Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

The time is now for the Louisville Cardinals.

Not that a 34 point victory in the conference on the road, even against one of the worst teams in the history of a Power 5 league, isn’t worthy of some consideration. After all. . .

. . . it came with Deng Adel watching again in sweats. With Ray Spalding committing his first foul 14 seconds in. With the Cards up 35 with 7:28 to play, and only giving away a digit off that margin at the final buzzer, while playing everyone at the end of the bench except Vinny Tatum.

In the heart of the game, Pitt — oh my, what a woeful contingent Kevin Stallings has fashioned — went 11:59 without a field goal.

So, as ready and energized as U of L was, I’m disinclined to hold this game in much store.

But I’ll get to all that in a bit.

 * * * * *

What matters is this.

The University of Louisville Cardinals sit, empty dance card and pencil in hand, precariously on the bubble.

The only really “good” W the Cards can point to is Florida State in Tallahassee. Then, as is this team’s wont, they gave it back at the Yum!.

Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech are all hovering in the same rankings warp as the Cards. Syracuse, to whom the Cards lost at home, and IU, which they beat, are staring up at the bubbles, hopping and hoping to grab one to sit on.

There are tens of teams across the land with similar resumés, looking to make a push and have a pleasant Selection Sunday. Some are going to make it, most aren’t.

Three seriously difficult road games await. Duke. Virginia Tech. NC State. Two challenging home games are also yet to be contested. North Carolina. Virginia.

It says here, in order to go dancing, the Cards must win 3 of those 5, be JWill/ Seth noticeably competitive in the other two, then win at least one in the ACC tourney.

We shall find out soon enough if this squad has steel.

 * * * * *

Louisville had a walkover. Yet to this gang’s credit they didn’t lollygag, at least not after they gave up three treys in a row early, fell behind 7-11 and felt David Padgett’s wrath during a timeout. They then ran off 11 in a row, and kept the pedal to the metal after that.

Despite playing Full Speed Ahead, Louisville only committed 8 turnovers. Six of those came late when it always gets sloppy when a team’s up 30+.

The Cards’ defense was scrappy, even if they looked like the Keystone Kops from time to time. Hustle alone works against a team as hapless as Sunday’s foe. More discipline will be necessary in the weeks to come.

VJ King looked more engaged than usual, and played incrementally better. He had a few deflections, seemed to be moving his feet on D, and took it strong to the hoop several times, instead of stopping short and going for the panache.

Darius Perry played his finest game. 7 assists. 7 points. 2 steals. His three turnovers all came on aggressive plays that were legitimate opportunities worth pursuing.

Jordan Nwora was 5/6 from the field. He grabbed 6 rebounds and had 2 assists to complement his 13 points.

Malik Williams was the star of Garbage Time. He tallied 14 points in 14 minutes.

Dwayne Sutton, who always busts his hump on defense, had 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in limited PT.

U of L, which got it in close a lot against a porous Panther D, hit 63% (34-54) from the field. The Cards were also en fuego from downtown, netting 10 of 19. 16/21 from the line works.

  * * * * * *

It’s hard to discern whether the cohesiveness of the last two encounters comes from the ineptitude of the opponents, or real improvement?

What effect Deng Adel’s absence from the lineup? What effect his return?

Rare is the season that even the lesser of Cardinal outfits doesn’t come up with a stunning victory or two. Ask Brandon Ingram about his not so yummy evening in the Yum!. Or the Tar Heels about their last couple visits.

The time is now.

— Seedy K

10 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Pittsburgh

  1. Albeit against mediocre talent I thought Perry driving and Q spotting up is more productive than Q trying to run point

  2. Hoya, I know you have an axe to grind with Adel, but it’s just not as simple as you would opine. You know more about hoops than that.

    1. Seedy, there’s several ex-pat Louisvillians up here who semi-regularly watch games together in the city formerly know as Chocolate City. They chide me for my “irrational dislike” of DA. But I truly feel he hurts us more than he helps us. The ball movement, not to mention the (welcome, personally) increased PT of Perry has yielded noticeable and positive results. Nwora, too, who I also like a great deal, slow feet and all, benefits from Deng’s pine time.

      DA’s hero ball just sets my teeth perpendicular. And the “best player” monicker? That would be Spalding, although he’s got hos flaws, too. Heck, Spida ain’t walking through that door anytime soon, and this year’s model is less than, sadly. Buy, as you know, I go to many Wizards games and love to chat up scouts and ex-NBAers. They know I worship at the Cards’ Altar, rib me, commiserate with me and more than a few have tuned in time to time. Not a one would consider Adel “our best player.” Most see him as a ball hog WHO CANNOT DRIBBLE (that bugs me more than anything) and somewhat lazy. I am with them.

      I don’t like seeing any cager from UofL injured, but have felt for a long time (last season, too) DA isn’t what he believes himself to be. A star. For some reason, I can accept VJ’s deficits more readily. He does seem to try harder, lately.

      I concur, it’s not that easy, Adel being gone equals W, but you have to admit, they seem more focused. I wonder if there is a locker room schism at times. An ire directed at him? Plausible.

      1. Most of what was just stated, has crept through my mind over that last two years. The non dribbling factor is not an opinion, but rather reality. Worst hands for that quality athlete I have ever witnessed. His core in neither strong nor focused, as he constantly appears a half a heartbeat from falling on his face, and his crossover is clumsy. Always thought the locker room scenario was my own private flight of fancy.

    2. It just might be that simple. Nwora wins the first ACC honor by a Card. Not Adel. He should start, even though, granted, our “streak” has been against crap teams. DA is not going to make a phenomenal difference, rather he will hurt the team.

      Now? Team is being led by a team effort. With frosh making major contributions. Not Adel’s self centered heroics, bumbling handles, and jangled nerves in pressure. Sans DA, the backcourt ball movement is focused, efficient and TO’s fewer thanks to 2 guards handling the rock. Not Adel.

      I wouldn’t say I have an axe to grind, after all. I do know about hoops. And I know DA is not the person fewer and fewer Cards’ faithful thought he was. Matter of fact, I think I have been correct. The emperor has no clothes.

      He is not that good… beat UNC? I’d like to. If Adel is a starter, it won’t happen. Quote me. Teams need a wing who has skilled handles, good court vision, focus, nerves of steel, team player and none of those terms describe Adel.

      It is that simple. He is not that good. He is a negative.

  3. Seedy…even the Lexington All-Stars?

    I must be sick…. I keep agreeing with your takes about the Cards…somebody help me!

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