Thursday, February 25, 2010

By the Numbers: Player Impact

Strong & Jurich Talked in October?

According to those in attendance and a fellow blogger, Tom Jurich said he talked to Charlie Strong about the Cardinal head-coaching job back in October. Jurich and Strong were speaking at a Churchill Downs Turf Club meet & greet Wednesday night. Jurich was introducing Strong and spilled the beans a little. From Paul Sykes of
The plan to replace Steve Kragthorpe as football coach intensified after
former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy repeatedly confirmed Jurich’s
beliefs about Strong as the ideal candidate to take over Cardinal football.

U of L maintained contact with Strong during his final season as
Florida defensive coordinator. Strong told Jurich after the Florida vs. Arkansas
game in October, “There comes a time when you have to make a change in your life and Louisville is the place I want to be.”

Tony Dungy just went up 265,456 spots in my favorite people on Earth list after hearing that. Louisville fans should send that guy a Christmas card and when Strong wins a BCS bowl, Dungy should get a ring.

Although extremely awesome, this is in sharp contrast to the way the Louisville athletic department treated a story I wrote on OCTOBER, 7th for I was told by people that would have no reason to lead me wrong that Jurich had been searching for potential replacements for a coach who's name I won't make you cringe with. The story and I were then called "bogus" "erroneous" and "irresponsible" by everyone sans a few friends and truth bearers. These comments from Jurich further reassure that in October he was looking for new coaches, basically letting Kragthorpe ride-out the season as a lame-duck. Any claims to the contrary are bogus, erroneous, and irresponsible.

Did a meeting take place during the season? Yes. Was Kra..err...that coach present? That I am not sure of now. From what I understand, he was a gone after the PITT debacle on October 2nd. Jurich then told the in-the-know people that the mess was going to be cleaned up. The story was written October 7. The details thereafter are irrelevant.

I know it's like beating a dead-horse, but I want to reassure that when there's a report on here, it doesn't come out of thin air. We take a lot of pride in not writing rumors and innuendo unless we indicate that. The good thing is the Cards have a so-far spectacular new coach in Charlie Strong and that coach going to be out of sight, out of mind.
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER (I have no life otherwise) - @RobJonesLyes

Pitino Watches Teague & More Cool Stuff

- Good read by Matt Norlander of College Hoops Journal on how God-awful, terrible, disastrous, vile, horrid, atrocious, reprehensible, nauseating (plus any other synonym for dreadful you can come up with) the Big East officiating has been this year. This is not just a Louisville thing. There are some other pissed off individuals that have rooting interests elsewhere.

- Jody Demling said on his blog that Rick Pitino has been blazing the recruiting trail in the last week. First he saw 2011 commit Wayne Blackshear lead his Chicago Morgan Park team to the public school championship. Saturday he watched 2010 preferred walk-on Elisha Justice play against J'Town & Sunday he visited Huntington Prep - home of 2010 commit Justin Coleman and recruit Gorgui Sy Dieng. After spending a couple days to prepare for Georgetown, Pitino went to Conseco Fieldhouse last night to see prized recruit Marquis Teague's (pictured left) Indy Pike team defeat Lawrence North with the already committed Michael Chandler and Ryan Taylor. For a guy that's lost his passion, recruiting edge, and is taking the first plane he can get out of Louisville is sure spending a lot of time reassure the team's future.

1. What do you make of the reports that Louisville's Rick Pitino is
interested in the Nets' job?

DeCourcy: He already has issued an emphatic denial—which, of
course, he did when a similar story was reported regarding the Sacramento Kings
last spring. And that story was true. The Kings were contacted by someone
representing Pitino's interests. So I believe someone got in touch with the Nets
on Pitino's behalf.
The fact these stories are leaking, though, indicates
he's not being well-received at the NBA level. If your organization were serious
about getting a deal done with Pitino, you wouldn't want your intentions
bleeding all over the Internet months before an agreement is likely to be
It's easy to understand, given the developments in his personal
life over the past year, why Louisville might no longer be a comfortable place
to live. Moving to another college would appear odd and awkward, and he'd likely
have to take a lesser (and lesser-paying) job if he did. The NBA would be a more
logical direction.
Pitino told, "I'm done with professional
basketball. I've put the professional ranks behind me." But these stories
suggest it's really more the other way around.

- Seedy K (CD Kaplan) of the LEO breaks down the Georgetown game as only Seedy K can. Couple good points on the lack of enthusiasm by the Freedom Hall faithful and a great anecdote about Samuels yelling at Sosa and demanding the ball. both pretty obvious statements, but the paper (C-J) or recruiting sites (Scout, Rivals) failed to mention it for some reason...

- Here's a two-part interview with potential 2011 recruit from Chicago Mike Shaw. It has been said that Shaw and Blackshear would be a "package deal" & with Blackshear recently committed, it looked good for the Cards. However, things may have changed a bit, but I'm sure Pitino is still going strong after the kid. He's a 5-star and ranked in the top 20 by most recruiting services.

- Not liking the attitude I am seeing from many Louisville fans on social media and message boards about Tuesday's loss. They went from NCAA noise-maker to NIT hopeful that fast? Let's be serious. Bottom line is Georgetown is one of the 10 best teams in the country and the Cards didn't play terrible at all. Austin Freeman wasn't letting anyone in the country beat the Hoyas and that includes Kansas, Syracuse and Kentucky. 2 more wins and the cards are definitely dancing. I'm hard on the team as much as the next guy, but you can't completely throw away the last 3 games after the performance Tuesday. A win at UCONN and the detractors will jump right back on the bandwagon. If Louisville fails to make the tournament after the stellar play they have shown since the loss to St. John's I would be completely shocked. Unfortunately, I wouldn't put it past this team to pull a shocker

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sosa's Roland Rating

Here's an explaination of the Roland Ratings from It's a pretty cool way to gauge a player's value when he is on and off the court...

