Louisville Card File: Fairfield

dunkcardAt his post-game press conference, Rick Pitino was not happy. He did not mince words.

He wasn’t content with any aspect of the Cardinals’ performance at Mohegan Sun against Fairfield. At least none that he was going to admit.

Despite an early deficit, Louisville was never seriously threatened in its 71-57 W.

Interesting. I didn’t especially like how the Cards played, but wasn’t as bothered as the coach. From the get go, it seemed like what my arch nemesis Joey the Vig would call a “throwaway game.” Meaning it was a performance so out of character, it should be disregarded. Unless, of course, it becomes the norm.

Perhaps I’ve been chastened by comments of my readers who have taken me to ask for consistently and continually complaining about Louisville’s horrid level of competition early this season. But I didn’t and still don’t have an inclination to blast U of L’s effort yesterday . . . yet.

It was the first road game. No Yum!. No t-shirt tosses. No Ladybirds or Kroger Krewe. No familiarity.

A bit of disconnect, even for guys who won the national title, is not totally unexpected.

The Cards still won by 14.

(Those of you with a historical perspective will remember how the ’80-’81 defending champs started their season, with four returning starters. They were 2-7 before going on a run that included only one more regular season loss. Of course then some old fart, like, say, me, would point out the nature of the competition that year. The Ws came over Maryland and USC. The Ls to #2 DePaul, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Utah, Minnesota, Kansas State and #6 North Carolina.)

Hmmmmm. U of L meets North Carolina again today, but two of the Tar Heels’ best ballers are at home, trying to wash the NCAA right out of their hair.

Which is to say that today, despite Carolina’s travails, should give us some idea of how much concern we should have over yesterday’s performance.

* * * * *

The casino’s gym didn’t look particularly well lit. (Then again, that might have been because I was watching on my Mac instead of my big screen TV, on which the game was not showing.)

Which may — operative word: may — account some for U of L’s less than stellar marksmanship.

38.3% FG shooting for the game. 10/25 in the first half; 13/35 after the break. From beyond the arc, 2/14.

The yin and the yang of that was a 74.2% success rate at the line, including a truly glossy 16/19 before halftime, and a not so fancy 7/12 afterward.

Louisville committed 14 turnovers, after coughing up the rock only 25 times total in its previous four encounters. They stole the ball 11 times. But only had 9 assists.

* * * * *

I figured the newcomers would be off.

Mango certainly proved that to be prescient. A FT and a turnover were the only marks on his line in 8 minutes of play.

Terry Rozier was 1/7 from the field. But, he had 4 boards, 3 assists, a steal and didn’t cough up the ball one time.

Chris Jones’ four turnovers were testament to his nervousness. How he performs today will be telling. My sense is, at crunch time with a tilt on the line, his inclination will be to try to do it all. I hope I’m wrong.

Wayne Blackshear continues to underline that this is not the same Wayne Blackshear we’ve seen the last two seasons. 11 points, 5 boards, a steal and relentless hustle.

For all his hops, Silent L was not that great a rebounder last season. Though strong, he didn’t show great grip. No longer. He’s going a long way to replacing Gorgui’s carom-snaring acumen. 14 tallies to go with a dozen rebounds.

SVT blocked Fairfield shots on the first two possessions of the game. Then blocked another couple in the second stanza. Six boards.

* * * * *

I figured the ESPN3 telecast would be weird from the get go. Color commentator Melvin Huckaby’s first utterance after being introduced: “The only thing missing from this one is the popcorn.”

Say what?

I’m not sure what I think of the the extended in=game interviews with Mel Daniels and Nancy Lieberman. They were charming. And illuminating. But seemed a distraction from the action. So I’m firmly wishy washy when it comes to opinionating whether I’d like more of that in the future or not?

I do know I sure wouldn’t want it in a close or important game. But, yesterday???

I note that games on ESPN3 now have commercials during timeouts, unlike previous seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I hate incessant commercials, though I understand they pay the freight, thus accept their inevitability. Which is why I never understood blank screens in years past during stoppage in play.

– Seedy K

One Comment

  1. mark
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I thought the lighting was dim, too. Something was affecting the shots… besides road jitters.

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