Louisville Card File: Rutgers

It was as if we’d been transported back to one of those oh we wish we could forget moments about a decade ago in the still arcing career of Dickie V. When he realized the producers could and would stop a replay if he just shouted “STOP IT!!!!” loud enough.

Fortunately you could then hit the mute button and the game would be totally suspended in time.

With 14:55 to play, Gorgui Dieng, Louisville’s singular, absolutely, positively, unequivocally indispensable player, lay writhing on the Yum! hardwood in pain, clutching his ankle.

Sean Moth stopped schilling. The Kroger Krew stopped t-shirting. The Ladybirds stopped national championing. The Boogie Man stopped boogieing. That Zooper Star wannabe stopped bouncing. Joey was speechless. Even the suite ladies who could care less stopped schmoozing. Nobody was even dropping a pin to test if we could hear it.

Louisville’s already tenuous hold on a scrawled invite to the Dance was in even greater peril than before.

Louisville 53, Rutgers 47. 14:55 to play. It was the Time of the Season.

Two minutes and 34 seconds of clock time later, the Cards lead down to 3 against a Scarlet Knight squad that had no intention of leaving the arena without a fight, Dieng had his Willis Reed moment. Crowd noise morphed from muted to 11 as gamely limped to the scorer’s table.

Louisville scored the next 12 points for an insurmountable 15 point advantage.

Not to make the moment or Dieng’s return seem more important than they were or anything like that.

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Dieng had as many boards (2) after his injury as before. Obviously it wasn’t one his best rebounding efforts. (Of course, Chris Smith had a stunning 13, and that young forward, 11. There are only so many to be had, right?)

The Cardinal pivotman blocked 7 shots, altered at least that many more, saved U of L numerous times on the team’s still inexplicably ineffective inbounds plays, and also bailed out his teammates when they were having troubles getting the ball upcourt when pressed.

Card fans can only pray that when GD awoke this Sunday morning, that ankle wasn’t the size of a beach ball.

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Speaking of that frosh forward, Chane Behanan looked, at least for the day, as the Beast of the BEast.

23 points on 11/12 shooting. The Devil made him take that trey, which, frankly was a good shot, and one which, if not taken in The Rick”s early years, would have resulted in being pulled from the game. 11 rebounds, 8 offensive. He even made a deadball dunk, which in the days of yesteryear would have cost him a T.

I’ve got a theory about his improving play over the last several games. Imagine your surprise that I need to opine!

While Rakeem Buckles injury is obviously not to be celebrated, one guy’s opinion is that it has allowed Behanan to take a deep breath, realize he’s the man at the 4 spot and just play. Exhibit #1: He had 5 turnovers yesterday, but didn’t have to keep ducking The Rick’s hook.

One more musical interlude.

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Chris Smith had 13 boards.

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U of L was 11/13 at the line in the 2d half, and 75% for the game.

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The flip side:

Proving that statistics can often mislead, Peyton Siva was charged with but a single turnover. The reality is that his lack of credible decision making cost U of L at least 10 points. His on court choices look way too often like those of 3d game freshman.

Kind of like Ever Nervous Kevin Ware, who, for whatever reasons, still hasn’t calmed down. It happens. But he’s never going to be an asset to U of L in the future, if he doesn’t spend the entire off season working on his right hand dribble and going to his right with the same facility as he does to the Brooklyn side.

Ten minutes into the game, Russ Smith was better than a point a minute man with 11 points. He scored one free throw the rest of the game. But actually didn’t play that badly. He’s trying to find the open man, and I think he’ll ge there.

19 turnovers. Which is part of a continuing trend that smells a whole lot like 1st round exit. Louisville shot just a smidge under 50% and the game was still in peril. This team needs to cherish its possessions.

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The Mike & Mike Moment.

Watching Rutgers coach Mike Rice self destruct and getting himself tossed reminded this observer of Mike Deane. The former Marquette mentor didn’t get tossed but he sure was taunted. And when his Warriors stole one at Freedom Hall, Deane trotted off the court, saluting the crowd by giving them The Finger.  He was, as you can imagine, an object of scorn on return visits.

– Seedy K

9 Comments

  1. KADACH
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Apparently Pitino thinks that the fan base is ignorant and is happy to win a few games every year. The man is a total spin doctor and I for one am tired of it. (His salary is currently ranked number 1 at 7.5 million/year, http://basketball.about.com/od/coaches/a/coach-salaries.htm) I am very tired of having these mediocre teams. He is not able to relate to the younger players and therefore cannot get the top talent. I really think that the fans need to show their displeasure with the current situation (EG don’t but tickets or show up for games) that is the only thing that Jurich understands. Pitino is NOT a mjajor college coach anymore if ever he was one…

