Louisville Card File: Western Kentucky

Yeah, yeah, I know this communiqué is a day late.

Sorry. But it’s not like there’s not other stuff going on, you know. Like, you know, Christmas and all.

And Hanukkah.

Which bring me to today’s musical introduction, as well as a lead in to discussion of the Cards’ less than stellar W over the Hilltoppers. The highlight of the game clearly was that magical moment when the festive holiday crowd chose this tune as the Song of the Night. All together now, “Dinah Shore-a lights the Menorah”:

Who says Cardinals fans aren’t the best?

* * * * *

The undefeated, Top 5 ranked Louisville Cardinals are stumblin’ and bumblin’ their way toward the REAL season. Which, not so coincidentally, starts this week with the league opener against resurgent Georgetown and that little rivalry tilt against the Cats.

Fortunately for U of L, the inexperienced Toppers didn’t show equivalent acumen at the FT line as they did behind the arc. Yet again, U of L gave up more treys — 6 — than they made, five. Fortunately WKU only hit 8/17 at the charity stripe. The Cards tallied 21/30, many in the final minutes, which 13 point disparity was obviously the difference in the 70-60 W.

Louisville’s perimeter D has been, frankly, woeful.

The Cards are undefeated, but have given up more three balls than they have made on the season. And are trending downward in that regard. Not a good thing.

* * * * *

Despite The Rick’s duplicitous remarks that it wasn’t a trap game, it was obviously a trap game. No matter how focused a team is, there are going to be times when it feels a victory is assured and lets down.

Louisville threw the ball away like wrapping paper on Christmas evening. Western had five steals ten minutes into the game. The Cards were guilty of silly mistakes. A lane violation on the second of two missed free throws gave Western a reprieve and an extra point.

Etc, etc.

* * * * *

When the Cardinals opened the second half in yet another funk — they were outscored 2-13 — I wrote this note, “survive and advance.” And asked this question, yet again, “Is this Drexel?”

* * * * *

Peyton Siva is obviously off his feed. His ankle injury is affecting those things he does best, move laterally, drive the lane.

While the return of Rakeem Buckles is a good thing, it has adversely affected the play of Jared Swopshire who has moved to the end of the bench. And of Chane Behanan, whose sophomore slump kicked in a half season ahead of time. Adjusting to the new rotation, and less minutes, he is playing more tentatively.

Gorgui Dieng is a bright spot. He is improving by the game, despite his offensive tentativeness. But he still hasn’t faced anything like he will against Syracuse or UK or UConn, so school is still out.

Russ Smith, duh, is the surprise of the season. He plays without fear. He takes chances. He can score off the bounce. The Cards would be dead in the water without him.

And, uh, that’s it. The less said the better.

– Seedy K

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