The main components of the 'Roland Ratings' are a production measure (a variant of John Hollinger's PER rating) for a player's own stats versus the counterpart player on the other team while he is on the court, as well as a simple on court/off court plus minus. This rating is actually more of a placeholder until the more sophisticated analysis we produce is made public, but still offers a good fast read on player performance.

Well That Sucked...

It hasn't been 24 hours since the defeat so I have trouble separating my anger as a fan with trying to write something that doesn't make me look like Matt Jones. The Snowman already did a good job with breaking it down. Here are just a few thoughts I had from another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory for the Cards last night...

Edgar, Edgar, Edgar

Edgar Sosa had a good game with 24 pts 8 ast 1 TO, but without sounding like a broken record, it could have been great. Sosa had his lowest plus/minus rating (-2) of any loss the Cards have had all season. Sos' had great success taking the ball violently to the hoop and finishing in the first half, yet his luck (as the whole teams did) ran out in the second half. It looked to me like he was trying to do too much. Can't really blame him though with the rest of the team far from effective. The 8/1 AST/TO ratio has to be his highest in a long, long time. That's the thing with Eddie, even after a game like this he gets heavily criticized - rightfully or not.

Assists...or lack thereof

The senior back-court of Jerry Smith & Sosa had 11 assists. The rest of the team had as many as Chris Brickley & Clarence Holloway combined... ZERO. The main culprit in this stat is Samardo, who has to learn how to pass out of the post. I have flashbacks of Clifford Rozier whenever he gets the ball. He's played great, but it's like throwing the ball into the Grand Canyon - it ain't coming back.

The Quiet Killer : Austin Freeman

I'm not saying this just because he dropped 24 in the second half, almost single-handedly outscoring the whole Cards' team, but Austin Freeman is going to have at least a 10-year career in the NBA. No questions asked. He is Big East top-10 in minutes played, pts per game, field goal & free throw percentage. The sub-par Louisville defense left him open on a couple, but at least 3 of his perfect 6-6 treys in the half came with a defender in his jersey. Freeman is familiar with Freedom Hall - playing one other game with G'Town - but also was a member of the McDonald's AA team taht included Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love & Eric Gordon. Freeman doesn't stick out because of his demeanor, but is definitely one of the nation's best.

A Swop, A Buck, or a TJ?

Jared Swopshire is going to be a great ball-player here one day. However, I have been watching basketball for years and can't put my finger on what separates him from Terrence Jennings & Rakeem Buckles when it comes to playing time. I've quit trying to figure it out and have just accepted that's how it is. I'm sure Pitino has his reasons, but his rotation has been strange all season. Last night Swop's +/- was a whopping -16 and he was constantly getting beat in his defensive responsibilities. On the other hand in less minutes, TJ & Buck combined for a +/- of (+1) and both either matched or outscored Swop. The only thing Swop has done better consistently all season is foul less.

At least we have the first half, right?

"We played a perfect first half". Straight from the mouth of Coach Pitino following the game and seconded by anyone that's followed the Cards this year. Sosa had 13, Delk 11 and the defense was holding the Hoyas to 37% shooting. The Cards didn't have their first turnover until the 3:35 mark and gave up zero second-chance points. For that one half, people actually saw the potential of this team. That all changed in the second half... I don't wanna talk about it....

Loss doesn't sting too bad

NCAA hopes didn't take as big of a bruise as the Cards' ego probably did. It would have been another marquee win to add to the resume, but the loss was not crippling. RPI rating slipped to #39. Strength of Schedule stayed strong at 4th. A lot of the talking-heads on ESPN were doubting the teams ability this morning though. I would be more worried of this team giving up yet another lead in the second half and what further damage it did to their psyche than this loss killing or cramping NCAA hopes. 2 of the next 3 would be golden, one would mean some work would need to be done at MSG, zero and Syracuse might not be the last game at the Hall.

