I swear to God I'm going to pistol whip the next guy who says Hazell.
Not quite the complete effort I was hoping for, but anyone complaining after a 20-point Big East road win this season is a fool.
On a side note, upon writing that last sentence it became brutally apparent to me that it's no longer possible to substitute the name of a celebrity or character from pop culture for the word "crazy" and be funny. I mean if I had been reading that and saw Britney Spears or Tom Cruise or Billy Bibbit in place of "a fool," I would have just stopped right there and moved on to something else.
It's sad, really.
I enjoy seeing Lee Steiden in black as much as the next ridiculously handsome guy, but let's go ahead and stick with the red road unis for a while.
Obviously T-Will came up big again, but I didn't think he played as well tonight as he had the previous three games. I love the pass first attitude and definitely think it's the mindset that best suits both his game and this team, but there were two instances in the first ten minutes when he opted to pass instead of taking one more dribble and having an uncontested lay-up or dunk. One time we scored and the other we didn't. In bigger games we need to T-Will to go ahead and finish when he gets a step on his man and has a clear path to the bucket.
Also, it became blatantly obvious at the end of the game that he was trying to get his third triple-double of the season, and he was visibly upset when Pitino pulled him with about two minutes to play. It's easy to chalk this up to a knee-jerk reaction from a kid who was very close to achieving something rare, but it made the 10 first-half assists feel just a little bit disingenuous. I love the kid and know he wants to win as badly as anyone associated with the program, which is why it was especially disappointing to see him look upset when his team was about to win a league road game by 20 points.
But still, seven, nine and 11 in 36 minutes. A tip of my hat to you sir.
It was interesting to see David Padgett looking to score and not even thinking about passing out every time he got the ball in the post. This has to have been something he was instructed to do by the coaching staff, since it was so totally out of character. Not necessarily bad, just out of the ordinary. I suppose this was Pitino's way of telling David that he's been being too selective.
Padgett finished the game 5-of-13 and missed a few chippies, but considering that he entered the game 34-of-45 (75.6%) from the floor, I think we can let it slide. It was also encouraging to see him stroke a pair of free-throws since having a big man who shoots around 80% from the line was such a lethal weapon for us down the stretch a year ago. I reckon that having to adjust your free-throw stroke because you have basically no ability to bend your knees is a challenge, but I don't think there's any doubt that it's something that David has been working on, and that his percentage will gradually improve.
Although he led the team with 18 points, I didn't think this was a particularly large step in the right direction (I've been saying that a lot lately) for Earl Clark. His effort on the boards was a drastic improvement, but he's still pressing the issue and breaking up the rhythm of the offense too often. The difference tonight was that he got away with it because his shots were falling and he was going up against a South Florida team with nobody who can play the four.
And maybe he was told before the game that he had an advantage and should exploit it, I don't know. I'd just like to see him score more points like he did when he cut to the basket for the dunk or drilled the wide open three from the corner as opposed to him taking his man to the hole and hitting a wild one-handed floater.
I thought JDP played well when he was in, but he forgot that we switched to a man press on two separate occasions in the first half, and both times USF ended up with easy lay-ups. This may have been the reason he only saw the floor for 13 minutes, but I suspect it's more likely that Pitino is trying to get Clark going.
The goggle malfunction three minutes in was easily the most nervous I was all game.
Think John Brady might like to have Kentrell Gransberry at LSU right now? He'll go stretches where you think he's just a big dude who can rebound and clean up around the rim, and then out of nowhere he'll hit you with an up-and-under or spinning left-handed jump hook from about eight-feet out, and you're reminded of how vast his skill set actually is.
It was bizarre seeing T-Will and Earl - two guys who usually sky for boards - being pushed so far out of position by Gransberry. You got mad for a second and then you remember just how massive, and active the guy is. I'd like to see the Bulls finally make it to New York just for him, but judging from their effort level and body language on Wednesday, I'd say it ain't gonna happen.
My dad made the point that it looks like Jerry Smith shoots the ball differently when he's wide open than he does when he takes shots that are somewhat contested. When he has time to think about the shot, it looks like he sort of tries to tuck his right elbow in, almost like he's self conscious about his unorthodox form. If this is even remotely accurate then I would say dude, you led the Big East in three-point percentage last year, if you had done that punting the ball in then it's a stroke I wouldn't abandon. If anything, this is even more proof that Jerry is passing up some outside shots that he should be taking.
Chris Howard really isn't moving well on those surgically repaired knees. It's sad to see because he was supposedly the real deal coming out of high school.
A big thumbs down to a Tampa Tribune editor for utilizing one the most overused and always lame puns in college sports, but an equally big thumps up to Brett McMurphy for busting out a Sadat reference in his game story.
