There is of course a scintilla of hope, the aspiration that this put upon band of Cardinals can muster a rally in the next two weeks and salvage a season rapidly unraveling.
Yet, for some eery reason, it seems that midway through the opening half last night at Cameron Indoor, the winters of discontent facing U of L basketball descended earlier than expected.
U of L was hanging with an obviously superior Blue Devil squad. The Cards were patient on offense, getting the ball into the middle of the zone, sticking to a game plan that was based on going high/low.
They had overcome early jitters -- turnovers on two of their first three possessions -- and were hanging tough at both ends, behind only 15-16.
Grayson Allen -- a consummate college basketball player whatever you might think of him -- netted one of his six treys.
Then Deng Adel, as he’s wont to do, drove into No Man’s Land in the paint, where he remained in stasis after attempting to get the ball to a teammate. Three second call.
David Padgett rotated in Jordan Nwora and Malik Williams during a timeout. The rookies, lynchpins of the Cardinals’ increasingly bleak near future, appeared bewildered by the environment. In a blink, U of L lost contact, was down eleven before the interim coach could reinsert some experience.
From then on, Duke scored essentially at will. From beyond the arc, from which distance they drained nine. From point blank range, where they flushed, what, 13, 14, 15 dunks.
Ray Spalding alone played with the fire and fury that the Red & Black Faithful have come to expect from their three-time national champion University of Louisville Cardinals.
It was a sad, perhaps inevitable underscore to as dark a 36 hours as the program has ever suffered.
More lamentable is the bleak reality that this is just the beginning of the disaffection that is destined to be, for the rest of this campaign and those in the immediate future.
The weary truth is that U of L is more likely to lose out than it is to make the NCAA tournament.
Any gumption this group might have had to overcome the impediments for success appears to have withered away.
I pray I’m wrong, that Good Lord willing, a rejuvenation shall be mustered.
It’s simply on this dank, gray winter’s morn most difficult to conjure such a vision.
-- Seedy K