A Tale Of Two Halves

Dr. Jekyll reared his ugly head last night at Freedom Hall, this time in the form of, junior guard for the #13th ranked Georgetown Hoyas,Austin Freeman, and the Louisville Cardinals defense in the second. After being held to 5 points in the first half, Freeman simply erupted for 24 points in the second half finishing with 29 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field, 5 of 6 from the 3 point line(all 5 in the second half), and a perfect 6 0f 6 from the free throw line.In the first half, the Cardinals defense was superb against the Hoyas, keeping their stars, Greg Monroe and Austin Freeman, in check. The Hoyas went into the half down 6, 29 -35. When the second half began, Austin Freeman and his teammates, came out a completely different team. Freeman scored the first 8 points ,all in 2 minutes, for the Hoyas on two three pointers and a putback. From there, they went on a 24 -3 run that turned a 29-35 deficit at the half into a 53-38 lead in the middle of the second half, and at that point, the finish was academic.(Did I type the word half, enough?) The Cardinals had no answers on the offensive end in the second period, missing shot after shot from all over the basketball court, be it down low or from the 3 point line.
The lone positive performance for the Cardinals came from senior point guard Edgar Sosa, who scored 24 points, handed out 8 assists, and only had 1 turnover. To me the numbers don't tell the whole story. Sosa got a large majority of his points doing his usual move of putting his head down and making a bullrush for the basket. In these forays to the rim, Sosa is NEVER looking to pass out to an open teammate to get others involved, thus making him a one man team and offensively inefficient. This also poses a problem on the defensive transition because, instead of traditionally having 2 guards to get back on defense, you have only 1 guard exposed on a fast break when Sosa is stuck under the basket.
Sophomore power forward Samardo Samuels was held largely in check all night, only scoring 11 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the field. He only secured 6 rebounds and the most troubling stat line was his 0 assists. In a night where he was doubled, and sometimes triple teamed, the entire game, his lack of ability to pass the ball out to the open man proved to be one of the Cardinals undoing.
Samuels' opposition, sophomore center Greg Monroe, basically lit up Samuels on all facets of the game. Monroe ended up with 16 points 14 rebounds and 5 timely assists. Monroe could do anything he wanted against Samuels at anytime. He used numerous post moves in and around the basket to run circles against a seemingly flat-footed Samuels. Unlike Samuels, Monroe was constantly aware of the defense coming at him, therefore he was able to dish out assists when and where his teammates needed it. The kid is an instant lottery pick.
Sophomore center for the Cardinals, Terrence Jennings, played for most of the first half and had 4 points and 2 rebounds. I thought he did a good job of containing Monroe and the Hoyas down low in the first half. But then Jennings' nightmare season continued, where he saw the court sparingly. Clearly there is something behind the scenes that is going on between Coach Pitino and Jennings, that noone knows about. After a more than positive game against DePaul, I just don't think these random benchings help these kids confidence at all.
Speaking of random benchings, WHERE IS MIKE MARRA? After a, for Marra, breakout game against one of the best defenses in the country in Syracuse, he has played ZERO minutes in the past two games! What is going on here? When you ask Coach Pitino, he'll give you the old standby, "wasn't the right matchup". Of all games, Marra would have been perfect to stretch a defense that was clearly clogging the middle to keep the ball out of Samardo Samuels' hands. As I said before, I don't see how benching a kid for two whole games helps this kids already fragile confidence on any level.
The Louisville Cardinals' next game will be in Storrs, Connecticut against the UConn Huskies at 2pm Sunday on CBS. This will be a completely different team than the last one that played at Freedom Hall without their head coach Jim Calhoun. Calhoun gives his players a fire, fight and desire that was sorely missed during his medical absence. This game will have two hungry teams fighting for their lives to get into the tournament. It will all break down to (Sports Cliche' Alert!!) who wants it more.

Who is Elite in College Basketball Coaching Ranks.... Simple Math Tells The Story

      There has been much controversy and debate over a local Kentucky sports writer's column on a national sports page. Matt Jones who runs got a chance to travel and report for After attending the Louisville, Depaul game in Chicago this past weekend, it inspired him to write an article bashing his teams former coach Rick Pitino. He wrote how Pitino is a mere shell of his former self and has basically fallen out of relevance when it comes to top college basketball coaches. Now Rick was King of the Hill in his days at Kentucky during the 90's and is no longer top of the pops. But he is still very relevant in his profession.

      As a writer for L YES! I also run another sports website WIDESPREAD SPORTS which covers local and national sporting news. We decided to rank the top 10 coaches over the last 5 years based on where there teams finished in the NCAA tournament. We came up with a mathematical formula to rank the coaches with out being bias or including our own opinion, and we wanted to share it with the readers of L YES! Here is the key to how the coaches were scored.

          Won National Title = 10pts      National Champion Runner Up = 8pts      Final Four = 6pts

Elite Eight = 4pts    Sweet Sixteen = 2pts    First Round Advance = 1 Point    Didn't Make Tourney = -2

Let's now see how this list shakes out. There are a few surprises, but overall things look pretty consistent with the current state of college basketball. If you have any comments about the list we have put together you can let you voice be heard by visiting out webpage WIDESPREAD SPORTS and becoming a fan of ours on facebook

(number next to the coaches names represent the number of points the coaches scored)

1-Roy Williams-31

2-Ben Howland-21

3-Tom Izzo-17

4-Bill Self-16

5-Billy Donovan-16

6-Jay Wright-14

7-Rick Pitino -13

8-Jim Calhoun-9

9-Jamie Dixon-8

10-Bruce Pearl-8

List Notables:
  • No Surprise at #1 Roy Williams has won 2 National Titles
  • Tom Izzo and Ben Howland have been nothing but consistent in the NCAA tournament 
  • Billy Donovan has had a rough past few years but won back to back National Titles, though is stock is falling
  • Rick Pitino in at #7 proves he truly isn't washed up and is still a very good coach 
  • Bruce Pearl just barley makes the list by making 3 sweet 16's n the last 5 years, one with Milwaukee 
  • Coach John Calipari misses being on the list because of a stripped appearance in the National Title, but is rapidly climbing this list.
  • Coach K I think would normally be listed as a top 10 coach, just not based on his last 5 years in the ncaa tournament 

Monday, February 22, 2010

8 Hoya Paranoia Thoughts

8 thoughts going into the second-to-last game ever at Freedom Hall (I'm not listening to you NIT guys)....

- I think it's absolutely marvelous that the last two teams to visit Freedom Hall are traditional powers like Georgetown & Syracuse. The closing of such a legendary place might have lost a little luster if the Cards welcomed Stan Heath & Bobby Gonzalez instead of JT3 & Jim Boeheim. The atmosohere should be iincredibly electric for both - giving the Cards even more of a home-court advantage than they already have. By the way, anybody have an extra ticket to either? I'll buy the pork burgers & crack beers all night.

- People are asking why Ron Mercer is always at games, sitting between the end of the bench and the man, myth and legend Kenny Klein. I have heard that Mercer wants to get into coaching, but needs to get a degree first before anyone considers him for a job. Like Walter McCarty, Mercer's NBA experience can do nothing but help in both Xs & Os and recruiting. It's all speculation, but I'm sure he's waiting for a spot to open up on the Cards' staff. Do we really want another UK retread on our bench? I'd rather have Andre McGee or Ellis Myles holding a clipboard.

