Louisville Card File: UConn (Funky Video Included)

Revised 2/07 1:22 pm

Allow me to now praise the worthy.

Rick Pitino. Last night’s evisceration of the Huskies was kickstarted in the second half when U of L began trapping UConn’s guards after they crossed mid court. The visitors turned it over 11 times after the break, resulting in a dozen Louisville points.

As tactically astute a move as that was — a game changing strategic ploy — I’m not sure I agree with The Rick’s post game praise of Ryan Boatwright. His point and rebound totals are impressive on their face, but his tom toming the ball and selfish game contributed significantly to the Huskies’ demise. Connecticut is not only without its coach Jim Calhoun, but it is rudderless.

Peyton Siva. 9 assists against only 2 turnovers. More important, he was alert and quick on defense, often cutting off erstwhile UConn penetrators. Siva’s decision making with the ball was better than it’s been in awhile.

Gorgui Dieng continues to improve rapidly before our eyes. He added a stunning 6 steals to his repertoire. To go along with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Did we not love Dieng’s move along the baseline for a reverse slam to give Louisville its biggest lead to that point, 38-25?

Angel Nunez. The kid has a mighty pretty shot. And some serious range.

Chane Behanan continued his board play. 12 caroms, 5 on the offensive end. As a team, U of L outrebounded Connecticut by 9. When was the last time that happened against a school famous for its inside dominance?

* * * * *

His own special section goes to the relatively unheralded, steady as he goes Chris Smith.

We marvel at Russ Smith, watch Dieng turn into a baller, pray that the Chane Gang stays around for a few years, implore Siva to mature, love Kyle Kuric’s dunks and grit on the glass, but it is Chris Smith who has turned into the team’s ballast.

Last night, he had 16 points on 5/7 shooting, including 4/6 from beyond the arc. Six rebounds.  A couple of assists and unflappable play.

* * * * *

There is a reason why George Blaney is no longer a head coach.

* * * * *

There was a significant off the court happening in each half, the kinds of moments from which shade tree psychologists such as myself draw conclusions.

With U of L up only a point, 14-13, with 7:57 to go in the opening half, Rob Hickerson — you know, the C A R D S guy — made another rare cheerleading appearance. (Frankly, I don’t recall him leading his iconic cheer earlier this season, but two loyal, inveterate fans have advised otherwise, and I defer to their memories, which are surely better than mine.) Spurred on by the old school cheer, the Cards, after a momentary lapse, proceeded built their lead to 5 at the half.

After Behanan scored on a put back then a three to start the second half, building U of L’s lead to 10, Blaney called timeout. During which, the hip crowd chose George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” for some boogie time. Suitably funkified, U of L’s lead grew to 30, as the good guys cruised to the 21 point W.

* * * * *

It is long past time to deep six that All Rick All The Time intro video. That video moment should feature the players, the school, the tradition . . . not the coach. And it should be shortened by at least half.

* * * * *

It was nice to see the celebs in the student section. Betty White. Ron Burgundy. Sweet.

– Seedy K


  1. cbcard
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Yes and no.

    The no first: Hickerson’s second appearance.

    The yes: Cut the opening video in half and then again and again. You are correct. We need something better and more upbeat, fast, and furious.

  2. fred
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Cbcard is correct. This was not Rob’s first appearance. I believe he was there last week.
    I am heartened by the improvement. Last night was not only fun to watch, it was a HUGE step forward and a big, big confidence builder. They played with some swagga.

  3. Seedy K
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’m the victim of a 2 on 1 fast break, and am not playing great defense. The text has been “corrected.”

  4. bob
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    There are a number of good parts to this team as you so well noted and they will continue to improve as long as Siva plays as he did last night.

    Nine assists vs two turnovers is big time.

    Your are correct Patino had a great game plan and it is one of the first times I have seen him make a adjustment while the game was going on.

    That trap at the beginning of the second half rattled them.

    Do not be too harsh on Pitino’s Intro Video, the one they show was “take 49″. He should have gone with “take 22″ and this being Louisville should have hired a consultant to make the selection for them.

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