Louisville Card File: San Francisco

The Rick most all of the time holds a press conference the day before games, be they home or away.

They are mostly useless affairs. Which is why I rarely attend, though most now can be viewed in real time — or later — online.

Such is the nature of the coach’s dominant personality that Bob Ryan-style penetrating questions are rarely presented. If Pitino is in a good mood, he’ll be loquacious and it can be a most enjoyable and illuminating half hour. Most of the time, his tendency is to provide curt responses, often in a manner that is dismissive.

Tuesday’s presser before San Francisco came to town was mostly the latter. I happened to be there because I needed to tap into Kenny Klein’s library for some info on past Cardinal squads.

Anyway . . . remembering Pitino’s observation before the season that this squad would need to be good at the charity line, and observing that the Cards were hitting only 68%, I asked if he was concerned?

To paraphrase his terse response, “I guess I’ll just stop playing Van Treese.”

Silly me, for daring to make such an inquiry.

VT, who didn’t make it to the line against the Dons, is 2/12 on the year. Were he 8/12, the Cards team average would have been a more respectable 72%, just two percentage points under the target 74%. Pitino does know his numbers.

But last night, the woes continued. The whole team hit but 7 of 16 attempts. (TJ, who was 4/5, used to be awful. His improvement at the line is perhaps the greatest individual skill betterment of any Cardinal for years.) Louisville’s FT % has now dipped to a worrisome 66%.

My point: The Rick’s pithiness aside, VT is not the only problem. For a team that will surely be in a bunch of tight games, come league play, this could be a major issue.

Some other Pitinoise from Tuesday:

“Unless you guys mention it, nobody on the team would know (that U of L cracked the Top 25).” Really?

“Goode has moved ahead of Van Treese on the depth chart.” Against SF, Goode did have more minutes — 12 vs. 7 — but VT entered the game first, with a wave of fellow subs at the 13:20 mark of the first half.

Don’t misunderstand, I think Rick Pitino remains one of the better coaches in the country. It’s just that he uses the press to spin and get messages to his players, which, one guy’s opinion, is a less than admirable trait. A little more info, and a little less obfuscation would be nice.

Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on.

* * * * *

Pitino did say that Rex Walters’ 1-3-1 wheel zone would be a problem And it was . . . for a half.

It showed just how fragile the success of this edition of the Cards shall be. Forced shots that aren’t falling and no D means trouble here in River City and it doesn’t rhyme with P.

The Cards’ 19-2 run to open the second half was impressive, even if they should have been playing that way the entire game.

* * * * *

Our love for Preston Knowles notwithstanding, I have to ask: Is Chris Smith better? More valuable? Steadier? A maker of more mature decisions?

* * * * *

Gorgui Dieng’s instincts continue to amaze.

He’s still really raw, but he knows where to look for the pass, as he did last night on a skip pass to Buckles. I loved last night when he went under the rim for a reverse layup. That’s instinctual.

* * * * *

One thing this squad does not have is a wing player who can slash to the basket, either for a shot or a kick out. Siva’s the only one with those skills.

* * * * *

Watching all these great matchups on TV makes me long for the days of Denny Crum scheduling. UK’s has had several tough games already that will only help. Michigan State has played a murderer’s row of games that will only help. Etc, etc.

Which is not to mention how the fans are cheated by all these gimme games against Schlepper State and Unimposing Tech. It’s a lot of $$$$ we’re paying to watch scrimmages.

This year, and I believe last also, the deadline for tickets came before the actual schedule was released.

Frankly, that is unacceptable, given the exaction season ticket holders are paying for the privilege of attending games in the Yum!

* * * * *

I’m advised U of L has already sold 17,000 of its Beef O’Brady’s Bowl ticket allotment.

Good for us.

* * * * *

While many fans are incensed, and even Jimmy Dykes tried to stoke the animosity last night on the UK telecast, it bothers me not a bit that Freedom Hall’s floor is now blue.

Sad? Yes.

But it makes total sense, and I personally harbor no resentment. (Not that Harold Workman could give a big whoop what I think.)

– Seedy K

2 Comments

  1. Jason Puckett
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    As I opined on Facebook a couple of days ago, I’m not sure what was more annoying: UK fans making a big deal out of a blue court in Freedom Hall, or U of L fans making a big deal out of a blue court in Freedom Hall.

  2. Tom
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Your candid remarks on the spin is refreshing.

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