I, for one, will be so glad when this spate of exhibition tilts has run its course.
Even a bit of honest to Betsy research did not fully reveal the alleged raison d’etre of such as the Global Sports Shootout, in which the U of L Cardinals are now immersed.
Other than in 2019, this fiction of sorts allows the University of Louisville to a) Play four games against easily beatable foes but they only count as one against NCAA schedule limitations, and b) They can add those games to season ticket packages and increase revenue.
If anybody is aware of any other purpose(s), please advise.
What these exhis bring about is lots of empty seats. The ones with butts in them are filled with fans justifiably more interested in the new chicken sandwich stand in the concourse than the game. Which lack of energy often leads to flat play on the court.
Two down. Two to go. The Cards have throttled Youngstown State. And North Carolina Central Sunday evening at the Yum! by 29, 87-58. Coming soon: Some institution known as USC Upstate -- sounds like a school in a Chip Hilton book -- which team, by the by, fell to NC Central by 9. Then the finale, Akron’s Zips.
Of course, these generally boring affairs do give the Cardinals a chance to find some flow, hopefully, work out the kinks and provide game experience for the rookies.
They are also, according to WebMD.com, a legitimate homeopathic cure for insomnia.
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So, what if anything salient have we learned so far?
The Bad: The Cards need to work on hitting the boards, and not giving up offensive rebounds. Like Youngstown State, Central got way more than they should have. 15. Which the Eagles turned into 15 2d Chance Points to only 8 for U of L which only snared 5 ORB.
The Good: Shooting. With a caveat. U of L’s boffo percentages from the field overall and from the outskirts might be, to use a favorite term of Coach Chris Mack, fool’s gold. They have been fashioned against triple digit ranked defenses.
This season’s numbers from the field, and from the burbs are mighty glossy. Against any class of opposition. But remain suspect until the Cards continue to scorch the nets against the Wolverines and Pitt and the Hilltoppers and beyond.
Louisville’s best ever season from the field: ‘85-’86 when the Cards hit 53.1% So far this season, U of L is draining 56.6% of its shots.
Louisville’s best ever season from beyond the arc: ‘92-’93 when the Cardinals made 41.6%. So far this season, U of L is making 44.3%.
Against the Eagles, Louisville made 67% from the field, and 48% from deep.
More telling: FT %. Whom the foe is shouldn’t matter when it comes to charity tosses.
At one juncture late in Sunday’s affair, when the Cards had missed but two of their 17 charity tosses (88%), I mused to those within earshot that this will be U of L’s best FT shooting team ever.
Last year’s squad holds the record at 77.7%. This year’s squad is at 74.3%, but I’m not ready to recant my declaration. Sunday’s 17/25 (68%) was misleading, since the subs missed 6 of 8 in the game’s final quadrant.
Have we learned anything else of consequence?
Yes, Louisville has been focused enough to take care of business as they should, instead of allowing these also rans to stay in the games.
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What else caught my attention?
The nifty assist/turnover ratio turned in by U of L’s point guards. Darius Perry dished out 7 assists (6 after the break) against only one giveaway. Fresh Kimble was 5/2.
Perry was also 4/4 from the field, 2/2 from the outskirts. During one offensive possession, the Cardinals had no movement, and DP spent most of the 30 seconds dribbling here and there, looking to get something started. He saved the trip finally with a sweet move to the baseline and a reverse layup.
Louisville committed just 11 turnovers. But only forced 5.
Aiden Igiehon led the Cards with 7 rebounds. And didn’t foul out, though he came close.
Samuell Williamson’s leaping follow +1 to push the advantage to 31-15.
Steven Enoch chasing down a loose ball and feeding Dwyane Sutton on a fastbreak for a deuce and 40-17 margin. (In his post game presser, Mack said his view of that action was blocked, and joked he needed to see if Enoch actually made the play.)
There was a nifty set early in the 2d. Enoch had the rock with his back to the hoop. On the weak side, Jordan Nwora feigned a move to the key, reverse pivoted to the basket where SE delivered the ball for an easy deuce.
My favorite fastbreak of the evening started when Nwora stole the rock. Pushing it up the court, he got it off to Perry streaking down the left of the lane, and he laid it off to steamrolling Sutton trailing the play for a slam.
Louisville hit its first six shots after halftime, at which point their shooting % was 72%.
Thirty made baskets. Twenty assists.
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Loved the rendition of the national anthem by the Black Diamond Choir. It was most harmonic, and essentially straight forward with a kicker near the end. When they threw in a verse of a classic spiritual.
Had a great chat prior to the game with an old pal, a huge Card fanatic, with whom I’d practiced law in the early 70s for, uh, two weeks, until I commenced my first short term retirement. (It’s too long a tale.) What I learned from Bob Kohn was he was sports editor of the Cardinal in the late 50s. And was in the house at Northwestern for the ‘59 Midwest Regional, when the Cards beat UK and Michigan State on consecutive nights to advance to its first Final Four. How jealous am I of that? Plenty.
-- Seedy K