That was the observation of color analyst Len Elmore, a man normally measured in his comments, an eloquent man disinclined to hyperbolize.
It came with seven and a half minutes to play and Louisville 7 down but without hope in its MlKJr afternoon meltdown in Milwaukee. The Cardinals were outscored 45-72 in the final 33:49 after leading 18-2. All Buzz Williams did was switch from zone to man, and the Cards were flummoxed.
Elmore again: “I’m not surprised Marquette came back. I didn’t think they’d do it so quickly.”
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Actually, losing that early lead is the least of my many concerns about this reeling Cardinal squad. It happens in a lot in games, most of which right themselves, evening up by halftime.
This squad is battered, and, if not face down on the canvas with the ref counting eight, supine on an elbow, looking to the corner for help. The cut man might be out of styptic.
Where will it come from? To quote, Elmore one last time, “Louisville doesn’t have a leader on the floor.”
The starters were in at the moment.
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I haven’t looked at the stats, not a single one of which would tell the tale of this particular loss, nor offer perspective on the rudderless, rapidly deteriorating season.
Weeks ago, fourth in the land — a faux 4th, but 4th nonetheless — this team now has NIT written all over it.
Can we legitimately expect that Kyle Kuric’s return will be the catalyst for a resurgence, given his reticent demeanor and an offense that fails to get him the ball where he can fire it? Would the return of Van Treese, or the emergence of Zach Price, add that much post depth? Will Kevin Ware’s development accelerate to the point this season, that he — he without a right hand move — can carry the squad? Would Wayne Blackshear’s debut provide the balling and leadership to shake off this team’s doldrums?
Will Peyton Siva suddenly discover his jump shot, and start making the kinds of on court decisions quality point guards do?
Most important, will master motivator — or so it is said — Rick Pitino find some encouraging words to embolden the troops? Will he amend his offense to something that resembles workable and effective? I’m thinking some sets where perhaps Gorgui Dieng isn’t bringing it up court, or handling the ball 25 feet from the bucket, looking for somebody, anybody to pass it to.
Will a three point defense emerge from this mid season wreckage?
(Not that a really resilient assemblage can’t overcome that obstacle. Pitino’s one Final Four team here was Pittsnoggled — giving up 18/27 3s — and survived. Of course, Otis George, Ellis Myles, Francisco Garcia, Larry O’Bannon, Juan Palacios, Brandon Jenkins and Taquan Dean ate nails for breakfast, then again for midnight snack.)
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If we’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that team chemistry is elusive and unpredictable.
The ’96-’97 team featured DeJuan Wheat, the grit of B.J. Flynn and not much else, yet made it to the Elite Eight. Last year’s version of the Cards, one of the most beloved in recent years, a gang with many comebacks, crapped out against Morehead State, losing for the second year in a row in the opening round of the NCAA.
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I hope I’m wrong, but this team looks like toast.
– Seedy K