The biggest step in making the jump from "in a rut" to "on a run" is restoring confidence.
From Louisville hitting eight straight free-throws with the game in the balance, to Peyton Siva burying four outside jumpers, to Jared Swopshire making two key offensive plays in the closing minutes, to Chane Behanan dominating the paint in the second half; U of L's 84-74 win over Villanova was far more important than the final score indicates.
Is this where we hoped the Cards would be on Jan. 25? Absolutely not, but this team is just now learning how to play with the pieces it has, and because of that these last two games could not have been more valuable.
At 2-4 in the Big East and with so many players out or dealing with injuries, I think all most of us wanted was for this group to give us some hope that substantial success in February and March was at least possible. I think that's happened now.
Double digit wins over Pitt and Villanova aren't anything to write home about, but Peyton Siva looking like a guy with restored confidence, Gorgui Dieng getting 13 and 14 rebounds a night, Russ Smith learning when to make a pass in transition; those things are.
You don't have to strain so much anymore to see the light. It may not be as bright as any of us hoped it would be before the season, but that doesn't change the fact that it's there.
We'll have more in the morning, but for now, I leave with you with Glasses Rick (Glasses Rick!):