Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pitinio said it best...."You reap what you sow."






As Rob Jones and I were leaving the Northern Kentucky game and I said to him that this team was going to lose to a lesser team out of conference and sometimes I hate when I'm right. Louisville didn't get upset by Western Kentucky, who won against their first top three opponent since 1967, the Hilltoppers flat out beat the Cards.




“It was a very disappointing performance from our guys. You have to give Western Kentucky credit, because they did great. Our shots would not fall, and at the other end they made their shots. They did a good job on the low post." Pitino said to open his press conference.




Louisville started the game as if they were just going to win cause they were ranked and WKU isn't. The Cards shot just 9-28 from the field in the first half, while playing full court defense like the Washington Generals (great Pitino quote from his Celtics days).




"They probably underestimated us because we're Western Kentucky and they're the No. 3 team in the country," said Pettigrew, who grew up in Elizabethtown, Ky., about 30 minutes south of Louisville. "We just tried to go out there and throw the first punch and keep our composure throughout the whole game."




“I think they came out thinking that they were going to beat us and that they were overlooking us. The swagger that they had told me that they didn’t think they had to come out and compete and that they thought they were better than us. I told the guys before the game that I didn’t think they were ready to play and that we needed to come out and throw the first punch so they wouldn’t know what hit them. I knew if we did that then we could win this game.” A.J. Slaughter said about what it was like playing Louisville

The first half for Louisville was summed up best as the clock was running down and Kentucky native A.J. Slaughter (pictured) wove through the defence and nailed a straight ahead three to tie the game at 28 as the buzzer sounded, running to the tunnels waiving his arms and pumping up the Hilltopper faithful that made the hour long trip to Nashville.



"It just gives you a little attitude that 'Hey, we're going to get this done,'" first-year Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald said. "That was a huge play."



First year coach Ken McDonald did a great job slowing down the Cards transition game and daring them to win the game by hitting jump shots, something Louisville couldn't do. The Cardinals finished the game just 15-56 (26.8%) from the field.....no that isn't a typo, Louisville, a team thought to be a sure fire Final Four team made just 15 shots out of 56 attempts. Thirty of those shots were three pint attempts, hitting just six of those (20% from three). Louisville shot 26.8 percent, only the fifth time in the last 10 years the Cards were held under 30 percent. It didn't help that on top of that Louisville was as soft as a fat kid when it came to rebounding (WKU out rebounded UL 48-36, 24-18 in the paint). Let s just say the only time the Cards "hit the boards" was when they were shooting the ball.



"They were open shots, the ball didn't go down," Pitino said. "We didn't offensive rebound with any great authority. It was a double-edge sword."



“We are bigger, but we don't rebound well. This culture today gets affected by scoring. So we get three rebounds from our guards. Last year, our guards rebounded. Guards just aren't getting it done." Pitino added.



Western Kentucky held Louisville without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the second half and rode Slaughter and Pettigrew to the program's biggest regular-season win since knocking off then-No. 4 Kentucky in 2001. This was no last-second stunner. Western Kentucky took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Slaughter with 13:50 remaining and pulled away.



"It shows that we can play with anybody in the country," Slaughter said.









The two Kentucky Natives (Pettigrew and Slaughter) showed the Cards that they could have played in Louisville, as Slaughter finished the game with a career high 25 points and Pettigrew (pictured right) added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Pettigrew spent most the game banging in the post against a bigger and stronger Samardo Samuels (6'8 260 lb and pictured left) but that didn't stop the 6'5 225 lb Sophomore from out scoring and out rebounding the heralded Freshman.




"I knew [Pettigrew] was going to battle," McDonald said. "I know traditionally big guys don't like shorter, strong guys on them and Steph battled."




Terrence Williams did finish with 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Cards, while Earl Clark recorded a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds but that was no where near enough. Louisville's guards finished the game 3-23 from the field. Andre McGee was 0-7, Edgar Sosa was 0-6, and Will Scott was 2-8 (all three point attempts) just to name a few depressing stats.




"You don't like to learn your lessons from losing, but to be quite honest the way we practiced all week, we did not deserve to win," coach Rick Pitino said. "You reap what you sow."




This was Louisville's fifth loss in a regular-season neutral-site game in the last three seasons, with four of those coming to unranked opponents.



Western Kentucky leads the all-time series with Louisville (39-33) and has won two straight against ranked Louisville teams.



"We got on the floor, got after it, rebounded," Slaughter said. "I think we just wanted it way more."


The Cards will have five days now to dwell in the way they played, with their next game coming on December 6th at Freedom Hall against Indiana State.

Nevada upsets Lady Cards

The Cards woman's team felt their first sting of being a top ten target across the nation as Nevada upset Louisville in the Nuggets Classic Championship, 85-82. A game that went back and forth and saw nine different lead changes, as well as six different ties. Dellena Criner scored 25 points to lead the Lady Wolf Pack in their first every win over a top ten team.



"It is the biggest win I've ever been a part of," Criner said. "It's an amazing feeling."



Louisville's own All-American Angel McCoughtry (pictured) scored a game-high 34 points and became the first woman's player to surpass the 2'000 point mark in school history.



Louisville started the game with a 24-13 lead, but had to settle for a 36-33 halftime advantage after McCoughtry sat out all but the final second of the last 10 minutes because of fouls.



"It's one where you look back on, I probably from now on have to keep her in the game in that situation," Walz said regarding Angel having to sit in the first half.



McCoughtry also became the first Louisville player, men's or women's, to score at least 2,000 points and pull down at least 1,000 rebounds.

The Day that was in College Basketball, Saturday November 29th.

College Basketball is the greatest time of the year and I know this is a Louisville Website but it's always good to keep a close eye on your competition and since I am basically unemployed now, what better to do with my time then keep all Lyes Report readers updated with the rest of the Countries best teams as well as the best overall conference in the Country, the Big East.

Big East....


- Connecticut (ranked 2nd) improved to 6-0 behind Hasheem Thabeet's (pictured) third double double on the season (16pts 12 rbs) beating a poor Bryant University 88-58. The Huskies have not been challenged yet this season beating the ACC's Miami (FL) 76-63 and the Big Ten's Wisconsin 76-57 already and will mostly likely cruise until their match-up with Gonzaga on 12/20.

- Pittsburgh (ranked 4th) finished off Washington State with an eleven nothing run to close out the game and beat the Cougars 57-43 going away, to put them (Pitt) at 7-0. Sam Young paced the Panthers with 15 points and 8 rebounds.



- Dayton used a second half run and with stood 28 points from Marquette's Wesley Matthews to beat the 15th ranked Golden Eagles 89-75 in the Chicago Invitational Tournament. It was Buzz Williams first loss as Head Coach at Marquette this season after a 5-0 start. Robert Lowery knocked down 21 for the Flyer's and Chris Wright had 13 points and 14 rebounds, his third straight double double. Dayton had beaten Auburn on Friday 60-59 in overtime to advance to the title game in this tournament and with the win over Marquette, the Flyer's are now 6-0.



- 19 points and 12 rebounds from Dante Cunningham of Villanova was to much for Rhode Island could handle as the 22nd ranked Wildcats beat the Rams 78-65. Reggie Redding helped as well, adding 11 points and 12 rebounds, with 7 of them coming on the offensive glass. Villanova would finish the game with 15 offensive rebounds on the night and a 6-0 start on the season. Villanova will have it easy the rest of the way before conference play begins except a road game at Texas on December 9th.



- In a game between two teams that I like as much as a case of the clap, Kentucky came from 10 down at halftime and used a 13-2 run in the last four minutes to defeat West Virginia 54-43. Kentucky scored just 16 points in the first half but came alive in the second half and out scored the Mountineers 38-17 after the intermission. The Wildcats got 19 from scoring machine Jodie Meeks as well as 15 points and 9 rebounds from Patrick Patterson. Alex Ruoff led West Virginia with only 10 points. In a game that wasn't very pretty but scrappy, Kentucky shot just 36%, compared to West Virginia's 30% from the field.


- 16 points each from Freshman beast Yancy Gates and sharp shooter Deonta Vaughn helped the Bearcats of Cincinnati edge out UNLV 67-65 to win the Global Sports third place game hosted by the Runnin Rebels. Cincinnati used a small 8-0 run starting at the four minutes left to play to take a 65-59 lead and held on to improve their record to 5-1. Gates would add 7 rebounds, including 4 of them offensive, while Vaughn had 6 assists but did turn the ball over 7 times. The Bearcats were coming off a 58-47 lost to Florida State the night before.