- These are also the final 2 home games for Edgar Sosa. I know he's not the only senior, but he is the most polarizing. He's been dribbling the ball too much, taking bad shots, and playing poor defense. However, his play is essential to any success the Cards are going to have moving forward. Sos' is the type of player the needs appreciation and recognition as was evident when he claimed he wasn't getting enough attention for his play early in the year. If you're in front of your TV, cuss him all you want. But I wouldn't chastise Sosa at the Hall - a consequence could be poor play. I use the Steve Kragthorpe gauge when it comes to booing - only boo if they ruin your program and set it back 5 years. Sosa hasn't done that at all.

- The Bracket Matrix is a great barometer for all the different Bracketology's from around the information superhighway. The site averages about 50 different projections and makes one monster sheet. Currently Louisville sits at an average of a #9 seed. & some nerd named Schmolik put the Cards as a #7 seed (highest of any bracket). 4 sites (one being SportsIllustrated) projected a #12 seed (lowest). Six big East teams made the cut with UCONN, Cincy, and Seton Hall being a part of the last 8 out. For the record, G'Town is currently the highest #3 seed and Syracuse a #1 (3rd overall)

- From what I've watched of the Hoyas this year, they have 3 guys that can beat you. Austin Freeman is a husky shooter who rarely makes a mistake. Seems like an extension of JT3 almost. PG Chris Wright is pretty spuratic with the ball at times, but shows flashes of brilliance others. G'Town plays a Princeton-style offense full of backdoor cuts, relying a lot on the point making the right pass at the right time. If Wright is struggling with the ball, look for Freeman to take control of the ball-handling duties. The third amigo is a guy Louisville was strong after coming out of high school, Greg Monroe. The 6-10 forward started off the season strong, struggled during the middle, and now if back to his early season form. He will give the Cards' defense the most problems because of his size and quickness. Monroe is too big for Swop, too fast for Mardo, & too active for TJ. Now that I say that, he will put up an 0-fer...

- I was never a fan of the senior John Thompson who coached Georgetown during their glory years of Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson. He always seemed too pissed off all the time and a reverse racist for never having any white-boys on his team. It seemed to a youngster that he was doing it on purpose. However, I'm having trouble not like his son, JT3. Great coach, great recruiter, well-spoken. Still no white-boys though. I don't get it - other than the far-less-athletic part.

- T-Will has to have more SportsCenter top 10's per minutes played than anyone not named Jason McElwain. Another night, another rim-rattling dunk for the NJ Nets rookie. How this guy didn't get into the dunk contest over someone like Gerald Wallace is absolutely baffling to me. i need to get the Sports Guy on this.

- A week after Pitino said that he was shutting George Goode for the season, the allegedly-injured forward played the last 30 seconds of the first half against DePaul Saturday. Further proof that you can't trust 90% of the stuff Pitino says in press conferences. I don't think the guy likes Rally's as much as he say he does either.

Who's gonna hand the ball to Vic next year?

The lack of production at the quarterback position last year was almost laughable. With Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford implementing an entirely new system, we should rarely go to many new snaps without seeing the ball in a play-makers hands. Sanford is best known for being Urban Meyer's OC at Utah during the days of number one pick Alex Smith. Some say that Sanford had little to do with designing Meyer's offense but there's no doubt that he gained plenty of experience and knowledge of a great system. The Utes went 12-0 in 2004 and we literally unchallenged in every game. The offense was headlined by Smith but the team rushed for more touchdowns than they threw, and as a team they rushed for nearly 3,000 yards. It will be key for our running backs and receivers to get the ball in their hands as often as possible because none of our quarterbacks has the complete package for this system like Smith did.

Our issues at the quarterback position could make up an entire post so I won't get into it too much. But between Justin Burke's "injuries", Adam Froman's inaccuracies, and Will Stein's lack of arm strength, the cards offense had a tough time finding a suitable signal caller. It's anybody's guess who has the best shot at being the starter to open the season but Froman would seem to have an edge because of his mobility and game experience. However, he seemed flustered at times and lacked touch on his passes, neither of which works in a spread offense based on timing. Justin Burke started the 2009 strong with an impressive showing at Kentucky, but he tailed off after getting injured. ( I think. Our former coach guarded injury reports like an ugly girl guards her makeup) I could easily see him impressing the new coaching staff with his short passing accuracy and intangibles. He actually might be a better fit than Froman because he is less of a scrambler and most west-coast based systems are all about making a read and getting rid of the ball.

However, Coach Strong might decide to start from scratch and give one of the three quarterbacks he signed in the 2010 class a shot at it. Freshman Dominique Brown is the name that most Cards fans expect to hear a lot of for the next few years. Brown reminds me a lot of former Bowling Green star Josh Harris. He has tons of raw talent and athleticism, and with the system being based around short passes and quick screens, his lack of passing polish shouldn't be as much of an issue. I personally see him being at least a "wildcat" type of option from day one. Fellow freshman Luke Woodley enrolled in January and he will have an obvious leg up on the competition. Woodley is much more of a pocket passer, but his frame and passing technique gives him a good chance at flourishing early. Coach Strong has said that he will start freshman Marcus Smith off at the quarterback position but in my honest opinion I don't see him lasting very long there. This guy is a long fluid athlete and would be better used as a receiver or safety. Everything that I have read on him seems to say that he is open to play any position.

