A Bearcat Back Breaker

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(Photo UofL Sports)

Welp! That game was a back breaker. The Bearcats had come into this game tonight with a 12 game win streak and unfortunately they left on a 13 game win streak as they beat our Cardinals tonight 69-66. The Bearcats are on a roll and now take sole possession of first place in the American Conference. Our Cardinals who had won four straight will now go back to the drawing board and will still be in search for their first big time win of the season. They are 0-4 against top 25 teams and have now lost to all 3 rivals this year Kentucky, Memphis and Cincinnati.

Tonight was old school night in the KFC Yum Center and the first half had an old school feel about it. It was tough gritty defense on both ends of the floor by both teams and low scoring. It was an ugly start and the Cards were down 28-20 at half. They were 8 of 26 from field, and UC was 11 of 28. It was the second fewest point total for a half for Louisville at the Yum Center. Things picked back up in the second half and the Cards turned up the defense and the offense started to flow. They did have that “Boom” moment and came back from 17 points down to take the lead on what was one of the most “Russdiculous” moments you will see in a game this year. With a little over five minutes to play and four seconds on the shot clock Russ launched a three point shot from about 30 feet and sank it. After that shot it looked like it might be a great night, but the Cardinals wouldn’t hit another field goal. Coach Pitino said in his post game “We just didn’t block out at a key point in the game and it cost us.” Cincinnati missed only seven shots in the second half, and got the offensive rebound on five of those, got put-backs on three. With 1:43 left in the game Justin Jackson made a two Point tip shot that gave UC the lead 65-64. That was a crucial play in the game. Coach Pitino would say in post game “You don’t (block out) on that key play, you deserve to lose. You really do.” So that truly was the story in this one. Cards would be out-rebounded in the game 36-25.

Luke, Montrezl, Mango, Russ and Terry got the start tonight. Montrezl had a big night leading the way with 18 points and 6 rebounds and the two man game between he and Luke was about as good as I’ve seen in a long time. They were a big reason for the come-back. The Cardinals got good offensive production from every spot except Mango at the 5. This continues to be a huge problem for this team. The five spot is not developing enough for them to beat good teams. It’s 5-on-4 on the offensive end of the floor.
Wayne Blackshear got recognized for his academic achievements today, but he may be one of the biggest head cases on the basketball court that I’ve seen in a long time. Every time the Cardinals play a top 25 team he disappears. Against 4 ranked teams this year he has 7 points, 8 rebounds in 46 minutes. It has to be a mental thing because he has shown us moments of greatness and shown he is capable of being the man. They could have really used him in this game tonight. He got in foul trouble played 5 minutes and had 2 rebounds and one blocked shot. Coach Pitino said after the game
“Proud of the effort, not proud of the defensive execution. We can’t hang our heads, we’ve got to get ready for UCF.” That is a plus for this group they do give it all they got and do play with a purpose on each end of the floor. They are going to have to figure out how to finish games and figure out how to get points from the 5 spot.

Like coach Pitino said these guys don’t have time to hang their heads. UCF comes to town for a rare Saturday 9PM tip. This one was a tough one to take and I know I’m not alone in feeling down about it. But we gotta keep the faith. About a year ago we lost that heart breaker to Notre Dame and then went on a tear to win the National Title. Still a long way to go and some great things could still happen. This Cardinal team is only a few things away from being really good.

Coach Pitino after the loss:

Montrezl after the Cardinal loss:

Terry after the Cardinal loss:

Russ after the Cardinal loss:

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The Beak Basketball Breakdown: The Bearcats

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It is always a battle when the Cardinals face off against the Bearcats and that won’t change this season as both teams are looking to sit atop of the AAC. This is the Cards oldest rival and this game is the 98th meeting in UofL and UC series. It dates back to Metro Conference, Missouri Valley , Conference USA, Big East and now AAC. Louisville leads this series with our old foes from the north 55 to 42 and have won the last two against the Bearcats including a 67-51 last March. Cincinnati improved to 19-2 overall and 8-0 in the AAC on Sunday with a win over Temple, and are ranked 15th by AP and 16th in the USA Today poll. Our Cardinals have won four straight heading into the game on Thursday night at 7PM on ESPN.

