Well at least the leftover turkey was good.
We said before the season that this year's Cardinals would have some good wins over some good teams and some bad losses to some bad teams. That was a bad loss to a bad team.
BUT, it was a bad loss to a bad team in November.
First and foremost (trying to start positive), if you were able to choose which of the two Thanksgiving weekend Cardinal games to lose, this would obviously be the one. However, if this is merely a sign of things to come and BCS dreams are dashed in the Steel City tomorrow, then our rage will continue to mount.
Louisville has now lost 10 straight away from Freedom Hall, their last victory being a 72-67 win at Providence on January 7. That was a long time ago.
We'd like to take a moment to note that the AP's game story misattributed its first quote to Brian Gregory (it should be Brian Roberts), and says that Norman Roberts' free-throw made the game 62-61, when it was Norman Plummer who gave the Flyers the lead at the charity stripe.
Those damn bloggers and their faulty reporting.
Brian Roberts was the best player on the floor, a statement that wouldn't have been true if Derrick Caracter hadn't befriended Eddie Lau.
We were encouraged by the play of Edgar Sosa. He's not going to be intimidated by anyone, and showed twice that he has the ability to hit a big shot when his team needs it. If he keeps working (and Dominic James goes pro), then he most certainly could factor into the discussion of best Big East point guards in two years.
We're not sure who that guy was at Connecticut last March, but it wasn't Juan Palacios. This Juan Palacios reminds us of Damian Dantzler in that he works hard, will rebound and his a reliable baseline jumper, but aside from that his game never improves. Tello looks lost on defense, he doesn't know who to give room to and who not to give room to, he doesn't switch back quickly enough, he doesn't know when to break when he's playing middle on the press, he shoots under 30% from inside three feet, and he has the worst hands of any Cardinal since Joseph N'Sima.
The ankle was a valid excuse last season, and we bought into it, but now we think it's becoming more and more apparent that JDP will never be the best player on a Louisville team.
Things could have been much worse without David Padgett, but we still wonder whether or not he should be out there. David's a warrior, and this team most certainly needs him to be successful, but there were two instances in the game where he appeared to injure his knee (one seriously), and this makes us very nervous. We understand that after sitting out one season because of transfer rules, and then missing part of another because of injuries DP must be anxious to make a serious splash, but we'd rather him not play at all for the first couple of months then risk another surgery and year of excrutiating rehab.
Brandon Jenkins is still a non-factor. Sure he's the most experienced player and best defender on the team, but right now he's incapable of doing anything out there. If he hasn't shown more in practice than he has in these games, then shelve him for another couple of weeks. We used to think that "expected to miss" dates were purposely set high, now we're starting to wonder whether or not these guys are just coming back too soon.
T-Will is not a shooter. For him to become the player we're all hoping he will be, his mindset must be drive, dunk, dish.
The majority of Louisville's great teams have lost early.
First loss for Louisville's 8 Final Four teams (6 of these 8 losses were to unranked teams):
1959 -- 1st game
1972 -- 1st game
1975 -- 14th game
1980 -- 7th game
1982 -- 6th game
1983 -- 5th game
1986 -- 3rd game
2005 -- 2nd game
There was absolutely no non-heroine induced reason to start Jonathan Huffman.
Is it just us or does this team (and last year's for that matter) not seem to play with the same sense of urgency that the first two Pitino teams did? Those teams, though blessed with inferior talent, were always on the floor, always scrapping, the bench was always on its feet, the guys really wanted each other to succeed, and everyone wearing the Louisville jersey seemed to play like their hands would be chopped off if the team lost.
We miss that.
Are we positive that this team wins with Andre McGee and Derrick Caracter on the floor Friday night? No. Are we pretty sure? Yes.
Are we positive that this team wins with Andre McGee, Derrick Caracter, and a healthy David Padgett and Brandon Jenkins on the floor Friday night? Yes.
Brad Gianiny and Perrin Johnson both were forced into logging some quality minutes and we thought they performed very well. Gianiny's missed lay-up in the first-half really hurt, but if we make 3 of the other 87 missed gimmies then it doesn't matter.
Actually we counted nine. Might have missed a few.
Earl Clark looks totally disinterested when he's on the bench and when he plays defense. We won't start clamoring for him to see more PT until this changes.
Jerry Smith's mustache is cool.
Obviously this was far from a must-win, but it certainly is a game that could haunt us if we find ourselves on the proverbial bubble once March rolls around.
We're not sure we can stomach another NCAA tournament bracket in which Louisville is noticeably absent. Get hungry, get healthy, get unsuspended, and get this right. Thank God this isn't college football.