Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peyton Siva on ESPN2

Tonight ESPN2 will air the 2009 All-American dunk and three-point contests at 8:00 pm. Louisville signee Peyton Siva competes in the dunk contest. Yes, he's got what the kids call "bunnies." (That's just a hip and cool way of saying he can jump high. You can use it.)

The Lady Cards Make History

One day after Louisville's men's team watched their final four dreams crash like pookie when the crack was all gone. The Lady Cards kept the schools final four and championship dreams alive beating the #1 seed Maryland to advance to the final four in St. Louis for the first time in school history.

Louisville wasn't intimidated by Maryland's top seed as the Lady Cards came out firing on the Terps and never looked back. Superstar and all everything Angel McCoughtry led the Cards with her 3rd straight 20 plus game, putting up a game high 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. McCoughty wasn't alone in this game though. Fellow Senior Candyce Bingham had 15 points and Deseree Byrd added 17 points and nine assists.

The Lady Cards forced Maryland into 21 turnovers and held them to just 38% shooting for the game. Louisville outrebounded the Terps 37-35 (Cards had 16 offensive rebounds) and collected 12 steals as a team (Bingham and McCoughtry with 3 each). Maryland had no answer, like everyone else but UCONN this year, for Louisville's 2-2-1 press and spread offense.

With just under 3 minutes to play, Maryland made their final push at the Cards but it and the game was slammed shut as Angel spotted up for three (her only one, 1-6 for the game) to put the Cards up 65-52 and seal the deal on Louisville's first final four.

Congrats to coach Jeff Walz and the Lady Cards. They will now wait and play the winner of Oklahoma and Purdue on Sunday, April 5th.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coming Up Short

Louisville shot 38% from the field and allowed Michigan State to shoot 46%. Louisville's had 12 assists and 12 turnovers, while Michigan State had 19 assists and 12 turnovers. Louisville had 27 rebounds and Michigan State had 35. Those three stat lines tell you why the Cards lost the game. I have said the Cards play Rope-a-Dope basketball this year but in this game Michigan State didn't wear down and just kept punching finally landing a haymaker, which I think came when Chris Allen went back door and just slammed the ball with 4:31 to play, putting the Spartans up 60-46 and slamming the coffin on the Louisville Cardinals season...

-Of course the Cards would end up losing 64-52 and as I said in the breakdown of this game that Louisville was more talented then Michigan State. I still feel I am right about that. I also said though that Tom Izzo teams no matter what the talent level is will always make you play their style (tempo) and will attack all rebounds and loose balls harder then their opponent, who this time unfortunately was Louisville. I hate being right so much. The Cards lost the battle of tempo and on the boards and those were the most important things in the game when you play the Cards. When Louisville doesn't win at least one of those two things, they lose. Just look at Minnesota, Western Kentucky, UCONN, Notre Dame, and now Michigan State.

-Goran Sutan played the greatest game of his life. He will never play any better then he did today. Don't get me wrong, he is a solid player. I pointed that out in the breakdown but he was hitting three pointers with guys in his face as the shot clock was winding down...twice. He got his hand on basically every rebound, whether he grabbed it or not,his hands touched it. Every time the Spartans needed a shot, Sutan hit it. Nothing is more deflating then playing good defense just to have a 6'10 guy hit a three in your face. Sutan may have only scored 2 of his 19 in the second half but he was just as effective even when he wasn't scoring.

-I loved the intensity that the Cards showed after halftime. They came out and went right after the Spartans throat. I guess no one told Durrell Summers that he was supposed to choke cause the 6'4 guard answered the Louisville attack alone. Nailing back to back threes, followed by a Kalin Lucas bankshot for three. It was the run, with 10 minutes left, that turned the entire game and if it weren't for Summers (who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half), this game could have gone down to the wire.

- Despite how much Gus Johnson wanted to go Ammad Rashad all over the Spartans guards how they handled Louisville's press, lets keep in mind that Louisville never had the chance to even get their press going. Credit Michigan State for that because when the Cards did get the press set up it drove MSU crazy and was very affective. But hey Gus does call Terrence Williams, T-Williams the entire game. I don't like that whole nickname thing and refuse to use it but if you are going to try to act "hip" and "cool" Gus at least get it right.

-Terrence Williams did not play that bad a game. People around the country who don't know Louisville and haven't watched them play like me and others have would know that. Michigan State did a great job face guarding him and every time he touched the ball, he was swarmed like an ice cream truck at a fat kids camp. I was disappointed by the way he disappeared on the glass after the first 5 minutes of the game. MSU had 12 offensive rebounds and that's not going to cut it if your Louisville. Williams all year was best at taking the ball of the backboard on the defensive end, only giving team one not so good look. He finished the game with 5 rebounds. He had 4 of them in the first 5 minutes of the game. Williams finished the game 1-7 from the field with 5 of those forced bad shots, including 2 0f his 3 deep attempts (missing all three). It wasn't the type of game you would like to see a guy like Terrence end his Cardinal career on but if he would have had a typical Terrence game, the Cards would be cutting down nets instead of trying to keep their heads up.