All of this could be moot by the beginning of next season with the verbal commitment of local standout DeMarcus Smith. Smith is being touted as one of the top quarterbacks in the country by every major recruiting service, and will most likely be the top recruit in the 2011 class. As of now Coach Strong doesn't look to be recruiting any other signal callers but Floridian Teddy Bridgewater might want to hook back up with two of his now former targets in Michaelee Harris and Corvin Lamb. With a couple of seniors and a good crop of young guys the position is looking up for the next few seasons.

The deep running back position will be next....

In Defense of Our Coach

This is in direct response to the ludicrous claims by blogger Matt Jones on that Rick Pitino has lost his luster. Let me preface this by saying I consider Jones a great-friend. We have worked together for the last couple years in radio & print and I have a great deal of respect for him & his work. With that being said, he over-stepped his boundaries this time on a national scale. This is an article that Jones has been waiting for the opportunity to write since Tom Jurich introduced his former hero as head-man of Jones' heated-rival in 2001.

Jones is an avid UK fan/blogger and should not have even been given the opportunity by a national media outlet to absolutely bash his rival's coach who used to coach the program he loves so dearly. This would be the equivalent of a jealous ex-boyfriend creating a profile for a heart-breaking ex-girlfriend - a well-constructed slug-fest that makes the writer feel better about himself for what she did, but forgetting that she was the best thing to happen to him. Sometimes you have to look at the conveyor and what his/her underlying issues are. Unfortunately, most casual basketball fans have no-idea that the writer of this certain piece is a hate-mongerer for everything Louisville and especially Rick Pitino.

UK fans (Jones included) will be forever bitter that the coach that put their program back on the map is now coaching their arch nemesis. They will jump to bash Pitino at any opportunity because they feel he is a traitor. Jones considers himself the talking-head for blue-bloods, thus seizing this liberty of writing on a national site to do just that: Demonize Rick Pitino not for what he has done at Louisville, but what he did to the Kayuts.

In the article, Jones is quick to point out the inconsistencies of this season without a mere mention of the team's success last year and the 2 lottery picks that departed. Louisville was the #1 overall seed last season and in the last 5 years have been prosperous to say the least with 3 Elite Eights, one Final Four, and a conference title in what was the best league college basketball has seen in 30 years. Most teams would dream of that kind of achievement in that span, including the blue-bloods who Jones worships. In that same time-period, Kentucky has only been past the first weekend of the tournament once.

The Syper-incident has become a complete afterthought, yet Jones used his platform to bring it up like a couch-burning, battery-slinging West Virginia fan. The only way the incident affected Pitino's coaching this season was a few scattered chants from opposing student-sections. Jones' attempt to bring this back to the forefront is case-and-point to these mud-slinging tactics. It would be like me bringing up Chris Mills, Eddie Sutton, and Emory packages.

Saying this team has no talent is absolutely proposterous. Just a few examples: Samardo Samuels was the National Player of the Year as a senior. Peyton Siva was named to the McDonald's All-American team just last season. Jerry Smith is the only player to win multiple Wisconsin Mr. Basketball's. Pitino has also been snake-bitten by multiple players leaving for the pros, something he never had to deal with at Kentucky. Imagine if he knew Sebastian Telfair, Jeremy Tyler, Amir Johnson, James Lang, and Donta Smith weren't ever going to show up on campus. Guys like Rajon Rondo would have been wearing Cardinal red instead. Also imagine if players were jumping from prep-to-pro in his Kentucky days. Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker and others wouldn't even know where Lexington is.

Not to mention the Cards have played worlds better than their 18-9 record indicates. The ball bounces a certain way and referees remove their heads from their posteriors, Pitino's team is in the top 10 at 22-5. Two potential #1 seed this year (Villanova & West Virginia) can say that they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Cards. That's no excuse for the inexplicable losses, but Pitino's team has proven they can consistently compete with the nation's best this year.

The world is full of hypocrites. People that are angered when something doesn't support their particular theory, but are pronto to pile on when patronage is helpful in their thesis. UK fans & Jones are a perfect example of this. Whenever a national writer says something critical of their team, they cast them off like a leper. They bashed Jeff Goodman of FoxSports for saying Billy Gilispie was a terrible coach last season and vilified ESPN's Pat Forde for questioning the recruiting ethics of John Calipari this season. Most passionate, knowledgeable college hoops followers would agree what both writers said was true. Of course, not the blue bloods.

Remember, just two short years ago the current savior of UK basketball, John Calipari, was not even considered as an option to replace Tubby Smith because of his seedy recruiting practices and NCAA delinquency. UK was not going to stand for what Cal stood for. They were past buying titles and constantly being under NCAA investigation. Funny how two years changes the opinion of a whole fan base. Now, according to blue-bloods, Cal can do no wrong and everyone else is just envious of what a program a year-removed from the NIT has become. Before projecting our coach as a washed-up shadow of himself, maybe they should think about how the University of Kentucky completely sold what little soul they still had for a quick-fix. if there is a God, it will come back and bite them in their over-indulging ass.

So take this Matt Jones article with a grain of salt. It might as well have been a message board post on Just a bitter UK fan expressing his opinion on the national media stage. However, it has been the topic of conversation amongst many in Cardinal nation, so it needed to be addressed and shot down.

Hopefully one day I will be given the same opportunity as Matt Jones to write something about my beloved team's rival on a website such as And when it happens, part of me hopes Calipari hasn't ditched the Big Blue Charlatans like our coach did.

