Louisville Card File: DePaul

For the most part, I find ESPN’s Doug Gottleib a less than stellar analyst.

Either by nature or professional choice, he’s chosen to be a negative presence, always finding flaws when breaking down a team or situation. (I’ve been accused of the same, so I know it when I see it.) I have been inclined to believe Gottleib has a particular animus when it came to U of L, but further observation indicates he doesn’t just pick on the Cardinals.

Which I mention, because of a salient observation of his yesterday during one of the endless reflections throughout the day and evening on Louisville’s wobbly W at DePaul.

Considering that the Cards played from behind most of the day — at one point they were doubled up at 17-34 — and that they eventually prevailed in OT, Gottleib commented, “With Louisville, this is what you get.”

Meaning, I decipher, it’s never going to be easy for this edition of the Cards.

* * * * *

And, frankly, it rarely is, easy for Louisville that is, though the team continues to display an endless supply of grit and determination.

Donning my Doug Gottleib mask for a moment, I feel compelled to mention that DePaul (11-15, 2-12) tallied 48 points in the paint. Giving up that much around the hoop is one thing when playing #2 Syracuse (49 of 52 total in the paint Monday), but is entirely different matter — and not a good sign — when taking the hardwood at the Rosemont Horizon.

(By the by, Bob Wetzel, a color announcer capable of some decent analysis, Louisville did not play Villanova last season on that court, as you mentioned during yesterday’s telecast.)

Eleven first half turnovers is disturbing.

67% free throw shooting is disturbing.

DePaul beat Louisville down court way too often. I kept thinking of a quote oft uttered by Denny Crum, “You have to have a healthy respect for your opponent.” I don’t believe the Cards did yesterday. Nor did The Rick, who, in his pre-game comments, mentioned as how he was going to get PT for Zach Price and Angel Nunez, as if the game was going to be a walkover.

* * * * *

Thank heavens for two walk ons and an afterthought. Kyle Kuric, Chris Smith and Russ Smith tallied 61 of U of L’s 90 points. Kuric’s rebound of Dieng’s missed front end of a +1 at 83-79 with 1:21 to play in OT was big. Siva followed with 2 FTs in that possession to essentially seal the deal.

Louisville was 21/42 from the field after halftime.

While it is encouraging to see some offensive sets during which there is motion, cutting and passing instead of Siva or Russ Smith dribbling for most of the shot clock, I must ask this of The Rick, why did it take so long to install those plays?

While it was obvious that there was a new offensive game plan, am I the only one who thought Gorgui Dieng should have had a few more touches?

I must never forget one of my favorite theories of hoops in February. All conference Ws on the road are huge, no matter the opponent.

* * * * *

Looking ahead.

I for one am glad the Cardinals play South Florida in the Yum! this season. The Bulls are a much better club than in the past, and a trip down there would have disaster written all over it.

In the same vein, I believe the Cincy game up there on Thursday will be the most telling of the season. The Bearcats will be ready, but are beatable. A W in the Queen City was perhaps the best harbinger of good things to come during The Rick’s one Final Four season on the Belknap Campus.

If the Cards can win 3 of their last 4, and play Syracuse strong in the season finale, I’ll feel much better about the team’s chances to make it past the first round of the NCAA.

– Seedy K


  1. bob
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    A win on the road in the Big East is always huge.

    Running the risk of being called negative, I just did not see the small improvement in the team play that is necessary for this time of year.

    Behannan being ill and a road game against a team you are suppose to beat following a tough loss might explain the first half.

    The Cincy game will give us some insight into what type of season this will be. After all this is just foreplay for the NCAA Tournament.

    There will not be any dePauls in the Tournament; unless of course you discount California and Morehead State.

    Getting beat by one point against a very good Syracuse gave me more hope than the struggle against dePaul

  2. cbcard
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Scoring the first two baskets so easily was probably not a good thing. That just added more whipped cream and cherries on the Over Confidence Sundae. At that point we completely forgot about getting back and about playing D.

    Love the new sets but for the life of me how did it take 2/3 of a season to figure out how to do something besides the pick and roll?

    And once again we were lousy at the line and when we were warming up for the second half I am willing to bet no one shot free throws. They didn’t at the Cuse game and honestly I don’t remember them ever doing it. It would seem our free throw coach is Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.

    But a win, especially on the road and with an ill 4, is a win.

  3. MattChew
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    DePaul has some talent – they’re just not particularly deep. If you look at past games, you’ll see they’ve had both Marquette and ND on the ropes by similar amounts, so they’re leading by that much in the first half, didn’t surprise me. Louisville’s flatness did.

    Being at the game, the one thing I feel saved us was that 3/4 of the people in the stands were UofL fans – which has been par for the course everytime we play them in a weekend game. Would have been nice if the cheerleaders travelled for the game.

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