-A big turning point in the game came around the 13 minute mark when the refs and MSU took Edgar Sosa out of the game. Sosa had just knocked down a 3 point shot (would be his only shot) and was playing solid defense on the press. Edgar then would sorta flop and there was no call. No problem there but the falling couple plays turned the tide, Sosa wound get mugged on the floor with no call and then would be whistled for back to back fouls that looked like they came from the Don Denkinger school of officiating. I saw the death in Sosa's eyes as he headed to the bench. We could have really used Sosa's offense in this game.

-Preston Knowles is a very good player. He played his heart out in this game but Louisville is not at it's best when Knowles is forced to play 24 minutes. He is suited at this point in his career for 15 at the most and that should be during the month of January. I love his intensity on defense (he almost lost it at one point though) and his ability to hit the three is always appreciated from Card fans. Preston put out 11 points on solid shooting (4-7) but he is a limited offensive player. All Preston can so is sit back and shoot the ball. Michigan State knew that,not allowing Williams to penetrate takes Preston out of the game.

- Jerry Smith shot the ball well. He did a great job of moving without the ball but it doesn't help when you get into foul trouble. Smith has had problems all year with foul trouble, he slaps at the ball to much and has trouble moving his feet, getting most his fouls in the back court while pressing.

-Earl Clark forced some bad shots but you know what, everybody did so that will no longer be mentioned. Clark was the only one that was aggressive on offense, shooting 8-17 for 19 points but he only had 5 rebounds. He wasn't very aggressive on the glass and I only saw the anger in his eyes that makes him play like a lottery pick once through the entire game.

- Samardo Samuels was 0-6 shooting, committed 4 turnovers, and never scored. Good news is after this game I am pretty sure he will return. Samuels struggled with Sutan's ability to play up high like he was David Padgett, while struggling even more with Sutans obvious size advantage. It looked like when George Zidek shutdown Corliss Williamson in the 1995 title game. Samuels was solid when he was forced to play low post defense on Sutan but that was very few and far between when Sutan was on the low post.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Two Are In Detroit, Still Two To Go

Well two of the four have been decided and so far it's Big East - 2, rest of the country - 0. With the Cards playing later today it could (and should) make it three out of four. I went into Saturday's games waiting to see UCONN beat Missouri and to watch Villanova go to war with Pittsburgh ans I got everything I wanted and then some. Here is what I came away with after watching two good games....

- I knew Missouri wasn't going to go down like a punk but I also didn't think they could really threaten UCONN. They showed a little more heart then I expected from them but as I assumed in the end UCONN was to much. The Huskies kept the Tigers at arms length the entire game. Every time Missouri would get with in a point or two or even tie the game UCONN would have answer from A.J. Price (18 points) or the star of the game, Freshman Kemba Walker. He (Walker) hit big shot after big shot, putting up a game high (and matching his career high) 23 points off the bench. I mean with UCONN's size and skill in the post with Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, and Stanley Robinson (two Seniors and Junior), that matched with the guard play of Walker and Price. UCONN is such a scary scary team to have to play.

- Villanova and Pittsburgh didn't disappoint when I said they would have a slug out battle for the final four. The Wildcats jumped out early but Pittsburgh rallied right away and from then out this game went back and forth, blow for blow. Sam Young was just awesome in what turned out to be his last game. He scored 28 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, including hitting a huge three to pull the Panthers with in 1 at 72-71 with under a minute to play. 'Nova's own Senior big man Dante Cunningham had a slow first half (4 points) but came out in the second half with a new fire and finished the game with 14 points and 5 rebounds, of course most importantly he made a David Tyree like catch on the last inbounds play to set up teammate Scottie Reynolds to do his Bryce Drew / Tyus Edney / Danny Ainge (stop me cause I can go all day) impersonation to win the game. Reynolds struggled from the field throughout the game but even though he was 4-11 from the field only one of those really mattered. He did go 7-7 from the free throw line and finished with 17 points. DeJuan Blair was his usual beast like self as well, going 9-9 from the floor (20 points) to go along with his 10 rebounds.

- As I thought though, Villanova's depth was the big difference. Well that and the fact Villanova shot 22-23 from the free throw line (Pitt was 21-29) and outrebounded the Panthers 29-27 but the minutes that the Wildcats bench brings, most notably the Corey's, was a huge lift. Fisher (Corey) and Stokes (Corey) were big, with Fisher throwing in 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists and Stokes contributed 7 points and 2 rebounds. What doesn't show up in the stats though is the relentless defense these two brought and their ability to play the point guard position with out the team missing a beat. Taking much needed pressure off the normal point guard Reynolds at times in the game.

