What we do know is that the zebra called it against the team because a U of L cheerleader grabbed the ball after it fell through the hoop in celebration of Kyle Kuric’s exclamation point dunk, then threw the ball into the air in jubilation.
There are reports that the clock had actually wound all the way down to :00, and the final buzzer had sounded. If that’s the case, and I don’t know if it is, then the technical was an egregious travesty of justice.
My hazy recollection, diffused by the flush of this major W, is that the clock still showed :00.3. In which case, I believe: 1) It’s the first time in years that a U of L cheerleader displayed any indication that he or she knew what was going on in the game, 2) I love the kid’s enthusiasm even if it could have been fatal, had the margin at the moment been less than five, and 3) there is a scintilla of basis for the technical, despite the reality, given the situation, that it was an egregious error of judgment on the official’s part.
So once again there was technical turmoil for this feisty, beloved 2010-2011 Louisville Cardinal hoops squad. What has soft spoken Homecoming Monarch Kyle Kuric done to deserve being in the center of such controversies?
It’s that kind of year. Louisville’s had to fight for every point this season. To this group’s credit, it’s tallied just about every bucket it’s needed to in what’s slowly but surely becoming a dream-like campaign.
There’s gonna be a lot of talk about this cheerleader in the days to come. My hope is everybody will give the kid a break. His team had just snuffed out Top 5 Pitt. There was the game ball bouncing within reach. Who among us in the same situation wouldn’t have done something similarly exuberant?
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If you want to figure out how Louisville won this battle, you won’t find the answer in the box score.
Pitt hit 41.5% from the field. U of L, 34.4%. At one point in the 1st half, the Panthers were 3/19 from the field, then canned 5 of their last six. They were 14/25 in the second half. Ah, but only 0/3 in OT.
Pitt hit 28.6% of its threes. U of L, 26.7%.
Pitt outreabounded the Cards. (But only by one. The Cards were actually +2 on the offensive board.)
What I guess I’m saying is this. The reason for victory is DEFENSE.
And more True Grit than all the Academy Award nominees and John Wayne put together.
I’ve concentrated on this switching, stifling match-up zone and still don’t understand it. But it’s workin’ like a mo’ fo’. U of L switches from man to zone in the middle of a possession. Plenty nifty, that. And it takes a lot of concentration and communication for it to work. Which it is. Well conceived. Well executed.
This was a game against a grinder of a club that doesn’t and wouldn’t quit. U of L might have. But, as is this team’s wont, it persevered.
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Hats off to Coach Rick Pitino and his vast support staff. This is far and away his/ their finest work at U of L.
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That’s enough breaking this one down. I’ve got a lot of notes, but I just want to savor Louisville’s 22d W of this thus far sweet season.
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I ran into former Cardinal pivot Mike Grosso before the game. “Big game,” he said. “BIG GAME. This is what you wait for all season.”
I also encountered JGJ, who reminded me, “You OWE my a lunch.” I’d told him U of L would be 9-9 in the league, 10-8 at best. He had more faith than I. Wherever and whenever you want to sup, dude.
Kudos to the student section. They dressed up and showed up. Big Time. Loved the “Fear The Suit” sign. Loved the enthusiasm, which started early — DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE when the Cards were up 4-0 — and never wavered.
I loved that they went old school at the final TV timeout with the score knotted at 49. “Shout.” Isley Brothers.
– Seedy K