Survive & Advance

"Survive and Advance"

After another unnecessarily close game that needed an 11-2 run late in the second half against the DePaul Blue Demons, those 3 words uttered by N.C. States coach Jim Valvano almost 30 years ago, could not ring more true for this years Louisville Cardinal team. In a 68-59 win at DePaul, the Cardinals seemed sluggish on both the offensive and defensive end against an inferior team at every level. Senior point guard, Edgar Sosa, led the way for the Cardinals with 13 points on 4 0f 5 shooting from the field and a perfect 5 0f 5 from the free throw line, all in only 18 minutes of play, due to late game foul trouble. Sosa truly shined on shot selection and in the assist department. Passing out 7 assists and only commiting 2 turnovers, this was one of Sosas best games of the year. He couldn't have picked a better time to start heating up.

We have a Terrence Jennings sighting. Like Punxsutawney Phil, coach Rick Pitino let Jennings out of his doghouse long enough to finally have an effective game. The sophomore forward got 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field, grabbed 9 rebounds with 4 rebounds on the offensive end, and blocked 4 shots. The only negative to his game was his still awful shooting at the free throw line, where he shot 1 of 4 for a measley 25%. Coach Pitino touts his individual workout sessions for his players all the time. Well, why doesn't the coaching staff work on Jennings' free throws EVERY DAY, in these individual sessions? One other question I have is, why does Terrence Jennings not have at least ONE go-to post move after almost 2 years? I just don't understand why he has not improved in that area.

After scoring 36 points in his last game against Notre Dame, sophomore center, Samardo Samuels had a slightly better than average game with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and coming up with only 3 rebounds. Against a clearly physically inferior team, Samuels should have dominated the low post, offensively, all day long. He should have made regular trips to the free throw line also, but instead, got to the line ony twice all game long. Another disturbing trend is Samuels' lack of rebounding. Whether it be his lack of fire or technique, something has to change for the Cardinals to make any kind of run, come tournament time.

Sophomore forward Jared Swopshire didn't have a good shooting night, but like any good basketball player, he put his imprint on the game in other parts of the stat line. Along with 5 points, Swopshire garnered 7 rebounds, dished out 5 assists and had 2 steals. Better get used to loving Jared Swopshire, Cardinal fans. Thrust into the power forward position early in the season, when coach Pitino benched Terrence Jennings, Swopshire struggled as an undersized player at that position. Since then, Swopshire has thrived after being moved back to his natural small forward position. He reminds me of a Garcia/Prince type player. A jack-of-all-trades master of none, type of player. Hustles all the time, especially at the rebounding and defensive end.

On the DePaul Blue Demons side, the ONLY bright spot was junior forward/center Mac Koshwal. He had an impressive outing, scoring 26 points on 11 of 16 from the field and garnering 10 rebounds. The Blue Demons best shooter, senior guard Will Walker, had what could only be described as a nightmare shooting day. He shot 2 of 14 from the field and 0 for 7 from the three point line, to only come up with 6 points. I counted at least 5 airballs from Walker. 2 airballs in a game are bad, but to shoot 5 airballs at home, is inexcusable.

Well, the Cardinals got another win, which, at the end of the day is all that counts. It's just frustrating to struggle against an opponent that is at the absolute bottom of the conference at 1-13. One problem I have with this team is never knowing which player is going to show up, game after game. On some levels, that problem can also be a good thing towards opposing teams defensive gameplanning. This Cardinal team is a true Jekyll and Hyde team, never knowing which team is going to come onto the floor. Luckily, right now, they are playing more like Jekyll. On Tuesday, Louisville is going to need everybody to show up, when the Georgetown Hoyas visit Freedom Hall. Georgetown is a really smart and always physically tough basketball team that the Cardinals will have to play a really good game against to get a win. Let's hope we see alot of Dr Jekyll's in white uniforms Tuesday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is This Harangody or Jack Cooley??

Were we the only people to think that Notre Dame's supposed scrub-freshman Jack Cooley looked like Luke Harangody's clone last night? A little slower of foot? Less-athletic? Weaker? Just like a real clone would be. I'm convinced. They even have the same Frankenstein-like hair-cut....

Find out the answer to this question & break-down last night's game that took many years off our lives on the live Evening Buzz podcast tonight at 9 PM EST with myself and Trevor "Bacon" Kelsey. The knowledge flows like the salmon of Capistrano....

Irish Eyes Are Smiling, On The Cards. Finally

After a January where they suffered bad break after bad break, luck has finally turned the Louisville Cardinals way. It continued with a hard fought, double overtime, 91-89 win against Notre Dame at Freedom Hall. From the beginning, Coach Rick Pitino drew up a gameplan that would include a steady diet of Samardo Samuels. The Cardinals dumped the ball down low, early and often, and the sophomore center responded with 36 points on 10 0f 19 from the field and an outstanding 16 of 19 from the free throw line.

On the defensive end, Louisville did more than a serviceable job, pressing in it's usual tireless manner and being no less than pesky in their trapping 2-3 zone in their halfcourt defense. At the freethrow line, the Cardinals were simply in a zone, shooting 35 of 40 from the free throw line on 87.5% shooting. Louisville also shot an excellent 8 of 17 from the three-point line for an efficient 47%.

Sophomore forward Jared Swopshire contributed greatly to the nights game, scoring 12 points and fighting for 9 rebounds. He was also very active on the defensive end with 3 blocked shots. Senior point guard, Edgar Sosa, chipped in with 12 points and 4 assists. I'm still having a hard time understanding how Sosa, after 4 years at point guard, continues to settle for defended jumpshots, instead of the extra pass, when double-teamed.

