Louisville 80, Appalachian State 53

Maybe it was because it wasn't the afternoon, but there was definitely more of an air of excitement in the stands and bounce in the step of the player's in white on Monday night than there had been on either of the two days before. Appy State is down from where they were a couple of years ago, and the Mountaineers aren't nearly as well suited as Louisville is to play three games in three days, but this was still a very solid 40-minute performance.

A solid momentum-builder heading into this weekend's road test in Vegas.

How much of a trend-setter is Preston Knowles? Let's just say there are nine guys at my office wearing white compression t-shirts. It's like Kelly Kapowski's pizza hat.

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This really might be the most balanced team in Louisville history. How much better is Swop than Buckles? Samuels than Jennings? Sosa than Siva? Knowles or Jerry than Delk or Kuric?

If you're on this team and you finish the season averaging more than five points, then you probably can say you had a fantastic year.

I was almost positive that I saw Ryan Abraham throw a punch into Edgar Sosa's midsection early in the game, a thought that was confirmed on the next possession when Sosa leveled him for seemingly no reason. It looked like Edgar was telling the ref that Abraham had hit him in his happy area, which is possible since Sos's high-short-wearing ways make it difficult to gauge the location of his body parts.

Wherever he hit him, Abraham's a chotch.

Samardo appeared to be extremely pissed off all night for whatever reason.

There was a point where Pitino told him to check back in the game, but when he took an insanely long amount of time to remove his warm-up, Rick opted to let George Goode take the floor. Then there was another instance later in the game during a timeout where hung out by himself outside of the team huddle. And then of course there was the highly uncharacteristic poor free-throw shooting.

No idea what the deal is there, but here's hoping it's nothing a little (or a lot of) turkey and stuffing can't resolve.

Naturally, we have the greatest junior announcer of all-time a mere eight hours or so after I rip on the segment for the first time.

The official Card Chronicle 2009 Hall of Fame Showcase champions t-shirt should be hitting stores late this morning.

On the front of the shirt? You guessed it, Schnilk Chuggenberger.

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I heard Jared Swopshire talk for the first time (besides, of course, the "it's game time" at the end of the intro video) on the radio after the game and he sounds nothing like you think he would. His voice is extremely deep and pretty awesome. He also started every single answer with "oh yeah, definitely," causing me to do the same thing for the rest of the night and ultimately end up losing all my friends and end up sleeping on the floor by myself.

Thanks, Swop.

Also, I know that everybody calls him Swop, but for some reason I think it's hilarious when I hear Pitino do it. I don't understand most of the things that make me laugh.

We're still doing a really poor job of locating shooters when we're in zone. Like, really poor.

These games count, Jerry. Let's get it goin'.

Curtis Shaw sucks but didn't do anything ridiculously awful last night. Congrats?

Edgar was a little bit more reckless with the ball Monday night than he had been over the weekend, but he still has to be the mythical Hall of Fame Showcase MVP. If he plays like this, Jerry becomes Jerry by Big East Play, Samardo realizes he's enormous and the young guys steadily improve, then we're going to be an extremely tough out.

Chris Brickley's undershirt was enormous. Preston was just trying to make a point, Chris. You don't have to celebrate it.

Gratuitous dunking Kyle Kuric pic...

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More solid pics from Sam, who made the questionable decision to sport a blue button-down and once again refused to take a shot of me looking extremely cool in the stands. 

Rock Buckles (my god what a name) is receiving some very much-deserved praise this a.m. He's definitely going to make some awkward mistakes over the course of the season, but if he can rebound like that, defend like that, finish around the rim and knock down the occasional 15-footer then he's going to provide an enormous lift off the bench.

He also gets yelled at by Pitino a lot, which I think just shows that Rick knows he can take it and sees significant potential in No. 4.

Keep workin'.

Overall, a solid three days to get both the fans and the team into the swing of basketball season.

We owe these guys one on Saturday. I'm excited.

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