Say what you will about Rick Pitino — and more than a few Card fans for some reason or another are ready to move on to the next regime — he does something better than any other coach in the game these days. Perhaps ever.
He can cut off the head of his foe. If there’s one player on an opponent who needs to be stifled, The Rick will set up a defensive scheme that way way way more often than not makes that opposing player ineffectual.
Latest example: Radford’s Art Parakhouski. The Highlanders’ pivot was averaging 16.3 ppg and 11.8 rpg against teams from the ACC, BEast, and Big 12. Including Duke and Kansas this season. In Freedom Hall today, he had 4 and 6 at the half, finishing with 14 points and 8 boards, providing absolutely zero significant contribution whatsoever.
As the more than a dozen pro scouts trundled out of the gym with plenty of time to go, they did not appear to be salivating over Art Parakhouski. A lottery pick he is not.
Louisville played a really heady defensive game. Radford had already started sucking wind in the first half. Against the taller foe, U of L grabbed 23 offensive rebounds, 5 each by Samuels and the rapidly developing force that is Kyle Kuric.
1 – Forget the numbers (18/14) Samardo Samuels played his best and most intense game of the season.
2 – If TJ ever wakes up, he’ll rank among the best centers ever to wear the red & black. If . . .
3 – The Rick seems to finally realize that this team’s greatest strength might very well be its depth. Lots o’ guys getting lots o’ minutes. It’s a good thing.
4 – Between them, Knowles and Sosa had 9 assists and nary a turnover.
5 – Jerry Smith keeps playing hard, but where did his shot go? He was 1/9 from the field for the second straight game.
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On peripheral matters:
A Zeppelin song actually crept into the pregame sound mix amid the hip hop.
Jim Burr smiled. Honest. I saw it with my own four eyes, as he was walking onto the court before the game with his fellow zebras.
Not that they’ve been much of a factor for anything whatsoever in the last decade, U of L’s cheerleaders — as opposed to the LadyBirds — are more insignificant and of less consequence than ever.
Radford has three foreign players. Four, if you include Evan Faulkner from Sandy Hook. Rim shot, please.
Today’s game was the 1000th the school has played. When I matriculated to college in Virginia in the 60s, Radford was still all female. The school’s gym seats 500. (No wonder eastern Europe is their primary recruiting ground.)
I think it’s pretty nifty that the Brothers Greenburg — Seth & Brad — Davidson’s Bob McKillop and Rick Pitino balled on Long Island playgrounds together in their youth. Not a bad coach among the quartet.
Next week: BEast foe South Florida Wednesday, UK on Saturday. The real season begins.
– Seedy K