Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cup O' Jones : The E5 Farewell Tour

- Louisville dominated for the majority of the game last night against lowly Seton Hall and cruised to a 95-78 victory. The 3 key players were the 3 guys playing the last of many games in Freedom Hall. No offense to Will Scott, but Earl Clark, Terrence Williams and Andre McGee went out with absolute class. Buckets followed up his great performance against Marquette with 11 points on 3-5 from long range in only 23 minutes. T-Will was just doing his normal thing - only a little more pizazz than usual - en route to a near triple-double (14 points 12 rebounds and 8 assists). Clark simply blew up with 27 points and 14 rebounds and a better than average 11-16 from the field. Great way to bid farewell for both the Cardinal fans and the departing players.

- Back to Earl Clark. I keep getting the feeling people are disappointed in his play this year, but I think nothing could be further from the truth. The stupid mistakes are going to happen and if Pitino gives him the green light - the threes are going to fly. However, the man has 14 double-doubles this year and has been rebounding the ball just as good if not better than T-Will. The Cards are extremely difficult to beat when Clark is on his game. What Earl showed tonight that he hasn't done consistently is play in the lane on offense. He has an uncanny knack to make difficult buckets inside with defenders draped all over him. It has been a frustration for Card fans all year to see him outside chucking up bombs. Their prayers were answered tonight as Clark took only 2 three pointers and was 11-14 inside the arch. He has been playing exceptionally well all year, yet there is still another gear he can shift to. Whether it happens will determine how deep we play into this next month.

- T-Will was being extra flamboyant tonight and got T'd up in his final home game because of it. He hit a three and stared at the Seton Hall bench. He dunked the ball and mugged for the camera....again. He even conversed with fans during dead balls. Just part of his final act. Sometimes it looks like he is just messing with other team like a father would his 5 year old son. When you see great players performing at the level Williams is - the intensity is evident in their eyes. T-Will looks like he's just having a good time out there and smiles every chance he can get. His shot is back as well, which adds that dimension to his game the team was missing in the losses to Notre Dame and UCONN. Defenders are going to have to come out and guard him now which will open up the interior more. With his playmaking abilities, the closer the defender gets the better.

- Terrence Jennings is turning into a force down low and stealing minutes away from Samardo in the process. It would be great to get both freshman in there at the same time with Mardo at the 4, but they'd be giving a lot up on defense. Jennings alters just as many shots as he blocks and is becoming a game-changer on defense. TJ is also learning how to finish better around the basket which is why he set a career-high in points tonight with 14. Before conference play Jennings never scored more than 6 points. With the exception of Marquette where his inside game wasn't needed, Jennings has put up at least 6 points in the previous 6 games. It's not a lot, but it does help. He has also made 10 of his last 11 foul-shots.

- I'm afraid foul-shooting may be the Cards' downfall - if they have one. 13-23 last night for just over 55% and 64% (352-544) for the year. Even Preston Knowles, who has been on fire lately, has been bitten by the bug. Knowles is shooting 46% from three and only 53% from the line - that is just baffling. Jerry Smith is the best hope from the line and he only shoots a shade over 73%. I can just see us getting into a close game in the next few weeks where free-throws are crucial to the outcome. If the percentages don't improve then the Cards might be in trouble.

- Time to be PITT fans again. If the Cards take care of a tough West Virginia team Saturday and the Panthers take care of UCONN earlier that day (NOON) the Cards are the BIG EAST regular season champs. That would almost assure the Cards of a top 2 seed - if they haven't done that already. It would definitely alleviate some of the pressure the Cards would have to win a couple games to solidify that spot. I could see them slipping to a 3 if they lose the next 2, but 1 more win should give us our own 8 team pod. The Cards have a great RPI (9) which will get only better after playing WVU and whomever in the conference tourney. They have the 18th toughest schedule and have are 10-2 in the crucial last 12 games. An excellent resume that will impress the committee.

Starting 5

1. SportsByBrooks - Revenge Best served as 500K B-Ball Shot Prank (So, one guys gets his friend on a fake marriage proposal at a Yankee game and then the victim gets sweet, sweet revenge at a college basketball game. Watch the video - it's great)
2. Bob Hunter - The Columbus Dispatch - Clarett can still get a reaction - good and bad (Former buckeye RB Maurice Clarett is in jail right now, but like me and most of the rest of the free world - he alos has a blog. Word is he gets a relative to dictate as he speaks over the phone.)
3. Kevin Kernan - New York Post - Loose-lipped A-Rod has cyst on his hip (And by "loos-lipped" he means A-Rod said he would rather have Jose Reyes playing SS for the Yanks and not Derek Jeter. Why can't what Plaxico did happen to A-Rod?)
4. Eamonn Brennan - Yahoo's the Dagger - Gillispie's house is impressive, but not to Kentucky fans (I don't think UK fans are too impressed with anything that snake has got going on right now. I just want to know where the secret room is where he hides the gimp)
5. Matt Jones - Kentucky Sports Radio - The Low Point...Georgia beats UK at home (I hate to rub it in but..nevermind. After all the years of "Little Brother" this and "7 titles" that and especially "who went to the NIT last?", I can't say I feel for them - eventhough I do write a weekly post there. Read the comments below the post to truly see how bad it has become.)

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