Fans have one last chance to see the undefeated Cardinals Sunday, before they head to the Bahamas and 3 tough games. And while not anywhere near as tough as the Bahamanian competition, the Miami (OH) RedHawks present the stiffest challenge so far for the Cards. I feel like we play these guys every year and they always play us tough but, like always, my feelings are wrong. The last time we played them was the 2007-08 season, one of the worst games in recorded basketball history, wherein the RedHawks used 34 seconds every possession, and when they missed, and got an offensive rebound, they used another 34 seconds. For some reason we let them dictate this tempo and pulled out a 47-44 victory.
The 2012 RedHawks are led by junior Allen Roberts, a solid all-around player who sat out last season with a right knee injury. He scored 16 points in a losing effort to start the season against NC State (a game in which Miami was blown out 97-59) and added 12 in a win against Grambling State last week. According to Rick Pitino's blog, Miami will play a full court, man-to-man pressure under new coach John Cooper. Because of that, they had 8-9 guys who will play solid minutes, and it wil be interesting to see how a team with as many guys as we play tests our conditioning, and whether our normal "wear down the other team" strategy will fare.
Frankly, with so many games against grind-it-out teams in our past and future, it will be good to get out and play fast. We seem to always play better against teams that try to run with us, assuming we have equal or better talent, and we certainly have that against Miami. Keeping Siva in the game, making sure Russ playing fast doesn't translate to turnovers and making sure the turnover tendencies we have shown somewhat already this season doesn't rear its head and allow Miami to stay in the game into the second half will go a long way to determining the outcome.
Playing so many guys, Miami has balanced scoring, with Reggie Johnson and Bill Edwards (especially from 3) posing the biggest scoring threats. The Cards will also be playing against a native Louisvilian - Josh Sewell from Trinity was a runner-up Mr. Basketball a few years ago, according to the Miami sports info department. While Miami started off cold shooting for the season, the second half of their last game they started heating up a bit, going 7-15 from 3 and 53% overall. They'll have to shoot that high the whole game to have a shot against the Cards, however, as our talent and depth should win out.
Okay, Prediction Time
First Basket: Gorgui. Cleaning up a Hancock missed 3 obv.
First Cardinals Basket: Gorgui.
Biggest Opponent Lead: 12-8. The teams go back and forth early, a couple of turnovers lead to easy RedHawk points and a slight lead.
Cardinal MVP: Team effort. There's no "MVP" in "team effort". This is still true regardless of the "M" because there's still no "MVP".
Hyper-Specific, Random Prediction: Last game had an unsuccessful alley oop that basically met this prediction so it is time to move on: someone for UofL misses a dunk.
Ultimate Outcome: Louisville wins, it is a little closer at the under-16 timeout than we would prefer but the final margin is 20 points or more.