Louisville Card File: Providence

Call me a naysayer — I’ve been called a lot worse — but I believe U of L’s margin for error to make the NCAA has been eliminated.

This under-talented, but usually steady squad faltered in Rhode Island, and can now lose no game it “should” win and, to be safe, needs to steal one on the road. And I’m not talkin’ Rutgers either. That’s a “should.”

It won’t be easy. A tournament team “should” win all its home league games. With sneaky tough West Virginia, much better than expected UConn, pulverizing Pitt and Syracuse coming to the Yum!, it is a task of Herculean proportions. Plus the Cards will need to reverse the score on Providence and take care of biz against woeful DePaul.

On the road, Louisville will need to beat Rutgers, and steal one somewhere else. Cincy, maybe. It’s hard to fathom a W at UConn, Georgetown despite the Hoyas woes, Notre Dame or in Morgantown.

I believe yesterday’s L puts U of L in Double Bubble Trouble come Selection Sunday.

* * * * *

Preston Knowles nailed two big threes late in yesterday’s game.

Both were nullified by offensive blocking fouls away from the ball.

Tally that 6 and U of L totals 73. Final score 67-72. You do the math.

I know it’s not that simple. Or is it?

* * * * *

Here are the only other numbers you need to know.

4/23 from beyond the arc.

17 assists vs. 18 turnovers.

* * * * *

Chris Smith played his best game yet as a Cardinal.

Yet he made two significant gaffes near the end of the first half, one a turnover, the other an ill advised jumper. Louisville’s 8 point cushion was halved by the break. TJ turned it over to start the second half.

Then Smith made his third blunder, failing to get out on Marshon Brooks, who nailed his first three of the game.

Not to pick on Chris Smith. After all without his 38 minute effort, Louisville would have lost by ten. There was plenty of mediocre play and decision making from his teammates to go around.

Peyton Siva played his headiest game of the year, distributing the ball adroitly. For the first two thirds of the game, that is. When he tried to do too much later on, two turnovers worth, it was fatal. The Rick pulled him again at crunch time.

* * * * *

The answer is: Well, yeah, kinda . . . but, gee, in the end, probably not much.

The question must be: Will TJ’s effort in Marquette comeback kick start him into real improvement?

* * * * *

To be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out what kind of trickerated D The Rick conjured up? Double team traps on Brooks, I understand. Triangle and 2. Box and 1. Frankly my untrained eye couldn’t discern some of the modes. It was effective in the first half. But when the rotations broke down, Friars were doing their best Darnell Avery¬†impressions¬†with wide open jumpers from the left corner. (Reference: Butler, Birmingham, NCAA 2d round, ’03.)

* * * * *

Louisville didn’t play horrid.

But it was simply a game the Cards had to win.

They didn’t.

– Seedy K

9 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Another season, same issues. UofL hoops has become so predictable.

  2. Phil
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m not as pessimistic about this loss as I thought I’d be. It’s not as maddening as the loss to St Johns last year, or some of the road conference losses over the years (East Carolina?)
    It’s as simple a poor shooting, #2 getting in foul trouble, a couple horrible calls (the moving screen call on Kuric and then over the back on Van Treese) and yet with 2 minutes to go, we are still only down 1 point.
    I think we will make up for this loss by stealing one we have penciled in as a loss (even last years team, as bad as they were, stole 2 wins from Syracuse!)

  3. Birdie King
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Kuric and Marra – 1 for 11 from the field. Enough said. If The Don hadn’t been quoted as saying “Mike Marra is the best high school shooter I’ve ever seen” wouldn’t we all be wondering why he is on the team?

  4. Seedy K
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Birdie King, I’m not as dissatisfied with Marra as you seem to be. He does a lot of things well, and, if he can get over the psychological ramifications from The Rick’s absurd designation, he’ll also become a more consistent shooter. His 5 assists in the first half were sweet. And he’s coming off a couple week layoff. Some days the ball doesn’t go down. Which is why a more well rounded team is always preferable.

  5. Seedy K
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Phil, I’m not sure I like the chances of stealing 3 in a row from the ‘Cuse. But it would be nice, and they’re going to have to hold serve and beat somebody unexpected.

  6. Seedy K
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Michael, it does sound like the Cards under The Rick are on tape loop.

  7. fred
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    As a team, we just aren’t quick enough. It shows on defense as we get beat off the dribble and it shows on offense in our inability to get to rim and draw the foul.We get killed at the line, as we did yesterday because we have to play defense with our hands instead of our feet. We reach and slap and eventually send the opponent to the line, to our peril.
    Just for grins, on pg C6 of the CJ are the box scores for UL and UK. Both teams put up 67 points. One won by 11, the other lost by 5. Rebounds were identical. We had a bunch of assists but Kentucky shot more free throws. Shooting percentages were about equal. However, Providence shot 46%, South Carolina 33. Deeeefense. We’re too slow to the ball.

  8. cbcard
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    The comment on quickness is an 11 on a 10 point scale. Pitino doesn’t seem to understand quickness. Or at least he doesn’t recruit it.

    Think about how many years IN A ROW we have not been able to contain dribble penetration. Think about how many years IN A ROW (Sosa helter skelter and Siva a little less so excepted) we haven’t had a player who could dribble penetrate.

    No lateral quickness on defense, no quick first step on offense will cost a team some games.

    Actually we have had several years in a row of weak recruiting. You have one player in the senior and junior classes combined who is a steady contributor. That says a whole lot. It would seem Fuller is changing this but we are only part way through act one in a three act play,

  9. Seedy K
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Fred & cbcard: Good points all. Sadly, I see this season grinding down to an ignominious end. Sigh.

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