Louisville CardFile: Virginia

My take on Saturday’s encounter with UVa is that peripherals were more important than action on the court. There was zero indication Louisville had a chance to prevail.

But, this is a game story.

So, meeting my obligations, there are a few matters of note to be discussed.

The Cards started solid, running out to a 7-0 advantage.

The Cavaliers caught U of L at 12, then again at 14 after Star of Game Sydney Curry pushed the homies ahead by a deuce.

Out of the 7:45 media timeout, the Wahoos scored. U of L turned it over. U Va forged ahead 18-14 on the ensuing possession.

In my notes, I asked a question. Was it rhetorical?


So that disadvantage came to be.

The victors finished the opening half on a 22-3 run. U of L’s last FG of the 1st was Sydney Curry’s with 6:42 left. The Cards first field score in the 2d was a Mason Faulkner triple at 18:11. If my arithmetic is correct, that’s 8:31 (give or take a tick) without scoring a FG.

Yet again, a hole too deep, a shovel too small.

 * * * * *

Sydney Curry was a Man. THE Man.

24 points on 9/13 shooting, 6/6 at the line. 14 boards, 6 offensive. Three assists.

Four old school 3 point plays.

Intensity which cannot be quantified.

Another significant stat the Cardinal bully revealed post-game.

49. As in the amount of avoirdupois he has shedded since matriculating on the Belknap Campus. 301 lbs. upon arrival. A cut 252 at game time.

More importantly, during his meet and greet after the L, he said nothing to indicate he has wandering eyes.

 * * * * *

If only Malik Williams was 1/20th as engaged as Curry.

The team was never going to come back. But the others were engaged. And tried. Pulled it close late.

After a U of L score in the first, Williams started dancing on the court, instead of getting back on D. After a Card foul, the senior had the rock. Instead of handing it to the ref, who was asking for it, Williams kept trying layups with the clock stopped, the last of which from the bottom of the hoop through the top.

On one possession, he airballed an ill-advised jumper, got the rebound, and airballed the follow from close in.

Asked about Williams after the tilt, Mike Pegues expressed he hoped Malik had the “energy, investment, and commitment” to help U of L in Brooklyn. Tapping his chest, Pegues indicated he hopes the senior has the heart to compete.

Color me skeptical.

I haven’t the slightest idea what is or has been going on with Williams, but he showed little if any heart against Virginia.

That he saw 34 minutes of action is dumbfounding to me.

Sam Williamson saw 2:43 of action, Matt Cross, 4:31. Roosevelt Wheeler, who at least tried, and might be a future contributor if he stays in the Ville, was on the hardwood for 2:03.

 * * * * *

The peripherals.

It appeared to me, the smallest crowd in years, decades. (No attendance figure appears on Official Box Score.)

The student section was deserted.

The Pep Band was six strong, with the director on drum.

There was no color guard.

Many aisles were without an usher.

The hundreds of fans in the seats twenty minutes before tip during Senior Day ceremonies were respectful. Even to is-he-in-or-out Malik Williams. Mason Faulkner, Jarrod West and Noah Locke are all one and done Portal transfers.

The squad appeared attentive during the Seniors’ highlight video.

Injured Jae’Lyn Withers wasn’t in his uni.

During pregame warmups, the Cards were as focused as a bunch of dudes, waiting to choose sides in a Tuesday night Shirts vs. Skins at the Y.

At halftime, U of L down 19, I texted my two main Cardinal peeps, “My heart aches.”

 * * * * *

Most salient, all things considered.

I was standing next to Jerry Eaves before tipoff.

“I know you won’t answer, but I gotta ask,” said I, “have you talked with Kenny?”

He chuckled.

Right before his response, the music kicked in loudly, so I may not have heard his answer correctly, but . . .

. . . what I thought I heard him say was, “Unfortunately.”


 * * * * *

In his post game blurb, my Card Chronicle Glorious Editor, observed, “Real Season starts Tuesday.”

I emailed him with a correction.

“Real season starts Wednesday.”

— c d kaplan

4 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Virginia

  1. The only consolation to me was after the women’s utter collapse Friday there was little pain left to heal.
    The men will be awhile getting back to whatever back will take.

  2. Brando, “You don’t understand.[I] we coulda had class. [I] We coulda been a contender. [I] We coulda been somebody, instead of a bum which is what [I] am” and we are. G-d the truth hurts.

  3. As you have written, this season is past analysis for me. I think the talent is sub-par to the standards we are accustomed to and the development of that talent was minimal. I do have one issue that puzzles me beyond that. How could we have a second Montrezl on the team and have him not even play (dominate) any significant minutes until the season was a loss?

    1. Personnel mismanagement was the hallmark of this year’s model. West, Williams and Lock were always left on the floor too long. Curry, Ellis and Traynor were left, inexplicably, on the bench until their contributions were moot.

      Malik Williams seemingly checked out in December, not that he played that great before, but he became the archetype of playing out the string. Something was wrong with this picture all season. And his discontent metastasized into a team wide cancer.

      I appreciate Coach Pegue’s effort throughout the season, but something was so very wrong, and it goes back to personnel. Mishandled, over- and under-estimated, and going out on the court with zero offensive or defensive plan. McMains should be driven out of town. From the very beginning, he sold the program on something akin to The Emperor’s New Clothes. There was never anything there. That’s on Mack, a coach totally unable to right the wrongs or adjust to the impact COVID had.

      I’d get used to the feeling, like Hoyas fans have. It’s a deep hole to dig out of.

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