Hello - 1st post / intro at bottom.
It's not possible for Payne's debut to be worse. 5 cupcakes, lost to 4 of them. At home no less, and struggled with Chaminade.
I had to research the prior Bellarmine series history after that loss. 10 exhibition games + 12 regular season, zero losses.
And this stat from the C-J after the App State loss:
"The Cardinals’ 26.1% field-goal percentage was their worst of any half this season. It led to their largest first-half deficit in program history for a November home game"
Something Kenny said in the post-game press conference after the Wright State loss was worrisome. It may be an afterthought that means little or it may be part of the problem. "I've said from Day 1 that you can make mistakes, but I want you to show confidence. Don't hang your head".
These are effectively high school teams. Players whom no basketball school wanted, or that is where they would have gone. When they are even close for the entire duration of a game with Louisville, they are out-hustling you. They have lesser talent but they want it more. It's the only way any of those 5 games were competitive.
Much less that 4 of the 5 beat you. The problem is not confidence level but effort level. The message needs to be: "You can make mistakes but you have to show maximum effort. If I don't see you giving that, you're sitting down."
You can't flip a switch and show confidence. It comes from success, and that comes from applying yourself and working hard. Granted it's early season and the players are just learning the defense, etc. But that is true of the opponent also. It was always true for Denny and Rick's teams, and they didn't get embarrassed like this.
Pitino scheduled many cupcakes early-season because he always had a tough conference schedule / Big East then ACC. The point of it is to pad your W/L record before the hard knocks of the conference season.
Pitino's players would not have had a lot of respect for weak opponents, as this team seems to also not have - that's human nature. But they rarely lost these games, because they understood that less than maximum effort was not acceptable and Pitino would go ballistic and sit them down.
So, where is that Kenny?
Alum82 is the board screenname for Roy Greenfield / U of L Class of '82