- Seton Hall and that wacky coach of theirs Bobby Gonzalez moved to 5-1 after coming back from seven down at the half to beat Delaware 75-70. Jeremy Hazell (pictured) led the way with 17 points, while three other Pirates scored in double figures. Seton Hall has two good out of conference wins this season already over USC (63-61) and Virginia Tech (77-73), with their only loss coming at the hands of Memphis (84-70).







- Depaul held off a rally by Larry Bird's favorite college, the Indiana State Sycamores to advance to 4-0 on the season, 75-70. The Blue Demons led 39-19 at the half and at one point in the first half even led the game 32-9 but was outscored 51-36 in the second half to nearly let the game slip away. Dar Tucker (pictured) continued his hot start to his Sophomore season with 26 points (third game with more then 20 points) and 9 rebounds. The 6'5 forward from Saginaw, Michigan is averaging 19ppg and 5.7rpg for the 4-0 Demons (Their best start since the 2002-2003 season) but they haven't played a decent team yet. Depaul will travel to California on 12/3, so then we might see what kind of team coach Jerry Wainwright really has.




- South Florida beat up mighty Northeastern 55-37, behind a 20 point, 6 rebound and 4 assist overall effort from Sophomore Dominique Jones. The Bulls are now 3-1, losing to the only decent team they have faced so far (77-75 to Virginia). South Florida's leading scorer Jesus Verdejo (17.9ppg) finished with 10 points.


The Rest Of The Top 25 Action Around The Nation.....


- Florida International's guard Henry Fuller would hit a jump shot a minute twenty-seven into their game against the 11th ranked Bruins to put the Golden Panthers up 4-2, and then UCLA would answer with a 44-9 run to finish off the first half, leading to a 89-54 victory for the Bruins. Freshman Jrue Holliday (pictured) recorded a career high with 20 points on 8 of 8 shooting from the field, while eleven other Bruins at least scored two points. UCLA will travel to Austin next for a match up with Texas on December 4th.




- The Badgers of Wisconsin (19th) bounced back from their loss to UCONN with a win over Bruce Pearl's old team and in state rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee 67-46. Fourteen different Badgers played but none were more productive then Junior guard Trevon Hughes, who led all scorers with 16 points, while Joe Krabbenhoft recorded a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.



- The 20th ranked Xavier Musketeers continued their winning this season, going to 6-0 after beating cross state opponent Miami (OH) 60-53. Derrick Brown led all scorers with a game high 21 points. Xavier has been through a gauntlet of out of conference schedule so far this season, racking up wins already against power conference teams Memphis (63-58), Virginia Tech (63-62) and Missouri (75-71).



- 21st ranked Miami (FL) collected their 4th win of the season, never getting a challenge, beating Stetson 79-65. With four starters scoring 10 points or more, led mostly by Cyrus McGowen's 14 points and 8 rebounds, while guard Jack McClinton contributed 12 points and 6 assists. Stetson did get 25 points and 7 rebounds from Senior guard Garfield Blair in the loss.


Ten top 25 teams are in action on Sunday. Here are some of the better games to watch....

- #12 Tennessee going against #10 Gonzaga at 8pm ET

- #3 Louisville meets Western Kentucky n Nashville at 3pm ET (WHAS-TV)

- #16 Georgetown against Maryland at 5:30pm ET

- #24 Wake Forest against Baylor at 10:30pm ET (ESPN360-Internet)

- #8 Notre Dame will mostly humileate Furman at 2pm ET


Other Big East games to keep an eye on......

- Providence matchs up against St. Mary's at 5:30pm ET (ESPNU-TV)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Harangody Out With Pneumonia

Reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody of Notre Dame will be out indefinitely with pneumonia as reported by the Associated Press today.


Harangody scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a Irish 81-80 win versus Texas on November 25th in the Maui Invitational Tournament but began to feel ill afterwards and despite what seemed like flu like symptoms contributed 13 points and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes against North Carolina, a game the Tar Heels won 102-87.


Harangody was leading the #8 ranked Fighting Irish with 22.6 ppg and 11..2 rpg and the Junior forward has not missed a game in his career before this undisclosed leave.

Cards and Toppers to battle in a different Ville

When the Cards travel to Nashville on Sunday to play Western Kentucky, they will not be seeing the same Hilltoppers team that shocked the Tournament world last year. WKU is returning just one starter from last seasons team but first year coach Ken McDonald has done a good job in the rebuilding process.


The Toppers have been led in this early season by a three headed guard rotation, with two of those three being Kentucky boys in A.J. Slaughter (Shelbyville) and Steffphon Pettigrew (Elizabethtown) along with JUCO tranfer Sergio Kerusch (Memphis).




Pettigrew is coming off an impressive 20 point 7 rebound effort in a win over Southern Illinois, 12 of those points coming in the second half. The E-Town product is entering his Sophomore season with much larger role then he was given as a Freshman on a talented WKU team last season (3.8PPG) but has already shown he is prepared for that role. Aside from putting up a career high against SIU, He (Pettigrew) has been averaging 11PPG and 4.8RPG in this young season. Pettigrew, a 6'5 guard/forward that has no fear in banging in the paint with the bigger guys. He has some mid-range game but is at his best in transition or as a garbageman off the glass. He has some range on his shot (8 for 16 on three's) but is only truly a threat when left wide open.



Western's other local flavor, A.J. Slaughter, a Junior entered this season with alot of expectation's then Pettigrew and hasn't disappointed. Leading the Toppers at 12.5PPG despite not playing in WKU's first two games. Slaughter showed the promise that Coach McDonald is hoping for in his Freshman and Sophomore seasons as a key contributor off the bench, improving his game in each season both on the court as well as in the stat book. A.J. is a pure slasher in a point guards body. Standing 6'3, Slaughter can score in multiple ways, with a solid shot from the outside and the ability to create his own shot.








Sergio Kerurch, a transfer from Itawamba Community College (MS) has been a great addition so far to this team. Improving every game so far, including a career high 20 points against SIU, while shooting 48% from the field and leading WKU in rebounding at 6.8 per game. I have not seen Sergio play personally like I have the other two members of their guard rotation but I can say I have been impressed by the numbers as well as what I have read about him so far. I am looking forward to seeing him for the first time on Sunday.



The Hilltoppers have the talent and the personal to give Louisville trouble. Along with the three before mentioned players, WKU is also led by Senior PG Orlando Mendez-Valdez (10ppg and 3.3apg this season), who will be a key component against a Louisville press that I think with the Cards depth this season will be one of Pitino's best. Western has struggled so far this season with turnovers, collecting 46 assists this season, while turning the ball over 56 times (1/1.2 average) through four games. That is something this Toppers team can not do against a Louisville team that has already forced 39 turnovers in 2 games and allowing only 11 assists.



OK....I went to Western and enjoyed it. I like the Toppers and will always root for them against anyone but not the Cards. But whether I cheer for WKU or not it wont matter in this game cause Louisville will roll.


Louisville - 74

Western Kentucky - 58

Friday, November 28, 2008

Show Me My Opponent-Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Record: 2-2
Conference: Sun Belt
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Enrollment: 19,000+
Stadium: E.A. Diddle Arena (Capacity: 7,500)

Series Record: WKU leads 38-33


Last Meeting: December 4, 2003, U of L 93 WKU 63 in Nashville


Head Coach: Ken McDonald is in his 1st year as a head coach. He was a former assistant at Western under Dennis Felton from 1998-2003. Before returning to Bowling Green to take the head coaching job, he was an assistant at Texas.

Notable Alumni

Kenny Perry '82-Ryder Cup winning golfer; Romeo Crennel '69, '77-head coach of the Browns; Kirker Butler '93-one of the writers of The Family Guy (the 2nd best cartoon ever, after The Simpsons),Joe Bugel '63-Longtime NFL coach, best known for coaching "the Hogs," probably the most famous offensive line in history; John Carpenter '68-Academy-Award winning director of Halloween and Big Trouble in Little China; Clem Haskins '67-head coach of Minnesota Golden Gophers team that went to the Final Four in 1997; Steve Gorman-drummer of the Black Crowes










Cardinal Connection

Peck Hickman '35-Former Cardinals coach credited with laying the foundation and starting to build our basketball program.

