Truth is U of L is simply an ordinary team.
The Seton Hall loss, in and of itself, doesn’t itself seal Louisville’s NIT fate. But it does indicate there is little chance this Cardinal edition will have the wherewithal to win enough of the tough ones upcoming to make it to the NCAA tourney.
There are so many flaws to this year’s Cardinals, it’s really not fair to point the finger at anyone or anything specifically. I don’t think there are any “headcases” here, including the most convenient target, Edgar Sosa. Though excellent play by play announcer Dave Pasch did make two reasonable observations.
During the first half, Louisville called timeout after the Cards had given up and easy trey, Pasch: “There’s a familiar sight, Pitino yelling at Edgar Sosa.” Near the end of the half, after a U of L 3 on 1 fast break, “Sosa, not surprisingly, takes it himself.” He missed the bucket. And the two FTs.
Which is not to blame the senior point guard for U of L’s mediocrity. Do I wish he had overcome his flaws by now? Absolutely. Do I think he’s trying to improve? Absolutely. But it appears he’s going to end his career as vexing to Louisville fans as he’s been throughout. He’s really never recovered from the Texas A & M game. Or so I would opine.
Doris Burke — also very good and blessedly devoid of shtick and hyperbole — observed, “There’s not a ton of athleticism in the front court for Louisville.”
Buckles was obviously nervous as a starter, and it showed. Why he was starting is not obvious. Samuels didn’t get a lot of touches. Mostly because Seton Hall had an effective defensive scheme. Kyle Kuric didn’t play a second, even though U of L gave up 19 offensive rebounds.
Etc., etc., etc..
Rick Pitino is not having one of his better years coaching. And he, frankly, seems somewhat disengaged. He obviously does not have the eye of the tiger he possessed when coaching in Lexington. That’s a given. But he appears more sanguine than one might expect given U of L’s travails.
I’ve never liked how he coaches through the media, often being dismissive of players’ abilities. That character trait comes across especially inappropriate when the team, like this year, isn’t doing so well.
Cardinal fans can only hope that the players and coaches dig deep and work their way out of the current malaise. It is not an impossible task. There is talent there, if flawed and certainly not championship caliber.
But there is no more leeway. The time is now.
– Seedy K