Coach Mick Cronin will bring one of his most physical and athletic teams into the Yum Center on Thursday. Cincinnati is among the national leaders in five key defensive statistics including scoring defense (56.9, fifth nationally), turnover margin (+4.6, 10th), scoring margin (+14.3, 15th), field goal percentage defense (.383, 15th) and blocked shots (6.3, 14th). It will be an experienced and established UC team lead by Sean Kilpatrick (19.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.4 apg), and a great supporting cast of characters including Titus Rubles (7.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.2 apg), Shaquille Thomas (7.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg), David Nyarsuk (1.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.1 apg), Jermaine Sanders (6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 apg), Troy Caupain (6.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg), and Justin Jackson (11.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 apg). These guys can all protect the rim and rebound.

Kilpatrick leads the American in scoring, ranks second in three-pointers made and fifth in free-throw shooting. He has scored 20 or more points in 10 games this season, and has been the Bearcats’ top scorer in 18 of 21 games.
Rubles is averaging career highs in minutes played, points and rebounds. He ranks eighth in the American in rebounding since the start of league action.
Jackson ranks second in the nation in total blocks and seventh in blocks per game. He ranks among the American’s leaders in blocks, offensive rebounds, rebounds and field-goal shooting. He is considered day-to-day as of Sunday, though head coach Mick Cronin remains hopeful that he’ll play on Thursday. He’s the key to a Cincinnati defense that hadn’t allowed opponents to eclipse 67 points against them prior to Sunday.
These guys could very much be the top contender for the AAC this year and will be the toughest competition for our Cards during this regular season.

UC comes into Thursday’s game averaging 71.2 points-per-game, while shooting 43.1% from the floor and 33.9% from 3-point range. The Bearcats are converting 70.5% of their attempts from the free-throw line. Defensively, UC is allowing 56.9 points-per-game as the opposition is shooting 38.3% from the floor. The Bearcats are out-rebounded their opponents 777-679 with a rebounding margin of +4.7 averaging 37 boards-per-contest.


Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #23
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
– 89.4 ranks 5th
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
– 107.1 ranks 119th

UC is off to their best start in coach Cronin’s eight-year tenure. He is a guy that embodies the leadership, courage and determination of all of his mentors. And he has passed that down to his team. They are relentless on the defensive end of the floor and they dig in to grind on teams for the full 40. Russ Smith is averaging 20.1 points on 46.0 percent shooting with 4.6 assists per game in AAC play. He poured in a game-high 18 points in last year’s meeting with the Bearcats and we will need him to be big on Thursday. Rozier and Blackshear have been a big reason for the Cards four game win streak and they will also need to keep it going. This will be the most physical contest that our front-court will face this season. Montrezl, Mango and VanTreese have to be willing to get in the paint and bang with these guys. I like our match-up on the wings and hope (old man) Luke comes to play. Chris Jones is expected to be back but he will probably see limited minutes as this will be a tough comeback game. You can never count out the sixth man and the Yum Center will be a big part of this game Thursday. Cardinal fans are hungry and it’s been too long since the last home game. Home court will be the difference in this one and our Cards will grind out a tough one for the win. This will be the last time we play UC at the Yum Center for the foreseeable future. Can’t wait for this one folks. Go Cards!

McDonalds All-Stars Selected Today, Will Cardinal Signees Make Final 24?

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Back on January 7th nearly 1,000 high school seniors from 44 states and the District of Columbia were nominated for the 2014 McDonald’s All American Games. Four 2014 Louisville recruits were among those on the nomination list. Today the final team of 24 boys will be selected to actually play in the 2014 games. They will be announced during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show on ESPNU at 6pm.

The final teams are voted on through private ballot by the All American Games Selection Committee based on athletic achievement. Of course I’m very biased and think that all the Louisville guys deserve to be put on the final teams and deserve to play in the game. But that is not likely to happen and actually our guys just may get snubbed all together. Here are the 2014 Louisville recruits that were originally nominated:

-University of Louisville signee Shaqquan Aaron who plays for Seattle Rainier Beach High School.
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-University of Louisville signee Chinanu Onuaku who plays for Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, Md.
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-University of Louisville signee Jaylen Johnson who plays for Ypsilanti, Mich., High School.
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-University of Louisville signee Quentin Snider is a senior point guard at Ballard High School.
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I think the Cardinals best shot at having a participant in the All-American game is with Quentin Snider on the East Team and Shaqquan Aaron on the West Team. I base this assumption on their overall resumes and their notoriety among the recruiting gurus. They both have also had their big moments on the national scene.