In 1952, U of L's first ever appearance in the post-season NIT, WKU knocked out the Cards 62-59 in the 1st round.

WKU features two Louisville kids: Adam Decker (PRP) and Pegues A'Darius (Western). Also, Slaughter is from Shelbyville and Pettigrew from E-town.

WKU Hilltoppers
Projected Starters

F Jeremy Evans 6'9

F Steffphon Pettigrew 6'5

G Orlando Mendez-Valdez 6-1

G Anthony Sally 6'2

G A.J. Slaughter 6'3

Reserves

G/F Sergio Kerusch 6'5

F Uros Komadinic 6'6

F D.J. Magley 6'9

F Matt Maresca 6'8

F Mike Walker 6'7

G Japeth Aguilar 6'9

Outlook

Coming off of another Billy Minardi Classic championship, the Cards are traveling to Nashville to play the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky on Sunday at 3'o'clock. The 'Toppers are 2-2 and have a coach in his 1st year, but they do have a few bright spots. Steffphon Pettigrew, a sophomore from E-town, is shooting 50% from behind the arc. Junior A.J. Slaughter is averaging 12.5 ppg, 4 boards, 3 assists and 1.5 steals, while sophomore Sergio Kerusch is averaging 12.2 points and 6.8 boards. Slaughter was suspended for the first two games of the year, and the WKU faithful hope that he starts to find the rhythm from last year, when he was the key 6th man on their Sweet Sixteen squad.

Western's two wins came against Campbellsville and Southern Illinois, and their losses were against mighty Houston (3-1) and even tougher...Murray State (2-1). U of L is clearly more talented and better coached. The 'Toppers are small and will most likely play a three guard lineup. This should be no trouble for the super-deep Cards. WKU does have some size on the bench, but once again, Pitino's squad can counter the size too. U of L can go small or go big and not lose a beat. If the Cards keep up the relentless defense they've been playing, and can contain Pettigrew and Slaughter, they should get another 'W.'

Basically, these guys should be pushovers. The "neutral court" at the Sommet Center will probably look more like Freedom Hall because it is two hours away and on a holiday weekend. Louisville fans will come by the boatload to booze it up in the Music City. I'm sure there will be lots of Western fans there too, being that Bowling Green is only about an hour from Nashville.These teams could play this game in Guam and there would still be the same result. Prediction: The Cards break 100 and crush the Hilltoppers 101-68 on the back of Samardo and T-Will.

The Daily Spike...Romo the Homo Edition

Ah, Thanksgiving. I hope everybody ate a lot and had some mud butt afterwards. Anyways, thoughts on yesterday, anybody?
I don't know about anyone else but I thought yesterday was one of the WORST days of Thanksgiving sports that I've seen in a while.

1p: Titans @ Lions...okay I know. A few days ago I posted that the Lions, due to tradition, should stay on Thanksgiving but after what I saw yesterday...simply NO!
The Lions look anemic in every phase of the game. They can't catch the ball, they have a nice RB but can't run the ball, both their offensive and defensive lines are embarassing, and Daunte Culpepper is trying to remember when he was on the front of Madden.
Lendale White is fat, no PHAT, and he ran all over Detroit. Honestly, the NFL makes it a point to put the best match ups on national TV, hence the flex schedule. Why not flex schedule Thanksgiving? By week 5 or 6 we'll know who is going to be solid and whose not. By week 5 we knew Seattle and Detroit were embarassing teams.

4p: Things get better as the Cowgirls take on the always tough Holmgrens. Again, why this game? I think Seattle's season can be summed up with one man (who is on my fantasy team)...Julius Jones. Jones was extremely pumped to face his former team, which threw him to the curb side. Here's his line from yesterday's game...11 carries, 37 yards...0 catches for 0 yards...2 fumbles lost...give thanks to my God for that game from Julius Jones. I'm sure the Cowboys are pissed they missed out on Jones.
On a side note, Marion "The Barbarian" hurt his foot in the 3rd quarter of yesterday's game. Him being hurt would make me the happiest boy in Louisville.

7:15p: I'll leave this game up to Trevor Kelsey to break down. I will say this...Arizona cannot and will not win a playoff game away from home. They cannot play on the road and will never beat a good team on east coast, it's embarassing. They should stay home in their dome and let the big boys play football. With Arizona you have a below average special teams, maybe average defense, junk running game, and an ancient quarterback throwing to two stud receivers. 

WAIT A MINUTE BREAKING NEWS FROM ESPN:
Stephon Marbury is going to be suspended for 1 game and then sent home or traded by the end of the weekend. 
My analysis: In breaking news Stephon Marbury receives another chinese head tattoo and then shoots 20% with his new team, who will either be the Warriors or Clippers...who else takes a chance on this chump.

Hey, it's Black Friday, I'm going to grab some deals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Daily Spike

Does anyone know the "It's Always Sunny" episode where the real life mafia guys walk up on Mac and Dennis but they can't comprehend because they've been drinking too much...well, here we are.

I'm sitting here in Nashville on my way to Memphis to visit parents. It's embarassing to think my parents live in Memphis and even more embarassing that I'm going there...BUT I may be back in Nashville for the WKU game at the GAY. I'm not sure yet but we'll see....by the way, Wayne Gretzky's son is gross...too much acne to even leave the house...proactive soluation, even poor people like me can afford buddy...and your dad is Wayne "f**cking" Gretzky.

So here's your Daily Spike, as if you missed it!

1. George Plaster (radio personality) among others think Lane Kiffin is the next Tennessee coach. Apparently UT was going to offer Butch Davis the job AGAIN on Sunday evening but that they bypassed that and offered Kiffin and apparently he's accepting. Reports are that he's contacting staff members already...this could be the return or hopefully demise of UT football.
**Here's what I want to know...do Louisville fans want KY or UT to win that game on Saturday? I mean I know we hate UK but UT is maybe the number 1 evil empire...probably because their football fans are extremely abnoxious ...extremely!

2. Please quickly check THIS out. Why or may I ask why does FSU keep getting in trouble like this? If you get the meanest most inner city thug, which apparently FSU gets, why do you not win more? And how do Florida and South Florida seemingly have fewer issues?

3. The Detroit Lions. I've heard for the past few days how the Lions should be moved off Thanksgiving. Let me add that I agree they are a disgrace and an embarassing franchise BUT c'mon. It is a Thanksgiving tradition! Plus, last season does anyone remember what the Lions' record was at Thanksgiving...pretty sure it was 6-4 last season...we didn't hear anything then!
So, what's your favorite Thanksgiving moment? Here's mine....besides Leon Lett of course....Pepper Johnson of the Browns stopping Emmitt Smith short of the goal line on the last play of the game!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I'll check in tomorrow with picks of the games...Lions/Titans, Cards/Eagles, Cowgirls/Seahawks....so many great games...ah, the sarcasm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finally Some Closure??


First Europe, then NAIA, then Southern Miss, now Long Beach?
I stumbled upon a Derrick Caracter sighting on one of the local message boards today and thought I'd pass it along. It comes from noted Long Beach Press Telegram basketball writer Frank Burlison who spotted the much-maligned DC visiting Long Beach State's recent victory over Weber State.

Six-foot-eight Derrick Caracter, who spent two seasons at Louisville before
being suspended a couple of times and finally dismissed from the program by
Coach Rick Pitino after last season, visited Long Beach over the weekend and
attended the 49ers' game with Weber State.
At one time, Caracter was
considered the No. 1 prospect in the national high school class of 2006 (which
included the likes of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, who were the top two picks in
the 2007 NBA draft) but attended four high schools or prep schools before
enrolling at Louisville.
He averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds as a
freshman, and 8.3 and 4.5 last season as a sophomore.

Caracter, whose issues with Pitino apparently dealt mostly with
Caracter's commitment to playing hard and getting into shape (he was listed at
265 at Louisville and looked, perhaps, at least 20 pounds heavier than that
Saturday), has been living in Norfolk, Va., with an uncle. He is originally from
New Jersey, where he spent most of his prep career.
After leaving
Louisville, he was rumored to be headed for, among other schools, Southern

Mississippi and Oklahoma City (an NAIA school), but didn't enroll at
either.
His interest in the 49ers was sparked by the input of Ellis Myles, a
former Louisville player who is now on Pitino's staff and was coached by LBSU
assistant Rod Palmer when Palmer was the head coach at Centennial High.

