This. Season. Is. Over.
Of course, I have a few observations. But, frankly, breaking down if this would have happened, or this guy would have played more, or if the Cards played this D or O as opposed to that one: None of that is of any consequence anymore.
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As I watched the Cardinals melt down and fade into their own parade after the halftime giving of props and R E S P E C T to #2 on his jersey, #1 in your hearts Russ Smith, I thought how apropos the foe on this his day.
Russ’s most disheartening tilt as a Card ended in a 5 OT loss to the Fighting Irish. 2/9/13. Smith missed a trey at the end of OT#3 that would have won it, missed a trey at the end of OT#4 that would have won it, and another at the end of OT#5 that would have extended the marathon battle.
Bottom Line: That was the last game the ‘12-’13 NCAA National Champions lost.
U of L’s double digit 70-82 L to Notre Dame on Saturday, before the biggest crowd of the year in a still way far from full Yum!, was the last game of the ‘21-’22 Cardinals that will matter.
Though hope will spring for the full of heart come ACC tourney time.
Unless Coach Chris Mack does what His Majesty Coach K did last season and pulls the plug, using COVID as an excuse. Which, frankly, all things considered wouldn’t be the worst idea.
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Of the many significant stats that reveal the why and how of U of L’s fourth defeat in five games, one is the most telling. At least, for me.
0/0. Those are Matt Cross’s FG numbers. They are representative.
I remember at least four, maybe five times he was wide open in the corner or foul line extended, but he never touched the rock. He wasn’t alone. Noah Locke didn’t get a few opportunities with open looks. There were others.
Meanwhile, Mason Faulkner way too often tapped into his inner Carlik Jones, driving the lane, never looking to find someone open. El Ellis drove the lane, attempting to show Russ, anything you can do, I can do too. Which he can’t. Nor did he throw it out.
Dre Davis backed his man down, never looked to go inside out. Actually, he did once, for a score.
Malik Williams backed his man down, never looked to go inside out.
Sid Curry backed his man down, never looked to go inside out.
All that’s on Coach Chris Mack. Who apparently doesn’t understand the concept of inside out. Or, drive and dish. Maybe he does, and simply chooses never to suggest his players attempt the maneuver.
At this juncture, I really am not sure what he’s thinking. Nor, really care. Unless it’s looking for a realtor.
I call those offensive missteps, Cliff Rozier Syndrome. When the ball gets into the paint, it’s like disappearing into a Black Hole.
That’s far from the only systemic issue. There are plenty of others.
Just one example of how out of kilter this Louisville team is. And I needn’t reiterate with whom I believe the fault resides.
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Mack generally blamed the defense after the loss.
So be it.
The victors did shoot 63% from the field.
OK, I suppose, but not as good as their long range marksmanship. They were 65% from beyond the arc, 15/23.
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The Cardinals led by 7 at the break.
Which was nice.
And allows me to mention, a couple of positives.
Jarrod West had a sweet 1:13. During which interlude, he hit treys on three consecutive possessions. But, the score was still knotted at 19 when it was over.
Then there was Noah Locke’s spot in the spotlight. A trey, on a feed from Dre Davis, U of L’s only inside/ out of the afternoon. Then a deuce on an inbounds play on the next possession. During the Cards next trip down court, Locke missed a jumper but scrambled for the board, batting it back to Ellis, who drained a shot clock triple.
A Jae’Lyn Withers flush on the next attack completed a 10-0 run for a 40-31 lead.
Louisville’s bench outscored Notre Dame’s in the 1st, 23-3. That’s more than half U of L’s total.
So, an inquiring mind might be inclined to inquire, which of those scoring subs started the 2d?
Because, well, CCM does what CCM does.
He did have the Cardinals open the 2d in a zone. The Irish tallied a +1 to start off their comeback.
They took a lead just 3:39 in. After a few minutes of back and forth, Mike Brey’s wellschooled charges imposed their will, and steadily pulled away. While the Cardinals looked like they didn’t have a clue.
Which very sadly they might not have.
— c d kaplan