The former Butler Bulldog, the guy who torched U of L’s #4 seed in the ’03 NCAA Round of 32 with eight — count ‘em, 8 — treys, made a surprise appearance last night at the Yum!, wearing an IUPUI uni. Or, at least, his ghost did.
The visiting Jaguars spent the first 20 minutes reigning uncontested threes o’er the Cards. Seven, actually, in only 13 attempts. I swear, I thought I was back in Birmingham.
Fortunately, Louisville did the tighten up on D in the 2d half, holding the visitors to just 2 more long balls.
Which allows me an excuse to cue up some Archie Bell & the Drells:
After the break, the Cards doubled down on the worst named school in college hoops, 50-25. Which made the final 90-60 score most deceptive against a team that stands only 2-8 on the season.
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So what can we — using the Mitt Romney royal we — glean from last night’s tilt?
Gorgui Dieng still has that upside we’ve thought to be there. He can board against guys who don’t know how to block out or jump. GD almost had a double double in the first half with 14 and 9.
That the Cards are far from fully familiar with this cockamamie defense The Rick has installed. Guys were missing assignments all night. And were slow to rotate, especially in the first half. The harum scarum pressure of the 2d half rattled the Summit League visitors in a manner that it won’t in the Big East and beyond. There were a few exemplary defensive moments, as when Chane Behanan ran an opponent into the corner midway through the opening stanza, when the guy wanted to drive to the hoop.
It’s good to see Rakeem Buckles back on the hardwood. That said, he is NOT the second coming. And his presence will decrease Jared Swopshire’s PT.
The Smith Brothers contributed 30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and committed but one turnover.
Louisville was 17/22 at the line.
And my favorite future Cardinal, Angel Nunez, in four minutes of admittedly garbage time action, tallied a lightning quick 7. 3 of 3 from the field, 1/1 from beyond the arc. He still runs like a gazelle and covers a lot of ground quickly.
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Other than that, there’s not much to say.
The Cards have a couple more rummies to play. George Goode and his Fairleigh Dickinson mates (1-7) and the Hilltoppers (4-6). Plus, before the first of the year, feisty College of Charleston (7-1) and rival Memphis State (5-2) come to the Yum!. Then the real season starts. Surprising 7-1 Georgetown at home. Then the Cats, who will be hell bent on doing to the Cards what the Buckeyes did to the Blue Devils, in Rupp.
The Cards are way overrated at #4 and #5 in the polls. They have moved up from 11th to 9th in Ken Pomeroy’s respected ratings.
I’d put U of L somewhere in the 12- 16 range, which works out to a #4 seed. Not bad for a depleted squad, but still below expectations. Then again, it’s only December 8.
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I guess there’s a certain panache to being named Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, i.e. IUPUI.
But even I, a man who likes the funky side, who digs the scene with a gansta lean, thinks there must be a better moniker out there for this school.
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Instead of sitting in the press section last night, I sat with my bride and pals.
There is certainly no more leg room. Nor more room in the aisles. (Do they really comply with the fire and building codes?)
But, hey, the nettlesome, most often in her cups woman who sits in front of us decided to stay home. It’s a good thing, and allowed me to concentrate on the game, instead of dealing with her inane chatter, and parry the barbs from my nemeses, Dr. Professor and Dough.
– Seedy K