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.

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