Big win last night for the Cards in what was widely considered a "weird" or "crazy" or "kray" game depending on who you talked to. Whistles marred the first half as the teams combined for 49 fouls and 133 free throws in the first 20 minutes. And both teams struggled with their FT defense, although our FT defense held Memphis to only 67% from the line while we shot 80% (!) for the game. Really unreal performance at the line from our guys, especially Behanan who was 8-8 and used all 10 seconds before shooting each free throw.
Will Barton "got his" in that he didn't cross half court and waited for the ball to come back his way, got tons of free throws and made a bunch of garbage hanging/floaters in traffic. He grabbed a game high 16 boards and then really lit up the other areas of the stat sheet: 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover and 2 fouls. I got 2 fouls called on me and the guy next to me fouled out, so I think he had to really be not trying if he only got 2 fouls called against him in this game. I tweeted after the game that I have never been so unimpressed with an opposing player who put up huge numbers against us, but I just did not like Barton's game.
We are very lucky to have the team we have, the players we have, the coach we have and the fans we have. I don't understand why we've gotten pegged as a team with limited talent (at some point this season we will have 3 McDonald's AA's on the floor at the same time) but Pitino seems to have gotten the talent/heart/ego/TEAM "Louisville first" balance close to where he wants it to be. And if it was entirely by accident or luck, so be it. This team could easily crap out in the first or second round against a well-coached, senior-led mid-major if Dieng and Siva both get into foul trouble and 3 more guys get hurt. Winning at Rupp is going to require a crazy hot shooting night from 3 and fair whistles (hahahahahahaha) but that's not how this season will be defined.
It's going to be another very fun year.