Snider is ranked #35 by ESPN, #36 by 247, and #32 by Scout. He has been on a tear this year both on the AAU circuit and high school level. He is averaging 25 points, 5.1 assist, and 3.1 rebounds a game.
Aaron is ranked #31 by ESPN, #23 by 247, and #34 by Scout. He has also been on a tear this year both on the AAU circuit and high school level. He is averaging 21.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assist.

I really hope one or both of these guys makes it on the final roster. It would be great to have a Cardinal represented in the All Star game on April 2 at Chicago’s United Center. Louisville hasn’t had a participant in this game since 2011 when Wayne Blackshear was on the West team and Chane Behanan was on the East team. Be sure to tune in to the selection show tonight. Good luck to all of these guys.

A Russdiculous Escort

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(Photo Jason Frakes)

Tonight was homecoming ceremonies at Manual High School in Louisville. Like all Homecoming cerominies it is a big night especially for the young ladies who are up for a queen or sweetheart nomination. Tonight was looking bleak for Manual Freshman Tonysha Curry when she found out that the person who was supposed to escort her during the ceromines didn’t show up.

What could have been a forgettable night for this young lady quickly turned into a night she won’t likely ever forget. When Tonysha found out her escort wasn’t going to make it she asked a familiar face in the crowd if he would do the honors. That guy was none other than Louisville basketball star Russ Smith. Smith decked out in sweatpants and sneakers gladly came down from the stands and made this young lady the envy of all the other girls. No doubt she will be talking about her freshman homecoming escort for a long time and that year book photo will be priceless.

Kudos to Russ a great basketball player and a great young man!

H/T to @Jason Frakes


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Louisville ties it’s own AAC record of largest margin of victory (39) with the win over USF tonight. The Cards took the lead against the Bulls early and never looked back beating them 86-47. With the win over the Bulls tonight, Cards will improve to 60-10 since that senior night loss to USF on Feb. 29, 2012. Our Cards now move to 6-1 in conference play and 17-3 overall winning four straight. They will have 8 days to prepare for a big home showdown with Cincy for what will be a battle for first place in the conference.

The Cardinals have found their starting line-up with Hancock, Harrell, Mango, Russ and Terry. Hancock has returned to the player that walked off that floor in Atlanta the NCAA Tourney MVP. You can tell that he has got his confidence back and that old man swagger has returned. He went 4 of 9 behind the three point line tonight for 14 points. Harrell has become a double-double machine with his fourth in 5 games tonight with 10 rebounds and 14 points. Mango’s development has been slow, but I think that coach Pitino’s patience with the big fella has paid off. He isn’t stuffing the stat sheet, and he’s not going to dazzle you with his performance, but he is giving this team some good minutes. He is a nice presence down low for the defense. Tonight he had 2 steals, 2 rebounds and 10 points. Russ is back to being Russ but in a good way. He has figured out a way to keep himself under control while at the same time taking over a possession when he needs to. He is always going to have those “Russdiculous” moments but I’ll take the bad with the good all day long in this case. He had 6 assist with 12 points tonight. My admiration for Terry Rozier is well documented in my scribbling. He has brought a sense of control and stability to the offense and since he was injected into the starting line-up the offense has become much more efficient. He had 5 assist, 3 steals and 9 points tonight. Coach Pitino was asked after the game if U of L is better without Chris Jones: “100 percent not true. We need Chris Jones.” So it will be interesting to see how he proceeds with the starting line-up when Chris returns. For the record I also think we need Chris. Just don’t need him in the starting line-up.

It is important to develop a starting line-up, but it is just as important to determine who that sixth man will be. Wayne Blackshear has flourished as that first guy coming off of the bench. Since he jumped in his new role of coming off the bench he is 9-14 from the three point line for 64%, has grabbed 13 rebounds, has 4 assist and 48 points. He has also led the team in scoring in two of the last three games coming off the bench. When we look back on this season this may be considered the best decision that Coach Pitino made. Very happy for Wayne and hope his good play continues.

This was the farewell game in this series vs the USF Bulls in South Florida. We only have one game remaining with them and I can gladly say that I won’t miss playing them in any sport. They may finally get it together but right now that just isn’t a very good athletic program. They need a lot of work. But I wish them well. Biggest thing to take away from this dominate performance tonight was how the Cardinals maintained their intensity throughout. Even with a big lead they never stopped playing hard. That stays a lot about this teams development over the past couple of weeks. And that attitude will pay off down the road. Usually if you continue to play hard good things happen. A lot of good thing are ahead for this group of Cards. Can’t wait to play those Bearcats in 8 days! Go Cards !