- I have bragged all year that no team is deeper at the guard position then Louisville. I altered that opinion about a month ago when I admitted to maybe be second to Villanova's guard rotation. I am still on the fence between the two but this is more of a 1A and 1B thing then a 1 and 2 thing.

Meet The Spartans

I have to start this breakdown of the Spartans by saying I really haven't watched Michigan State play much this season. No disrespect the the Big Ten's finest but I have an easier time staying awake watching James Lipton interview Janeane Garofalo about her up coming Lifetime movie "Girl's Best Friend", then I would watching an entire Big Ten game.

I have though spent the last few hours watching highlights, reading scouting reports, and combing over their roster from top to bottom to learn everything there is to know about the Spartans of Michigan State and trying to find this woman's name and number cause she has a cool attitude toward things. I couldn't find out her identity but here are some of my thoughts about the Cards next victim.....uh uh I mean opponent....

- Kalin Lucas is the heart and soul of this team. He is an explosive at times Sophomore guard, who is put up 14.7 points a game this season to lead the Spartans. He had 18 in their win over Kansas, including a big three point play to give the Michigan State the lead. Lucas can be a threat from deep, shooting 38% on the season but has only taken 21 attempts (hit 10 of them) from deep in the last 8 games. In fact he hasn't hit more then 1 three in a game since 3/13 (4 games), when he went 2-4 against Minnesota. Kalin is a talented Sophomore but he isn't ready for this Louisville defense. He has a Allen Iverson mind set to scoring though. Meaning 20 points is usually the result of a minimum 20 shot attempts. While he is leading and averaging 4.5 assists a game, he is turning it over 2 times a game. Over the last two games though he has been excellent controlling the ball. Collecting 14 assists to just 3 turnovers.

- If Lucas is the heart and soul, then Raymor Morgan is their legs. He is a stereo type swing man athlete. The Spartans have struggled on the offense at times this year but their ups and downs basically coincide with Morgans ups and downs. Michigan State is 13-1 this season when the 6'7 Junior scores in double figures. Their only loss coming to North Carolina (He had 21 in that loss). Raymor torched Oklahoma State for 29 earlier and 16 in their first round blowout of Robert Morris. He has been off the last two games though, scoring a combined 7 points in rounds two and three, including shooting 1-10 from the field in that span. When he gets to the free throw line is when he helps the Spartans the most but is he does disappearing acts, this team will struggle to beat anyone.

- So Lucas is heart and soul, Morgan is the legs, then that would leave the arms to be the 6'10 445 pound creature they call Goran Suton. If Morgan is a stereo type swing man, then Suton is a stereo type Big Ten goofy white guy center. Yes in the long but lustrous line of goofy white centers from the Big Ten that included MSU owns Paul Davis, Purdue's Brian Cardinal and Brad Miller, Minnesota's Joel Przybilla, and my personal favorite Indiana's Uwe Blab. I know there are many more to be named but I had to start some where. Now back to the current guy. For real though, Suton has been a force in the paint for Tom Izzo, putting up 20 points (keeping them in the game) and 9 rebounds against Kansas. He has had 10 or more rebounds in 6 out of his last 10 games, grabbing 17 against Robert Morris. Goron the Great has collected 10 offensive rebounds through the three games in this tournament. Louisville has to keep him off the glass or MSU could win this game.

-Well I guess I pretty much covered the entire anatomy of the Spartans here, oh wait, I almost forgot the head and brains. Who else could that be but Tom "UK job is a joke to me" Izzo. Do the Cards have better guards the MSU? Yes. Doth Cards have a better big men the MSU? Yes. Are the Cards deeper then MSU? Yep. Hell, are the Cards more talented and better overall then MSU? Your damn skippy. Problem though is that Michigan State does have talent, even if it's not as much as the Cards and no one this side of Rick Pitino gets more out of his kids then maybe Tom Izzo. His teams will always make you play the style they want (my grandmother can run the mile faster then this team can score 70 points in a game) and will do everything in their power to beat you on the loose balls and rebounds. Tempo and rebounding are two huge keys in this game. Tempo most of all. Louisville must do to Michigan State that they did to Arizona. Go at the Spartans guards like Peter McNeeley and harass them like a wife finding another girls panties in your car.

Louisville plays the speed they want and keep Michigan State to one shot and done possessions, I am not going to lie and sound to over confident but the Cards will cruise if they do those things and will win by at least 12 points or more. Can they do those thing? I can't answer that yes as quick as I did before but I think they can.
My prediction....