Memphis and Binghamton (located in upper-state New York) , in all
likelihood, apparently supposedly are other schools at which Caracter is
considering enrolling.
If he ends up at Long Beach, he would enroll in
January for the spring semester and, if he gained his academic eligibility,
would be able to play for the 49ers at the end of the fall semester next season.
Stay tuned.


Now I know Louisville fans don't give a crap about what the guy that was given chance-after-chance is doing with his life right now with the team we have currently. However, I predicted that Caracter would be back by the second semester this year. This finally looks like it brings closure to the matter. I feel like I have written this piece about 10 times since his suspension last year. I, for the record, have always been a "Caracter guy", giving him the benefit of the doubt in a lot of situations. He had great talent and I'll never forget how he schooled Aaron Gray on PITT his freshman year with a textbook spin move. I wanted to be the guy that stuck with him because, when motivated, he was a monster. Nevertheless, his attitude was terrible at best and that caused him to underachieve. As a side note, I think it's hilarious that Memphis is on his list. That Calipari is as sleazy as they come and DC. Now it's only a matter of time before him and Brandon Bender are front court mates for the Al-Jazeera All-Stars in Iran.

Two things would bring Caracter to Long Beach from Louisville. One being he's a huge "Regulators" fan and wants to hit the east side of the LBC with Nate Dogg on a mission to find Mr. Warren G, maybe even hit up the East Side Motel with some chicks who's car broke down. Second is something significant, I won't name it exactly but let's just say Cali is a lot "greener" than the 'ville. You all know how concerned DC is with the environment, right?

The Daily Spike

Damn, just when "Crash" was the newest member of this illustrius blog community, one douche bag comes in and swipes that title away...well, enter before mentioned douche bag. My name is Andy Sweeney and at one time was a radio kingpin....licking hoodrats' faces and partying with Kirk Herbstreit. Recently, well, I've been sitting in my half rent apartment watching sports and I hope to share some views with you each day. This may not solely circle around Cards news, but I'll definitely throw some in.

Oh yeah, I figured I had to come up with a name and "The Daily Spike" is what came first (that's what she said).

1. I'm watching IU last night in the Maui Invitational against Notre Dame. Here are some things that come to mind...

- IU has ZERO defense. Cigarette smoking is more of a defense against lung cancer than IU's defense is against stopping the basketball. Fast break, half court, it doesn't matter. This team has ZERO speed and had ZERO chance against Notre Dame...and Note Dame plays lots of white dudes! They honestly let Notre Dame in their back door all day...literally and figurtively.
- Anyone remember that Office episode where Michael and the office workers played Darrell and his boys in basketball? Come on I know you remember...now, that's how IU shoots the ball. KOBE!

- Lastly, honestly IU, you know you're a bad team once you consistently play TWO 5'10 white guys with face masks! Hopefully, there will be no RIP impersonators on this team.
2. Monday Night Football is completley embarassing. It all st arts with coverage beginning at 2pm. Who, in their right mind, wants to hear "Teams at 20" updates for 6 hours about the Saints and the Packers. I don't even watch it when my team is on MNF and we're the best team in the NFL (NYG bitches!). Anyway, here's what I noticed about MNF...

- Berman's hair is becoming more and more colonial. Rewind your DVR tonight and watching when he looks at the rest of the guys on set. The back of his hair sticks out...very George Washington-ish...very colonial.

- LOVE keyshawn, Cris "All he does is catch touchdowns" Carter, and Tom Jackson.

- Reggie Bush. What can you say? The man doesn't play and still gets more pub that anyone else on Monday Night Countdown. A female asked me if I wanted to be Reggie Bush...let's think a minute, HELL YES! Let me list the attributes of Reggie Bush: millionaire, ten homes, went to USC, won the Heisman Trophy, get paid and laid in college by USC CHICKS!, plays in the NFL, got his parents a free house, and oh yeah is BANGING Kim Kardashian...Playboy and that a$$. So, yes, I would like to be Reggie Bush.


- Maybe I'm way off here but I think Aaron Rodgers is B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard off the Office) and Steve Young with the wavy hair and the plastic face is starting to look like Robin Williams.



- Kornheiser's hair...c'mon man.

3. Good post from Rob Jones about Oku. I saw that last night and it got me thinking. Oku says he doesn't have faith in the Tennessee coaching search. I would love to ask Mr. Oku this...so you were sold on Phillip Fulmer. So let me get this straight. You would rather hang with Fat Boy who right now is cradling such great backs as Hardesty (511 yds) and Foster (267).

Now for Louisville Fans. No way should you even consider starting to think about you picking him up. There's no shot. There's more of a shot of the Philadelphia Eagles making the playoffs than Louisville getting a back of this caliber...at least right now.

4. Louisville plays Western KY in a match up in Nashville. I may be going to this game, may not, we'll see. WKU, to say the least, is down from last year and UL should have no problem BUT here are some things to look for on Saturday...

- Does Louisville have 8 players who can shoot the 3 ball or vice versa? What do I mean you may ask? Thanks for asking. Two games in the books this year and the Cards are struggling to shoot over 30 percent. This is obviously unfavorable giving that Pitino's system and the tempo of the Cards leads them to take lots of 3 pointers. Here's what championship teams do...they play consistent! The days of Louisville shooting under 30 percent MUST stop. When they penetrate and kick they are deadly. If they're hitting those 3 pointers that T Will, Sosa, and McGee create then they're a Final 4 team.

- Samuels rebounding. I'm grateful for this big guy coming to town. Not only am I grateful but I'm grateful the fans have been grateful. BUT what we do with every team is nit pick, and here's mine...Samuels' rebounding. SS (Ari Wolf don't even try and steal that) is averaging just 5 boards in the first two games. The competition will only get faster, tougher, and more experienced while the games get bigger and bigger. Samuels needs to do a better job of sealing his man off and going up strong with both hands. Until then Louisville will rely on their big guards to clean the glass.

THINGS TO WATCH TONIGHT: ESPN and ESPN 2 basketball all night 7p - 12a.

David Oku Opens Recruitment Back Up

David Oku is a bad, bad man (5'10-185-4.49 40). He hails from Midwest City, Oklahoma and is currently ranked as Rivals #1 all-purpose back in the 2009 class. Just this past week Oku rushed for198 yards (184 in the first half) and 3 TDs in a Carl Albert High School victory. The Cards were in his short final list along with Florida State, Michigan, Nebraska, Clemson and the school he eventually picked, the then Philip Fullmer led Tennessee Vols. Needless to say, Oku has re-opened his recruitment by saying:

“I don’t think Tennessee will get the right coach for me, I’m going to send tape out to 15 different schools that don’t run spread. I’m just not really buying into Tennessee’s coaching search."

I know what you're thinking: "Hey, we don't run the spread, Why not us?" I asked myself the same thing after reading that but then the inevitable kicker came:

"I’m looking at (coaches’) job security for my next school

Damn. I don't know if we fit that criteria unless the only people Oku gets his Louisville info from are Tom Jurich and Krag. At least we got him to come visit and check out our new facilities all while watching the Cards crush some opponent, right? Not exactly. Oku's visit occurred the very first week of the season, a humid late summer day. The Cards blundered their way to a 27-2 loss to their blue-blooded arch rival, looking completely embarrassing in the process.

This is the type of guy we need to get to somehow salvage what Coach, John L. and Petrino built this program into. An exciting product that was respected nationally and successful. I understand we have Victor Anderson and Bilal Powell, but Oku is the type of guy that will open up the door to many other top-notch players in his class and others. He is from the area that was "allegedly" Krag's recruiting base and could re-open the pipelines to Krag's old stomping grounds and quite possibly save his job. Landing a top recruit like this would somewhat re-energize a fan base that both Krag and Jurich have completely lost. Think of him as Peanut Whitehead, a 5-star recruit that brings national attention and makes a suspect class that much better.