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Cardinal Football Fans Big Day Has Arrived

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Cardinal football fans have had to endure some pretty rough schedules over the years and spent some of that time watching them in old Cardinal Stadium. For those of you old enough to remember that you really feel my pain. And the stint in the AAC this past season was also tough to handle at times. But all that is over and today the loyal Cardinal football fans are finally getting the moment that some of them have waited a lifetime for. Today is their day as the ACC football schedule was released.

The home games like Southern Miss, UAB and Tulane have been replaced by Miami and Florida State. And instead of having to play away games in front of 1500 fans at places like UCONN and USF our Cardinals will get to visit venues like Death Valley and South Bend. Yes folks we are about to embark on a football season like none we’ve ever seen before and the excitement will be at a all-time high from start to finish.

I can’t ever remember a time where I was this excited for the spring to get here and spring practice to begin. And I can’t wait for my bucket list trip to South Bend to watch my Cards take on the Fighting Irish. The Football season can’t get here fast enough. Enjoy this day Cardinal Football fans because it belongs to you. You have been loyal, Faithful and endured for the love of your team and next season you will reap your reward. Go Cards!

The Beak Basketball Breakdown: The Bulls

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The Cardinals were able to get that elusive quality victory against UCONN on Saturday night and they look like a team that is starting to gel. They will play their second straight game on the road before an eight-day break when they face USF in Tampa, Fla. on Wednesday. Louisville has a 27-4 series advantage over USF, winning 13 of the last 14 matchups. Louisville won both meetings last season: 64-38 in Louisville and 59-41 in Tampa. The Bulls come into this game 1-4 in the AAC and are No. 175 in the Sagarin Ratings and No. 172 in the ratings percentage index (RPI) this week. The last time the Bulls beat a ranked team was Louisville back in 2012 at the Yum Center.

USF isn’t a great team but Stan Heath is a good coach who knows that the strength of his team is the defense and blocking shots on the interior. Heath comes from the forty minutes of hell philosophy learned during his time at Arkansas and defense has been the identity of his teams while at USF. They had a solid defense last year but didn’t have the size down low to finish strong and gave up way too many offensive rebounds. Heath hit the recruiting trail this past summer and got some guys he hopes will help.

Two of those young guys are leading his front-court this season. Chris Perry (9.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 0.4apg) and John Egbunu (8.1ppg, 6.9rpg, 0.4apg). They are joined in the front-court by the best player on the team Victor Rudd (15.3ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.9apg).
Perry has a 7-5 wingspan and is a traditional low-post player who likes to play around the basket. He ranks 16th in the conference in rebounding.
Egbunu has speed, leaping ability and a willingness to attack the rim. He ranks 7th in the conference in rebounding, averages the most of any freshman, 8th in blocked shots (1.4), 7th in offensive rebounding.
Rudd is a do it all athlete and a great all around player. He’s one of three players in the American Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding. 10th in scoring, 6th in rebounding.

They are led in the back-court by three veteran players. Corey Allen Jr. (11.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.4apg), Martino Brock (8.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 1,5apg) and Anthony Collins (6.9ppg, 1.6rpg, 5.9apg).
Allen is a very active guard who knows how to use his hands and plays at a high level on both sides of the ball. He ranks 12th in steals and 13th in assist.
Brock is a lengthy guard who also has a knack for taking away the basketball. Allen and Brock combine for about 4 steals per game.
Collins is a very good defensive player in his own right and is great at getting his team-mates invoked. He looks to drive a dish.

USF comes into Wednesday’s game averaging 58.8 points-per-game, while shooting 38.9% from the floor and 31.3% from 3-point range. The Bulls are converting 68.4% of their attempts from the free-throw line. Defensively, USF is allowing 62.2 points-per-game as the opposition is shooting 42.2% from the floor. The Bulls are getting out-rebounded by their opponents 1011-1019 with a rebounding margin of -3.5 averaging 32.6 boards-per-contest.


Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #181
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
– 102.5 ranks 140th
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
– 101.2 ranks 224th

Like I mentioned above this South Florida team isn’t a great one, but they do have some size and some decent talent in their front-court. They are a team that can create turnovers through steals and blocked shots. On the road, you don’t want to give the underdog team extra opportunities. And the Cards must take care of the basketball which they have been doing well. They are third in the nation in turnover margin (+6.5) and 37th in fewest turnovers per game (10.6). The Cards have committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 12 of its last 22 games dating back to last year. Montrezl and Mango have been trending upward and they will get a good test by USF’s bigs. If our experienced post players can impose their will down low, they could really get in the young USF guys’ heads. I give them a slight advantage on the wing and Blackshear and Luke will have to play solid defense. Our back-court is far superior to theirs and that will be the biggest difference in this one. If Russ and Terry play solid basketball and get the other guys involved the Cards will be coming home with another road victory. Go Cards!

Cards Win AAC Road Game That Had A Big East Feel

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The Cards went on the road tonight needing a quality win and they got it beating the Huskies 76-64. This was a game in the newly formed AAC but it had that Big East feel. It was a treat watching these teams go at it in the main event of ESPN’s college basketball day. And even better that our guys got the win. UConn hadn’t lost at Gampel Pavilion since being beaten by a point in double overtime by Georgetown last season. The Cardinals have now won seven of the last eight matchups against the Huskies and three of last four in Storrs. Louisville is now 5-1 in conference play and they have started at least 5-1 in league play for the fifth time in Rick Pitino’s 13 years with the Cardinals (also 2003, 04, 05, 09). The win tonight also gave coach Pitino his 680th victory.

It was great seeing the Cardinals follow up the great effort they had on Thursday night. Coach Pitino said in his post game that the win tonight was “a great collective effort.” With this team that’s what it is going to take every night they hit the floor. They have put together two great wins and they did it playing together and playing to their strengths. Russ Smith led the way with 23 points tonight but it was far from a flawless effort from the Russdiculous one. Coach Pitino told Paul Rodgers after the game that he was going to ask for “a million dollar raise” after coaching Russ tonight. I’ll give him the benefit of doubt because his dad was in the building tonight and I think that always messes with him a little. Who wouldn’t want to show out in front of their dad. We’ve all had those moments.
In what coach Pitino called his
“best game of the season” Montrezl had his 3rd double-double in the last four games and was in beast mode tonight with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. He seems to be building confidence with every game the Cards play and he is vital to this teams chances at a March run.
I have raved, written articles, and boasted about Terry Rozier for the last two years and boy has he lived up to everything he was supposed to be. The kid shows so much poise for his age and I have to think his having to grow up fast has a lot to do with that. You can tell he is wise beyond his years on and off the court. Tonight he led the offense in a hostile environment had 5 points, 7 rebounds and only had one turnover in 33 minutes. You hear about quarterback controversy but Louisville has a starting point guard controversy. Competition only makes players better so Jones and Rozier should flourish for the rest of the season.
The old man prowess in Luke Hancock’s game has also returned for its curtain call. He had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assist tonight and was making some of his patented moves we have grown to love over the last couple of years. I love his game and I’m glad he is back to business as usual.

I really enjoyed this game tonight and when I think about the adversity this team has overcome to get where they are it really makes me feel optimistic about where they are going. I’m not booking any trips to the Dallas area just yet, but I have put my boss on notice that I may need some time off around the first of April. I will never again doubt the magic of Rick Pitino and I think he might have a few tricks left up his sleeve. He obviously has figured out the direction he wants his guys to take. Now it’s just up to them to stay on the path. Go Cards!

Coach Pitino after the win:

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The Beak Basketball Breakdown: The Huskies

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There’s a lot of buzz in the air this week about quality wins and our Cardinals will have a chance to get one on Saturday night as they visit UCONN for the Saturday night College GameDay main event. Louisville leads this series 8 to 6 and have won two in a row over the Huskies including a 73-58 victory in the last meeting. UCONN is coming off a big road win at Memphis on Thursday and our Cards are coming into this game after their best performance of the season on Thursday night against Houston.

