Louisville Card File: Illinois State

Sitting at the opposite end of the court in the auxiliary media section, I couldn’t see clearly exactly what happened with :27 on the clock. It looked like a blocked shot and key defensive board by Chane Behanan. My cohorts sitting beside me said it was a goal tend, Jackie Carmichaels shot having hit the backboard before it was blocked.

Bob Valvano confirmed that during his post game interview with Rick Pitino.

The zebras giveth. The zebras taketh away.

At the 4:25, they missed an obvious charge on John Wilkins, giving him the two pointer and a +1. Which fortunately he missed.

If the refs are fair, bad calls way more often than not even out.

So they did this afternoon at Yum!. But the Cards benefited most from the last one.

* * * * *

The Rick admitted after the game that he needs to work the 3 spot into the offense more. Duh.

Wayne Blackshear, who only played 5 minutes before the break and 7 after, scored nil on 0/3 shooting, all treys.

Luke Hancock, who grabbed 5 boards including three big ones at the offensive end, was 0/4 from the field, including a trio of misses from long range. He did dish out 4 assists.

U of L’s pick and roll offense, if used exclusively, is going to get easier to defend as the season moves along. And is entirely too dependent on Smith and Siva, whose decision making skills remain suspect.

Pitino needs to put more sets in that get the 3 and 4 the ball in a scoring slot. I’m not about to blame Hancock and Blackshear, if they’re not getting the ball where they can score.

In my game notes, I jotted down this question: ” Who is going to turn into Larry O’Bannon?” It’s time to begin finding out.

* * * * *

Russ Smith obviously dances to his own fiddler. Pulling in the reins on him would be foolish.

But it is long past time for him to dish the ball off when he has fellows on his wings with open layups. At least twice today, he hogged the ball, resulting in zero points when two easy layups were there for the taking.

* * * * *

Peyton Siva’s fourth foul with 13:09 to play, just :31 after his third, was idiotic. The kind of reach in at mid court that neophyte freshmen make on December 1. Not guys touted as “the best point guard in America.”

That said he finished the game. Pitino went offense/ defense with Siva and Ware. (Which is good, because Ware so far in his career has been less than zero when the Cards have the ball.) Siva hit two major threes. Especially the one with 4:16 to go, which put U of L up for good at 63-61.

* * * * *

Chane Behanan had a monster second half. 13 points. 7 rebounds. That “block” mentioned in the lede.

But he was only 1/7 from the line. Inexcusable.

As a team, Louisville was an unacceptable 14/25 at the charity stripe. Which is actually a skewed stat. Russ made 11 of 14. The rest of the team, 3/11.

* * * * *

The Cards shot a respectable 45% from the field.

But yielded a disheartening 52% from the visiting Redbirds.

* * * * *

Stephan Van Treese, you know the fellow Pitino was urging to transfer, was rock solid if not spectacular, filling in for Gorgui.

Six points. Eight rebounds, 7 on the offensive end.

* * * * *

The Cardinals did persevere. They led 2-0, but not again until 58-57 at 6:08, after being down by as many as 13.

Chane missed those two FTs with :43 to play, but hustled down court and made the defensive stop of the game.

Which is to say this patchwork quilt of a W was a good one, against a more than decent team. Illinois State is picked to finish second in the tough MoValley. The Redbrids are not the usual schlepper that visits the Yum! this time of year.

They had a +18.5 scoring differential coming into the game. Their only other loss has been in OT to Jared Swopshire-led Northwestern.

Plus they brought along the largest visitor’s crowd in memory.  A raucous group they were. To those brewski-quaffing ISU fans who were doing a lot of taunting at halftime, when their team had an 8 point lead, I would simply point out two things. 1) It’s a forty minute game. 2) Don’t drink and drive.

* * * * *

The schools have met only one other time, but it was a record breaking affair on March 4, ’74. The schools tallied 224 points between them, the most ever combined total in a Cardinal game. U of L prevailed 117-107. In that W, Louisville hit 62% in the first half, but only led by 6. They were 54% from the field for the game. Bill Butler had 24 for the Cards, Allen Murphy, 20, Junior Bridgeman, 19 and Ike Whitfield, 15.

* * * * *

I can smile as much as the next Cardinal fan when UK loses. Especially at home. Yet I think it in poor taste to put the UK result on the scoreboard, which was done during that lengthy delay for review to see if U of L deserved to inbound the ball.

Louisville was still behind at that juncture, while the red and black crowd cheered with fervor at the Baylor W.

* * * * *

Angel Nunez is still MIA, for his “concussion.”

When I asked a member of the sports information staff if he was still on the squad, his response was an I can’t answer that smile and this: “I think you have to ask coach about that.”

* * * * *

In games like these, I always think of Denny Crum’s post mortems when his teams would lose to schools they should have beaten: “You have to have a healthy respect for your opponent.”

Today, U of L did not.

– Seedy K

5 Comments

  1. Patrick Whelan
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Angel Nunez walked off the team 3 weeks ago…when they first referred to his absence as the flu.

  2. Birdie King
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    That’s funny, The Rickster said on his show the other night that Angel’s concussion was really a lot worse then originally thought and it will take longer to recover. Just sayin’.

  3. Seedy K
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Angel hasn’t been on the bench in weeks.

  4. Hendricks
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I continue to wonder why you watch UofL bball…Soooooo many complaints, alllll the time. Sure it was a tough game, but the adrenaline of the final buzzer going off and a hard fought win no matter the opponent seems to mean jack to you, and most. Just once, give out a hearty go cards somewhere in there. Maybe I miss the point of journalism. Probably just one of those half full/half empty situations…

  5. Seedy K
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Allow me to repeat what I’ve said many times before. I saw my first U of L game in Dec, 1952 and U of L basketball has been and remains the great love of my life. (My bride excepted.) I only wish the best and ultimate success for my beloved team. 

    But I do feel some responsibility to call ‘em as I see ‘em. As I tell my friends often, I’m not really a journalist. I’m a commentator. I’ve always been upfront that what I write is opinion. 

    I live and die with my team. My frustrations are seeded in wanting it to reach its full potential.

    Thanks for the note. 

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