Furman 80, Louisville 72. Overtime.
It’s the Cardinals first home loss in November since the residents and newcomers were supping on peanut soup, watching hoops and pigskin on a 12” B/W TV with rabbit ears perched on Plymouth Rock.
For reasons I’ll reiterate, I don’t have a lot to say about the disappointing performance and loss, but will offer something in a moment. First allow me to provide today’s perspective.
I’m going to start with a quote from Danny Murtaugh. The former Pirate manager is up for the HoF in one of the veteran’s committees, and my favorite sportswriter Joe Posnanski is weighing in on each.
Because it applies to me, I share this Murtaugh perspective:
“Why certainly I’d like to have that fellow who hits a home run every time at bat, who strikes out every opposing batter when he’s pitching, who throws strikes to any base or the plate when he’s playing outfield, and who’s always thinking about two innings ahead just what he’ll do to baffle the other team. Any manager would want a guy like that playing for him. The only trouble is to get him to put down his cup of beer and come down out of the stands and do those things.”
I believe I know a bit more about basketball than the average Jane or Joe. But maybe not, I’ve never played or coached at even the lowest level.
So, my perspective and observations, as adamant as I might be about postulating them, are often, perhaps regularly incorrect.
Which was exclamation pointed at halftime when I was chatting with Bob Valvano about the opening stanza, after which the Cards were up 39-35.
I mentioned how I thought a couple of El Ellis scores, one a short J and a couple FTs had kickstarted the Cards. Until the Juco thought “he was Steph Curry,” jacking up a couple of hero ball treys in a row.
The former Bellarmine mentor/ current Cardinal radio color guy, who indeed understands the game more than me, offered a more knowing perspective. Advising with explanation that it was Jarrod West who’d steadied the ship.
I had to nod in agreement.
Though the Cardinals are only two games into the season, my take — could be right, could be wrong — is that West is as indispensable to this year’s success as Carlik Jones was last year.
* * * * *
Soooo, here goes. During the seriously disappointing 2d and OT, one guy’s opinion, Mike Pegues threw some lineups on the court that made no sense.
One example. I cannot fathom why, when Malik Williams needed a breather at the 7:46 media timeout of the 2d, U of L’s interim coach, who complained after the game about rebounding, inserted JJ Traynor (playing the 5 with a 3 body) instead of Sydney Curry.
Traynor, still a work in progress, fouled a shooter behind the arc then turned it over before being quickly removed.
My point is not to rag on the soph, but to call out the substitution patterns.
No Matt Cross late when it mattered.
No Sam Williamson late when it mattered.
So too, when the Paladins were asserting themselves in the 2d, West was on the bench.
My mind went back to the early days of cable, when the Cubs games were on the Chicago channel every day, with Harry Caray on the call. The Cubs weren’t very good, but The Next Big Thing (or so many thought) was still in AAA.
“Wheareareare’s Melllllllll Hallllll?,” Caray would bray into the mic.
Where’s Jarrod West? Where’s Sam?
A guy a couple of rows behind the press table kept screaming, “Where’s Matt Cross?”
* * * * *
Which brings me to the bottom line.
I’ve said it before, and continue to believe it. We are not going to know about this team until January.
Whatever you think of Chris Mack’s coaching, he understands what it means to be in the first chair. He has a sense of the game way more than his temporary doppelganger.
Watching the coaching staff during timeouts drove me nuts. Pegues and McMains trying to figure out what to do, other guys whose names I don’t even know talking to different players in the meanwhile.
No. Sense. Of. Someone. In. Charge.
My hope is that no fissures develop on the squad before Mack gets back.
* * * * *
For some reason, I took this L really hard.
Not sure why.
Often, through the years, during a tight game like this one, my stomach will tighten, my heart beat will increase, and I’ll acknowledge to myself, “I care too much.”
Traditionally those have come in February and March. But this is just the second tilt of the campaign, the formative section of the season.
Fortunately, this morning after, I’ve gotten a little perspective.
I need to get a life. Start worrying about the really important matters in life. Like, you know, Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhall’s breakup.
— c d kaplan