Louisville 79

Michigan State 68

Final Four Is Almost Here

I am so pumped up and ready for Louisville's game on Sunday but at least there are two good games to hold me over today, I hope. I watched Missouri's beat down at the hands of Kansas and even though it hurt to do, I watched UCONN's win over Louisville. I also watched about half of Villanova and Pittsburghs first and only match up this season. 'Nova won that game 67-57 on January 28th. I'll tell you what though, these games have a big act to follow. This DII game between Findlay (Its in Ohio) and Cal Poly Pomona is still going in overtime tied at 51 as I type. While they are at a timeout in the game I will tell the millions and millions of L-Yes Report readers my thoughts on today's games...

- After watching Missouri a couple of times more now and reminding myself how UCONN handled Louisville's pressure defense, I am thinking this (like the rest of UCONNs games) will end with the Huskies moving on. I like this Missouri team and I am a fan of their talented Senior DeMarre Carroll but this UCONN team is on a mission and is just plain to good for the Tigers. On top of that I am starting to think more and more that this will be Jim Calhoun's last season. His team has definitely looked focused on what their goal is and that may be sending him out with a championship. I can't say they will do that and I can't so that Jim Calhoun will retire after the season but I will say that regardless the Huskies will be in the Final Four after today.

- Just on a side note, in that great and exiting DII game. Findlay went up 2 and then Cal Poly tied it up wit 11 seconds, only to force two misses by....what the hell is Findlay's mascot? Oh well, long story short a Senior from Circleville, Ohio (I know this cause the announcers screamed it over and over but don't know his name) would nailed a fade away three pointer at the buzzer (looked a lot like Ty Rogers for WKU last season) to give Findlay the championship.....Tyler Evans is his name. For those who really cared.

- I can not wait to watch the match up between Pittsburgh and Villanova. I think this game will be a slug out fight between two very good teams. Yes I know Pittsburgh has looked less then impressive in their three wins but I still think they have the most talented starting line up in the country. Villanova on the other hand has looked as good as UCONN and Louisville (most impressive teams) since the 10 minute mark in the first round against American, when they were down 14 to end up winning by 13.

- The match ups are off the charts here in this game though. Dante Cunningham ('Nova) and Sam Young (Pitt) is the match up I am excited about watching but then again a Levance Fields and Scottie Reynolds match up will be something to watch. This is a tough game for me to pick. On the one hand I love the Panthers Senior leadership and clutch play of Fields and Young. That along with stingy defense and ah some monster of a human being known as DeJuan Blair in the middle but Villanova has Senior leadership as well in Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson. Reynolds and Reggie Redding (led 'Nova with 18 in win over Pitt this year) are Juniors, while the Corey boys ( not Haim and Feldman though) Fisher and Stokes are Sophomores. Wow this is tough. I think I'm going with Villanova in this one. I think their depth and hot play will be enough to knock off Pittsburgh. Regardless who win this one though. This is going to be a battle.

Lady Cards Elite Eight Bound

The Lady Cards, like the men, dismantled their sweet sixteen opponent in the #2 seeded Baylor Lady Bears. Louisville dominated the entire game, rolling to a 56-39 win and sending them to the first regional championship game in school history.

Angel McCoughtry may have had a off day shooting the ball (10-28) but still managed 22 points and 12 rebounds. Not bad stats for someone who only went to the free throw line 3 times and was 0-6 from beyond the arc. She hit the shots when they were most needed though, as did fellow Senior Candyce Bingham. She and McCoughtry were the only Cards in double figures for the game. Bingham was Earl Clark like on the boards, grabbing 15 total, 7 of them on the offensive glass and knocked down a pair of critical 3-pointers during Louisville's decisive 12-0 spurt in the final eight minutes. Bingham would finish the game with 15 points and the Lady Cards closed the game and Baylor's season on an 18-2 run.

Baylor scored 39 points as a team. McCoughtry and Bingham combined for 37 by themselves. So it was obvious that the Louisville didn't need a lot of more help on the offensive side of the ball.

Jeff Walz has the Lady Cards playing maybe even better defense then Rick Pitino's men. Frustrating Baylor's guards the entire game. Forcing them (Baylor) to take rushed and challenged shots, if they weren't turning the ball over( Louisville scored 15 points off turnovers). The Lady Bears finished the game shooting just 25.5% (13-51) from the field. I am glad I watched this game cause if I hadn't watched it with my own eyes, I would have a hard time figuring out how a team, men or woman, ranked in the top 8 in the country could be held to just 25.5% for an entire game. Then again Villanova held Duke to 26% (16-60) in their sweet 16 match up.

With the win Louisville now will face the winner of the #1 seed Maryland and #4 Vanderbilt on Monday night.

