UCONN takes a Husky on the Cards

February 2, 2009
We miss when he used to look like Jar Jar Binks with those corn rows

We miss when he used to look like Jar Jar Binks with those corn rows

UCONN took over as the top dawg in the NC2A on Monday.  Coincidently HUSKY NATION! was slated to test that #1 spot right away.  Now the test sounded daunting… on the road, versus arguably the hottest team in the nation, the #7 Louisville Cardinals.   The game brewed with anticipation and hype.  Would the #1 team only relish in the ironic glory of the top spot for less than 24 hours?

No.  That did not happen.  However, Jim Calhoun did get his own version of “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” at Rick Pitino’s expense.  Louisville jumped out to a 14-9 lead in the first 5 minutes but then went scoreless for seven minutes.  That allowed the Huskies to climb back into it, taking a 28-26 lead.  Then came the under 4 minutes-TV Timeout.  This is where it got interesting.

 “Round, round, round…I get around!”  What the hell target audience is ESPN going after?  Louisville could have used some of that freedom and mobility, as the Cards did not score for the final 5:12 of the first half.  HAHA, over 12 minutes of scoreless basketball.  That is not the only astonishingly awful statistic for the Louisville Cardinals…2…two free throw attempts, two free throw makes (100%, yes, go ahead and celebrate that).   With a 38-26 lead at halftime, the UConn Huskies would extend and keep the lead at a comfortable 10 to 15 points before closing it out for the 68-51 victory. Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant tells us, “Louisville fans began leaving with a just under four minutes remaining.”  UConn was led by Jeff Adrien’s 18 points.

If we were Louisville, we would blame the Hoveround and their  “free in-home-test-drive.”  Sadly, that was the most entertaining 2 minutes of the broadcast.


Louisville be DOIN! people

January 31, 2009

louisville

They currently sit atop Ken Pomeroy’s defense efficiency ratings, are 8-0 in the Big East, and have toppled they’re last nine opponents with impressive wins over Pittsburgh, Syracuse and today at home against West Virginia.

Yes. Right now the Louisville Cardinals are, dare we say, Baller Blockin.

Rick Pitino’s crew have bounced back in impressive fashion, after a mediocre start that was highlighted by a double-digit loss to Western Kentucky and word that Edgar Sosa was boiling his coach’s blood so much, Pitino wanted him to leave the team and transfer.

Times have changed, and Louisville is now the hottest team in the country. This afternoon, the Cards jumped out to a 45-25 halftime lead.  They only ended up winning by six, and committed a gross 26 turnovers, but remain the only undefeated team in the BE, and are now looking forward to a Monday showdown in Freedom Hall against the presumed #1 UCONN Huskies. A victory here would mean the Cardinals second win over a top-ranked team, and added viablility for a coveted number one seed come March…although it is early.


Quickie Recap 1.12: Big Monday Premieres

January 13, 2009
Forgetting the object of OT, score to win

Forgetting the object of OT, score to win

The premiere of ESPN’s Big Monday brought us a Big East match up that was intense for all 40 minutes…of regulation.  Someone forgot to tell Mike Brey’s Notre Dame team that an OT loss, still counts as a loss.  Louisville defeated Notre Dame 87-73, Notre Dame only scored 2 points in 5 minutes of overtime. 

Both teams did look sharp in regulation, combining for 19 three pointers.  The game was a back and forth battle all throughout regulation, but with 3:23 to go both teams remained locked at 71.  And then Louisville went off.  Terrence Williams fell two assists shy of a triple-double, tallying 24 points, 16 rebounds and 8 dimes.  Frosh, Samardo Samuels looked like he is starting to get the Big East style of play, being able to post 18 points, 6 boards and 4 “return to sender” blocks.  Notre Dame did get 28 points and 13 rebounds out of Luke Harangody, however it all came in the first 34 minutes of play.  Saturday Louisville will host #1 Pittsburgh and Notre Dame will travel to “The Dome” to take on #8 Syracuse.

The Red River Shootout was the nightcap from Norman, Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma Sooners took control early in the Big 12 rivalry and never looked back at the Longhorns of Texas.  The closest the game ever was, was during the first 19 seconds of the game before Oklahoma made it 2-0.  There were no lead changes and no ties throughout the game.  Oklahoma was led by none other than Blake Griffin, who got his 14th double-double, racking up 20 points and 10 rebounds.  Frosh PG Willie Warren added 17 points.  Had Texas standout AJ Abrams not gone 3-15 from beyond the arc, the story of the game could have drastically changed, but we will have to wait until February 21st when Oklahoma travels to Austin.


What to make of the Louisville Cardinals

January 11, 2009

 

He couldn't maniupluate his Celtics players, but Rick Pitino knows how to get through to young college kids

He couldn't manipulate his Celtics players, but Rick Pitino knows how to get through to young college kids

It’s been an interesting start to the season for the Louisville Cardinals — a preseason #3 ranking, lots of hype for forward Terrence Williams, and the hope that Rick Pitino would begin to consistently sport the white chocolate suit. But to date, their 11-3 record has been sprinkled with disappointment and drama.  The Cardinals are ranked #21, Terrence Williams is only averaging 11.6 ppg on 39 percent shooting, and we haven’t seen that damn suit yet from Pitino.

