Louisville 69, West Virginia 63

I couldn't have been the only one who had the thought pop into his head at some point between minute five and minute 20 of yesterday's game.

"Could this team, my team, be the eventual national champion?"

Thoughts (delusions?) of grandeur are difficult to avoid when you're taking in that kind of performance. 

It was like the team was trying to answer every preseason criticism directed at it in one 15-minute stretch. Jerry Smith was knocking down the outside shot with extreme consistency. Terrence Jennings was playing like someone who can hang with any big man in the Big East. Terrence Williams was passing up the challenged outside shot and focusing on making the guys on the floor wearing the same jersey better. 

Despite a few missed lay-ups and an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, U of L led a West Virginia team that hadn't played particularly poorly by 20 at the break. 

While I wasn't nearly as discouraged by the second half as some, it was definitely the firm shake that wakes you up just when a good dream is about to get great. The Mountaineers are a Tournament team, but they shouldn't be capable of making up a deficit that large in a time frame that small against team that can play defense the way Louisville did in the first half. 

That said, U of L is one win away from getting through the more difficult half of its Big east schedule without a loss.

There's always going to be something to complain about, but it's a good feeling when you have to look this hard. 

 There's been a lot of talk in the last 24 hours about the fact that Louisville was outscored by 14 points in the second half, but I don't think there's been nearly enough praise hurled in the direction of West Virginia. The 'Eers came into the game playing about as well as anyone in the league outside of Louisville, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Marquette, and had been 5-1 on the road.

WVU got significantly better as the season wore on in Bob Huggins' first year on the job, and it would appear that the same thing is happening in his sophomore campaign. These guys will be a tough out both at Madison Square Garden and in the Big Dance.

 I don't think there's anyone who watched Louisville basketball in the month of november who could have predicted that Terrence Jennings would be where he is on Feb. 1. It's just been a remarkable progression that makes you wonder just how good he can become. 

 I can't recall a more tense 25-30 seconds than when T-Will went down and all anyone wearing red could do was hope that he wasn't grabbing his knee. Mike Bush was bad, but it was also the first game of the season when no one really knew how good that team could be. This was a senior co-captain playing the best basketball of his life in the middle of what has the potential to be a very special season. 

Five minutes later he was dunking and all was right with the world. 

 Da'Sean Butler has officially succeeded Mike Gansey and Darris Nichols for the title of "ridiculously underrated West Virginia basketball player."

That man can play. 

 So mildly contested three-pointer called me last night. Yeah, she was pretty giddy. Apparently Jerry finally got up the nerve to take things to the next level. It sounds like everything's going really well and they're both very excited about it. I know, they're so cute together. 

Annnddd scene. 

 Huggins has gained weight. I could beat him in a race. 

 So we had zero players pull down ten rebounds? I don't really want have the resources to look it up, but my guess is that it's been a while since that happened. 

 I'm far too consumed by this team and by Monday night's game to give a rat's ass about the Super Bowl. Seriously, I can't remember caring less, and there have been some years where I really didn't care. 

 Twenty-six turnovers, and not one came from Edgar Sosa. 

Answer: A statement that might have cost you a testicle had you made a wager about its validity in early December. 

Great to see Samardo step up and knock down two enormous free-throws with the game perhaps hanging in the balance. He might not have all the tools yet, but the freshman already has the mental toughness necessary to be a star.

Almost Dunking Marques Maybin wants me at Derby wearing nothing but his jersey, he needs me at Derby wearing nothing but his jersey.

It's gotten to the point where I really want to take him down for a game just to see what happens. Of course that will never happen, but the curiosity is killing me.

All right, everybody enjoy their Super Bowl Sunday, but more importantly, get your minds right for tomorrow night.

God, this is fun. 

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