cardinal. 8 points. 11 rebounds. 3 assists. 2 blocks. He played alertly and was engaged, at least on offense, as well as sometimes on the defensive end.

The offense flowed significantly better with Quinton Snider running it, than you know who. The ball didn’t stop after those first three or four passes. (It did stagnate more than somewhat in the second half when the Orange moved its fable zone several feet out, making it almost impossible to get the ball underneath to Harrell.)

Q finished with 13 points and 4 assists, a more than acceptable first game as a starter in such an environment on the road.

The Cardinals got off to  righteous start. If only they could have kept it up.

At the 12:30 mark of the opening half, U of L led 19-12, having scored on 9 of its first 12 possessions. The ball was getting to that open spot in the key to a big, and it was moving. The segment included a Rozier (Terry not Clifford) trey and a floating deuce, a couple MH jumpers, a Silent L slam, a Mahmoud jumper and a sweet Nanu follow on a Q missed J.

The Cardinals were scoring at 2.5/ minute pace.

The downside: That average was halved the rest of the way. During the final 32 1/2 minutes, Louisville tallied 40 points, a pace of 1.23 ppm.

The Cards hit 54% in the opening half, holding the Orange to 39%, and were a +4 on the boards.

After intermission, the numbers were essentially reversed. U of L hit 32%. While the Orange drained 58%, and were +3 cleaning the glass.

* * * * *

Louisville has slipped to #18 in Ken Pomeroy’s computerized rankings. Gary Parrish at cbssports.com has dropped the Cardinals to 20th in his daily rankings.

So, the questions to ponder:

1) Will Jones return? If he does, will he be chastened, play within the framework of the offense and keep the ball moving?

2) Do we want Jones to return?

3) Whither Wayne Blackshear?

4) Whither Shaqquan Aaron? (Last night’s minutes. David Levitch, 16. Qx2, zero.)

5) Is Anton Gill’s career as a Cardinal almost over?

6) Will Terry Rozier start finishing on his drives to the hoop?

7) Will Nanu continue to improve, and improve his conditioning?

8) Can The Rick fashion a plan and exhort this not quite ready for prime time team to meet its limited potential?

— Seedy K

6 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Syracuse

  1. Please forgive me for complimenting Wayne after last Saturdays game….Little did I know that performance would be followed by such a record setting effort Wednesday night….Mea Culpa…

    With that said, I harken to the Bard to explore my present feelings about the team, the season and my love for the Cards:

    The course of true love never did run smooth. Now, is the winter of our discontent. Remember, be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great. Some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

    Now, get out there and win the last 5 games, dammit. Get a double bye and a good seed for the tournament and let the chips fall where they may.

  2. And Alexander Pope said, “Hope springs eternal…”. Unfortunately, I think this team might be broken beyond repair: a lack of balance, depth and chemistry, not enough passing, too much drama… Maybe Jones can work his way back into Pitino’s good graces. If he does, I think he should come off the bench for the rest of the regular season. Start Snider, give him and Jones twenty minutes each. Pitino’s in a very difficult spot, and he’s clearly pissed about it. If Jones and Pitino can come to terms, there’s still some post-season hope.

  3. Questions 2&5 are the most ponderable….. I say no and yes….. I don’t believe that Gill will be alone as he ambles towards another destination. CRP seems to have saddled himself with any # of players that at best are not CRP type of kids……I believe the rest of this season will not get much better…. Thankfully it can’t get much more painful then this current stretch…….

  4. Anton & Manghok, Bless their hearts Chris stop emulating that other Rozier (clifford) and as Pitino implies realize that you can learn either French or Flemish to get by in Belgium; pick one and start studying

  5. Ws against the Irish and the Wahoos and everybody’s doin’ the Happy Dance.

    Please stay in your seats until the seat belt sign is turned off.

  6. There were several positives about last night’s game: 1) Nanu, I thought showed marked improvement; 2) Anas continued to show me that if he can get strong he could be a real contributor in the next three years: 3) Quentin Snider is for real and will run the team just fine for the next three years; 4) Perhaps Terry Rozier will see the light and see he needs to stay in college; and last, but not least, we are one game closer to the end of Wayne Blackshear’s career. He is the kind of kid I love, because he is great academically. But, along with Beau Zach Smith he is the most disappointing recruit in Cardinal history. I feel really sorry for him, but he just can’t get it done.

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