As has been the pattern this season, Card Nation attendees who actually showed up at the Yum! were late-ish arriving and small-ish numerically.
By the time many of them arrived at their seats, the rout of U of L’s latest plug du jour was a fait accompli.
Here’s how U of L opened against its fourth absurdly overmatched foe of the season:
Damion Lewis hit 1/2 FTs after being fouled while shooting. Full court press. Chinanu Onuaku missed a one-hand slam on an alley oop. Next trip down he canned a five foot J. Next trip he netted a follow. Full court press. Steal. Lewis tallied a fast break layup. Full court press. Quentin Snider banked in a sweet layin after a crossover dribble to lose his man. Full court press. Steal. Lewis scored on a follow shot. Full court press. Lewis tally +1.
15:37. First TV timeout. Cards 14 points, 4 steals, Terriers 4 points.
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I have promised not to beat that horse already dead, processed at the glue factory, bottled, and now sitting on a shelf at Oscar’s Hardware with an Elmer’s label upon it.
I will admit however, as a function of that phenomenon, I am not able to report on the tilt’s final 7:54. At which media timeout, Louisville had run off ten in a row since the previous stoppage for commercials.
I joined in as a significant portion of similarly stultified Red Sea of Cardinal Faithful (de)parted.
Get used to it, kids, it won’t be fun at the Yum! til after auld lang syne’s been sung.
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Speaking of Eqqus caballus dearly departed, allow me to raise a long standing shibboleth.
Free Throw Shooting.
After watching the Red/White scrimmages, I was encouraged about the possibility that Louisville would shake off its ineptitude at the charity stripe this season. Which is important because, you know, like, in close games, every point counts, etc, etc.
Coming into last evening’s encounter, U of L was a mediocre 65% at the line. The Cards were a scintillating 2/8 before intermission, improving only slightly after the break, 8/13. That works out to a boffo 10/21 (48%), the kind of number that has schools experiencing the second weekend of the March Dance in their dorm rooms, watching on the telly.
When Ray Spalding missed all three of his FTs in the opening half, I wondered if maybe his running mate Chinanu should teach him that underhanded Charlie Tyra method that always gets the crowd abuzz? It could become one of the signatures of this team.
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So, it is at this juncture, you inquire for the fourth Seedy K CardFile report this season, is there anything we can discern about the Cardinals yet?
This team is a lot more fun than last year’s dysfunctional ensemble, and plays at a significantly quicker pace. The Rick’s hyperbole about team togetherness1 appears to be the truth.
This gang hustles, doesn’t sulk. Early in the second half, Q missed a driving layup. Onuaku snared one of his 12 boards, whipped it to Lewis, who found Q in the corner, from where he drained a trey, doubling up the Terriers, 48-24.
The trio of key freshman — Spalding, Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel — have so much legit upside, I’ve fallen over backwards a couple of times, looking up, attempting to see the where it ends.
Damion Lewis is a jump shooting, slashing to the hoop, scoring-focused wing, the likes of which the Cards haven’t had since Francisco Garcia.
With Trey Lewis’s increasing comfort starting the O, and Q’s steadiness, Louisville is solid and mature at PG.
Anas Mahmoud finally showed some flashes of fire last night. His sweeping hook across the lane to push the score to 26-10 was sweeeeeeeeeet.
Jaylen Johnson continues to improve, without trying to do more than he’s capable of. Mangok Mathiang is the big who will get less an less time on the court as the season and team progress.
U of L can score underneath. Though last night’s inordinate 56-12 points in the paint disparity was an anomaly. A throwaway stat. I’m advised St. Francis of Assisi’s 6th grade squad is taller up front than St. Francis (Brooklyn).
So, yeah, the Cards appear to be rounding into a surprisingly effective outfit, despite the seasonal condition I have dubbed NAO. No Appreciable Opposition.
That changes for a week as U of L hits the road for a neutral site matchup with St. Louis’s Billikens, then the real test, in East Lansing against Sparty.
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For the second time in a week, Rick Pitino sent out an assistant to address the press post-game.2
I have no idea what’s behind his hiding out after some games.
What I do know is he gets paid an obscene amount of money, which salary comes from the pockets of fans. Those fans deserve to hear from the head coach after a game. It’s part of his contract.
— Seedy K