Louisville 74, Morehead State 54

I think we all had a pretty good idea of how the second half was going to play out, but I don't believe anyone who says they weren't freaking out at least a little bit during the 15 minutes of intermission.

It's easy to say our guys got complacent after building an early 10-point lead, or that this team is about ten times less dangerous when Earl Clark is on the bench, but I think Morehead State also deserves to have a healthy dose of praise hurled in its direction.

We knew they were going to play as if their lives depended on the game's outcome, but the Eagles also came out and executed their game plan brilliantly in the initial 20 minutes. They got Maze Stallworth open looks from the outside, they detected the right times to hit Faried and Buchanan in the post, and they frustrated the Cardinals by alternating defenses.

If the game's outcome was determined by effort and execution, Morehead is right there in the final minute, but the Eagles simply didn't have the athletes or the ballhandlers to stop what we all knew was coming after halftime.


Andre McGee officially finished the game with eight points, five steals and four assists, but it certainly felt like he had about three times all those numbers.

With Edgar Sosa appearing less and less capable of playing with any sense of poise, McGee's importance has never been greater. I think it was around steal number three when I made the comment that Andre might be the most important player on the team right now.

Apparently Rick Pitino agrees.

"Without question, Earl Clark and Terrence Williams are the professional athletes, potentially, on our basketball team," Pitino said, turning to McGee in his postgame news conference. "But there's no doubt about it, this young man is what makes our basketball team win. Andre McGee is the key, times 10, to our basketball team."

'Dre is getting a lot of national love this morning, and nobody deserves it more. The tail end of the man's Cardinal career is becoming increasingly O'Bannon-esque with each game.

In a strange way, Samardo Samuels's midseason struggles may end up being an enormous positive for this team. Not only was Terrence Jennings able to emerge as a solid contributor, but teams have become less and less likely to double Samuels, and recently he's been taking advantage accordingly.

Samuels played hungry last night on both ends of the floor and was as aggressive when the ball was in the air as he's been all season. He doesn't have to carry this team to Detroit, but he does need to be counted on for somewhere around 12 and eight for the next few weeks.

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Jerry Smith's bench antics are forcing me to miss large chunks of game action.

I was really happy to see Swop stroke that three near the end of the game. A large part of the reason he's struggled so mightily since the start of Big East play is that he's simply not ready to log these types of minutes at the four, but he's also been playing without any semblance of confidence since the new year, and maybe hitting a shot like that in his NCAA Tournament debut will restore some.

"Swopsher" is officially the new "Palashus."

Edgar Sosa didn't do much well outside of knocking down a couple treys, but he was up and cheering on the bench almost the entire game, which is a great sign for a kid who will be relied upon heavily in his senior season. There will be a game between now and the end of the season where this team will need Sosa to step up in a big way, and keeping the right attitude when things aren't going well could play a large part in his ability to succeed when that time comes.

Pitino said he played Swopshire instead of Terrence Jennings at the four because Swop is better at defending the wings out of the zone, but that still doesn't explain TJ not seeing any time at the five in the first half. Me thinks he did something to get himself in the doghouse this week.

It's hard to believe that we've gotten this far without mentioning T-Will, so...T-Will.

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After our game, I was cheering for overtime first and Siena second. Both were good horses to saddle up with.

The Saints aren't going to change because they're facing Louisville, they're going to play fast, loose and free with the ball, and that's fine by me.

I hate that we have to play these guys because they're a team I enjoy watching, but sometimes in life you have to beat people you really like. It's in the Bible.

I'll be making the trip to Dayton on Sunday, and could not be happier about not having to deal with Ohio State fans. I've found that I do not mesh well with their kind.

I've made the switch to pajama pants, long-sleeve grey Louisville basketball shirt and backwards Louisville hat at halftime of each of the last three games. The Cards have outscored their opponents 128-70 in those three halves.

If you don't think those pants are going to be worn underneath my jeans on Sunday, then you've got a punch in the face coming your way. That might seem excessive, but it's March and Louisville is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, a fact that I've used to justify everything I've done over the past six days.

I still have a ridiculous amount of faith in Preston's outside shot. Keep pulling, young man.

I'd also invest every penny I own (both of them) in his on-ball defense. Bad economy, shmad shmashonomy.

Goode to see George on the floor again. See what I did there?

Earl Clark in March: still better than the best player from your high school. Still, I could do without the turnovers, E5. Just somethin' to think about.

Cleveland State was my big upset pick...and yet every bracket I've submitted is still in the bottom 50 percent of its pool.

There are few joys in life as absolute as being able to watch NCAA Tournament games all day with the knowledge that your team was victorious the night before.

One down.

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