The only thing missing during UL's patented "C-A-R-D-S" chant was the UL fan that does a handstand on an aisle railing in the upper level.
The cheer really was awesome, and kudos if either of you reading this were at the game.
I've said this many times before, and I don't mean to imply that Derrick Caracter doesn't need to improve his defense or reduce his propensity for fouling, but he gets whistled at least twice every game for fouls that simply did not occur. It was especially unfortunate tonight because I felt like this was a game where DC could have really flourished.
He played well in the ten minutes he was on the floor, but did make a classically immature move late in the game. After Gransberry went right at him and scored off a nice post move, you could just tell by the way that he sprinted down the floor that Caracter really wanted to score right back. He got the ball quickly and wisely passed back out after a double team came. Then he reposted and got the ball again, but even though the help came right in front of him, he decided to put the ball on the floor and try to make a move anyway. The ball was knocked away before he could successfully complete one dribble.
He had a fantastic 45 second or so stretch in the first half where he blocked a shot, snagged a rebound, hustled down to the other end of the floor, and made a nice, under control move to get a score off of a jump hook. It seems to me like Derrick is really coming along in the areas where he was struggling a month ago, he just needs to legally change his last name to Hansbrough or Harangody, or maybe buy a large amount of beige makeup and apply it all over the parts of his body that officials can see during games...oh yeah, I went there.
I don't believe I've ever seen a team just shove people when their opponents do something they don't want them to do more than South Florida. The guy guarding you is pressuring the ball a little too much? Give him a shove with the off-hand. You get beat badly for position on a rebound? Time for a two-handed shove. One of your teammates squats down behind a student trainer during practice? Potential concussion, shmoshmential shmonshussion. Give him a shove.
I honestly feel like Rick Pitino is now playing Will Scott purely out of spite. There's simply no other explanation. I'm sure he's a nice guy and apparently he's 50 times the student I ever was, but we're 4-on-5 on both ends of the floor every second he's in the game.
Both times Scott came in the game we were on scoring runs, and both times the runs quickly came to a halt. We can't press with him in the game, he can't keep his man in front of him, he still isn't hitting open shots, and if he calls for the ball one more time when he isn't open on a cut, I'm going to be forced to break something that I was going to throw away anyway.
I'm not sure if Preston Knowles hasn't been practicing well or what the deal is, but why Scott has taken ANY of his minutes after Christmas makes no sense to me.
It may have been their sixth straight loss, but the South Florida basketball team did score five more points against Louisville than their football counterparts.
Have fun livin' with that all offseason Grothe.
Terrance Farley has some offensive skills people. There's no easier kid to root for on the team, and you had to have smiled after seeing him bury that turnaround J like he's done it a million times.
I thought this was an especially oddly officiated game, even by Big East standards. It almost felt like the officials decided before each possession whether or not they were going to call a foul. There was one trip where we had two guys just absolutely hammer Gransberry and there was no whistle, and then the next time down Caracter breathes on Dominique Jones and whistles are coming from every direction. Overall, I felt like we benefited more from the insanity than they did, but that doesn't make it any better...except that it does.
In addition to the hilarious flubs of Mark Adams and Beth "I was unaware Kentrell Gransberry had a penis" Mowins, I caught mis-attributions or name butchering during halftime highlights on WHAS, SNY and ESPN News. It's Wednesday night, kind of a big night for college hoops, look alive people.
Good to see Andre hit a couple of shots after a particularly cold stretch. I don't know if Pitino is planning on rotating he and Sosa in and out of the starting lineup based on the opponent, but if I had to guess I'd say that McGee is probably going to have his name announced before the game for a while.
There's nothing else to say that hasn't been said too many times already.
Stu Miller gets on the board for the first time since the opener against Harftord. Kid's got a stroke. Wouldn't be opposed to sticking him on the wing in an end of the first half situation. And that's the other thing about the end of the half play, at about this point last year we started putting shooters on the wing, and then had Sosa or McGee drive and kick it over to one of them for what was almost always an open shot. It sounds almost humorously simple, but it actually worked multiple times, and I'm really not sure why we haven't brought it back this season. Although we have scored with our current end of the half play in one straight game, so maybe continuing to roll with this is a better play.
Is there any doubt that the South Florida Bull is the most bad ass mascot in college athletics? I know that the kid inside the suit more than likely spent at least one Halloween dressed as a minor Star Wars character, but if the Bull came over to me and kicked me out of a game for no reason, I'd have to say I'd probably go peacefully.
The reports out of The Octonion always seem to confirm the original question.
Overall, I thought the effort, the energy level and the execution were all commendable. We wanted to see a game like this after what happened on Saturday, and the guys didn't disappoint.