Lady Cards In The Sweet Sixteen

The Cards men's team isn't the only Cardinal basketball team looking like a buzz saw through the tournament. The Lady Cards are in their second straight sweet 16 and have a match up with the #2 seeded Baylor. First of all the fact that Louisville is a three seed is a crime. This team rolled all year with only four losses and two of those were against UCONN. They had to play on the #6th seeded LSU's home court in the second round.

That is in the past though and so are LSU and Liberty (Cards first round opponent). While Louisville has been beating the odds and their opponents, Baylor has had two dog fight like games. I guess I should have said cat fight but that would be to easy. The Lady Bears had to go to overtime against the 1 seed, the first time a 15 seed has ever even forced overtime in woman's basketball. No seed higher then 12 has ever one a first round game. A buzzer beater in the second round sets up their show down with the Lady Cards.

Angel McCaughtry is a dominant force (#4th in country in scoring at 23.5 points a game). She is the Blake Griffin of woman's basketball. She is averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds a game through the tournament, all while facing double and triple teams with every touch. She averages 4.3 steals a game this season and 9.3 rebounds, while shooting 44% from the field.

Candyce Bingham has to be able to take pressure off of Angel and she has to this point. Averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds in the first two rounds. Bingham averaged 12.7 points and 7 rebounds a game during the regular season.

On the stat sheet these teams are as close as they come. Louisville averages 72 points and allows 57.4 points a game. Baylor on the other hand average 70.2 points and allow 57.5 points a game. And to tell you the truth I really don't watch to many Lady Bear games (or to many Lady Cards games) as maybe I should so the stats are all I really have to work with.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Statement Made

Louisville handed Arizona such a severe beating that even Ike Turner thought the Cards should have let up. While Louisville continued the Big East's statement of dominance, Syracuse became the product of Oklahoma's statement game. With 2 more games still to be played tonight, I am looking forward to watching Kansas and Michigan State play. Here our just some notes from the Cards pimping of Arizona....

- First things first, when Jerry "raindrops" Smith shoots the ball well the Cards are most likely going to be embarrassing someone. Smith put up 13 in the first half, looked fluid with his deep shot and even did what I beg of him all the time to do, take it to the rim. He did that and he did it with authority.

- Samuels is getting better and better and while the Cards are benefiting from that now. Every game he plays, he is raising his NBA stock. That is to be worried about later on though and for now he is a true beast. He still needs to stop bringing the ball down in the paint, while he has been able to overcome that with his strong hands for now, little things like that can come back to haunt you.

- Speaking of beasts, one has been released from his cage and that is Earl Clark. He was a vacuum on the boards and only forced two of his twelve shots. He moved through the Wildcats zone with no pressure at all, roaming to baseline for lay ups from the great penetration by his teammates or collecting the garbage boards for easy put backs.

- Terrence was his usual consistent and dominate self. Slicing the Wildcats up with 6 assists and 7 rebounds (one of which was a top10 play nominee), while scoring 14 points with basic ease.

- Sosa is as cocky as they come but you know what that's fine when you play as good as he did against Arizona. I do wish he would have looked for a trailer a couple of times on the fast break but he finished them all himself, so it's hard to criticize him. Especially when he did such a great job in the half court creating and dishing through the game.

- Terrence Jennings and the rest of Louisville's deep bench really made Nic Wise and the rest of the Wildcats team a living hell. Knowles as well as Sosa were all over Arizona's guards in the press and half court. Louisville's bench not only sustains the tempo and lead for the Cards, they raise the level of play and bring to the game a Hulk Hogan like burst of energy with the swagger of Ric Flair. Jennings is an animal. He comes in the game like a caged beast, just looking for someone to reject on defense and then dunk on their head.

- My favorite moment of the game was the ally-oop from Will Scott to Swopshire. Louisville is full of great athletes, high flyers, and spot on passers but no team screws up the ally-oop worse then the Cards. Don't believe me, go back and watch the film. This team has guys who have teabagged more people then woman named on Wilt Chamberlain sex list but from some reason we look like the Washington Generals when we attempt ally-oops. That being said watching it done successfully between the most unlikely duo (Scott & Swopshire) was the money shot of the game for me.

Little Sister Needs A New Coach

Leave it to Kentucky, a program still in their minds lost in the 40's and 50's, to show who the real "little brother" is. I take that back...Kentucky has now become "little sister".
Throwing a fit like a 6 year old girl who's mom told her she couldn't have the toy she wanted. Kentucky had to have a press conference today in their futile attempts to steal the spotlight back and away from the REAL program in this state now....The Louisville Cardinals.

I will have more of my thoughts about this and a recap of today's games, including of course of the Cards game as well later tonight.

Mad Marchness Becoming Big East Tournament II

While there may not have been any buzzer beaters in tonight's sweet 16 action, it doesn't mean there wasn't a lot to watch. If you weren't convinced that the Big East is head and shoulders above the rest of the country after tonight, I would love to hear your reasons why they aren't. Especially after Louisville and Syracuse advance tomorrow there will not be much room for argument. Here are a few things and thoughts I came away with after another night of watching some great college basketball.....

