So, that was tough to watch.
During the first six minutes, we witnessed arguably the best offensive stretch all season for Louisville. The remainder of the game played out like a Saw sequel where the inevitable torture and pain are predictable and progressively numbing. In this script, Louisville basketball is the kettle and we are the spoiled frog, submerged in water that gradually boils us to our demise.
There are several storylines to cherry pick to explain the futility. Siva's injury. Ware's father. Pitino's ____ (myriad options). Russ jealousy. Injuries. Bad officiating. Body fat percentage. Hendo & Miss Hawaii.
The once small gripes of fan apathy towards Pitino have suddenly grown into a giant boulder of negativity rolling downhill. It seems like a 50/50 split right now between fans regarding the future Hall of Fame coach, with one side shouting "Patience!" and the other "Pathetic!"
The question is what can this team do to change the way things are going? Is this a bad team or a team behaving badly? One can make the argument Louisville is the biggest question mark team in the Big East right now and I find myself sympathizing with both sides of the Pitino coin.
It's ok to not like what you see, but now is not the time to quit on this team. There's still time to turn this horror show into a respectable happy ending, but that window is closing.
UPDATE: Postgame quotes
"You have to look at it and have some type of sense of humor, because here you are, you're in the middle of a game and Rakeem Buckles injures his other knee. He said 'My leg went dead.' So, that was a little bit of a problem obviously, but we survived, we got through it and we were playing good basketball."
"In the second half, when I had to play Angel at the four, we lost a little momentum. When it boils down to it, we were in the game. Even though we may be out with a lot of players, we're in the game, but we have to make our free throws."
"It's difficult because you're really asking Peyton Siva to do a lot in that scenario but we had no choice with Rak(eem Buckles' injury). Angel is really really working hard--probably the best attitude on the team--and I wanted him to play him tonight, some at the 3 spot, so even though he missed those shots, he was playing the 4 spot which is not his spot. We can get a chance to play him a little bit down the road but he played well."
"Our team played good, we played good, but you need to play great to win on the road, regardless of the players you have."
"I've coached some slow teams, some unathletic teams that could pass and shoot. We have some good quickness, we cut, we do a lot of good things. But shooting is not our forte either from the field or the line. So, this season, we have to really mix it up, change things. Some people ask why are we running so many pick-and-rolls, but to be honest, if we don't run a lot of pick and rolls, we don't get a lot of jump shots. And we've got to try to get into the lane."
"Chane's not a good foul shooter. Russ should be better than he is. Kevin Ware is not a good foul shooter. We've just got to work on Kevin and Chane becoming better free throw shooters. We're working very hard on our shooting technique. [Describes Chane Behanan's poor free throw mechanics.]"
"I thought (Marquette) would make a run, you just have to sustain it. I told our guys 'Don't be down. You had a reason to be down after the Providence game, because you didn't give extraordinary effort.' I said 'You're giving great effort, stick with your goals. Your goals are to win every home game and win two road games.' So, this one got by us."
"It's not going to be easy getting Pitt. You actually have a better chance at getting (a win) like a Seton Hall than at Pitt b/c (Pitt's) so hungry for a win. Our guys are rebounding the ball well, I think they're playing real hard, we just have to make our free throws down the stretch and keep it close."
On Marquette's Devante Gardner: "He's a big body. You've got to play out in front of him and Gorgui just played behind him. Gorgui's got to realize it's his fifth foul. He's 12 feet from the basket and you don't want to foul the guy 12 feet from the basket. We did a lot of little things that hurt us down the stretch."
"I would just wear the guys out and we'd have no shot at winning (if they full court pressed the whole game). We have to play guys 37, 38, 40 minutes. I just wanted to get a look at the end there with Peyton on the bench. There's gonna be a point in a game where we've got to play without Peyton."
Regarding Buckles' injury: "It's a hyper-extended (left) knee. So we've got to try and probably play Zach, and that's going to be difficult but we have to try and play him and just use his 5 fouls. This was a tough game to play Zach b/c they half court trap and the 5-man has to pass the ball. Pitt will be a little easier for him to play."
"I hope (Kyle is back for the next game), we thought he'd play in this game, so we were surprised. We thought Van Treese would be back a week ago, so we're surprised. These are just things we have to hope for the best."
"That's the one thing I learned from Hubie (Brown), he said, 'We're fine, you're on a three game losing streak,' he said, 'you got two more games. We said if we win 2 out of 5, you'll be fine.' That's what you have to do, win every home game and get two on the road. We'll be fine in that situation and we have to keep playing to do that."
"We had the game, we came close, had a chance to win it. So we have to stay positive and go out and win the next game. Hopefully the flaws we made this game will deteriorate the next."
"It was a tough game and we had the game in hand, so we can't really complain."
"(It was) definitely a winnable game. Came down to foul trouble and that's what foul trouble will do to you. We blew away some chippies, missed some free throws, I myself missed a free throw. We've just got to do the little things, get a few offensive rebounds."
"We're trying to stay optimistic, next game we've got to come out the same way we did this game, but we've got to play 40 minutes."
"We've got to do all the little things because of our injuries and all of our maladies. Once we get healthy again, things will get better, and once we do the little things, our season will start going the (right) way."
On being up 18-2 early: "The team's got to continue to execute (after big runs) and that didn't happen. (Marquette) continued making their runs and knocked down a couple threes. It's just one of those games and you hate to let it slip away from you, but Marquette's a good team, they played really well down the stretch and that's what we didn't do. We got in foul trouble, got key injuries and it hurt us. We didn't knock down free throws in clutch situations and a couple things didn't go our way. We just got to continue to go and win games."
"Like Coach P said, we gotta focus on our goals, get two in a row and then win the rest at home."
On feeling any extra pressure to do more: "No, my job is tempo, to just distribute the ball, play defense and just push the pace. It was tough tonight, but you got to continue to find shooters and get Chris and Russ open shots and feed the big men. We're all on scholarship here and there's a reason why we're here, so everybody's got to continue to contribute and play."