Louisville CardFile: Miami

With its way-easier-than-the-final-score-indicated 87-74 evisceration of Miami Monday night in Coral Gables, the Louisville Cardinals ended the Carl Spackler jinx.

So they’ve got that goin’ for them. Which is nice.

Assistant coach Luke Murray’s dad is finally off the schneid. He showed up at several Cardinal games last year, but U of L dropped them all.

To consider last evening’s affair from a golfing perspective, as as a looper like Spackler would, I’d say it was like match play and the Cards were up 9 and 8, but they continued playing and ended 3 up.

OK, enough Caddyshack silliness.

Two men down, with plenty of stuff to still work on, U of L opened the campaign with a decisive conference win on the road. Always a good thing. Even if the foe is as mediocre as Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes.

 * * * * *

So, let’s talk about the Card’s heralded feature attraction, Jordan Nwora.

Big hitter, the Nwora.

(Oops, sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)

With 12:53 to play, JN assured himself a spot on the Sportscenter Top Ten, when, on a lovely assist from Ryan McMahon, he fashioned a one-handed-Pete-Townsend-windmill-alley-oop slam. It increased the Cards’ advantage to 28.

See him. Feel him. But don’t touch him, Miami.

Here’s the three minute interlude that is his game in microcosm.

With 6:31 to play, he drained a trey to push the Cardinals ahead 79-52. At 4:47, he hit another from beyond the new more distant arc. On the next possession, he threw a lazy pass into the middle, which was intercepted for a turnover. On the ensuing Miami possession, Nwora snared a rebound on a missed FT. Then came down and twined yet another threeball.

He still lopes down court when he should be scurrying on enough occasions that it is frustrating. From time to time he’ll drive the lane with a sense of dazzle he doesn’t quite possess.

But those vexations were significantly less present than they would have been last season. His increasing number of positives outweigh those not-so-stalwart moments.

Ever the skeptic, I’m coming around to believe that #33 just might live up to the surprising pre-campaign hype that has projected him to seasonal superstar status.

Forcing matters only occasionally, Nwora was 8/16 from the field, 4/6 on longballs, and grabbed 12 rebounds. Two assists. Two steals.

Let’s hope such play becomes par for the course.

(OK, I’ll stop.)

 * * * * *

Here’s how smitten I am with Samuell Williamson.

Were he to play an entire four year career, which frankly has ZERO chance of happening, but if he did, he’d be heralded in the rafters with Grif and Wes and Pervis and the AD’s dad.

With only the early returns in — notice how I switched to election night metaphoring — Williamson has still impressed me as the most talented Cardinal since, well, in a long while.

He. Just. Knows. How. To. Play. The. Game.

My favorite play of his of the night sadly ended up being for naught. From the left corner he drove the baseline. When doubleteamed, he pivoted and dropped behind him what should have been a dime to Steven Enoch. But instead of cutting to the hoop, the Louisville big was caught at the FT line watching.

Williamson’s game reminds me of Jason Tatum’s. A good thing. He’s going to play a lot of minutes this year. He will be a significant factor in any successes U of L enjoys this season.

Which is to say, savor the moments. He’s not going to be in town long.

Not that I’m projecting or anything.

 * * * * *

Enoch, meanwhile, had a quiet 11 points and 12 boards.

 * * * * *

Ryan McMahon was huuuuuuuuuuge early.

The Cards had fallen behind by seven at 9-16.

Then McMahon went on a personal 9-0 run. Three. Three. Then a steal and three. Boom. 18-16 Cards. His mates added another 8 for a 26-16 lead.

Though it wouldn’t become obvious for awhile, because there were plenty of precincts still to report, that was the elec . . . ball game.

 * * * * *

So steady is Dwayne Sutton, it’s easy to forget his contributions.

16 points on 6/7 shooting. 5 rebounds. Rock solid D.

 * * * * *

Though I was truly disappointed how the game ended, with that big giveback to the Hurricanes in the final minutes, like Coach Chris Mack, I need to be happy with double digit league W on the road in the season opener.

Other than Williamson, the frosh have a long way to go to become significant contributors.

As much as I hated the end, it was nothing like my frustration at the beginning of the game.

I watched on the telly here in Louisville. And wasn’t too pleased to have to endure soccer OTs penalty kicks while listening to Paul and Jody on the radio call, while trying to figure out how to watch ACCNx.

Can somebody explain why that futbol match wasn’t over when Syracuse had a 4-1 lead in penalty kicks, and Carolina only had two more chances to score?

And, where in the hell is ACCNx on Spectrum?

 * * * * * *

When was the last game called by Ted Valentine that he wasn’t front and center all the time?

 * * * * *

Loved how McMahon and Darius Perry turned Miami star Chris Lykes into a non-factor. Fourteen of the Hurricane guard’s 18 points came after intermission, after U of L had the victory well in hand.

Loved the simple red unis.

Loved how there seemed to be more Cardinals fans in the arena than Miami’s.

1-0 on the season. Sweet.

— Seedy K



5 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Miami

  1. Williamson is all that. Constantly moving w purpose on offense, and while not currently a great defender yet, he understands passing lanes and spacing better than most seniors at this level. He never seems to be running willy nilly, always with a goal in mind. Also seems to enjoy playing the game. Color me impressed.

  2. Anybody that found anything to complain about last night is picking more bits than I can imagine. Great showing.

  3. Williamson is as talented a player as we’ve had since Francisco Garcia. His poise is a thing of beauty.

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