My take on Saturday’s encounter with UVa is that peripherals were more important than action on the court. There was zero indication Louisville had a chance to prevail.
But, this is a game story.
So, meeting my obligations, there are a few matters of note to be discussed.
The Cards started solid, running out to a 7-0 advantage.
The Cavaliers caught U of L at 12, then again at 14 after Star of Game Sydney Curry pushed the homies ahead by a deuce.
Out of the 7:45 media timeout, the Wahoos scored. U of L turned it over. U Va forged ahead 18-14 on the ensuing possession.
In my notes, I asked a question. Was it rhetorical?
So that disadvantage came to be.
The victors finished the opening half on a 22-3 run. U of L’s last FG of the 1st was Sydney Curry’s with 6:42 left. The Cards first field score in the 2d was a Mason Faulkner triple at 18:11. If my arithmetic is correct, that’s 8:31 (give or take a tick) without scoring a FG.
Yet again, a hole too deep, a shovel too small.
* * * * *
Sydney Curry was a Man. THE Man.
24 points on 9/13 shooting, 6/6 at the line. 14 boards, 6 offensive. Three assists.
Four old school 3 point plays.
Intensity which cannot be quantified.
Another significant stat the Cardinal bully revealed post-game.
49. As in the amount of avoirdupois he has shedded since matriculating on the Belknap Campus. 301 lbs. upon arrival. A cut 252 at game time.
More importantly, during his meet and greet after the L, he said nothing to indicate he has wandering eyes.
* * * * *
If only Malik Williams was 1/20th as engaged as Curry.
The team was never going to come back. But the others were engaged. And tried. Pulled it close late.
After a U of L score in the first, Williams started dancing on the court, instead of getting back on D. After a Card foul, the senior had the rock. Instead of handing it to the ref, who was asking for it, Williams kept trying layups with the clock stopped, the last of which from the bottom of the hoop through the top.
On one possession, he airballed an ill-advised jumper, got the rebound, and airballed the follow from close in.
Asked about Williams after the tilt, Mike Pegues expressed he hoped Malik had the “energy, investment, and commitment” to help U of L in Brooklyn. Tapping his chest, Pegues indicated he hopes the senior has the heart to compete.
Color me skeptical.
I haven’t the slightest idea what is or has been going on with Williams, but he showed little if any heart against Virginia.
That he saw 34 minutes of action is dumbfounding to me.
Sam Williamson saw 2:43 of action, Matt Cross, 4:31. Roosevelt Wheeler, who at least tried, and might be a future contributor if he stays in the Ville, was on the hardwood for 2:03.
* * * * *
It appeared to me, the smallest crowd in years, decades. (No attendance figure appears on Official Box Score.)
The student section was deserted.
The Pep Band was six strong, with the director on drum.
There was no color guard.
Many aisles were without an usher.
The hundreds of fans in the seats twenty minutes before tip during Senior Day ceremonies were respectful. Even to is-he-in-or-out Malik Williams. Mason Faulkner, Jarrod West and Noah Locke are all one and done Portal transfers.
The squad appeared attentive during the Seniors’ highlight video.
Injured Jae’Lyn Withers wasn’t in his uni.
During pregame warmups, the Cards were as focused as a bunch of dudes, waiting to choose sides in a Tuesday night Shirts vs. Skins at the Y.
At halftime, U of L down 19, I texted my two main Cardinal peeps, “My heart aches.”
* * * * *
Most salient, all things considered.
I was standing next to Jerry Eaves before tipoff.
“I know you won’t answer, but I gotta ask,” said I, “have you talked with Kenny?”
Right before his response, the music kicked in loudly, so I may not have heard his answer correctly, but . . .
. . . what I thought I heard him say was, “Unfortunately.”
* * * * *
In his post game blurb, my Card Chronicle Glorious Editor, observed, “Real Season starts Tuesday.”
I emailed him with a correction.
“Real season starts Wednesday.”
— c d kaplan