Louisville Card File: Notre Dame

Revised 2/18 10:13 a.m.

Considering that U of L’s days in Freedom Hall are dwindling — 2 is the lonely number — the immediate reaction after last night’s stirring double OT W over Notre Dame is that it was a Game for the Ages.

And, a quick perusal through the media guide indicates that, factually, indeed it is.

The Cards have played over 800 games in the Hall. Before last night, only 7 went past one OT. That’s less than 1%. A couple went to triple OT: a 78-79 loss to DePaul in ’62, and a 82-80 W over Cincy in ’64.

The Cards now stand 4-2 at home in double OT games with Ws over Boston College in ’96, Creighton in ’76, Southern Illinois in ’66 and last night. That win over the Salukis is especially memorable. Jack Hartman’s club featured future NBA great Clyde Frazier, and at the end of the season eschewed the Division II tournament to win the NIT. U of L lost double OT games at home to Marquette in ’96 and Kansas in ’67.

Three of Notre Dame’s last 4 visits to Notre Dame have gone to oooooooooooovertime.

So, yes, the nailbiter with umpteen lead changes was one for the ages. I kept visualizing my mother, may she rest in peace, who would get so nervous during such pressure-packed tilts, she’d leave her seat in Section 333 and walk the hallways until the game was over. Last night’s W was for you, mom.

* * * * *

Samardo Samuels was The MAN. Though I kept thinking, how sad that Terrence Jennings has been so ineffectual he wasn’t inserted for a nanosecond in the game’s final 30 minutes. SS sat himself down for a quick blow with 1:37 left in the 2d OT, but he was replaced by Peyton Siva. Only to return but a few seconds later to nail the game-winning free throws at 1:11.

The Cards were a neon glossy, ssssssssssswisherriffic, nay perfect 14 for 14 at the charity stripe during the OTS. Sosa hit two. Swop hit two. Smith hit two. SS made the rest. Let’s hear for the S & S & S & SS boyz.

* * * * *

My first note of the game, written before the first TV timeout: “Samuels can’t be contained.”

Indeed, he fouled out the Irish’s 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th best pivot men. Luke Harangody, of course, was sitting on the bench. But his look alike was on the court. Freshman Jack Cooley has the Harangody haircut, the Harangody shuffle, but, at least not yet, the Harangody game. The thuggish baller set some mean picks though.

Samuels was well scouted however. Mike Brey was obviously aware that SS brings the ball down too low when he makes his spin to the hoop and a disturbing number of balls were batted away by Irish guards cheating low.

* * * * *

I also wondered early on why Louisville was playing only zone against such a great outside shooting team? But that Cardinal strategy seemed more reasonable after U of L switched to a man to man with 1:53 left in regulation.

Notre Dame was able to clear out way too easily against man pressure and scored several close in hoops.

Also inexplicable, though not fatal in the end, was how easily Notre Dame guards split the outside defenders of the 2-3 for jumpers from the foul circle.

* * * * *

Louisville’s steadiest play of the season came after surrendering the first 7 points of OT #1, falling behind 67-74 with 3:23 to go in the period. But nothing will juice up a team — and a crowd — more than a four point play. They were Reggie Delk’s only points of the night. But big ones they were.

The Cards also came up huge at the end of regulation and the two OTS, when ND had the ball and chances to win, but were stopped.

* * * * *

Edgar Sosa continues to be the bane of Card fans’ existence. There were cheers once when Peyton Siva left the bench to replace him. And boos several times when ES returned to action, or made one of his drives to the hoop ending with the Irish scurrying down a court with a steal.

* * * * *

Hats off to Mike Brey and the Irish. Ben Hansbrough, Tim Abromaitis and Tory Jackson played smart and to the outer limits of their ability and beyond exhaustion.

* * * * *

Two former Cardinals were honored during timeouts last night.

Don Goldstein played on U of L’s ’59 Final Four team. He once gave me a Cardinal practice ball. I played with that rock on asphalt until the leather wore off down to the rubber bladder.

Wes Unseld is forever and always my favorite Cardinal of all-time. And, Darrell Griffith notwithstanding, U of L’s most important player ever. Period.

* * * * *

Once again the BEast is being heralded as the best league in the land.

I checked out national rankings to see if stats back that up?

They do.

Syracuse leads the nation in FG %. Georgetown is 3d. UConn, as usual, leads the country in blocks/game. Rutgers is 4th. Notre Dame has the best assist/turnover ratio. Marquette is 4th. The Golden Eagles are also right at the top in three-point FG %. Four league schools are among the top 10 in scoring/ game.

Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis is hitting 49% of his 3s. Which makes that trap in the corner that ended last night’s game a major effort. Disallowing him a look was a good thing.

* * * * *

The Cards stand 1-0 in the Richie Phares Era.

* * * * *

Sigh. Only two more Louisville games in Freedom Hall — Georgetown and Syracuse.

Don’t bother knockin’, the Hall will be rockin’.

– Seedy K

6 Comments

  1. Crgabe
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    True dat on Wes Unseld. If Coach Dromo had not been successful in recruiting Big Wes, Denny would never have come and we’d still be playing Bellarmine as a regular season game.

  2. Sorry
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hey Crgabe, Bellarmine played U of L in a regular season game a couple of years ago. If memory serves, a very average BU team only trailed by five at the half and lost by twelve or so.

    And the Knights would’ve defeated the ‘Ville last season had the schools played. But thanks for playing!

  3. Seedy K
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, you are correct that the Knights did play Louisville tough a couple of seasons ago. But it was an “exhibition,” not a regular season game.

    And, while I loved last year’s BU team, thought it ran the motion offense better than any school at any division, I daresay they might have played the Cards close, but a win would have been most difficult.

    Perspective is in order here.

  4. cbcard
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    During one of the calls from home I received while in college my father told me the previous night we had played against the best guard he had seen in perhaps 10 years. I was so dumb that when he answered my “Who?” I had no clue who Walt Frazier was. Sure found out. Damn, wish Al Gore had invented the internet back then.

    And to match my father with your mother I guarantee you upon leaving the game last night he would have said either “I hate these lopsided games” or “We had it all the way.”

    In his honor I said both.

  5. Joe
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Actually 3 years ago BU did play UofL in a regular season game. It was Jerry and Edgar’s freshman year.

    That was a VERY average BU team (nowhere near last years, or this years) and it was about an 11 point game.

    That game was during the NABC classic.

  6. Seedy K
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Joe, I stand corrected. In December, ’06, Louisville beat Bellarmine 76-64 in a regular season game. Thanks for setting me straight.

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