Louisville CardFile: Utah Valley

joaniecardMea culpa: I took my leave early. But it was long after the Louisville Cardinals had taken theirs.

There was 6:58 left in — Thank you Naismithius, the Great God of Hoops — the last of U of L’s bakery shop December schedule, which featured a pecan cinnamon roll, two crullers, a glazed pretzel, apple fritter and down on its luck Western Kentucky.

Louisville 98, Utah Valley 68.

It was not close to that close.

In the opening half, the Cards were crisp. They hit 20/29 (69%) from the field, with 13 assists. (Truth be told, those 13 assists came on the Cards’ first 19 FGs.) They were 7/11 (64%) from beyond the arc, a stat which could have been better.

Had Trey Lewis not done his full eponymous impersonation on Louisville’s traditional Sosa play which always comes right before intermission. He dribbled, dribbled some more then jacked up an improbable trey. Which missed.1

So, yeah, It was about the only miscue from him or the whole team before the break against the Wolverines, who played more like the Avril Lavignes.

12/16 (75%) at the line.2 Six blocks. Five steals. Only four turnovers. U of L had only 4 offensive boards. Then again, they only missed 9 shots.

All resulting in another commanding halftime lead, this tilt, 28 points.

After cocktail time, Louisville cooled . . . considerably. The Cardinals were 11/27 from the field, hitting but 2 of 11 from Treyville. 65% from the line and committed 8 turnovers.

More pertinent was the lack of effort at the defensive end. Utah Valley’s FG% went up ten points, and the visitors drained 5/9 long balls.

If the Cardinals leave Jamal Murray — or for that matter, any Wildcat, Demon Deacon, Tar Heel or Blue Devil — open in the corner as they have their last several opponents, the CBS announcing crew will be dubbing him Air Canada.

 * * * * *

Despite all the confidence U of L probably gained with one Yummy! December annihilation after another, there’s one important thing they obviously could not have and did not learn. Which is how to play as intensely in minutes 34, 39 and 40 as they do early on.

To continue the pastry metaphors I seem to believe are apt, will U of L be able to run marathons after prepping on a diet of baklava and bon bons?

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One question was answered.

Louisville will miss Mangok Mathiang against the stiff competition just over the horizon. Especially if Chinanu Onuaku doesn’t shake his tendency to draw fouls.

But, even were MM able to play, it won’t make a difference if U of L continues to give up so many easy corner treys.

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All my naysaying notwithstanding, I am impressed by one aspect of the Cards’ game that was nowhere to be found last season.

Points off the pine.

Louisville reserves tallied 36 last night.

 * * * * *

Other “significant” developments.

Rick Pitino took the mic and regaled the crowd with a story about his beloved, departed brother in law, Willie Minardi.

Rick Pitino actually low fived and patted the backs of some players when they exited the court.

Most of the Cardinals — with the notable exception of Jaylen Johnson and Quentin Snider — wore their spanking new turquoise holiday sneakers.

Johnson briefly danced with Puerto Rican “legend” Bompy coming out of the second media time out in the final half.3

First year Utah Valley coach Mark Pope spent three years at Columbia Medical School, before heeding the call to return to basketball.

 * * * * *

Next Up: You know who. You know where. You know when.

— Seedy K

One thought on “Louisville CardFile: Utah Valley

  1. Ahem… and MATZ contributed 6 points and 5 rebounds in 10 stalwart minutes. His 2-6 shooting from the charity stripe was a disappointment.

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