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Bad Edgar

Exhibition season has officially come and gone, and my only complaint is that the games weren't spaced out enough. The next 17 days are going to be rough.

Playing a team like Georgetown two days after playing Carleton was a plus because the Tigers presented a completely different challenge. They were athletic enough to pressure our ball-handlers on defense and penetrate on offense, and I think that was evident in the fact that we turned the ball over 25 times and they were able to get so many open looks. The defense still has a ways to go, but I think it bears repeating that Georgetown dropped 92 in Freedom Hall on this day one year ago.

Overall it was another optimism-inspiring evening. T-Will played another great all-around game, Padgett still hasn't missed a shot, Earl Clark showcased his immense skill, and Derrick Caracter continued to look like Jeff Hornacek from the charity stripe.

Plenty of positives, but the thing that stood out to me the most Wednesday night was a glaring negative, and that was the play of Edgar Sosa.

Last night was exactly the type of game that Sosa cannot have if this team wants to have any prayer of advancing to the season's final weekend. He missed his first couple of shots, made a mistake by trying to force something in the paint, and he was done for the game.

Twenty-three minutes, three rebounds, four turnovers, zero assists, zero emotion.

Against a team like Georgetown, Sosa can have a bad night and Andre McGee is plenty capable of coming in and leading the red and white to a 27-point win. But McGee's ceiling isn't as elevated as Sosa's, and I think we were all privy to that knowledge last February and March. In the games that will matter the most this season, Edgar Sosa has to be the guy running the show, and he has to understand that making his teammates look better will inevitably make him look better.  

Just like good hitting or good shooting, good passing is contagious, and when your point guard is putting his head down and throwing up one-handed prayers ten seconds into a possession that rubs off on the other four guys in the same manner.

I don't know if he's dealing with some sort of personal issue or something, but if not, there's no excuse for the way he reacted to a tiny bit of early adversity. Pouting on the bench after missing a few open shots and throwing the ball away a couple of times is the reaction of a high school point guard, not one with the potential to become the best in the Big East.

Jerry Smith also had a rough shooting night, and he responded by hitting the glass and making a pair of steals that sparked the second half onslaught. He was also on his feet nearly the entire time he was on the bench, the same way Dean, Garcia, O'Bannon and Myles were nearly every second they spent off the floor.

It's disconcerting that he hasn't already done so, but what Sosa has to fully realize before it's too late is that this isn't about him. It wasn't about him when he made the play to send the West Virginia game into overtime, and it wasn't about him when he missed the two free-throws and the three-pointer against Texas A&M.

Sosa can beat his man and get into the lane more consistently than any other player on U of L's roster. His potential ability to make everyone else on the floor better makes him arguably the most important player Rick Pitino has.

My fear heading into this season was that Sosa was entering it with a chip on his shoulder, and that his attempt to remove it would involve ignoring his teammates and trying to score 25 points every night. I'm not intimating that his play Wednesday night is indicative of the way it's going to be all season, but for at least one night my fear was realized.