After a year of sitting out of post season play UCONN is one of the hungriest teams in college basketball this season. Coach Kevin Ollie did an excellent job keeping his team playing hard last year and this season the backcourt is experienced on both sides of the ball. Shabazz Napier (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 6.2 apg), Ryan Boatright (12.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.6 apg) and Omar Calhoun (6.7 ppg, 2 rpg, 0.4 apg) all can pressure the ball, are competitive, play with confidence and have the ability to score. They are also getting quality minutes from DeAndre Daniels (13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.5 apg), Niels Giffey (7.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.6 blkpg) and Lasan Kromah (6.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.3 blkpg).
Taken together, the Huskies’ big three of Napier, Boatright and DeAndre Daniels are shooting 44 percent inside the arc and 45 percent outside it this season.
Napier leads The American in assists (6.2, 13th nationally), is second in steals (2.1) and his 16.1 scoring average ranks ninth in the league. UConn is among the national leaders in blocked shots (7.0, third nationally), three-point field goal percentage (.414, eighth) and free throw percentage (.767, seventh). Connecticut is No. 30 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 17 in the ratings percentage index (RPI) through Jan. 16.

UCONN comes into Saturdays game averaging 75.4 points-per-game, while shooting 46.8% from the floor and 41.4% from 3-point range. The Huskies are converting 76.7% of its attempts from the free-throw line. Defensively, UCONN is allowing 65.1 points-per-game as the opposition is shooting 38.8% from the floor. The Huskies are out-rebounding their opponents 608-590 with a rebounding margin of +1.1 averaging 35.8 boards-per-contest.


Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #31
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
– 96.7 ranks 51st
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
– 113.5 ranks 34th

The Cards were impressive at both ends of the floor in their 91-52 victory over Houston on Thursday, shooting 51.5 percent from the field and limiting Houston to 30.8 percent. They played what was probably their most complete game of the season. Rozier has taken his game to the next level and the other young guys are coming around. Luke seems to be hitting his mid season stride and even Wayne is showing signs of life. It is going to take another team effort and all these guys stepping up again to get the win on Saturday night. The Huskies and their home crowd will be amped up. I think the Cards have it in them to get the win, but it won’t be a cake walk.

Cards Make It “Wayne” Tonight

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Tonight was just one of those nights where everything seemed to be going the Cardinals way. They put their foot on the gas from the very beginning of this one and never let up beating Houston 91-52. Very impressive all around team effort from the whole team great passing, good shot selection, and solid rebounding. The Cards will now hit the road again for a few weeks. The game at UCONN on Saturday the guys of ESPN College GameDay will be in the house.

Coach Pitino said after the game “Really good night for us. Our enthusiasm was off the charts.” With enthusiasm usually comes great confidence and tonight that confidence translated into some very good shooting. The guys scorched the nets in the first half shooting 70% from the field and 73% from the three point line. Those percentages did go down in the second half but the Cards still ended the game with a solid 52% from the field and 54% from the three.
Usually when there is good ball movement it translates to more high percentage and easy baskets. You won’t see many nights were a team shares the ball like Louisville did tonight. Coach Pitino said of this effort
“We had 23 assists on 34 buckets which is outstanding.”
The defensive effort was much Breyer tonight as well and the Cards got 9 steals, and forced 16 turnovers. They would score 21 points off of those turnovers. And they actually out rebounded the Cougars 41 to 37. Something that hasn’t happened much this season.

As I mentioned above tonight was a true team effort and 9 guys played 15 minutes or more. 10 guys made it into the scoring column. Leading the way for the Cards was Wayne Blackshear with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assist, Russ with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assist, Luke with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assist. Terry Rozier continues to really impress me with his solid play and tonight he had a solid stat line 9 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assist and 1 turnover in 26 minutes. You really can’t play much better than that. I love this kids moxie!

I have been quick to jump on Wayne Blackshear in these post game entries, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say how impressed I was with his effort and performance tonight. Coach Pitino said after the game “He was very aggressive tonight. Very proud and happy for him.” I think we are all happy for him and I hope that he continues in an upward swing. Luke said about Wayne’s performance after the game “Wayne had a big game because he stayed aggressive. Also coming off the bench helped him stay out of foul trouble.” Really think it helps him coming off the bench. He seems to be the kind of player that does better with less pressure to perform. Regardless, if we get this Wayne for the rest of the year Dallas is still a real possibility.

This one was really fun to watch. And yes maybe it was fools gold to a certain extent but the opponent had nothing to with how the Cards hustled, focused and executed tonight. It was a great performance. We’ll find out a lot about this team Saturday. UCONN got a big road win against #17 Memphis tonight and its College Gameday. That place will be rocking.

Coach Pitino after the win tonight:

Luke after the win tonight:

Terry Rozier after the win tonight:

Wayne after his big career night:

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