After I’d written in my notes: “THESE GAMES NOT FUN.”
Watching the Cards maul Hofstra is simply, well, like I said, not fun. Even really early in the season when we still are getting to know the new players, and seeing whether they’re going to help or not, either in the short or long term.
It shall be no better with Cornell. Or Hartford. Or Fairfield. Or Missouri KC.
Playing some easy games early in the season is part of the deal. Playing just about a full schedule of them, especially with a pretty veteran, highly touted, highly ranked team, is, let’s be honest, a despicable situation. The players deserve better. The fans, those paying the hefty freight, deserve better.
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So, while driving home, I missed the beginning of the second half, when the visitors hit their first four three pointers, and cut the lead to five.
I then watched the 35-2 run. But only intermittently after Deener and Valvano started their shtick, so boring was the walkover, chatting about everything but basketball. Yes, there was that other game on the tube, and all that rivalry enmity considered, it was a hell of a lot more compelling to watch than U of L doing the basketball equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
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Here’s how sad it got while I was still at the game, sitting in the upper press section next to my pal, Rick Cushing.
He asked, “Who has been a star at Hofstra?”
Neither of us could think of a single “star” who’d hooped there.
A Google search revealed the names of five former “stars” who played in the NBA or ABA: Bill Thieben, Rich Laurel, Norm Richardson, Charles Jenkins, and the one I had heard of, Speedy Claxton.
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A few observations from the game, though the quality of the competition undermines their possible validity.
1) U of L needs to improve on the boards. Though leading by 15 at the break — you know when I jumped ship — Louisville was -6 on the boards, 16 to 22. The Cards outrebounded Hofstra by five in the second half, ending up with a negative stat.
2) U of L needs to improve its FT shooting. 15/24 is mediocre.
3) The Cards were, for the second game in a row, superb handling the ball. Only three turnovers. That’s a great stat no matter who you are playing.
4) Mango has a long way to go. He repeatedly got lost on defense.
5) Three point defense needs a lot of work. Hofstra was 14/25 beyond the arc.
6) I love how aggressively Wayne Blackshear is playing. Those layups will start to drop.
7) I love how Terry Rozier hits the boards.
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Rick Pitino was justifiably honored before the game for his Hall of Fame achievements.
I love that the banner recognizing it, includes, above his name, those of Wes Unseld and Denny Crum.
I do take issue with Tom Jurich’s pre-game statement that Pitino was the best hire in the history of U of L athletics. Or, something to that effect.
While it was a brilliant hire, one that has lifted U of L back onto the top shelf of college hoops, the statement is simply not correct.
Denny Crum was easily “the best hire in the history of U of L athletics.” Howard Schnellenberger is a lock at the 2 spot. And Jurich’s hire was of much greater importance than Pitino’s.
– Seedy K