On the Notre Dame side, junior forward Tim Abromaitis more than held his own against Louisville's stifling defense. He shot a brilliant 11 for 18 from the field, 2 for 4 from the 3 point line, and 5 for 6 from the free-throw line. Abromaitis has a fundamentally sound, consistent, and smooth shooting stroke. Like the analysts say, he has a shooting form that, when he misses, you're surprised. Senior point guard, Tory Jackson, had an outstanding game with 19 points and 7 assists. He also played all 40 minutes of regulation, and all of both 5 minute overtimes. Senior point guard , Ben Hansbrough, (who will ALWAYS be known as Tyler's brother), added 21 points and 8 rebounds for the Fighting Irish.

At this time of year, no matter how pretty or ugly, you can never argue with a win. Yeah it was a little less than pretty, but Louisville never gave up on the effort the entire night, and that was a very good thing to see from this sometimes ill-focused team. The next game is at Depaul, at 2:00, on Saturday. This Cardinals team should, and with this team I stress the word should, win this game pretty handily and distance us even further away from the dreaded NCAA Tournament Bubble. All in all I was pleased with this team, and this game, tonight and look forward to seeing if they can string some more wins together. You certainly can't say that this team is lacking in drama. Stay tuned for game notes later tonight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Louisville: By the Numbers

You can tell a lot about a team by looking deep into the statistics. Since I have nothing better to do than wonder why the Cards don't have a better record and haven't been able to close games, I decided to spend a snow day gathering a massive amount of statistical information. I'm not going to bore you with all the useless information, but here are some of the highlights of my findings...

The computer rankings are very generous to Pitino's squad due to the fact they have played a top 10 schedule and (besides Western Carolina & St John's) have lost to tournament caliber teams. Here's how they shake out...

RPI - 32. Strength of Schedule - 4
Pomeroy - 26. Luck Rating - 315 of 347
Sagarin - 34. Strength of Schedule - 28

RPI Rankings on particular date...
11/17 - After 1st game of season - 9
12/16 - After Charlotte/W.Carolina losses - 104
01/09 - Before Villanova loss - 35
01/30 - After West Virginia loss - 46
02/14 - After Syracuse win - 32

4th in NCAA - Offensive Rebounds/game - 15.7
13th in NCAA - Points per Possession - 1.133
2nd in NCAA - Points per Game - 78.23
4th in NCAA - Assists per Game - 15.5
47th in NCAA - Rebounds per Game - 38.5
257th in NCAA - Defensive Rebounds per game - 22.7

Quick comment - This shows that this teams problem is not putting points on the board. Those offensive stats are up there with the best in the country. The biggest difference between this team and the previous 2 years is defense/defensive rebounding, bar none.

- Terrence Jennings is averaging only 13 minutes a game. However, if he somehow got to play 36 minutes a game he would presumably average 16 pts & 10 rebs. According to efficiency statistics, TJ is the most efficient Card offensively.

- Peyton Siva would average 16 pts & 6 ast in the same 36 minute scenario, but he would never make it that far because he averages 7.7 fouls/per 36

- People that say Samardo should touch the ball every time down the court are statistically correct. The big guy averages 1.1 points per play. That includes times when he gets to the foul-line and assists on a FG

-Jared Swopshire is 7th in the Big East conference in Free Throw percentage at 82%. Swop could be very effective if he played more agressive and got to the line more often. He ranks 37th in the Big East with only 76 FTAs

- In the Cards' last 5 losses (STJ, WVU, SHU, PITT, NOVA) the senior backcourt of Edgar Sosa & Jerry Smith are a combined minus 98 in the plus/minus system most commonly used in hockey. When they were on the court, the team was 98 points in the negative. Louisville lost those 5 games by a combined 38 points. In the same span (playing less minutes of course), the combo of Peyton Siva & Preston Knowles was only at a negative 12. That doesn't mean if they switched spots it would be any different, but it is very interesting.

- If Stevie Van Treese was forced to play 40 minutes a game for some odd reason that I hope I never see, He would average 8 pts 6 rebs 3 ast & 2 blks with an astonishing 5 TOs & 8 fouls. Let's hope this doesn't happen anytime soon...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Live Podcast Tonight at 9:30

Trevor "Bacon" Kelsey, Rashaan Myers of, and I will host a live call-in show tonight on at 9:30 PM EST. Of course, we will breakdown the Cards' huge win over Syracuse on Sunday and what it means for their NCAA tournament chances. Coach Pitino had a presser today, so we will cover that as well.

Feel free to call-in toll-free at 646.381.4206 with your take on if the cards have finally seen the light or was Sunday's victory just a flash in the pan. Rashaan and myself can also answer any recruiting questions you might have with both the '10 & '11 basketball classes.

If you can't listen live, the show will be available onDemand at the site or via the link "Evening Buzz Podcast" to the right on the L Yes! homepage. If you enjoy the site, you will enjoy the podcast. Check it out!

Back In the Thick of It

"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in"

After the utter disaster against St. John's last week, a lot of folks believed that the Cards had used up all their chances and were destined for the N.I.T. No way were they going to beat the #3 team in the country on the road after getting embarrassed by a Big East bottom-feeder by 20. The Cards showed no heart or effort against the Johnnies, so it was going to be more of the same against the 'Cuse. Right? The Cards were 15-10, 1-6 on the road, carrying multiple god-awful losses at home, and had zero notable wins to speak of. Fans were looking for answers and blaming everyone but Denny Crum himself for the poor performance.

Yet, like the famous Michael Corleone quote in Godfather III that Silvio Dante used to imitate to get a laugh from Tony on The Sopranos, the Cards pulled everyone back in. Just when almost all hope had been abandoned the Cards go into the Carrier Dome, come away with a victory, and bring back some optimism. Bracket-nerd Joe Lunardi said they were out of the dance, now they are in. Doug Gottlieb took some time out from stealing credit cards and calling Louisville a "bit-player" to sing praises to the Cards for their 66-60 victory. Fans who were ready to part ways with Coach Pitino (aka morons) now look at him salivating like a UK fan watching the John Wall dance on YouTube for the 76,645th time. Kind of funny how one game can make people do a complete 180 with their opinion. I've been called the biggest Cardinal apologist out there and I even thought things looked bleek for any March Madness festivities.

