Louisville Card File: Pittsburgh

I have had serious dental procedures without Novocaine that were less painful than watching U of L’s wobbly 57-54 W this afternoon over an inexplicably awful Pitt Panther contingent.

Those “Marathon Man” moments were truly terrifying. Don’t ask why I passed on the anesthetic, I have no reasonable answer. Watching today? Way more painful. Honest.

This is the team The Rick is tweaking for tournament time? If so, Louisville fans best gird themselves for a dreaded NCAA 1st Round Elimination Threepeat.

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Listen, I love the Cardinals. This gang seems to be made up of decent kids, who, I’m sure, are trying their best. There are missing pieces, yes. But, but . . .

. . . but the problem is they’re simply only an ordinary team.

The team lacks personality.

Only on the rarest of occasions has it displayed any offensive flow. Too much standing about. Too much dribbling.

Laborious.

The team lacks leadership.

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Speaking of which, DeJuan Wheat was honored at halftime.

To be honest, I never recall Wheat saying a word to a teammate on court during his four years as a starter. (Oh, I’m sure he did. My point is he led by example, not rah rah.)

His senior season, he led a band of overachievers all the way to the Elite Eight.

Plus, he’s obviously passed some serious smarts along to his offspring.

During his most humble acceptance of the tribute, the quote he attributed to his daughter was one of amazing insight.

“How come everybody’s asking you for your autograph, daddy? You’re not Peyton Siva.”

I’ll say.

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Speaking of which, the fellows Siva should be thanking are the members of U of L’s nationally recognized stat crew. Methinks those guys let their objectivity slip today.

Officially Louisville’s point guard committed only 4 turnovers. Really? By my count, he had that many before the first media timeout.

Siva rarely plays awful awful — Okay, maybe, sometime — but, good grief, one would suppose he’d stop driving it to the hoop and pick up his dribble without a plan as to what he might do with the ball. while he’s stuck under the basket. And, when a teammate is in trouble with the ball out on the court, it seems Siva would know to come to the guy for the ball, instead of running away.

He did hit two big free throws at the end to ensure the Cards would at least make it to OT.

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Speaking of which acumen — or lack thereof — at the free throw line, the Cards were a glossy 3/8 in the second half before Behanan’s two and Siva’s two. The Cards were 18/28 for the game. 64% at the charity stripe doesn’t carry you very far in March.

But that stat isn’t nearly as scary as the final rebounding numbers.

Louisville was -13 on the backboards, 25-38.

Yes, I understand The Rick felt a small lineup served him better today, but still . . .

That crack stat crew had the Cards with 14 turnovers for the game, which means they only turned it over three times after halftime. Hmmmm. Okay, that stat crew will be working the Final Four and I won’t, so I’ll acknowledge the correctitude of that number.

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The one really pleasant aspect of U of L’s game — other than the W of course — was the effectiveness of its half court trap in the first half.

Louisville went from a 3-8 deficit to a 21-11 lead, a run of 18-3, thanks to the ball hawking. The Cards still only made 6 field goals in the half.

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I must admit I got spielkes (Yiddish for “ants in pants”) when the Cardinals’ lineup at 9:27 of the opening half was Wayne Blackshear, Zach Price (who did have the defensive play of the game, a monster block on a breakaway), Kevin Ware (who also owes the stat crew a steak dinner for his officially miniscule turnover total), Russ Smith and Jared Swopshire. Geez, Rick, why not go for the flush and put in Nunez instead of spark plug Russ Smith.

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Louisville’s defense was pretty good. It forced the Panthers into 19 turnovers.

I must say, the woefulness of this Pitt team is one of the season’s great mysteries.

The Panthers are B.A.D.

* * * * *

I loved the red blinking firefly towels during the usual way too long Rick pre-game intro monologue.

* * * * *

Wednesday night’s Senior Night home season finale is going to be far from a gimme, folks.

South Florida is a vastly improved squad, which has been playing much better than U of L as of late. The Bulls have won 5 of their last six, beat Cincy this afternoon and sit ahead of the Cards in the Big East standings.

Which is not to reiterate, that nothing comes easily for this edition of the Cardinals.

– Seedy K

5 Comments

  1. cbcard
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I chart stats during games and had the same results as the official crew. But you are right about this team’s weaknesses.

    I would rank them above ordinary figuring with all their failings they still are legitimately a Top 25 team allbeit in the lower part. With a good draw, some better shooting nights from 3Land and the free throw line they could win 2 or 3 games in the NCAA. Or they could lose a first game to Murray State.

  2. bob
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree with CB. They could win three or none at all.

    They are difficult to watch but I can not get out of my head just how good they could be.

    Behanan just go get the rebound.

    Cris Smith keep playing defense and stop shooting off the dribble.

    Dieng please get a set and stop falling down.

    Siva, Kuric and Russ Smith just keep playing guys.

    Pitino do not give up on Blackshear.

    Justice one of these nights they will need you again. Be ready

    Swopshire will win us a game during the tournament or not

  3. mark
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    This year’s Cards model is:
    1) turnover prone, consistently;
    2) lacks a consistent perimeter presense, offensively and defensively;
    3) lacks a consisent interior presense;
    4) consistently can’t shoot free throws.
    5) runs the high post screen, consistently.
    They ARE consistent. In ways that will get you beat. They will likely win one more game until, mercifully, their season is over. Hey, I’m a fan of the cards; I’m not a CRP fan. He’s consistently let us down.

  4. Mark Hanley
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    CD…..couldn’t agree more….do not know where Behanan’s head was this game…but on an afternoon like this…..his large rear end just takes up too much space….he actually ran away from the ball on several occasions….C.Smith’s reign of terror is almost at an end…when he is not making shots..he is much akin to tits on a bull….he can stand around,at both ends of the court with the best of them….what happened to his rebounding…??????…have only one suggestion that I would be happy to see is much more of Russ and Peyton on the floor at the same time…..also,and this kills me to say,Ware needs more mins. to keep them in a pressing and ball hawking mode.Where’s my novacaine..?????

  5. doug
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Novocaine should be available at concessions Wednesday night. Lowest scoring team in the conference comes in town to play another slowdown affair. Looking forward to a 58-57 thriller.

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