Monday, January 26, 2009

Cup O' Jones : Monday Edition

Hope everybody had a great weekend capped off by the Cards 7th straight victory - a 10-point win at the 'Cuse Sunday. Hopefully that will help you get over that case of the Mondays that hits every week. On to some thoughts about yesterday's victory...

- The Cards' defense is an absolute juggernaut right now, allowing only 57 points to a Syracuse team that averaged over 80 points a game coming into Sunday. The Orange were also held to a season low in FG% (35%). The Cards are the only team to hold the 'Cuse to less than 40% this year. Whether it be the press wearing the guards down or the spectacular play of Terrence Jennings and the other interior defenders - nobody is going to score at will against this stifling Louisville defense. Plus, the Cards have the luxury of getting away with playing poorly on offense. 67 isn't the point total you look and and think - "that team probably won". The Cards shot 25% from 3, 35% from the field and still won by 10 thanks to what is proving itself to be the best unit in the country - the Louisville defense.

- T-Will is the best player in the conference right now and is gaining steam game-by-game. I know Harangody leads the league in both scoring and rebounding, but if he has a good game (say 25 and 15 against UCONN) his team still has a good chance of losing. It is evident that if T-Will has a good game the Cards will most definitely win. In the Cards' 3 losses, T-Will hit only 13 of 44 shots (30%). He does all the little things well - passing and defense - on top of being the best pound-for-pound rebounder in the country who has to compete for boards with one of the BIG EAST's best in Earl Clark. T-Will is the best all-around player in the conference, his team is undefeated and he's a senior (something the writers might take into account). Therefore he should win the MOP/MVP/POY over the stat stuffer who plays on a worse team. 09 isn't the year of the Gody.

- T-Will and Clark have been playing great lately but the two guys who deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround are Edgar Sosa and Terrence Jennings. I hope Sosa keeps making me eat my words every game. Its now 2 games with ZERO turnovers for a guy who was pretty much a turnover-waiting-to-happen at the beginning of the year. I don't hold my breath anymore when he has the ball. I have the utmost confidence is Sosa right now. For example, there was one subtle play where Eddie had the ball driving towards the hoop solo against 3 Orange defenders. The old Sosa would have put his head down, bee-lined it to the hoop and hope to get either fouled of lucky. The new Sosa back the ball out and waited for his teammates to join him. As subtle as it was, that showed me more about Sosa's maturation as any shot or pass. Well maybe not the UK shot - that was awesome - but you get my point.

- Jennings is going to come up extremely big for us at a crucial point this postseason - I can feel it. He had his best statistical game of the year Sunday scoring 9 points blocking 2 shots and grabbing 4 offensive boards (5 total) in 18 minutes. After thinking he would never make it off the bench at one point early in the year, Jennings has now become a very important part of the team. There have been 10 games this year where Samardo has had 4 or more fouls. He's had less than 3 only 4 times. This means Jennings will likely have to play crunch-time in a lot of big games. He has answered the call so far and you can see steady improvement every game. I guess Pitino wasn't BS'n us when he said Jennings and Sosa would be the "keys" to the team this year.

- Yet another big road win to pad the NCAA resume. After thinking a #1 seed was a thing of the past after the early losses, the Cards now have a legitimate shot. By my calculations, the Cards have the chance of losing a maximum 5 games in conference (UCONN, @ND, @G'TOWN, @WVU and possibly another random game). That's MAXIMUM. Let's say the Cards lose only 3, that gives them a 24-6 record in the best conference college hoops has seen in recent memory. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but we can't get stuck with Carolina or Duke in the East region again this year. Rick Bozich agrees with me.

Other UofL News....
- The Lady Cards take on #1 UCONN tonight on national television. This is time for Miss McCoughtry to have her coming-out paty for the rest of the country. UCONN just beat the #2 team in the land, UNC, by 30, so saying it will be a test for the Lady Cards is an understatement. This might be the biggest regular season game in Louisville women's basketball history as the Cards bring a 17-1 record to Storrs to face a UCONN team that most women's experts will say is unbeatable. Check it out in spine-tingling HDTV at 7:30 on the deuce.

- Krag got 2 more recruits to commit Sunday. DT Tim High from El Camino CC via UNLV is a 6-3 310lb hoss who should compete for the starting job from the get-go. He chose UL over Washington St and Arizona among others. The second commit came from a KY All-Stater, Bryan Station DE Roy Philon. The 6-2 270lb Philon joins RB/DB Shernard Holton as the only in-state players in the current recruiting class in a year where D-1 talent was obviously up around the state. Philon chose Louisville over Miam (OH).

Starting 5
1. YouTube - Arizona's Chase Budinger gets a mouth full of sneaker from a Houston player
2. Ray Glier - NY Times - Brandon Jennings send home a warning from Europe
3. Brent Axe - The Axeman Blogeth - In-depth breakdown of UL/SU from 'Cuse perspective.
4. Bill Madden - NY Daily News - In book, Joe Torre rips A-Fraud, the Boss, and Cashman
5. Nate Davis - USA Today -The not-so-Super team: Best Players to never reach the Super Bowl

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