This was the low point of the Pitino era for me. Even when we tied it up at 53 I was only excited because the win would at least make things appear OK for another day.
The truth is, things aren't OK, and I don't understand why.
I don't understand how we can be this bad six years into Pitino's tenure, how we can make the same exact mistakes time after time. I don't understand how after a trip to the final four, with one of the top five names in the sport on the sidelines, and two seemingly stellar recruiting classes, our program still can't sniff the status it knew in the 1980's.
I don't understand how we can have guards who can consistently commit turnovers when valuing the ball is of the utmost importance. Guards that don't seem to have any understanding of when, where or to whom the ball needs to go. Guards that penetrate and then dish the ball to a 6-4 player underneath whom they should know full well has absolutely no chance of scoring down there.
I don't understand how we can have post players who keep running at open shooters and leaving the glass wide open for an offensive rebound when there's zero chance of them getting to the shooter in time.
I don't understand why we still can't play defense. Why our guards take wild swipes when someone else's man drives to the bucket, either committing a silly foul or leaving their own man wide open for three. I don't understand how we can continually leave our opponents' best shooters uncovered.
I don't understand how we can have a coach say things like "This team has greatness in them" or "It's scary how good we can become," and then remark at halfime of a game against a UMass team coming off a 13-15 season and with a coach in just his second year, "They're much more athletic than us." I don't understand why said coach switches to a zone defense in the second half, when the man-to-man has held his team's opponent scoreless for five minutes. I don't understand why Terrance Farley is in the game with four minutes to play and a scoreboard showing identical digits next to the names of the home and visiting teams.
I don't understand how with the game tied at 53, one caoch can draw up a play that ends with his leading scorer getting a lay-up while we can only counter with five guys standing around for 30 seconds before one of them throws the ball away. I don't understand how the next four possessions can follow suit. And it wasn't just the last five minutes, we got nothing out of our offensive sets the entire game. We made a run because we got points off the break and because Terrence Williams can be a hell of a basketball player when he takes the ball to the hole. But when we needed set plays to generate open looks to win the game, we got nothing.
I don't understand where "Pitino Ball" went, why "40 minutes of hell" disappeared. I don't understand why the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 Louisville teams, though extremely inferior in the talent department, played so much harder and achieved so much more. Those teams were so easy to get behind, so fun to watch, you wanted so desperately for them to win because it was so easy to see how much they cared. I can't be the only one who sees that it isn't there with these guys.
I don't understand why Perrin Johnson seems to be the only throwback to the early Pitino days, the only player who looks like regardless of whether or not he's even set foot on the court, he would gladly give his left nut for a victory. Where are the leaders? Where are the guys who truly care about this program?
I hate the fact that I'm constantly left with the sneaking suspicion that I care more than the team does. It's how I felt during the last few Crum years, and it's how I hoped I'd never feel again. And I hate the fact that I still care, that I know I'll be a nervous wreck come Saturday morning, and that I'll watch every single game for the next three months regardless of how bad it gets.
The best part about writing a blog is that you're able to write as a fan, well I'm a fan and I'm pissed. I love Louisville basketball, always will, but I shouldn't have to accept this. This is where we should have been five or six years ago, it should be a distant memory, something we look back at and joke about in the same way we do Cardinal football in the '70s.
All of us who care so deeply about this program deserve better, and I don't understand why we're not getting it.