Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cards Beat Rutgers; 5-0 in BIG EAST

The Cards moved to 2-0 in BIG EAST road games with a 19-point victory over Rutgers Wednesday night. T-Will continued his blazing hot streak with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 thunderous dunks. My favorite of the bunch was the alley-oop where he switched to his left hand to finish. Williams is making his claim for BIG EAST Player of the Year and if the Cards win the regular season crown he's almost certain to capture it. However, Rutgers played awful due to both the pressure inflicted by the Cards and unforced errors. Cards 78 Knights 59

- I'm convinced Louisville has the best defensive team in the country. The pressure they lay on opponents every game is pretty absurd, starting with the in-your-face style Jerry, McGee and Knowles (even Sosa lately) put on the ball-handler from the time the inbounds pass is thrown. In this 6-game winning streak, the Cards are only allowing a shade over 63 ppg. The difficulty to get off a shot against that stifling defense leads easier opportunities on the offensive end for the Cards due to fatigue. At every position, Pitino is two-deep with solid defenders allowing him not to worry about foul trouble as much as your normal coach. The defense caused 16 turnovers, grabbed 8 steals and held the Knights under 40% shooting from the field.

- Rutgers center Hamady Ndiaye didn't impress me very much, but Samardo's dunk right in his face did show me something. He finally decided to start playing "above the rim" when needed. Samuels is great at getting under the defender in the post, making it sometimes unnecessary to jump high to be successful. That has gotten Mardo in trouble at times this season, but he played more "above the rim" than he has all year. Only 2 rebounds and a foul-out to go with 15 points for Samuels.

- This was one of those games where Earl Clark just seemed to be going with the flow, waiting for a possible time where he'd actually have to exert some energy. That time never came and Earl still had 15 points 7 boards. This is no knock on E5 by any means - more like a compliment. After he hit a shot from the top of the key at the halftime buzzer, he nonchalantly walked into the locker room like nothing happened. Almost as to say, "Ah, it's just Rutgers..That wasn't to beat the shot-clock and seal victory against the #1 team in the nation. Big deal"

- The team had 17 turnovers, which is a little high, but the 4-headed back court had only 2 combined. The most turnover prone of them all, Edgar Sosa, had ZERO and 4 assists in 26 minutes. The front court guys had a few too many miscues, led by T-Will's 6 (he's human), but the way the guards took care of the ball tonight should be commended.

- Back to T-Will. When is going to go between-the-legs and dunk? Would he get punished for it? Has he thought of it? We all know he could do it and I've watched a lot of basketball and never seen it done in an actual game. Couldn't T-Will be the first? I think he's settled in on the scissor-kick-windmill this season, which is perfectly fine. However, we only have about 15-20 games left to see T-Will and I've always wanted to see him attempt something crazy like that. I still haven't lost hope.

A few one-liners...

- Andre McGee's technical was deserved as he overreacted on what was obviously a foul on his part. That was the first "T" given to a Louisville player in a long time.
- Terrence Jennings continued to give good minutes off the bench. I'd love to see him get the ball a little more to tryout his post moves
- Looked like the Cards only took 1 or 2 contested shots and were rewarded by shooting just under 60%. Made shots lead to the press, which leads to fatigue, which leads to victory.
- Why Pitino puts Will Scott in for last-second shots baffles me. In his blog, Pitino wrote Scott is "waiting to make the big shot". I just don't see how a guy plays 10 seconds a game and is expected to take a potential season-changing shot ice cold.
- Jerry Smith is fine. He doesn't need to score a lot to help this team.

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