1) Anton Gill’s application to Bellarmine is on hold. Sorry, Scotty.
2) Card fans could head out Saturday night and rock to Harry Connick Jr., the Kongos or Irma Thomas with smile on their faces. (Ms. Irma was sublime. Her encore of Dylan’s “Forever Young” transcendent.)
3) Joe Lunardi’s purchased at Discount World o’ Wigs toup can generate early onset projectile vomiting.
Bubble that, Joey Brackets. And, please, at least make sure that dead mop is sittin’ straight on your noggin.
* * * * *
Yes, there was oh so much to like about the Cardinals performance in a 22 point smackdown, its biggest W ever in the ACC.
Perspective, however, is in order.
Florida State’s seven league Ws have come against Virginia Tech twice, Clemson, Wake Forest, Miami, BC and Georgia Tech, who have a combined 27-68 record in the ACC. Leonard Hamilton hasn’t lost his recruiting touch yet, but once he gets ’em to Tallahassee, uh . . .
So, yeah, it’s nice. There was lots — lots and lots — to like. But, one guy’s admonition, don’t be checking Stub Hub for Final Four tickets just yet.
* * * * *
Cue Julie Andrews or Lady Gaga, or Coltrane if he’s your cup o’ tea, here are a few of my favorite things:
1) Anton Gill. 5/5 from the field. 4/4 from beyond the arc.
2) Which 14 points, when you add in Mango’s 6 and JJ’s deuce, brings the team total off the pine to 22. I don’t know the last time Louisville got that much relief help. Feel free to look it up and send me a nasty email about how lazy I am, and were I a real journalist, I’d do the research myself.
3) Q’s lengthy bazooka shot to Silent L, whose ensuing slam made the score, 8 nil.
4) Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayne Blackshear!!!!!
Here’s how Wayne’s day started. A missed trey on the Cards’ opening possession. A dropped pass for a turnover on U of L’s second possession. A traveling turnover, while driving to the bucket, on Louisville’s fourth possession. A missed second chance three, the 5th time the black-clad Cards had the ball.
Some time on the bench. Then a missed jumper. Followed a few moments later by a missed lay up.
But, but, but, but . . . he never quit on D, blocked a shot, grabbed a few boards and had a steal.
He finally got off the schneid with 4:09 to go before the break, scoring a layup for a 29-18 U of L advantage.
He finished the half with 6 points.
He finished the game with an assertive, team-leading, leadership-invoking 18 points. Along with four boards, 3 assists, two blocks and a steal.
So, what I’m saying is, early in this, the Cards’ second season, he stayed the course, despite early ineffectiveness.1
5) Twenty (20) assists on 31 made FGs.2
6) Five — Count ’em out with me, Sam the Sham Wooly Bully style: uno, dos, tres, cuatro (+1) — five Cardinals tallied double figures. Joining WB with 18 and AG with 14 were Trez with 16, Q with 11 and Terry “I Guess I Don’t Need To Score Big For The Cards To Win” Rozier with 10.
7) Rozier’s career-best nine assists.
8) Not So Silent L’s monster, no dribble, take off from the foul line, after a 3/4 court Tom Brady from TR, posterizing, I’ll scream to the cheap seats flush for a 43-32 lead.
9) Mango’s I’ll Do My Windex Imitation nine rebounds.
10) Louisville’s 18-1 second half run, ending with a Gill long ball at the 10:06, for a 64-38 lead. Bookended by Gill treys, it also featured an emphatic Blackshear dunk, a couple TR FTs, a Wayne three,3 another Wayne rifle shot after Mango padded his stat line with three offensive boards and a fourth board by Rozier, then a Terry swipe and another Blackshear flush. Which surrounded a single wafer thin FT by the befuddled Seminoles.
11) That the Cards kept pushing ahead Pitino the Viper style the rest of the way. Ball Game!
12) That the game tipped at noon.4
13) That The Rick went casual. No tie for the brunch time tip.
14) How the Cards, for the first time ran motion offense. Screens. Give and gos. Back cuts. Mooooooooooooooovement.
15) Thirty two points off turnovers.
16) Despite Louisville’s usual slow start, the Cards held the Seminoles scoreless on the latter’s first thirteen possessions.
17) A beautifully executed roundelay of offensive movement, ending with a clear out and MH layup +1 to push the lead back to 20, 71-51.
So, yeah, way more than whiskers on kittens, cream colored ponies and silver white winters, especially silver white winters, those are a few of my favorite things.
* * * * *
Let’s admit it, Georgia Tech and Florida State were the perfect foes to open the Cards’ second season. Neither is very good.
That said, the Cardinals played this week with energy, focus and rejuvenated gumption. Yesterday they added passion and panache to the gutsy effort earlier in Atlanta.
Q was mucho assertive. As was, as mentioned above, Waaaaaaaaaaaaayne Blackshear!!!!
And Anton . . . uh . . . go figure. Wilkommen to U of L hoops, Mr. Gill.
* * * * *
So pleased are we all with the W, I won’t microscope but a duo of disturbing details.
But, being old and cranky, I feel compelled to mention the items.
Blackshear and Gill fouled out. Mango finished the game with four personals. Got to stay in the game, fellas.
Louisville was only 11/18 at the line.
* * * * *
One of the things I’ve always thought Rick Pitino does better than any other coach is take a single star player out of a game.
Yesterday, the focus was obviously on Xavier Rathan-Mayes. He’s the guy who went Pete Maravich earlier in the week against Miami, scoring 30 points in less than five minutes. Do not adjust your sets, that’s not a typo.5 The Cardinals forced him to miss his first six shots, and he ended up with only 12 points, none from beyond the arc, on 5/16 shooting, i.e. he was a non factor.
* * * * *
After this week’s stellar Ws, U of L has jumped up five spots in Ken Pomeroy’s heralded computer rankings to 15th. The Cards D efficiency ranking is steady, as 6th best in the land. And the offensive metrics indicate their offense is 86th best in the land, not exemplary, but a jump of 56 spots in a week.
Motion and movement beget tallies.
As we like to twit in today’s totally terrific world of social media, U of L is trending.
* * * * *
Wayne Blackshear wasn’t the only member of the Cardinal hoops family to be honored last week.
Asst. Athletic Director/ Basketball SID Kenny Klein was voted into the Sports Information Director’s Hall of Fame.
Well deserved. Klein is as consummate a professional as I have encountered in any field of endeavor. He’s a pro’s pro, which is why, in addition to his duties at U of L, he coordinates the media at the Final Four, when the Cards aren’t in it, of course.
What I dub Klein’s “cheat sheets,” his Game Notes, crammed with stats and facts, are several cuts way above those of anybody else in the biz. When we scribes come up with some arcane number or factoid, those things we write that make us appear way more wise than we are, more often than not, Kenny deserves the credit.
* * * * *
Things get serious for the Cards this week. The Fighting Irish come to The Yum! on Wednesday; #2 Virginia, for the regular season finale on Saturday.
— Seedy K