- You would have thought Pittsburgh had advanced to the final four the way they reacted over their victory against Xavier. I would say they should act like they have been here before but they haven't. This will be Pitts first time past the sweet 16 since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985. Sam Young, the best player on Pittsburgh team bar none, was again consistent allowing Blair to have his third straight game with a less then average first half. Though he (Blair) did wake up after halftime again for the third straight game. The key to this game was the Panthers defense. Pitt did a great job in the last 10 minutes not allowing Derrick Brown and B.J. Raymond to get good looks. Both of them (Brown and Raymond) are solid players but the better team just won. Oh yea it doesn't help when Levance Fields fields hits a Scotty Thurman like three pointer with 40 seconds to play.

- I don't think the story of cheating has bothered UCONN one bit. Not that it really surprised me that they (Huskies) handled Purdue with ease but they have by far been the most impressive team still out there. Even with Jeff Adrien only scoring 8 points, the Huskies never were threatened by the Boilermakers. I am writing this while I am watching the Missouri / Memphis game (it's halftime) and I am really impressed with the Tigers....Missouri Tigers.

- Speaking of the Missouri Tigers, I had watched them play a couple of times this season before and I was fully aware that they were a good team. I am a fan of Coach Anderson and he has done a great job there. But Memphis would not go away and as J.T. Tiller went from surprise star, scoring 23 points in the first 30 minutes of the game (he averages 10 points a game) to cold shooter, the other Tigers (Memphis) fought back behind Tyreke Evans 33 points, who after watching him tonight I can say if there was any doubts about him returning for his Sophomore they are completely gone now.

- Well UCONN and Pittsburgh looked impressive representing the Big East but it was nothing like the pimp job Villanova did on Duke. 'Nova held Duke to 27% shooting and the Blue Devils gave up 40 rebounds to the Wildcats. Dante Cunningham has been as consistent as Sam Young has (both are Seniors) and when he gets Scotty Reynolds with 16 points, there are not to many teams that are going to beat Villanova. Watch out Panthers, Villanova is the only team in the country who is deeper then Louisville at the guards position. That's saying a lot.

My final thoughts before the Cards game with Arizona....

- I am more relaxed about this game then I was about Siena. One of the main reasons is we have had time to rest. I know the Cards are deep but they are also the most dangerous when they are hitting their outside shots and I don't care how deep you are 2 games in three days is going to wear you down a little.

- While I and everyone else have been pumping Arizona this week, with their 3-headed monster in Hill, Budinger, and Wise but while they have looked good in their first two games it was two games that were very good match ups for them. Utah was overrated and should have been a 7 seed as is and while I liked Cleveland State, the Vikings were not a good outside shooting team and struggled against the Wildcats zone.

- If the Cards have even a decent shooting night from the outside they will move on in this game, cause I am not worried about Arizona going an entire game with less then 10 turnovers like Siena did. This will be one of Samardo Samuels hardest tests of the year and that is saying a lot. Jordan Hill is a polished beast in the low post and has by far been the most consistent of Arizona's "big three". In a battle between two zone teams rebounding will be just a big a factor as who is the hotter shooting team.

I guess I should at least give a prediction, I like Louisville 79 Arizona 65.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Show Me My Opponent - Arizona Wildcats

NAME: University of Arizona

LOCATION: Tucson, Arizona



MASCOT: Wilbur (and Wilma) Wildcat

CONFERENCE: Pacific-10

DATE: Friday, March 27, 2009
TIME: 7:07 pm EST

SITE: Lucas Oil Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana

TELEVISION: CBS; Gus Johnson play-by-play; Len Elmore commentary
RADIO: WHAS 840 AM; Paul Rogers play-by-play, Bob Valvano commentary


SERIES HISTORY: 2-2 all-time; (2-0 in Louisville; 0-2 neutral)

LAST MEETING: Arizona 72, Louisville 65; December 5, 2006 in New York, N.Y.

