1. Ordinarily, I'm not a person who feels especially excited or upset, "sleeps on it," and then wakes up feeling particularly different, but I felt far better about the loss on Tuesday morning than I did Monday night.
I hate the fact that the margin was so substantial, but this still isn't a defeat that's going to have an extreme effect on the psyche of this team or make them re-evaluate the way they're playing the game, because they've already proven too much.
Connecticut is tremendous - a statement I think we can all agree on now - and they were stomped at home by a Georgetown team that's proving itself to be pretty average. How have the Huskies responded since Dec. 29? They've rolled to ten straight Big East wins.
I think it's also important to note that Louisville played right with UConn for 37 minutes. If that 10-0 collapse with Kuric and Goode on the floor to end the first half doesn't happen, then this game is probably nip-tuck all the way down to the final horn. Of course Connecticut still almost definitely wins, but I'm just trying to say that this is a team we're capable of beating when they're not playing like the '89 Pistons.
2. If it were 2003 I'd be making a "so hot right now" joke in reference to Terrence Williams' play, but it's 2009 and I'm horribly out of the pop culture loop - are pogs still cool? - so I'll simply say that Terrence Williams is playing remarkable basketball right now.
My only fear is that Monday night's performance will lead to shot selection on Saturday that mirrors the first half of the South Florida game. I was fine with him taking those types of shots when we were trying to play catch-up against the Huskies because he was on fire and no one else in white appeared particularly motivated to do anything positive with the ball in their hands, but the man must remember that he's every bit as capable of having an Earl Clark vs. Connecticut shooting night as he is having a Terrence Williams vs. Connecticut shooting night.
T-Will got his game going by scoring in the lane, and then the outside shots started falling when the Huskies made the extra effort to take his drive away. That should always be No. 1's plan for success.
3. I've been told that Williams was limping when he was taken out of the game at the end of the first half, which makes me feel a little bit better about the otherwise inexplicable decision to sit him during that crucial stretch.
I'm accepting this as the rationale and moving on.
4. Tory Jackson, Scottie Reynolds and Levance Fields, cover your ears.
The second biggest reason Connecticut was able to trounce Louisville was the fact that their guards were so unflappable. A.J. Price didn't shoot the ball well, and he did turn it over four times, but he killed the Cardinal press with speedy cuts and quick, accurate decisions, and when he lost the ball he lost it in the lane or making a pass out of a set, not on his own end of the floor.
The Huskies as a team are incredibly composed. Each time U of L appeared on the verge of getting the margin into single-digits and sending the crowd into a frenzy, Connecticut would come up with an easy hoop and then a big stop.
5. I could do without the air boxing and screaming, but Jeff Adrien is a rock.
It seemed like each time the crowd needed a stop to get back into the game, Price would get the ball into Adrien who would calmly but quickly determine his next action, and then he'd either make a nice pass to Thabeet, score a relatively easy bucket, or get fouled.
The man is an absolute player.
6. Even with Williams' big night, I think it's safe to say that the man who might have made himself the most money by playing in front of those 31 NBA scouts on Monday night was Hasheem Thabeet.
When you're a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who can knock down free-throws and 15-foot jumpers with consistency, well, I hear they pay good money for that type of thing.
7. Earl Clark...that can't happen in big games, friend.
I'm sure you've heard enough about it over the last 40 hours, so I'll just leave it at that.
8. My admiration for Jerry Smith has been well documented, so it pains me to say this, but there's nothing Jerry is doing right now that Preston Knowles isn't doing better, with the exception of knocking down the wide-open three-pointer that good teams aren't going to give him.
Knowles is defending better, he's passing better, he's taking care of the ball better, he's better at creating his own shot, and he's much better at getting off his own shot when mildly contested. Pitino's statement of his intent to start Knowles with the team's winning streak now snapped shows that he agrees.
The good news is that Jerry is selfless and mature enough to not let this move have any adverse effect on his effort or energy level. He'll come up big again before the end of the season.
9. I'm not as convinced by the move to take Samardo out of the starting lineup and replace him with Terrence Jennings. Yes, Jennings is playing better than the former national POY, but that's an awful lot of freshmen emotion to be fooling around with in early February.
10. Though he didn't shoot well, I still thought Edgar Sosa played well on Monday. He struggled to keep Price and Walker in front of him on defense, but I don't think there's one of us who really expected him to do otherwise.
11. Andre McGee's always going to bring the heat on defense, which is fantastic, but that doesn't give him a free pass to play foolishly on the offensive end. During key stretches we simply can't have our point guard throwing alley-oops from midcourt or air-balling contested three-pointers early in the shot clock.
The defense is always going to be there, but we also know that he's capable of running the offense effectively and knocking down the outside shot consistently because we've seen him do it. McGee needs to step up his game on the offensive end for the "microwave" to be truly lethal.
12. I don't know if he's still hurt or what, but if he isn't, there's no excuse for George Goode getting beat down the floor for lay-ups on consecutive trips. Goode has proven himself to be an effort guy to this point, so I was really surprised by his apparent laziness.
13. We're OK. We all knew it was going to happen. It has. Now we move on.
This team went 8-1 over the more difficult half of its Big East schedule, and its only loss was to the No. 1 team in the country.
I think it's safe to say that these guys still have some potential.