The sky is falling everybody. Louisville Basketball is done for the year. We might as well not even suit up for the rest of the season. We have no chance at winning the Big East. We are NIT bound, if we're that lucky. This is going to be a terrible season full of underachievers being coached by an old man who is past his prime.
Fellow members of CC. The above paragraph basically sums up what I have been reading on this site the past few days. I read this site multiple times every day, hardly ever missing a comment or a post. For some reason I don't post much, only occasionally. But I'm at every open thread. I've watched every game that I possibly could this season. I've been following this site for about three years now and I must say this is the most I've been disappointed in this fan base.
Coming into this season I can almost guarantee you that at least 85% of you would have been happy or were expecting just an NCAA tourney berth or possibly worse. This team had no expectations from anyone. Not the coach.Not the players. Not the media. Not the fans. I was reading an college basketball preview in SI yesterday and they didn't even have us making the tourney. Expectations were not high. It was supposed to be a bridge year heading into a top ten recruiting class coming in next year. This team just didn't have enough playmakers or talent to be that successful. But then the season started and all that changed.
We open the season against the defending national runner-up in Butler and thoroughly handle them. Leading the whole game we end up winning by 15 against the then #18 team in the country (some had them higher). We then go on a streak going 8-0 including a victory over current #25 UNLV and are blowing teams out of The Bucket. We have our usual slip against Drexel but things are still looking good. We easily win the next three by 29, 32, and 30 heading into the game against our most hated rival. Things are looking good for us and it looks like we even have a chance to win. A majority of experts are even picking us and we are the favorite. Then game day comes and it all goes down hill from there.
We find out Buckles is hurt, immediately lowering our chances to win greatly. He was supposed to guard a top 5 NBA pick in Jones and with Swop being hurt as well we have no legitimate Big East 4. Some may say we have SVT but can honestly say he is a legitimate BE 4? He would hustle. He would foul. He may grab a few boards. But he is not the answer. To make things worse our starting center gets hurt in warn-ups and is limited the whole game. With Marra and Bullet also hobbled our second biggest strength (behind The Bucket), our depth, is gone. When you rely on playing balls-to-the-wall knowing someone is there to pick you up, and that is suddenly gone, any team would struggle with that. With the UK length smothering us and our shots not falling the way we want we end up looking like WKU. Fans panic. Media panics. We have been exposed as a fraud. But I am here to tell you why things can still turn out for us.
- Our depth will be back. Barring any setbacks, by Wednesday we will be back at full strength minus Buckles. This will help us tremendously with intensity and pressure.
- We play Seton Hall and South Florida first. These will be two great games for us as they aren't your typical powers of the BE. These games should help us get back to playing UL basketball.
- Our stats are not horrible. We are currently, in the nation, 14th in points, 6th in assists, 32nd in FG%, and 66th in rebounding. These are not bad stats. Yes we have beat up on some pretty bad teams but at least we only choked against one of them and handled the rest.
- THE BIG EAST IS WIDE OPEN. If you all forgot we are still undefeated in the conference. 5 teams already have 2 losses (including #13 Georgetown) and four more have 1 loss. Give us some time to start proving ourselves in conference before calling us dead.
- Rick Pitino is stil a HOF coach. Yes he has had his struggles. Every coach has. But at least he hasn't cheated the school like other big names (Calhoun, Pearl, Calipari, and many many others). His off the court stuff is over and he focusing solely on basketball now. I still feel that he is one of the best coaches in the country.
- WE ARE 11 and 2! What in that 11-2 shows that we are done? Nothing! We are beating who we supposed to beat with only one slip up. Coming into this season many would say that we should be 10-3 if we beat only who we're supposed to beat (those losses coming to Butler, UNLV, and UK). But we beat two of those and with only one of our usual stumbles we sit pretty at 11-2.
- We have the talent and the players to compete. I'm not done with Siva, Marra or TJ yet. Yes they have been mostly unimpressive but they still have the potential to go off at any time. I have been very impressed with C. Smith, Bullet and Dieng coming in and contributing and don't forget, we still have King Kyle and Preston! who will be there every night.
All I am asking is for my fellow Card fans to stand behind this team until we have a reason to be upset. We still have all of conference play to prove ourselves and still sit at 11-2. It is not yet time to panic and I think some of you all need to become a little more optimistic. This team is still top 25 and by the end of the season I feel we still will be GO CARDS!