HEAD COACH: Russ Pennell (1st year)

ASSISTANTS: Reggie Geary, Matt Brase, Mike Dunlap (associate head coach)
OVERALL RECORD: 21-13 (9-9 in Pac-10)

SEED: 12 in the Midwest Region
RPI: 62
SOS: 34

SPREAD: Louisville minus 9

The short of it is that current University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino is widely believed by many out in the desert to be the No. 1 candidate for the Arizona Wildcats’ soon-to-be-vacant head coaching job


Gilbert Arenas
Richard Jefferson
Mike Bibby
Jason Terry
Damon Stoudamire
Luke Walton
Andre Iguodala
Steve Kerr
Sean Elliot

Bob Dole (former U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate) (not pictured right)
Samaire Rhys Armstrong (actress) (pictured right)
Amanda Beard (Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer)
Lance Briggs (NFL Pro Bowl LB for the Chicago Bears)
Tedy Bruschi (NFL Pro Bowl LB for the New England Patriots and member of the Coolest Names in Sports club)
Terry Francona (Manager of the Boston Red Sox)
Kenny Lofton (former OF for the Cleveland Indians; also a member of Zona’s 1988 Final Four team)
Jennie Finch (Olympic Gold Medalist softball pitcher)


F Chase Budinger Jr. 6'7 218 17.9 PPG 6.3 RPG 3.4 APG
F Jamelle Horne So. 6’6 209 6.9 PPG 5.1 RPG
C Jordan Hill Jr. 6'10 245 18.4 PPG 11.0 RPG
G Kyle Fogg Fr. 6’2 175 6.5 PPG 2.1 RPG
G Nic Wise Jr. 5'11 177 15.7 PPG 4.6 APG 2.4 RPG

BENCH: G Zane Johnson 4.6 PPG, G Garland Judkins 2.4 PPG

The question Wildcats’ fans have going into tomorrow night is whether someone besides the Big 3 is going to step up. Zona is 15-2 when someone besides Budinger, Hill, and Wise goes for double-digits, but has a losing record otherwise.

The question Cards’ fans have going into tomorrow night is whether our D can slow down Zona’s Big 3. Jordan Hill is projected by many as a top 5 pick in next year’s NBA draft. Averaging a double-double, the junior is as explosive in the paint as anyone Samardo, TJ, and George Goode have seen all season. Only once all season has he failed to go for double digits. (And that game he had 9.)

Chase Budinger, it seems, has been playing college basketball for 20 years and was in the same recruiting class as Steve Kerr. Like Hill, Budinger’s also a projected NBA first round, perhaps lotto, pick and is as versatile as anyone in the Pac-10. He knocks down better than 40% from beyond the arc and will be on the boards tomorrow night, mixing it up in the paint with the big boys. Fortunately, Pitino uses these Show Me My Opponents as scouting reports and will have his boys stepping out on Budinger in the zone.

Nic Wise will be charged with the duty of handling the Cards’ tenacious pressure. It’s no secret that Louisville at times struggles with PGs with the quickness to get the ball across half-court before we can get into our press. (That’s what A.J. Price said, anyway.) Wise is that kind of guard. The junior averages 4.6 dimes per game to go along with his 15.7 points. He’s been as good as any PG in the tourney, including Johnny Flynn and Ty Lawson, going for 29 points against Utah and 21 against Cleveland State. But he’s prone to cough it up, averaging almost 3 turnovers per game. Like Budinger, he’ll need to be challenged when he pulls from trey – he shoots better than 42% from behind the arc. It’s called “wet from 3’s” the kids tell me.

What’s in bold is the heart and soul of this Arizona team and its Sweet 16 run. There’s a huge drop-off in productivity outside the Big 3. Arizona’s problems this year have been exposed when they come across a lot of depth. Louisville should be able to wear ‘em out. The Wildcats are notoriously known for lack of defense, especially on the perimeter. (Although Zona Nation will point out their Cats “held” Cleveland State to 3-23 from three last round and Utah was only 33.3% from there last weekend.) Look for the Cards to get open looks in the corner – Sosa, Preston, and McGee can all light it up from there. Hopefully Jerry will be on too. Making the extra pass along the perimeter will pay dividends against the Zona D.

I also like the Cards to get the ball in the paint as much as possible. If we get Hill or Budinger in foul trouble early, it could be smooth sailing into the Regional Finals.

Because of their lack of depth and defensive aptitude, and because the Cardinals are going to come out swinging after the Siena scare, I like Rick Pitino’s chances of going 9-0 all-time in the Sweet 16.

Gimme the Cards, 77 – 63.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rivals Announces All-Big East Teams

DeJuan Blair is the site's Player of the Year.

Apparently the powers that be at Rivals don't read TC's work on L Yes! Report.

Rivals' First Team:
C Hasheem Thabeet, F DeJuan Blair, F Luke Harangody, G Johnny Flynn, G Jerel McNeal.

T-Will landed a spot on the Second Team, Earl a spot on the Third.

T-Will's SI Cover Streak Over at 3

According to Rick Bozich and si.com.

I'm disappointed too. But at least SI is keeping it in the (extended) family by featuring a couple of BE foes in Lavance Fields (right) and Johnny Flynn.

Kalin Lucas reps the Midwest Regional.

(For now...)

Breaking: UConn and Jim Calhoun are a bunch of Cheat-uhs

Not that we had to tell you, fake fair-catching Larry Taylor.