Where you at Krag?!? You have the week off so take some of that million dollar salary (theft) we pay for, take English with you and throw the kitchen sink at this kid. You do understand that we have 20 seniors leaving and only 7 recruits coming in right? David Oku should be the Cards #1 option right now. If we mange to get him, the dominoes should start falling and maybe the Cards could redeem a regretful recruiting class.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Allow Me to Introduce Myself...My Name is Crash

To all the readers and fans of the L Yes! Report, I will be the newest contributor to the site, and my name is Crash Craddock. I hope to provide plenty of entertainment and deep thoughts (like Jack Handy) for the fans of the best website for Cardinal sports. As a life-long Cards fan, I have endured all the ups and downs that accompany following U of L. I know it is a rough time to be a U of L football fan right now, and that we're in the middle of a recession, but through it all I will be here to give you the scoop on the Cards' opponents and some of "Crash's Can't Lose Picks" on other games from around the country. Coming up, the preview of the football game against Rutgers and the basketball game vs. Western Kentucky.

Samuels Named Big East Frosh of Week

From the University of Louisville Athletic Department....



University of Louisville freshman forward/center Samardo Samuels has been named the season's first BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week.
In helping the Cardinals win the Billy Minardi Classic, Samuels averaged 21 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots while making 77.3 percent of his shots from the field (17-of-22).
In the championship game against South Alabama, he totalled 24 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, hitting 9-of-10 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws. His team-leading 18 points against Morehead State in just 23 minutes of action was the third highest ever for a U of L freshman career debut. He was a member of the five-person all-tournament team for the Minardi Classic.

Harry Just Blew Up




He had a very nice game. He had a big pass reception to get us down there on the goal line. He had a beautiful punt return. He’s one of these young guys that we drafted. this past draft class. He’s doing a heck of a job for us. He’s maturing, like a lot of our guys, beyond his years. That’s a tribute to Thomas (Dimitroff) and the personnel staff. They get players in here that can come and compete early.”
- Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith on Harry Douglas

One of my all-time favorite Cards, HDTV Harry Douglas had a monster game for the now 7-4 Falcons Sunday against the Panthers. The Real Ocho Cinco had 188 all-purpose yards including a 7 yard reverse and 61 yard punt return, both for touchdowns. Harry has the heart and ability to make it on the next level and he proved that today. He and Roddy White spoke with reporters after the game about his breakout performance.


HARRY DOUGLAS
Q: How do you feel, after playing such a big part of this win for the Falcons?

A: “I’m feeling good. I’m a little exhausted right now, but I’m feeling really good. I’m just happy to get the victory. After last week’s game, we wanted to get back on track. Throughout all of our practices and meetings, we were really focused on winning this game. I really want to commend my teammates for all their hard work and dedication. I love being around these guys."

Q: In past games, some of the throws were sporadic and it seemed as if you didn’t get the ball as much. What were your thoughts on Matt’s trust in you to make plays throughout this game?

A: “You just have to stay humble and no matter what, you have to run your routes full speed. You can never give up. If you don’t get the ball, you have to expect to get it on the next play. You can never say you’re not going to get the ball. Matt’s a great quarter back and he’s going to distribute the ball. He placed me in a good position to make some plays and I didn’t want to disappoint him or my team.”

Q: What were your thoughts on the punt return for a touchdown?

A: “When I caught it, I was going half speed to the left, but I knew what I was doing. The guys up front did a great job of giving me a block to follow. So, I made a quick cut back, and the middle was wide open.”

Q: What are you thoughts on scoring your first touchdowns in the NFL?

A: “It felt really good, especially in a game of this magnitude. Carolina was 8-2, and it was a home game against a division rival. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. It felt really good to get my first two touchdowns in this game."


RODDY WHITE
Q: What were your thoughts on the game and on Harry Douglas’ performance?

A: “We really wanted to get on the board early against these guys. We wanted to put them behind the eight-ball. Overall, we came out and did a great job today. Harry came out there, and gave us a great spark. His returns gave us great field position throughout the game and overall, he really helped the offense.”

Q: Did the first game against Carolina affect Harry’s performance in the second game?

A: “In the first game, I told him not to worry. We all drop balls. I drop balls almost every game. I told him, once you drop a ball, you have to put it behind you and get back into the mix. You’re always going to be out there and Matt will always put you into a position to make plays. Harry is a play maker.”

Thank You Letter From Padgetts

Courier-Journal writer "The Silver Fox" Rick Bozich posted a letter from the parents of David Padgett that they wanted to be passed along to the Cardinal Nation. David Padgett has found a home on a team in the Canary Islands, but will always have a home in Louisville. I'm sure he's drop-stepping and hooking the big guys over there just like he was here. Let's hope he stays healthy and gets a fair shot at the league.



Cardinal Fans.

November is here, the month when basketball is fully underway - always a favorite month for David Padgett's family. With the Cardinals' first regular season games fast approaching, a reality has finally set in - our chapter of Louisville Basketball is truly at an end. We have no airline tickets and no reservations at our favorite Louisville hotels. Our memories of a pre-game meal at Penn Station or celebrating a Cardinal victory at some very special local establishment will be just that, a memory. We miss the excitement already. However, even though we won't be in Freedom Hall on game days this year, we will be cheering loudly for the Cards as we watch or listen to the games out here in Reno. Our family would like to express our sincere appreciation to the citizens of Louisville for the kindness and support you all showed David during his four years at U of L. He couldn't have been in a better place! As parents, it was comforting to see our son treated so kindly everywhere he went and we are very grateful that David has a very special home right in the heart of Kentucky. So, thank you Louisville!We would also like to thank the wonderful people involved in U of L athletics. There so many we can't list them all, but we'd like to thank Athletic Director Tom Jurich for hiring a brilliant basketball coach, Stephanie Diebold for answering all of our questions, Tim Sypher for his east coast humor and endless supply of basketball socks, Coach Ganong for helping David stay strong, Matt Morris for his endless nights in the film room, Vinnie Tatum for being David's best friend, and all of the assistant coaches, past and present, who were there to give David encouragement and share a laugh with. To David's teammates, we thank you for taking such good care of him after his surgery and for always having his back on the court, just as he had yours. And to the fans in the stands, you're the best in college basketball! A very special thank-you goes to two extraordinary people involved in David's U of L career. Dr. Norman Scott, you gave David new knees and the chance to continue his playing career. We can never thank you enough for your exceptional talent and excellent care. Fred Hina, you were David's salvation after surgery and provided more than rehabilitation care, you were, and are, one of David's closest friends. We thank you for helping David achieve his college basketball dreams and caring for him as you would one of your own.And lastly, there is no way to sufficiently express the gratitude and respect we have for Rick Pitino. Sometimes you have to take the long road to get to the right place, and that certainly is the case with David's journey to U of L. But Coach Pitino was waiting patiently at the end of that road and led David on an excellent four-year adventure culminating in last year's trip to the Elite Eight. Along the way, he coached David, not only in the game of basketball, but also in the game of life displaying the same compassion and care someone would share with his own children. As parents living 2,000 miles away, we couldn't have asked for more. Coach Pitino, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you've done for David. We will be forever grateful to you and will always be your biggest fans.Now, it's on to a new basketball season. Good luck to the team and, as always, GO CARDS!!!


With our gratitude,


Debbie and Pete Padgett

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will Jennings Ever Play??

Before the season started, Coach Pitino made a bold statement at media day. Coach said, "He will be the key to this team" when referring the 6'9 freshman with a world of potential, Terrence Jennings.

In two exhibitions and 2 regular season games, Jennings has failed to play. I ask, why is someone who supposed to be a key to the team riding the pine and not even taking off his warmups? Pitino is saying it is the coach's decision, but something seems fishy. There are rumors that Jennings is in the middle (or end) of a suspension for violating team rules with it more than likely due to a curfew violation. The rumor continues to say the suspension has been shortened due to good behavior.

This rumor, I repeat rumor, is nothing more than that as of now and hasn't been confirmed by anyone within the athletic department or coaching staff to my knowledge. I hope its not true, never looks good for the program. Also, Jennings is eligible to play, so academic status problems can be ruled out. However, such a highly-touted player not seeing the court even in blowout wins, begs for more explaination than just a plain - DNP Coach's Decision.

Pitino has compared his maturation process to that of Earl Clark, so this tough love is just another example of Coach P's ability to get the players to buy in to his system. If him not playing now turns him into a major contributor in a month, it all works out.

I expect Jennings to play sooner than later. I hate using player comparisons, but TJ has been compared to Amare Stoudamire, the freakishly athletic All-NBA power forward, on multiple occasions by multiple analysts. Pitino is trying to whip him into shape and get the most out of him. Jennings will play soon. How soon? I don't know.

