I have been to a lot of games in the last six or seven years where I've had spotty cell phone service. It's the crown of thorns you wear when you're as loyal as I am to T-Mobile.
In all those years, I think the only time I've walked out of a game with more Twitter notifications and text messages than I did last night was when Louisville won the national championship. Of those notifications, I'd say 88% were about Bompy, 10% were about DePaul beating down a ranked team, and the other 2% were about something else. It has been a strange Christmas week.
Within about two minutes of walking into the Yum Center, I ran directly into the man(?) himself. My wife, as she tends to do, peer-pressured me into a showdown.
We discussed his initial thoughts on Louisville, the weather in Puerto Rico, and then I knocked his f---ing block off.
That didn't happen, but I still like to think I walked away with a victory.
You're a hero, Andrew.
Deng Adel's 2015-16 luck up to this point was on full display once again Tuesday night. He gets a massive ovation when he checks in for the first time, goes to throw the ball in, and timeout is called. Minutes later he buries a three from the left corner a millisecond after Louisville gets hit with what was the first 3-second call of the season that I can remember. Still, it was good to see him back out there starting the process of getting his game legs back underneath him.
Is there any doubt that Matz Stockman plays Saturday against Kentucky? Rick Pitino LOVES playing guys who have gotten next-to-no run up to that point big minutes in the rivalry game. Think Josh Chichester, Jonathan Huffman or even Shaqquan Aaron last year. Matz playing fairly well in his 12 minutes of court time made his impending Rupp Arena debut all but a guarantee.
Tuesday night was definitely an audition for Matz, but I thought it was also a solid tune-up for Trey Lewis, who was going up against reigning WAC Player of the Year Martez Harrison. Lewis responded by looking like (at least in my eyes) the best player on the court Tuesday night. I think we need him to be a monster on Saturday.
I was a little worried when Damion Lee went off from beyond the arc in his first Puerto Rico game because I thought it was going to give Louisville fans a false impression that he was a lethal outside shooter, when that was really more of the role that Lewis was supposed to be feeling. Lee had always been known as a pure scorer, but he had never shot better than 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and was always known more for being a streaky outside shooter than a pure one.
That being the case, it's been a pleasant surprise how automatic Lee has been from deep when he's been wide open. The lone reason that Damion is only shooting 40.7 percent from three is because opposing defenses have been so keyed on him that he's had to take a lot of those challenged shots from a couple of steps from behind the line. Midway through when Lee caught the ball in the right corner the second half with no one around him, there was zero doubt in my mind that the shot was going in, and that was a feeling I wasn't expecting to have this year.
Please don't get into foul trouble early on Saturday, Nanu.
I'm glad that Ray Spalding has another game to play tonight before going to Lexington on Saturday, because he missed a couple of chippies and you don't want him with that memory fresh in his mind. Still think that he has to be a difference maker against UK.
Ray also made the classic freshman mistake of missing a lay-up, getting his own rebound, and then being so hellbent on making amends that he took challenged shot instead of kicking it out to a wide-open Quentin Snider for a three. That will be fixed.
On the flip side, this may have been the best we've seen from Jaylen Johnson, who appears to have a great passing rapport with Chinanu Onuaku. He drew significant praise from Rick Pitino after the game.