It was a much more onerous task, getting to sleep and arising this a.m. and reading the paper, than it was yesterday. What a difference a day makes. Sing it, Ms. Dinah:
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Louisville, playing its 3d game in 3 days, was certainly as tired and mistake prone as the Huskies, who were balling their 5th in 5.
Both teams were sloppy. Both teams lost focus. UConn, a play or two less than the Cards.
Jim Calhoun, crusty and underhanded as he may be, is a great basketball coach. He did a masterful job last night, getting his team ready, then keeping them in the game when it got tight. He’s also blessed by having Kemba Walker on his team. He can take over a game and, through talent and shear will, bring the W way more often than not.
Louisville is not so blessed. We love Preston Knowles, but he’s not that transcendent. (And Nolan Smith, who should be doing that for the Cards is playing for Duke.)
Rick Bozich was right. In this instance, beating a good and improving team for the 3d time this season (and 5th time in a row) proved more difficult than winning 5 games in 5 days.
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If there was a turning point in the proceedings, I’d say it came about a quarter of the way into the second half.
Finishing a 20-4 run that started in the first stanza, U of L took a 40-38 lead with 16:40 to play. Then forced a Kemba Walker turnover. But failed to carpe diem the situation. The Cards failed to capitalize, missing a jumper, getting the offensive rebound but giving it back to UConn without another shot.
Then, with Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles on the bench, gave up a second chance tying score, turned it over without a shot, and gave up another second chance score to fall behind 40-42.
It was the Cards’ moment to grab the game by the short and curlies. They didn’t do so.
Though the Cards did garner some short leads late, they essentially played catch up from the moments just described for the rest of the game.
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Did the loss hurt U of L’s seeding in the NCAA?
Maybe. Probably. ???
Given the general secretivitude of the Selection Committee, we’ll really never know.
It matters not now. Nothing you can do about it, etc, etc.
It is truly and unequivocally that time of year when you only play who you play. Looking ahead is folly. There’s no tomorrow. Choose your cliche.
U of L finished up 25-9, 12-6 and tourney runner up in the BEast. Who among us would have predicted such success?
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Trying to figure out how the Cards will do in the tourney, are ya?
Well, there has been a definite trend to the season.
Louisville won its first 7 games, all of which were walkovers, except perhaps the Yum! opener against a not yet ready Butler squad.
Starting with the UNLV W on December 11, the Cards have played 27 games, nine 3-game sets. They’ve gone 2-1 in every single one of those sets.
The Rick’s mind set became Truth.
If the trend continues — Is there any reason it shouldn’t? — Louisville will make it the Round of 16, then . . .
But let’s not go there. Get out your blank bracket. Sharpen your pencils. And do what you can to kill time between now and 6:00, when the seedings are revealed.
– Seedy K