All I know is the two times I have seen Jennings practice he was the only player that can give Samardo any sort of matchup on defense and he even has boatloads of trouble. Pitino has said so much at a Yum! Center (Cards new practice facility) practice saying, "This isn't a very old building, but you have let [Samardo] set the new record for most point at 10000" Pitino is tough on Jennings because he expects a certain attitude and work ethic from his players and he's not getting it from Jennings. To me, TJ looks a little confused with some of the schemes and subtlties of the Pitino playbook. Until he gets a good grasp of the offensive and defensive sets, I don't see Pitino budging. Good news is, Lee Steiden has a new best friend.


I'm with Pitino on this one. It worked with Ellis Myles and Earl Clark. Will it work for Terrence Jennings? It remains to be seen.

Louisville Man Handles South Alabama

The Cards look as impressive in the second game of the Billy Minardi Classic as they could, rolling to a 81-54 victory over South Alabama. A Jaguars team that was coming off a tournament appearance last season.

"The first I'd like to say is that, for you people that are from here, you may be looking at the national champions. Coach Pitino has assembled a group of guys that can go at least 10 or 11 deep and not miss a beat. I was reading his book last week and he said you've got to be positive, and with a team like that, it's easy to be positive." Jaguars Coach Ronnie Arrow had to say after facing the Cards.

The Cards were as crisp as I've seen them this season, showing great ball movement on the offensive end, while smothering the Jags with full court pressure from the guards of Louisville and in the half court.

"That was excellent defense two nights in a row. I was really pleased with the 40 minutes and the way we defended." Pitino stated after the game.

South Alabama spent the entire game struggling just to find a decent shot, mostly settling for bad look or Dominic Tilford toss up from anywhere. South Alabama turned the ball over 24 time with only five assists, while the Cards on the other hand produced twenty-four assists with only nine turnovers.

"It's outstanding because you want the defense with our schedule to be right where it's at, at this point of the season. We know we're going to get better with our freshman. We still obviously have to rebound better but that will come, we have to continue to work on it." Pitino said afterwards regarding the Cards position in the early season.

Louisville used an eleven man rotation , where every player played more then ten minutes each and no matter who was in there it seemed that the Cards never missed a beat. Holding the Jags to only five assists, while Louisville was making passes and running their offense so smooth, the Globe Trotters would have been proud.

Freshman Samardo Samuels was again a beast in the middle., scoring 24 points (9 of 10 from the field) and doing a great job of recognizing double teams coming, while finding the open man in the corner. He (Samuels) controlled the painted area every minute he was in the game, commanding the ball and running the floor.

"I think he's one of the best freshmen I've ever coached." Pitino said

As pointed out by Coach Pitino though, that Samuels has trouble rebounding did continue. Samuels had just four rebounds in the game and still has tendency's to not box out properly but he showed a mass improvement on the defensive end as well as showing a softer touch around the basket, including hitting a baby hook shot at one point.

"He doesn't rebound, he doesn't play great defense. You must rebound play, better defense, and block shots if you want get to where you want to go some day. He's very talented but he must learn how to rebound, block shots, and play better defense. That's what we're here for and I'm not going to let up on that." Pitino added about Samuels.

"He's a man. He's got my vote to go hardship." said South Alabama Coach Ronnie Arrow after the game about Samuels.

Terrence Williams is only his second game of the season, looks as impressive as ever. Putting up 12 points with 7 rebounds and 7 assists but the things he brings to this team are not just numbers, they don't keep stats for the leadership Williams gives the Cards.

"I'm watching the total game and he's one of 11 out there. He's an outstanding player, but I would have enjoyed watching them play another team, just not my team. They bring to the table what a coach likes - full intensity with depth. Terrence just keeps coming at you and coming at you." Coach Arrow commented on Williams performance.

"There is a Youngman who just does it all just really understands the game; three steals, seven assists, seven rebounds, and makes people better. He is a very talented basketball player, very deserving of that MVP." Added Pitino on Williams impact.

The Cards will now have a few days off before heading south to play another Sun Belt team in Western Kentucky on November 30th.

One Down, One to Go in the Minardi Classic

The Cardinals got their first of the season Saturday, and are looking for their second on Sunday. Louisville was too much for a 0-3 Morehead State team, clipping the wings of the Eagles in the second half. In the beginning, fans were thinking here we go again when the Cards let the Eagles hang around for the first 15 minutes of the game. A 17-6 run at the end of the half showed a little bit of spark, and the Cards took a 29-23 lead at halftime.

In the second half, it was all Louisville and there were a variety of contributors. There four Cardinals who had double-digits in scoring, 18 Samuels, 13 Clark, 12 Smith and 10 Knowles. Louisville scored 50 points in the second half starting a pace that will hopefully continue for the rest of the year. Louisville had their largest lead of the game at the end as they won 79-41.

Samardo Samuels finished with 18 points and five rebounds, but there still is room for improvment. Coach Pitino was him to finish stronger when he gets fouled, and work to become a better rebounder. As expected his best shots of the game were back-to-back dunks that made the medical staff check his hands for orange paint.

Terrence Willimas didn't get his first points until he made a dunk in the final minutes. That doesn't scar his perfomance though, since he led the team with 11 rebounds. He showed a maturity that Coach Pitino had been raving about, and he is on his way to being the leader the Cards need on the floor.

There were a few other welcomed sights in the stat sheet. George Goode played an overall game in the post and he finished with 7 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The redshirt freshman was recruited to be a wing player, but Goode has made the most of the lack of depth down low. Granted he was facing the bigs of Morehead State, he was still impressive defending in the low post.

Another brightspot was Edgar Sosa's 10 assists who might have transformed into an actual point guard. What was more impressive was the fact that he had only one turnover. Sosa wasn't scared of the new three point line though, and all of his 5 shots were behind the arc. Pitino pulled from the game after one ill-advised shot, but he came back on the court passing the ball. Sosa looked best leading the team down the floor on fast breaks distributing the ball to the other flying Cardinals.

Louisville will get a bigger test today from South Alabama, who defeated Florida A&M convincingly last night. They are highlighted by a local standout Dominic Tilford who transferred out of Cincinatti. But don't go to the trouble of figuring out where South Alabama is, they won't make name for themselves today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spanning The Cardinal Football Globe

I can't really put into words how mad I am about the football team right now, hence me not posting about the two devastating losses to PITT and Cincinnati. I'm assuming the majority of you have seen the games and probably do not want to relive them, so I'll spare you and myself the heartache. Anyway, I'm going to borrow something from Colin Cowherd and span the Cardinal Globe to tell you what some of the people that are unbiased (allegedly) are saying about the goings-on with the Cards and of course add my two cents on some topics that occurred in the last week...

The Handshake Incident
If you haven't heard already, Coach Krag and Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly got into an "alleged" argument before the game. The words resulted from Kelly's Bearcat squad conducting a pregame prayer around midfield. Krag, a deeply religious man, took offense and words were exchanged. After the game, the postgame handshake was a bit chippy. The Sporting News put it in their The Alphabetical : Week 12. Go to the 7:45 mark and see for yourself.....


Brian Bennett talks about the alleged incident in his blog on ESPN.com, a day after mind you. He says it's much ado about nothing, but did post this picture showing what the Cincy players. Have we gotten to the point where teams don't stomp on the bird, they just pray that they don't screw up against such a soft team? They were praying. Get mad that they embarrassed you, not that they prayed on your field. If he did object, Coack Krag is your perfect example of the pot and the kettle. At least the team is showing fire.

Jurich & His Expectations

"My expectations were not high this year because I knew the reality,"
Jurich said on Wednesday. "One thing I didn't want to do to the fans was lie to
them."When I said we'd spend the next two years rebuilding, there was a lot of
flack that came with it. Nobody wants to hear that. [But] it's a long haul and I
knew that and I buckled up for it.
"It's hard for some people to hear that
when one year you're going to the Orange Bowl and now you're not. Our fans are
so new at this, they thought we'd be going to the Orange Bowl every week, but
it's not like that."

