Louisville did not look sharp or fresh in their 70-64 loss to Tubby Smith's Minnesota squad in Arizona today. Not to take anything away from the Gophers, who looked like they wanted it more today, but the Cards had to travel cross country after beating Ole Miss in Cincinnati Thursday night. Smith's squad's last game was December 10th. Shots were coming up short and players were getting out-hustled, giving Minnesota the needed edge to outlast the Cards.
The biggest discrepancy in the statistics was foul shooting. The Cards made 20-33 and the Gophers 27-37. A close second was 3-point shooting. The Cards shot 4-17 for 23% and the Gophers made 7-20 for 35%. Aside from the the Cards made two more field goals and were only out-rebounded by one (29 to 28).
The Cards managed only 4 assists the whole game. That is completely uncalled for regardless of how much talent is on the team. Edgar Sosa must not recover well from flights as he played the majority of the first half and let Minnesota guard Al Nolan blow by him like a matador. Samardo proved me wrong, as I thought he couldn't play any worse than he did Thursday. Today his shot was blocked by a Beau Zach Smith type multiple times and I would be surprised if he was able to jump over today's Courier-Journal. Mardo is going to be great, but like coach Pitino says, he will become great through passing. He was double and triple teamed all game and had a whale of a time passing out of them. Even Jerry Smith wasn't his usual rock steady self, making a couple of extremely lazy passes leading to turnovers.
Minnesota just wanted this game more. Players like Travis Busch and Blake Hoffarber just killed us with their energy and shooting. Both players were Minnesota Mr. Basketball and needed this game to restore credibility to the home state program. As was the case at Kentucky, the first team to 60 points wins in Tubby Ball. When the Cards cut it to 4, 58-54, I thought we were going to get there before the Gophers. A Smith turnover and Samuels foul out later, the Cards were done.
Terrence Williams tried to bring the Cards back, scoring 17 points on a questionable 6-16 shooting. Earl Clark scored a lot early, but faded off late making only 1 second half field goal. Too many missed shots and turnovers doomed the Cards. Louisville comes home for UAB a week from today followed by equally tough match-ups with UAB and the friggin Mildcats. Time to do some soul-searching on the flight home.
I'm going to cool off and watch some good ol' high school basketball at the King of the Bluegrass. More to come tonight along with a Peyton Siva update tonight.