But according to ESPN, UConn illegally provided basketball recruit Nate Miles with accommodations and representation via a former UConn student manager turned sports agent from 2006 to 2008.

It's also being reported that the program exceeded the number of phone calls the NCAA allows a university to make to a potential recruit. By about 1,500 or so. Jimmy C loves him his celly.

The Huskies are in Phoenix (pronounced Feen-ix for you folks joining us from Kentucky Sports Radio) to take on the Purdue Boilmakers tomorrow night at 7:07. It's unclear whether they've committed themselves to playing by the rules in that one.

Zona's Big Three are the Defensive Key

As the Cards head into Indy Friday, their preparation will be loaded with information from Coach Pitino and his staff about Arizona' dynamic trio that can beat them if given the chance. F Chase Budinger and F/C Jordan Hill are projected NBA lottery picks and Nic Wise is a lightning-fast PG. The key to beating the Wildcats is stopping as many of the trio as possible. If they stop one, Arizona could still win. Stop two and things look good for the Cards. Stop all three and it's a blowout.

Arizona is pretty much a three-headed monster the same way UK and Notre Dame are two-headed monsters. All three average over 15 points a game and the next highest scorer puts up 6.5. 4th option Jamelle Horne more than doubled his average with 15 against Cleveland St. in Round 2, but no one else on the team had more than a basket. Horne also had a 19-point games against Kansas earlier in the year in a Wildcat victory. No slight to Horne, the Arizona bench and role players, but it is obvious that the offense runs consistently through the three go-to guys and the zone needs to be keyed in on them.

PG Nic Wise - Jr. - 5'11 177 - 15.7 PPG 4.6 APG 2.4 RPG

The thing that scares me about Wise is his speed that is comparable to any PG in the nation, including UNC's Ty Lawson. As most of you remember, Lawson was a one-man press break due to his quickness against the Cards in last year's tourney. However, Wise doesn't have the supporting cast that Lawson did so he is relied on to score more, which he has done this tourney averaging 25 PPG. He makes good decisions with the basketball and takes good shots - 45% FG and 42% from long range. Wise got to the line 10 times against Cleveland St. making all 10. He takes it strong to the rim - almost to a fault - which is either feast or famine a la Edgar Sosa. How he will handle the pressure of the Louisville guards is the question because Wise hasn't faced a lot of pressing-teams all year. He averages 38 minutes a game so fatigue might become a factor if he has to face the constant irritation of Pitino's press. Of all three players, if Wise handles the pressure and gets off the Cards might be in for a dog-fight. Although not as much of a pro-prospect as Budinger and Hill, Wise is the type of pesky-point guard that could give the Cards the most trouble.

F/C Jordan Hill - Jr. - 6'10 245 - 18.4 PPG 11.0 RPG 54.5 FG%

Hill was second in the Pac-10 in both scoring and rebounding this season and has been consistently getting better over the last 3 years. He is currently has him projected as a top-5 pick across the board and the guy has only been playing organized basketball for 4-5 years. He is very athletic, runs the pick-and-roll well, and contests almost every shot inside. Obviously being so new to the game, he lacks fundamentals, makes poor decisions at times and gets lost on occasion on defense. He can be taken away from the game defensively if Samardo can knock down a couple of shots and bring him away from the basket. On offense, Hill is known to make quick decisions, so the Cards need to close out on him even quicker. The Cards have had problems with players that are very active around the basket like Dante Cunningham, Jeff Adrien and Patrick Patterson - Hill is that type of player. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rotation of Samuels, Jennings and Goode to keep up with his activeness and possibly tire him out.

F Chase Budinger - 6'7 218 - Jr. - 17.9 PPG 6.3 RPG 3.4 APG

First off, he's obviously smooth with the ladies and I have to admit his Basketball Jesus jersey is a nice touch. Also, I've read where he was a much-better prep volleyball player even though he was a McDonald's All-American selection coming out of high school. Budinger is basically the glue that keeps this Arizona team together. He has been held under 10 points only twice all year and all have been Wildcat losses. An extremely versitile player who plays both above the rim and beyond the arch and is considered one of the more unselfish players in the country. Budiger throws alley-oops and catches them all while shooting over 40% from 3-point range. Sounds like a potential NBA All-Star...right? The problem people have is he's not a leader on the floor or assertive enough to get the most out of his high skill level. He can catch-and-shoot very well, but has fits creating his own shot. He reminds me a lot of Joe Alexander from West Virginia last year - both fundamental white-boys with insane leaping skills bu maybe unselfish to a fault. Louisville's pressure will have trouble rattling Budinger, who plays cool, calm and collected. However, I also compare Budiger to the pin on a grenade. If he's in (meaning "on"), Arizona imposes a threat, If he's taken out, the Wilcats could blow to smitherines.