You can't go to the Orange Bowl every week? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Should we expect to go .500 every year? What about when he said, "It was very important for me to continue to build on this momentum we have in this program and the continuity that is going on right now" when Krag was hired? Is that now a myth? I expect hard, smart, and sound football and I haven't been getting that. I expect to see improvement from the players, not departure. I expect to see an offense that is complex and tough to defend, not chaotic and vanilla. I expect my team not to give up (PITT game - we all saw it). I don't expect the Orange Bowl every year, but I do expect at least mediocrity from a team that I know has the talent to achieve more than they are currently.
There were 20,000 empty seats at the Cincy game the weekend after this article was posted - coincidence? The fans think that Jurich should be able to admit when he makes a mistake, but it's not like that. Jurich is setting the bar so low, he expects us to be ecstatic with a win and indifferent with a loss. My expectations will remain high, multiple coaches have shown that it's possible to succeed here even after poorly ran regimes. Jurich goes on to blame Bobby Petrino and injuries. In other news - the sky is blue, the sun will come up tomorrow, and Krag will use cliches. For the record - Jurich has blamed Petrino's wandering eyes, lack of talent, fans expectations, and assistant coaching just in the last year for the program's woes. When is he finally going to say it's poor coaching?

I understand the supposed "bad hand" Krag was dealt when he took the job with the Cards. I understand he had to do a little house cleaning to the tune of 20+ players leaving the program since his hire. I understand the parallels to the blue-bloods wanting to run Old Man Brooks out of town a couple years ago. I'm just having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that Krag is going to be our coach for the foreseeable future. It's not a brand of football that I enjoy watching. There is no risk-taking, no passion.
I don't know if it was the weather, Friday night high school games or a combination of both, but it is ridiculous that fans can't fill up a 42,000 seat stadium that has hopes of expanding in the near future. I am pissed, but I still go to the games. It is imperative that Jurich, Krag and the team have the fans support. However, losing with regularity is intolerable and the Card faithful need to let their voice be known in other ways than not attending games. When you don't come to the football games, it doesn't even effect the football team. It effects the non-revenue sports like soccer, track and volleyball - all teams who are putting a far better product on the field.
The ineptitude of our football team is frustrating. Guys like Eric Wood, Joe Tronzo, and Daniel Covington deserve better than to be categorized like this after all the hard work they have given. As bad as it is, we can win our last 2 games, go 7-5, maybe to a bowl and everything will look like it's fine and on the up-and-up. The question is: Is it really getting better or are we just falling into a few more years of the obscurity fans went through during Schnellenberger's first years?
Oh my God, Did I just compare Krag to Schnelly?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekly World of College Hoop

I wrote this for KentuckySportsRadio.com. They needed someone who knows something about college basketball to preview each upcoming week this season. Remember, like Vito Corleone said, "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer". Here I am, sleeping with the enemy....


We've waited long enough. It's time to embark on a new college basketball season. Every week, I'll be here every week to drop some knowledge on the masses about the week that was and the week that will be in college hoops. Since there weren't very many games the last week, this edition will be more on the preview side of things.

After a whole summer of listening to all the recruiting buzz, reading the rankings like scripture, and working with some people that know what they're talking about I have come to the realization that this year's crop of freshman is nowhere near the caliber of last year's class. However, the NBA age-limit has created a new phenomenon in the NCAA. Freshman who usually would be sitting at the end of some NBA team's bench as a "project" are now thrown onto the national stage as contributors to good (sometimes great) teams. Two years ago there never would have been a Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose leading their teams to the postseason. Regardless of how much weaker this year's class is, to paraphrase Yogurt from Spaceballs, "never underestimate the power of the freshman". This week I will focus on freshman debuts across the country. Whether or not these kids pan out could be the difference between a team finishing with a losing record or making a Final 4 run.

Friday
I know all the UK fans will be busy watching the Cats playing the run-and-gun with VMI, but almost half of the Top 25 will be in action against the typical early season cupcakes.

UCONN is one of the teams poised to make a run at consensus #1 UNC will open up with Western Carolina. The Huskies are coming off a disappointing loss to San Diego on last year's tournament and bring every core player back. The addition of Burger Boy Kemba Walker and former UK recruit Ater Majok to an already deep team is enough to get the Huskies ranked in every Top 5 I have seen. Hasheem Thabeet is as imposing of a shot-blocker as there is and his frontcourt mate Jeff Adrien might be one of the more underrated players in the country. It will be interesting to see how All-Big East selection G A.J Price will return from ACL surgery resulting from an injury in last year's tourney. UCONN's

Currys Mom

depth matches up with any one's in the country. However, their first true test won't be until 12/20 against Gonzaga.

The Stephen Curry Show starts up a new season against perennial powerhouse Guilford. The Davidson guard with the former NBA sharp-shooter dad and smokin' hot mom won over the hearts of fans with his high scoring NCAA tourney performance. Is Curry going to live up to all this hype or was the shooting display he put on in he tournament just a flash in the pan? It's hard to improve when you average 26 points during the regular season and dropped 40 in the big dance.

Wake Forest debuts their triple threat of freshman studs against NC Central. Al-Farooq Aminu is an electric wing who was a Top 5 player last year and more than likely would have jumped ship to the league if not for the age-limit. He is your prototypical hybrid forward. A 6'9 215 SF who can score off the dribble, shoot threes and basically wreck havoc on smaller wings. Aminu is joined by a pair of 7-footers in Ty Walker and Tony Woods. Wake has all of their top contributors returning and will be extremely exciting to watch

Other Friday tidbits...

- Travis Ford starts at T.Boone Pickens University against TX- San Antonio
- The ugliest player in college hoops, Nick Calathes, will continue to scare people away from guarding him for a second season as Florida takes on Toledo.
- Buzz Williams takes over at Marquette for Tom "Fake Dwight Schrute" Crean. He better hope he fairs better than Buzz Peterson did at Tennessee. He doesn't have the "I was Michael Jordan's roommate in college" story to fall back on.

Yancey Gates
Yancey Gates

Top 5 Freshman I'd Want on My Team...not necessarily the best

1. F Emmanuel Negadu - Tennessee - Origionally going to Zona. This guy is a mean looking SOB, built like an NFL wideout, athletic and a hard worker. Can't ask for much more. Will fit in well in Ladies Man Bruce Pearl's high octance offense.

2. PF/C Yancy Gates - Cincinnati - Think former Bearcat Danny Fotson, but bigger. Gates is agile for a man his size and was born to play Big East style basketball.

3. SG Jrue Holliday - UCLA - #2 overall in this clas, DREW is a silky smooth combo guard who can create his own shot and use both hands equally well. The best part about this guy is how much pride he has on defense, something rare among youngsters these days.

4. SF Aminu - Wake Forest - Made fellow freshman Greg Monroe of Georgetown look silly in a match-up on ESPN last year. Reminds me a lot of Carmelo Anthony.

5. G/F Willie Warren - Oklahoma - Warren was going to about 206 different colleges last year, finally decided on the Sooners, and is percieved as a risk. The freakish athlete with his Vince Carter impersionations could just be misunderstood. Plus, he has a propensity to deliver facial dunks

Saturday
The Psycho-T-less Tar Heels take on Penn at 4 pm on Fox Sports. This will be a blowout. The Heels await Kentucky on Tuesday with the big question being whether Hansbrough will play against the Cats or not. I have heard conflicting reports both ways. I think he will sit out just due to the fact that Carolina shouldn't have a problem with UK even without a healthy Hansbrough. UNC runs a fast-break system in which the non-stop big man thrives. However, the Heels do not lose a step without him and in some cases play even faster and more up tempo. Ty Lawson is the best PG in the nation as well as the fastest. He is what makes UNC click.
The psychodelic mushroom loving PF/C Josh Heytvelt returns to action for Gonzaga a year removed from a suspension for possession of the fungus he loves so dearly. I remember him being very good before he decided to quit basketball and become a full-time hippie. G Jeremy Pargo is well-deservingly being named to All-America teams across print and the web. Super-soph F/C Austin Daye is entering what might be his last year in college as the player in his class with the most NBA upside. The Zags are as dangerous as ever, only this time they won't sneak under the radar. They open up with almighty Mt. St. Billings

Sherron Collins
Sherron Collins

Sunday
Defending champ Kansas opens up with Missouri-KC looking completely different than last year. Out are Mario Chalmers, Sasha KAHN!!!, Darrell Arthur and co. In are Travis Releford, Tyshawn Taylor and Tyrone Appleton. The only two players that contributed on last year's national title team are PF Cole Aldrich, a big, bruising, corn-fed country boy who fits right into the Kansas mold, and one of my favorite players in college, Sharron Collins. Collins looks like he could play linebacker for the Chiefs at the point guard position, but is as quick as he is strong. The Jayhawks may have some growing pains early on in the seson and Bill Self didn't play around with the schedule (Tennessee, 'Bama, Washington, and at Michigan St. non-conference). By no means is Kansas going to repeat, but they will be the same old Kansas despite the losses. However, that does not mean they will not compete and surprise some people.

