7:50 pm- I'm here at Northern Kentucky University, home of the Norse and a beautiful new arena known as The Bank. Imagine a smaller, less corporate version of Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. About 10 minutes until gametime where the Cards will try and look a little more polished and sound than they did last Saturday. Its the Norse and the Cards in exhibition madness.
T-Will is joking with the officials in street clothes which means there is obviously no chance of him seeing action. The team entered the court to a mixture of boos from the NKU student section and cheers from the good amount of Cardinal faithful in attendance.
This NKU team looks small and under matched as expected but after last week I'm not thinking blow out. Back in a few...
15:37 left in the First Half - Louisville leads 6-5. A couple nice post moves by Samardo and a layup by Sosa puts the Cards on the board. NKU is having their way with the press, leaking out for a layup and hitting a wide open 3. Louisville needs to do a better job executing on offense and not relying on individual moves. More after the next TO.
12:31- Don Pitino is donning the casual gear today with the blazer and khakis sans tie. In the game the Cards are sloppy on offense, relying on Samuels to clean up errant shots and taking contested shots, a Pitino no-no. Cards lead 17-10 however and are looking a lot smoother in both phases. Samardo leads the Cards with 8 and Sosa has 6.
7:24 - Dustin Maguire is helping the Norse stay in the game match Samardo's game high with 16 points. NKU just has no answer for Samuels, who just stepped back and hit an 18 footer, just to keep them honest. Preston Knowles has come in and lit a fire under the defense. The Cards need to guard the three as NKU is hanging in there only down by 6.
HALF - Its the Samardo Samuels show here tonight as the beast of a frosh is leading the way with 18 points. The Cards lead but NKU has used 7 threes to make it respectable. Pitino is trying different lineup with Clark and Samuels with an array of different players. The offense looks out of sync and the defense is still allowing way too many threes. NKU is overloading one side and spotting someone up on the opposite side, usually being wide open. Samardo is having his way in the painted area and hasn't missed a shot.
14:33 and relying too much on E5 and - Here we go again. NKU has taken the lead 46-42. Dustin Maguire is unconscious hitting 6 of 7 threes including a ridiculous prayer at the end of the shot clock. We are getting outhustledMardo on the offensive end. In both exhibition games the Cards have just plain out been outworked. As someone respectable just told me here on press row, I wouldn't want to be on this hour and a half long bus ride home with Coach Pitino.
5:33 - Louisville is back on top 67-61 after hitting a few threes and playing considerably better on the defensive end. Maguire is still on fire and has hit 9 of 11 3s for a total of 31 points. The Cards are spacing there offense better, getting open looks in turn. Samardo Samuels can not be stopped scoring 27 points with his only misses being from the foul line. NKU is getting tire but I am impressed with their work ethic and shooting ability. Rumor around press row is that they are pushing for an OVC spot in D-1 by building this new arena and putting an excellent product on the floor. Give them a couple years and I'm sure they will be competing for an NCAA tournament slot. Next update will be a game wrap up with quotes from Coach Pitino.