This week provided some additional angst for UL fans, as we learned that before last Sunday’s annual game against Kentucky, Pitino told Edgar Sosa to take a hike, and was sick of watching him play.  A mid-season transfer by your (usually) starting point guard is not only rare, it often is a sign that is team is self combusting. Whether Pitino truly meant what he said to the junior guard is undetermined, but it certainly struck a nerve with Sosa and he responded with 18 points, including a late three pointer to seal the win over the Wildcats.

Yesterday, the Cardinals put on a clinic in how to win ugly, manufacturing a road win over Villanova in quite unsightly fashion. Both teams shot under 40 percent and the Cardinals jacked 25 three balls, converting on only three. Pitino said that recently his team had been experiencing bad luck, but today “we had some good luck.” Could this be just another psychological attempt at invigorating his troops?

In this no-cupcake Big East, the Cardinals, like everyone, will have numerous chances to get big wins.  This week they square off at home against Notre Dame in the official premiere of Big Monday, then have five days to prepare for current top dog Pittsburgh.

Let’s not forget last season, as this team didn’t really realize its potential until February, and finished one game from the Final Four.  We certainly think this team has the parts, and of course the coach to replicate that output again in 2009.


Quickie Recap 12.20: Lesson One in Bracketology

December 20, 2008

We can learn a lot from Saturday’s action.  Not all Mormon prayers are answered.  Tubby Smith still loves beating Louisville teams.  Belmont can hang in there with the best.  And the ‘Cuse can actually make free throws.

Harden and ASU get the best of the Good ole' Boys

Harden and ASU got the best of the Good ole' Boys...barely

BYU almost got to “touch each other after the buzzer,” but when Charles Abouo’s bucket to beat the clock was overturned, Arizona State was able to avoid a detrimental loss.  BYU lead the whole second half until nine ticks remained when James Harden knocked in his sixteenth “freebie” from the charity stripe to give the Sun Devils the 76-75 edge.  Harden finished with 30.

Louisville may not be the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season, falling to the (surprising) undefeated Golden Gophers of Minnesota, 70-64.  Tubby Smith still knows how to coach against that other team from Kentucky.  Pitino could of blamed a nine minute scoring drought on the bus company neglecting to pick the team up at the airport, but all credit should go to Tubby and his staff. He got the final laugh and his team is now 10-0.

The Bruins from Belmont put a huge scare into Bruce pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers, but Tennessee was able to hold on 79-77.  The Bruins returned four starters, all seniors, to a team that you remember nearly upset Duke in last years tournament.  Belmont got 30 from their slasher Alex Renfroe, and almost had us fooled they were capable of pulling off an upset.  Close but not close enough once again, as missed free throws prove costly. Vols win.

Syracuse overcame a wild week in order to pick up a massive “W” at the Pyramid in Memphis, 72-65.  With Devo preparing to pick up trash on I-81, the Orange were led by Jonny Flynn’s 24 points and 6 assists.  Flynn answered every run the Tigers could muster and in the end the Orange overcame their biggest problem this year and knocked down their free throws to seal the deal.


Andy Kennedy has two mics, they don’t like feedback

December 18, 2008

andy-kennedy2

Fisticuffs are contagious. Players are not the only ones reaching back and throwing four knuckles of furry into the face of another person, coaches are now joining the punching parade…Cincinnati cab driver Mohamed Moctar Ould Jiddou can attest.

Jiddou says Old Miss head coach Andy Kennedy was the odd man out for a cab ride home, after a night of drinking with his coaching staff at The Lodge Bar (Gotta love $4 Cherry Bombs!). This rejection led to a profanity laced rant with some tasteless “Bin Ladens'” thrown in as well. The incident was allegedly capped off by a closed fist to Jiddou’s face. Kennedy now faces assault charges, and will be back in Cincy in January for a court appearance.

Kennedy is the centerpiece here, but this whole ordeal could probably have been avoided if the Ole Miss Director of Basketball Operations, Bill Armstrong, wasn’t “ejected” from the bar. We’re just saying, karma, bad karma.

This story gets a little better because the serves as a not-so-welcome, welcome back to the ‘Nati. You remember Kennedy was an assistant coach for Bob Huggins from 2001-2005, and was interim head coach for one season before Mick Cronin took over.

Lost in all of this was the actual reason Kennedy was in town. Ole Miss played it tough tonight for their fearless leader, but fell short against Louisville thanks to a career night by Earl Clark.


Quickie Recap 11.30: Hilltoppers shock the ‘Ville, Zags win Old Spice

December 1, 2008

On Sunday while everyone was watching the home teams in the NFL go 2-10 , the Courtney Lee-less Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were doing their best to find their own identity, much like the genderless blob that is their mascot.

After taking down the #3 Louisville Cardinals 68-54 on a neutral court, this WKU team may have found what they were searching for.  The undersized Big Red took the lead from the beginning and never let go.  The ‘Ville looked like the kid in preschool trying to put a square block in a circle hole, shooting 27% and only hitting on 6 of 30 three point attempts.

What the hell is a “Hilltopper?” And why is it overweight?

In the championship of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, #12 Tennessee took on #10 Gonzaga.  The game remained close until about 15 minutes remaining in the second half and then the Zags pulled away, at one point leading by 18 points.  The ‘Zags hit eleven from behind the new 3 point arc, and prevailed 83-74.  Five players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs, something we will come to expect from them as the season progresses.  They will now spend their next four games preparing for UCONN, who visit Spokane on December 20th.