The Dukies face Rhode Island at Cameron. Everybody's favorite flopper Greg Paulus has lost his starting PG job to sophomore Nolan Smith. The Devils took care of Georgia Southern by 43 on opening night and it looks like Coach K might have a contender again. Kyle Singler is a great player who should have an even better year than most expect.

Monday

Purdue comes into this season ranked as high as they've been since the Big Dog Robinson era. Matt Painter is building this team into a perennial favorite in the Big Ten with his superb first recruiting class maturing into sophomores this year. F Robbie Hummel is an old school player who looks like a born leader voted preseason Big Ten player of the year. His classmates E'Twaun Moore and JuJuan Johnson along with junior G Keaton Grant will all attempt to knock Izzo's Spartans off their preseason pedistal.

A team that is possibly relying on the almighty freshman more than any other is sleazy, greasy Calipari's Memphis Tigers, who host former employer UMASS. Tyreke Evans was a national phenomenon as a high school senior and will be asked to shoulder a lot of the scoring load for the defending runner-ups. Like Kansas, the guys Cal is bringing in are no joke, it just might take a bit to mesh. Big Men and Top 50 recruits Wesley Witherspoon and Angel Garcia will help fill the shoes of the punishing Joey Dorsey and even though I like his game, Willie Kemp will fail miserably trying to replace #1 pick Derrick Rose.

Other Sunday tidbits...

- Projected #1 NBA Draft pick Blake Griffin will join Willie Warren as Oklahoma takes on lifelong 15 seed Mississippi Valley St. I reall don't know what all the hype is surrounding Griffin. I personally saw Earl Clark abuse him in the NCAAs last year, but he is a perfect 18-18 from the field so far this year so I will give it time before I count him out.

All-American Teams

First - G Ty Lawson (UNC) G Stephen Curry (Davidson) F Robbie Hummel (Purdue) F Tyler

Robbie Hummel
Robbie Hummel

Hansbrough (UNC) C Hasheem Thabeet (UCONN)

Second - G Jonny Flynn (Syracuse) G Darren Collison (UCLA) F Kyle Singler (Duke) F Patrick Patterson (UK) C Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)

Third - G James Harden (Arizona State) G Sherron Collins (Kansas) F Earl Clark (UL) F Samardo Samuels (UL) Blake Griffin (Oklahoma)

Honorable Mention (10 players) : F Sam Young (PITT), Tyler Smith (Tennessee), Chase Budinger (Arizona), Tyrese Rice (BC), A.J Price (UCONN), Wayne Ellington (UNC), Patrick Mills (St. Mary's), Jack McClinton (Miami), DaJuan Summers (Georgetown), Devan Downey (So. Carolina)

Tuesday

Most of the country's eyes will be on two marquee programs in college basketball going at it in Chapel Hill. If Hansbrough plays, you might want to watch the other channel to stop the bleeding. My second sleeper, Syracuse plays before the UNC/UK game against Richmond. This team has the best potential for a Ewing Theory season. Donte Green was good, but he was a tremendous ballhog on a team with no shortage of talent. Gerry McNamara's protege Eric Devendorf returns after blowing out his knee and missing all of last year. Paul Harris is a scrappy pit-bull at 6-4 playing like he's 6-10 and PG Jonny Flynn is a master distributor with a jumper that keeps defenses honest. It might be addition by subtraction this year for the 'Cuse.

In Knoxville, Bruce Pearl unveils his recruiting class against Tenn-Martin. No word yet on if Bobby Maze has finished his diss record directed towards other SEC teams. Pearl has all sorts of talent including Maze, Negadu, Tyler Smith, Univeristy Heights product Scotty Hopson and Wayne "I wear my headband like an idiot" Chism. As we have learned before, sometimes even if the ingredients are quality the finished product might not mix well. It will be interesting to see all these characters playing on the same team plays out over the season.

10 Shooters - Wayne Ellington (UNC), Stephen Curry (Davidson), Jon Scheyer (Duke), Kyle McAlarney (Notre Dame), Jodie Meeks (UK), Jerry Smith (UL), Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), Robert Vaden (UAB), Lee Cummard (BYU), Stefon Jackson (UTEP)

10 Unsung Inside Studs - DeJuan Blair (PITT), Jeff Adrien (UCONN), Jarvis Vernardo (Mississippi St), Wink Adams (UNLV), Raymar Morgan (Michigan St.), Taj Gibson (USC), Austin Daye (Gonzaga), A.J Ogilvy (Vandy), Alfred Aboya (UCLA), Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech)

Wednesday

Michigan State has reloaded their talent after losing Drew Neitzel to graduation. Kalin Lucas runs the show with F Raymar Morgan taking the brunt of scoring from the departing Drew. Delvon Roe was a highly touted recruit coming into last year and injuries kept him out his entire senior year in high school. Izzo has recently fought with who will start, which usually isn't too bad of a problem. Marquise Gray, Durrell Summers and Goran Suton all give the Spartans the makings of a Final 4 team. Hey, if KSR punching-bag Jeff Goodman says it you have to take it as the Bible truth and he REALLY likes Michigan St., almost in a creepy stalkerish way.

Scottie Reynolds
Scottie Reynolds

Scottie Reynolds makes his season debut for Villanova. Jay Wright's team is getting lost in the shuffle of the Big East when in reality they pose the biggest matchup problem to any of the bruising teams at the top. Their smail ball has worked for 5 years and the guards are starting to mature just like the Foye, Ray, Lowry team that made a run 2 years ago.

Sleeper Teams : Wake Forest, Syracuse, Arkansas, Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth

Overrated Teams : Notre Dame, Texas, Florida, Miami, Gonzaga

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

National Signing Day


Today is National Signing Day. What used to be an absolutely huge day has been turned into just a big day due to the year round coverage by scouting sites and bloggers. Also, players are committing earlier and earlier every year (case in point - UK's Michael Avery) so today turns out to be somewhat anticlimactic just because we already know who we're getting. Mike Marra, Rakeem Buckles, Peyton Siva, and Stephan Van Treese (pictured l-r) will all be inking with Coach Pitino and the Cards today at their respective schools.

The balance in this class is what excites me the most. You have your versatile point guard (Siva) sharp-shooting guard (Marra), athletic forward (Buckles) and token white center (Van Treese). All have separate roles and won't ever steal playing time from one another. Plus, they all are 4 year players that all the recruiting gurus claim have the sacred "upside" which hopefully in this case means the Cards got good value and a deep class that filled needs. However, you never know who is going to stay or leave from the team next year, so it's too early to say who will fill in for whom.

All 4 players joined the Sports Night crew on the Recruiting Bonanza Tuesday night. Here are the interviews...

MIKE MARRA & PEYTON SIVA - Sports Night Recruiting Bonanza

STEPHAN VAN TREESE & IU RECRUIT DEREK ELSTON.mp3 - Sports Night Recruiting Bonanza

RAKEEM BUCKLES - Sports Night Recruiting Bonanza

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recruiting Bonanza on Sports Night

National signing day for basketball is tomorrow, so Sports Night will have a Recruiting Bonanza tonight starting at 6 featuring nearly every player set to sign with the 3 local powerhouses. All 4 Louisville signees are set to join Trevor, Matt Jones and resident recruiting guru Jody Demling at some point during the 2 hour show.
This will give Card fans a sneak-peek at the guys that will be leading us into the future. Seattle's Peyton Siva, Miami's Rakeem Buckles, Indianapolis' Steve Van Treese and New England area sharp-shooter Mike Marra will talk about how they feel going into tomorrow's big day and what plans they have for their future as Cards. If you can't catch it, I will try and have the sound up here as soon as possible.
Also joining the Sports Night crew will be guys like John Hood from Kentucky and Christian Watford who will sign with Tom Crean's first class at Indiana.
That's Recruiting Bonanza with the Sports Night crew. Tonight from 6-8 pm on 93.9 FM the Ticket and also can be heard streaming at 939theticket.com. Be there!!!