U of L opened yesterday noon’s tilt as if the basket were the Grand Canyon, as well as the severely over-matched foe, a school so named.
A quick rundown of the Cardinals’ first fourteen FG attempts. Ray Spalding slam. Trey Lewis layup. Damion Lee missed jumper. (Dude, didn’t you get the memo?) Spalding follow tip. Lee trey. (That’s better.) Spalding layup. Lee deuce. Quentin Snider triple. Lee jumper. Snider layup. Snider jumper. Snider layup. (Q definitely got the memo. He had 8 assists on the day.) Donovan Mitchell three. Lee another from beyond the arc.
There were also several steals, abundant rebounds, a blocked Antelope shot or two, as well as enough deflections to actually make the coach clap his hands in appreciation.
After which interlude — which I called a “FLURRY!” in my notes, but may have more officially been what Coach K has designated a “BOOM!!” — Louisville led 38-15.
Matz Stockman was taking off his warmups. The visitors from the WAC, having proven themselves more jackalope than antelope, felt like they were combating Class VI rapids on the Colorado River.
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In front of the most meager Yum! crowd yet, in a season where the stands have featured lots of empty seats, U of L put on a show.
It may have been, according to Lumberjack Rick, in his postgame red and black checked Duluth Trading Company flannel shirt, that GC was weary from a quick turnaround and west to east travel itinerary. It may have been a newly discovered confidence, after a resonant performance and close loss to #1 Sparty in East Lansing.
Whatever the reason, it was a grande performance, even considering the quality of the foe.
The Cards had 23 offensive rebounds, which were three more than undersized Grand Canyon grabbed at both ends. The margin on the boards was a stunning +35.
Louisville also had nine blocked shots, eight steals and assists on almost half of 38 made FGs. The Cards canned 54% of their FG attempts, draining 10/22 treys.
You know how I loathe U of L’s non conference home schedule.1 These games are way more often than not . . . B*O*R*I*N*G. To the max.
Yesterday’s, for some reason, felt a little different. There was flow. There was fun.
More than that, it was a muscle flex, a confirmation of what many around here, and around the country, are starting to realize. This ’15-’16 edition of the Louisville Cardinals could develop into a good team. A very good team.
I gots to say it, a legit contenda.
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Okay, Charlie, calm down.
This was, after all, Grand Canyon, a school that you had, frankly, never heard of until the name appeared on U of L’s schedule.
There’s plenty of work to be done.
Chninanu Onuaku has to stop committing stupid fouls and stay in the game. He was only on the court for 13 undistinguished minutes yesterday.
The team’s FT shooting needs to improve.
And that still vexing, and as yet unnamed man/switching/zone hybrid D is still a work in progress. The remaining more than occasional confusion provided the visitors with several wide open uncontested opportunities from long range.
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Then again, this squad has five talented bigs — Mangok, Anas, Chinanu, Jaylen, and the soon to best of them all, y’all, Raymond — to man the two frontcourt spots.2 Plus five stalwart guards — Lewis, Lee, Q,3 Mitchell and ever steady David Levitch — to man the backcourt.
And, oh yeah, there’s that other guy, the one who has played nervous so far, until he got hurt, but who everybody else on the teams says is their strongest and best defensive player, Deng Adel. He, it is said, will be back from his injury in a couple of weeks.
It’ s getting so bright in here, I just put on my shades.
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Ever the contrarian, I must find something to argue about, right?
It was reported after the game, either by The Rick or one of the players, that U of L launched nary a contested shot.
I feel compelled to disagree.
So well in hand was this massacre, that Matz Stockman entered the game with almost seven minutes still to play . . . in the first half, after a 12-4 Cardinal run had pushed the margin to 23 at 42-19.
He had a tipin illegally blocked. He was credited for two on the goaltending infraction.
That’s a contested shot. Just sayin’.
I feel so much calmer now having made that correction.
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When Q and Raymond Spalding — Can we call him Ray? — took the court for the opening tip, this question was posed: When was the last time U of L had two home grown starters?
As best as I can tell from minimal research, and I’m not holding this out as gospel, you’d have to got back to the ’99-’00 campaign, when Tony Williams and Quintin Bailey were in the opening lineup.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
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Next up: Oh, I forget. Some schlepper. Next Saturday afternoon at 2:00.
— Seedy K