  2. hms138
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    to KADACH the hater: pretty sure pitino got a big staying bonus last year to make it $7.5 mil, its more like $3.9 mil annually…while i agree pitino is a spin doctor, we do have 3 mcdonalds all-americans in siva, behanan and blackshear, that seems like top talent to me, too many folks are comparing pitino to calipari, who is recruiting like no coach in history ever has…while i want FFs every year, it takes a little luck, remember we were overall #1 in 2009, that makes pitino a major college coach to me………whatever dude boycott the cards if you want. personally i love this team and dont blame pitino for uncontrollable injuries. we only have 1 bad loss. we have won 4 in a row. the sky is not falling…

  3. Seedy K
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Ah yes, hms138, you are correct. The Rick is making but a paltry $3.9 mill/ year, and only gets those $10 mill bonuses every 3 or 4 years because, gosh, he stayed for another 3 or 4 years. At $3.9 mill/ year, and considering the unacceptable embarrassment to the university because of his most public infidelity (which tryst it can be legitimately argued greatly contributed to that “#1″ team getting to the Final Four), his dissing of his players in public and his woeful underachievement, I would opine that is grossly and egregiously overpaid. I’ve been attending U of L games since 1952. My family has been season ticket holders for most all of that time. Despite the fact that these kids play hard and seem like good citizens, never has the experience been less fun. How very easy to toss around the brickbat, Hater, to somebody who is expressing a legitimate, if unpopular opinion.

  4. Henry County
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Every coach is overpaid. Every pro athlete is overpaid. Every CEO and pro Wall Street player is overpaid. Our culture is sick. Without a doubt. If you want to boycott YUM or corporations or America, feel free. Makes sense to me.
    But if you want to follow college basketball, cheer for a group of young men, then get over the fact that they are not the most talented, best team in the country. I actually prefer following a team that is not full of one-and-dones.
    It’s your choice to spend a bunch of money to sit courtside. I see that you feel entitled to something for your dollars. But listening to Paul Rogers is free, and I quite enjoy it. Sometimes the Cards lose. Sometimes every one of us sucks. That’s life.
    If Louisville had some other coach besides Pitino who made “only” $2 mil per year and you were cheering for a mediocre-to-good team, would you still be so disgruntled?

  5. Seedy K
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Good points, Henry County. To answer your question, for me the answer is no, I would not be so disgruntled. A more truthful, self effacing coach would be a breath of fresh air. there are assuredly some with those personality traits who can also coach. It appears we have one roaming the sidelines at Papa J’s.

  6. jay walter
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Good observation comparing Mike Rice and Mike Deane. Mike Rice is a time bomb and will crash and burn at Rutgers because of the way he treats his players. He verbally abuses them during games and then criticizes them in the post-game news conference. I don’t understand how Rutgers allows this kind of conduct.

  7. Seedy K
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Criticizing players in post game press conferences . . . hmmm . . . that seems so familiar.

  8. hms138
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    to seedy k, i sort of feel the need to defend myself (and i’ve got an hour to kill before the uconn game)…i am not a pitino lover; like KADACH and Henry County, i believe he is overpaid. i also see him as an egomaniac that should’ve been fired over the Sypher mess, BUT i do not believe that, to quote KADACH: “He is not able to relate to the younger players and therefore cannot get the top talent. ” We’ve got 3 McD AAs. if Lexington wasn’t 60 miles away, recruiting wouldn’t be an argument for firing Pitino. So thats my first point.

    Also, KADACH wrote that “Pitino is NOT a mjajor college coach anymore if ever he was one…” I disagree. Pitino was better at UK than UL, and that sucks. His future HOF status comes from 1997, not 2005, ’08, or ’09. But he is still a major college coach, and will be until he retires, as evidenced by #1 overall seed, top 25 status, X’s and O’s and all. He knows more about basketball than we do. We may not like him, but the man is better than most other coaches out there, and I still count us lucky to have him for that reason.

    And furthermore, maybe it is a “brickbat” to call someone a “hater” but KADACH stating “Pitino is NOT a mjajor college coach anymore if ever he was one…” REEKS of hate, and is NOT a legitimate opinion. I’m not wild about CRP but give the man his due…

    I know you think his criticism of his own players (especially after losses) is cowardly, but i see it as sly and motivational, a psychological chess game the details of which we dont get to see behind closed practice doors. That being said, Pitino is no Southern Gentleman, and often comes across as a real jerk.

    And finally, i’m sorry that for you, the experience of home games has never been less fun. You’re entitled to your opinion (you have your own sports blog for pete’s sake), but I’m just not convinced Pitino is the reason for your malaise. Perhaps after your 58 years at Freedom Hall you just dont like the change, or J bone or J Dubb or Kroger tshirts, or or just too many commercials at the YUM! Personally I think you’re pretty lucky, great seats, a press pass, lifelong buddies, etc. Sounds fun to me. anyway sorry to write a novel. I really like your blog (though you’re no Mike Rutherford). Stay positive. Go cards!

  9. Seedy K
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Good points all, hms 138. And I will be the first to admit that I’m turning into a cranky old fart. And I’m assuredly too old old school.

    But, hey, we had fun tonight. And, when I get around to blogging in the morning, I intend to compliment Pitino from the get go. Trapping Boatwright in the second half turned the game around.

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