Louisville CardFile: Miami

Bah Humbug!


It was not a good night for the Louisville Cardinals.

On the court. And, for fans watching.

That’s to say it somewhat gently.

At the 7:17 media timeout of the opening half of Louisville’s dispirited loss to Miami, the Cards were already in the hole at 12-19. I flipped over to see how Lamar Jackson and his Ravens were doing in Buffalo.

At which moment, reliable Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker doinked a FG attempt off a goal post.

At the first stoppage of the 2d, when Louisville’s disadvantage had increased to -9, I again checked on the NFL game.

At which point, reliable Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker doinked another FG attempt off the left goal post.

Later, the Cardinal hoopster’s fate sealed in a 72-78 setback in the eery quietude of a Coral Gables gym, I settled in to cheer on the former Heisman winner and his mates.

Only to see Jackson hurl a 101 yard pick six. Followed by the scary site of viewing him on his back on the endzone tundra, then being walked to the locker room, not to return.

It was not easy to fall asleep.

It was not easy to stay asleep.

 * * * * *

Louisville’s play in the opening twenty was, choose your descriptor:




And, that’s just the As.

Some of them, anyway. Abominable and/or atrocious would also be apt.

Chris Mack adjectified his team’s performance as “sickening.”

Being somewhat more analytical, he also called his troops, “completely undisciplined.”

There is no reason to discuss any details from the first half.

No energy.

No focus.

No offense.

No defense.

It was the worst performance by a Cardinal team in memory. Yes, way worse than in Madison. At least that was against a legit, mature B10 team with all its parts.

Jim Larranaga’s Canes were duct taped together like a Tuesday night at the Y, when your opponent grabs a guy shooting hoops at a side basket because they’re a man short, when he’s forced to go to his sister-in-law’s birthday party. And it turns out the pickup dude’s a baller, used to play at Fern Creek, and starts netting treys from out on 2d Street.

At the break, Miami 33, Louisville 21.

 * * * * *

Here’s how futile the 2d stanza was, when the Cardinals played marginally better.

At least on offense.

After giving up a Hurricane 3 on the first possession, to fall behind 15, the Louisville Cardinals scored on their first eleven possessions after intermission.

First eleven times with the ball.

Yet still trailed, 44-48.

Riddle me that, Batman?

“No riddle, Seedy. You got to play defense.”

The Cards pulled within a deuce at 46-48, but immediately gave up a three to fall behind by five.

The not-to-be-denied Hurricanes held their visitors at bay. U of L never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead the rest of the night.

After intermission, Louisville hit 17/32, drained 3/10 from Treyville, made 14 of 16 FTs. In the 2d, the Cardinals outscored the victors by 12 in the paint, by 9 on second chances, by 8 after turnovers, giving up none, and surrendered no points on fastbreaks, while scoring ten themselves.

And, still lost because . . . no riddle . . .

. . . you got to play defense.

 * * * * *

A word about Isaiah Wong, Miami’s sophomore from Piscataway, who was able to do whatever he wanted.

Literally, not figuratively.

30 points. 12/20 from the field, 3/5 from South Beach. (Which is a long way from Coral Gables.) 3/5 at the line. 7 rebounds. 6 assists.

No turnovers.

Would somebody check that guy. Please!??!!!.

I was reminded of the performance by Cincy’s Roger McClendon, during the Cards ’86 title campaign. Bearcats prevailed in an upset at Freedom Hall, 84-82.

McClendon was en fuego 35, 24 coming in the 2d.

21 of Wong’s total came after the break.

 * * * * *

That’s all I got.

Significantly better than Miami, Florida State visits the Yum! Monday night.

Fresh off a seven point victory over the Tar Heels.

It the Cardinals don’t tighten up, it could get U.G.L.Y..

— c d kaplan



6 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Miami

  1. It seemed that half the Cards’ missed three point attempts in the first half were air balls. Does playing without fans really have that much effect on the shooters?

  2. Shooting air balls is usually I sign of tentativeness or tired legs. Perhaps they spent the day at South Beach?

  3. Somewhere in the second half, after I screamed, “Play some defense” as Mr. Wong was hitting yet another rather uncontested three, my wife said something to the effect that if Rick Pitino had been on the sidelines, he would be coming unglued. He would have been in full foot stomping, spittle flying, neck vein bulging, red faced induced, profanity laced, screaming rage. Since he would have been masked, perhaps the air would not have turned blue. But he wasn’t and he didn’t. But it made me think. I don’t know these kids. Never met any of them, never heard most of them speak and never been to a practice. But from observation I would suggest they lack Rick’s rage. I see no fire. I see no grit. I see confusion and bewilderment and I certainly don’t see anyone getting into anyone’s face, players or coaches. I’m a fan and I get really disappointed, not with losses to equal or better competition, but when I see a lack of fight and a loss to Miami’s second string. Coach Larranaga did a great job.

  4. Somewhere in the second half, after I had screamed, “Play some defense” at the TV screen as Mr. Wong dropped in yet another semi-contested three, my wife said and I paraphrase, that if Rick Pitino was the sidelines, he would be coming unglued. She was right. Rick would have been in full on Gucci pounding, spittle flying, neck vein bulging, red faced, profanity ladened rage and no one on the court or bench would have been spared. Since he would have been masked, the air would be not so blue. But it got me to thinking. I don’t know these kids. Never met them, heard most of them speak, watched them practice, and since I’m absent from the YUM, don’t even see them warm up. But based on observation, these guys lack Rick’s rage. I don’t see any one getting in anyone’s face, players or coaches. It has to do with transferring intensity and grit to one another. They looked passive. And after Miami came out in the first half and “punched them in the mouth”, that was it. There was no offense. There certainly was no defense. No one but Carlik seems to have any fire. I’m a fan and have been for a looong time. I don’t mind losing to a better or equal team. What I can’t stand losing to someone else’s second string because of lack of intensity and effort. BTW, Jim Larranaga did a fabulous job.

  5. The women are first in the nation and our baseball team is loaded. Watching the mens basketball game is not fun.

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