Louisville Card File: Morehead State

Welcome to March Sadness.

While this isn’t really a game that needs to be broken down. I will do so a bit in a second. At least a little bit.

First, major credit where major credit is due.

Coach Donnie Tyndall and his staff developed a great game plan, especially on the defensive end. The Eagles executed it immaculately.

Louisville was out of sync early. Louisville was out of sync late. Credit Morehead. The Ohio Valley Conference champs were ready. Ready for the Cards. Ready for the altitude. Ready to play the school’s biggest game in, oh, forever.

Louisville has no legitimate excuses. The best team today won. Period.

* * * * *

Frankly, as disappointed as I am, I’m not all that surprised.

This U of L season has been a delicate balance. There have been inexplicable victories that have turned this team into one of the school’s most beloved, certainly the favorite of the Pitino Era. No absolutely reliable go to guy. Inconsistent post play. And an epidemic of inopportune injuries . . . up to the very end.

This season, Rick Pitino did his best coaching job of his Belknap Campus stint. But even the best have slipshod moments.

Were I on the bench, I would have fouled with the Cards up a deuce with 24 ticks to go. Let a less than stellar free throw team tie it at the line, with a chance to win it ourselves on a last shot. Overtime would have been acceptable.

That somewhat cockamamie strategy was not in force for the Cards. Demonte Harper hit the triple, his only one of the game in 6 attempts. Then Kenneth Faried blocked Mike Marra’s desperation shot.

Ballgame.

* * * * *

There were several critical junctures.

Louisville’s 2-15 start meant extra exertion in the altitude was mandated on every single possession for the rest of the game. 16 turnovers resulted.

Louisville went up 47-39 with 11:55 to play. The Cards then missed 3 of 4 FTs, gave up a couple offensive boards and threw it away twice. Morehead State retook the lead on a 10-1 run.

Equally as pertinent was Louisville’s woeful free throw shooting. It’s scared me all season and my fears were realized today. The Cards were 7/16 from the line. 43% does not git er done. Four different Cardinals missed at least two FTs and hit less than 50%.

Etc, etc.

* * * * *

For the second season in a row, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals go one and done.

I’m inclined to say this team deserves a better legacy than that. Sigh. Truth is this March Sadness will live on as a big, boldfaced asterisk on an otherwise storybook year.

Go Morehead, Beat Richmond.

– Seedy K

9 Comments

  1. Todd
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Have we (hopefully) seen the last of the fraud known as Marra, given the next two recruiting classes coming in?

  2. Big Smooth
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Get off Mike Marra. As far as I can see he works hard, plays defense, rebounds and is a great teammate. He never said he was a great shooter. He is a college student not a pro. He has never complained in spite of being the brunt of a lot of internet bull**** . His post game press conference was 100% class. He is a big part of the success of this team.

  3. Marko
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    As hard and deep as I bleed black and red,it’s over when it’s over,we never had a closer at any point in the season.PK was as close as it got,and in any other year would have been one stupid pass from a seat next to CRP,but somehow we kept winning….god love them,I did,but really good,they wern’t…..maybe,if PK doesn’t get hurt…maybe if Marra and Siva don’t look over matched……maybe if Deng had learned to guard anybody his Freshman year…and maybe if SVT lokked a little less dazed…then maybe we could have beat a 13………..less than 45% FT shooting will beat anyone………..When do we get to beat up our first football cupcake??????GO CARDS……..GO KROGERING…….!!!!!!!

  4. Seedy K
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree 100% with Big Smooth, Marra’s gotten a lot of undeserved grief from a lot of people because of that monkey The Rick tethered around his neck.

  5. Birdie King
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    28% 3-pt shooting should not warrant as much PT as he got.

  6. Hoya Paranoia
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Great piece, and great job with Score all season, Seedy. Thanks. This year’s Cards model were a terrific bunch to thrill to all year, for the most part. I’ll choose to remember that. And wish the best to Morehead State the rest of The Dance.

  7. Todd
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Marra- being a good teammate does not warrant getting more playing time that you deserve. 27.9% 3pt shooting was the worst on the team. And I must disagree- he is not a good defender and is not a good rebounder.

    Hell, the guy averages 2 airballs a game. And a typical stat line for him from the Morehead game: 23 minutes, 0-5 shooting, 2 turnovers, 1 rebound.

    With Buckles and Swop coming back and the addition of Blackshear, Behanan, Taylor, and Nunez next year, I don’t see any minutes for Marra. He’s the 7th best player on that list. Hopefully he’ll recognize that and decide to transfer. But knowing Pitino, he’ll probably make Marra a starter a la Will Scott.

    Go Cards.

    Go Cards.

  8. doug
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I loved that Marra took an interest in becoming more of a complete player. His defense, rebounding, and passing all significantly improved. That lasso around his neck with the RP comment may never loosen.
    Seedy, you can’t foul with a 2 point lead. Otherwise, good summary.

  9. cbcard
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    This is two games in a row that made free throws in the last 20 seconds would have iced. We missed, opponents made a three and we lost. Where the hell is Milt Wagner when we need him.

    Point two. No way we foul up two. First of all if the guy makes the first (remember this is the double bonus so even if it is a non-shooting foul it is a two shot foul) and misses the second Faried more likely than not gets the rebound for a putback and we are down one. And if the guy makes both for a tie let’s look at our overtime chances. Knowles is out. TJ is hurt. Siva is hurt and also has four fouls. We get blown out!

    And if you doubt my opinion let me point out Digger thinks we should have fouled. That absolutely without a shadow of a doubt proves it would have been a really, really, really dumb move.

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