Louisville Card File: Hofstra

dunkcardWithout a bit of shame, I advise I left last night’s game at the half.

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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




  1. david
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Kaplan is as usual a little melodramatic about the inferiority of the Cards, notwithstanding their embarrassing schedule. Mangot is ahead of Gorgui in ability comparatively, and Chris Jones actually knows how to drive and stop and dish before he runs into some big man and walks or throws the ball away. But C.D. is right on about the priority of sports hires for the university over the past 40 years. Without Crum and the Schnell we probably wouldn’t even have a football team and our basketball program would likely be, at best, mid major. The way Tom Jurich has treated Denny Crum is despicable and embarrassing to those of us who have been watching U of L sports for over 50 years.

  2. Concerned Cardizen
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Why is the schedule so filled with the proverbial “cupcakes” in the month of December this year? I know in the past Coach P said he was scheduling light early because he had a young team who needed time to jell. Not true this year with majority of starters back. It was also justified because once the Big East schedule started the team would get all the challenge it could take. Again not true this year. I don’t get it — who is responsible for the schedule?

  3. c d kaplan
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Pitino and Jurich are the schedule makers. Money more than competition and team development seem to be the primary factors when drawing up schedule.

  4. cbcard
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    There is never a valid excuse to leave early, not even at the under 4:00 timeout as so many do. Sell your tickets!

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