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Louisville/South Florida Thoughts

I was just as excited as anyone to see Derrick Caracter's natural ability back on display yesterday, but I do think that a lot of people are getting a little carried away with the freshman's performance.

The talent is there as it's always been, but did he really look that different than the player we saw two months ago against Arizona or one month ago against Marquette? He showed off his hands, had some nice putbacks and a couple good post moves, but he refused to pass the ball back out when he caught it down low, he struggled from the free-throw line, and he had several defensive lapses.

Also, if this game had been played anywhere other than Freedom Hall he would've fouled out in five minutes. You just can't shove people around, especially when you're that size.

Caracter said all the right things after the game, but he's been saying all the right things publicly since before last summer. Let's see how he reacts on Monday at Pitt if things aren't going his way before we crown him as the saving grace of the '06-'07 season.

Why wouldn't David Padgett sprain his foot while simply running down the floor without anyone within five feet of him? It's like God is running out of ways to plead with him to do something, anything, with his life other than play basketball.

Rest assured if he can walk he'll start tomorrow.

Jerry Smith was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc again on Saturday, bringing his season total from three to 43-of-91 (47.2%). If he met the NCAA's minimum requirements on attempts, Smith would be one of the top ten three-point shooters in the country, and would be the #1 overall freshman in the category.

One of the reasons for Smith's high percentage and low number of attempts is that he's extremely selective, almost too much so. I'd love to see him get to the point where he will catch and shoot off screens without thinking twice.

We've also got to get him on the floor more. Jenkins' impressive performance on Saturday will likely mean that Jerry will see less minutes against Pitt than he might have before, but he'll have to make the most of the time he gets because we're a much better team when he's playing than when he's on the bench. He may still get a little too excited after he makes a shot, but he brings a level of basketball maturity and awareness to the court that we haven't seen out of a freshman in five years (think another pretty good outside shooter).

Just how good is Earl Clark?

You keep expecting him to have a game reminiscent of the ones from November and December, but he keeps refusing to give Pitino any reason to keep him off the court. He hit another three yesterday, recorded another steal, and made two fantastic passes, one to Smith on the break, and another to  Caracter who was fouled.  

Pitino is obviously trying to get Palacios' confidence back (a good move considering we have to get some production from him if we want to have a prayer of making the tournament), and so Earl didn't play the first 8 minutes of the second half despite being extremely impressive before the break.

RP said before the game that he wanted to try and use Tello and Clark on the floor at the same time more, but again we didn't see much of it on Saturday, in part because of how well Caracter was playing. Still, I'd love to see the two playing together for a decent spell on Monday, especially considering Padgett's injury and the fact that E5 has been our best post defender for the past three weeks.  

When Sosa found Will Scott for a three at the first-half buzzer, you knew there was no way we were going to win by any less than 20. Easily the highlight of the game for this guy.

Terrance Farley plays so much better after he gets four or five minutes of court time under his belt it's ridiculous. He's like Greg Maddux or Pedro Martinez in that no matter how far into the season he is, it always takes him a little while too get acclimated with the game, but once he gets into the flow of things he settles down and handles himself pretty well.

Did I just compare Terrance Farley to Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez? Maybe it's time to pull the plug.

Brandon Jenkins is not impressed by South Florida. BJ is 5-0 lifetime against the Bulls and is shooting 19% better from the field and averaging just under four more points against USF than his career average. Jenkins' two highest scoring outputs of the season have come in Louisville's two games against their old C-USA foe.

The more I think about the more I think that tomorrow is the game. Sure at Marquette seems like the more likely win, but Tom Crean kind of has our number, and beating the Golden Eagles might not be impressive enough to do the trick.

We don't match up horribly with Pitt, and I really, really believe that if we can just get one or two guys to hit some outside shots that this is a game we can win. Louisville obviously has far more to gain than Jamie Dixon's club, and the Panthers had a tough time with Providence in a game that started at six on Saturday, while our starters got a lot of rest in an easy win over South Florida that wrapped up an hour before Pitt tipped off.

Just throwing it out there.

Peace, love, Cards.