However awesome the victory on Sunday was, if the Cards don't take care of business down the home stretch it will be all for naught. Notre Dame, UCONN, & Marquette are fighting for their post-season lives. Louisville plays the latter two on the road where there record is still a dismal 2-6. Syracuse will be looking for revenge is the season finale and Georgetown has always played Pitino coached teams tough. Sprinkle in a trap game with DePaul and the terrain is looking rough in the next few weeks. As we have found out with the Cards' performance with big leads, nothing is guaranteed in such a competitive conference.

Pitino's troops will take this victory one of two ways: 1. They use it as a spring board to rejuvenate a team that looked on the brink of surrender or 2. They let the victory get to their ego and play over-confident. There is no in-between. Following with a home game should help. The Freedom Hall faithful can sense a team that is playing with a victory-hangover and will let the squad know as soon as the turn south is sniffed.

Even before the New year turned, anyone around the Louisville program pointed to the game at the Carrier Dome as one the Cards desperately needed to make up for some early-season slip-ups. They took care of business there. In the coming weeks they can avenge the bad losses even more with a few more good wins. The great thing about it is the Cards are now worthy of post-season conversation again. Something they couldn't say after the St. John's loss.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A little football during basketball season.

With March Madness right around the corner and most cards fans devoting their attention to finishing strong in the Big East and the final few games at the world famous Freedom Hall. So I figured I would delve into the 2011 Louisville Cardinal football season with a little look into the depth chart. We'll start with Special Teams:

We've fallen very far from the days of Broderick Clark, Zek Parker, Nate Smith, and the immortal Art Carmody. With lone bright spot Trent Guy moving on to the next phase of his career, there isn't a lot to look forward to for the upcoming season when it comes to special teams. With that being said, I think that in the coming years we will have one of the best special teams units in the Big East. One of the positives to having coach Strong on the sidelines is the fact that he has worked with a handful of great coaches. And all great coaches understand that you have to be good in all three phases of the game. It doesn't get much better than working for Lou Holtz and Urban Meyer in that regard. Holtz of course coached "Rocket" Ismail and is known for bringing up special teams during his analysis on ESPN. Urban Meyer has put such a premium on special teams that players look at it as the highest honor to make the punt block team. That squad gets first dibs at training table and other special treatment. Hopefully coach Strong took a few things from these guys and it pays dividends.

The cupboard isn't completely bare on the special teams unit however. Kicker Chris Philpot proved to be extremely consistent down the stretch. He hit all five of his field goals, including a 44-yarder. He also had five kickoffs end up as touchbacks, which is somewhat rare at the college level. Odds are that he will be entrenched at the kicker spot for the next couple of years. Coach Strong has trimmed a lot of the fat from the roster so far and it shows at the kicker spot. Tim Doughtery and Ryan Payne are no longer listed on the depth chart and coach Strong brought in three kickers either by grayshirt or walk-on. Also look for Jay Wilmott and Johnathan Quintero as kicking prospects for the 2011 class.

Cory Geottsche has exhausted his eligibility so the first punt we see next year will be the first punt of that punters career. Jon Payne and Josh Bleser are the only punters on the roster with Payne earning two varsity letters in his three years here. Odds are that coach Strong will look to develop one of the kickers on the roster into a punter for the future.

Trent Guy was one of the most electrifying return men that we have had the pleasure of cheering on at UofL. He leaves a gaping hole at both return spots. But we have said this before and out of all of the skilled position guys that we have on the roster, there are a few that stand out as possible replacements for Guy. Jacques Caldwell is likely to get a chance at the kick and punt returner spots. He is a speedster that can hit the corner and flat out fly. Jeremy Wright is a redshirt freshman that should get an opportunity to show what he can do in the return game. He has a little more wiggle to his game than Caldwell and could probably keep up in a foot race. Scott Radcliffe will more than likely get a chance at the punt returner spot. He proved to be fearless and sure-handed when he got his shot towards the end of last season. Look for Kamal Hogan, Corvin Lamb, and Stephan Robinson to get a shot at the position also. Senorise Perry, Shenard Holton, and C.J. Peake are a few guys that could make an impact on special teams that might not show up in the box score.

I will be back soon with a preview of the offense for the 2011 season.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blast Back to the Past?

Yesterday rumors started flying about Rick Pitino heading back to the NBA, to be the next head coach of the New Jersey Nets. Quickly denials from both Pitino's camp as well as the front office of the Net's organization were released. Pitino addressed the media by saying that "he" never had any "direct" contact with the team. What a way to dance around allegations. Either way reports stated the team really had no interest in Rick...."allegedly." Now in the last 24 hours the Net's head coaching job has become the most interesting job in the country.

New names are now surfacing from all across the college basketball landscape. This being said I still don't know if you can rule out Pitino still possibly leaving depending on how things play out. But now we are hearing rumblings about Duke head coach Mike Kzernjtuckysuzcksi (however you spell it) or as we all just call him Coach K. Would he leave his beloved Blue Devils for a big pay day and a shot at Lebron James or Dwayne Wade and possibly John Wall if the ping pong balls land just right? Maybe so, but he did have the opportunity to move to L.A. to coach a historic Lakers team who already had Kobe Bryant, and passed it up. He could have a change of heart and go for the glory. But that being said, as much as I don't like the guy I think he actually does like working with young athletes, being a coach/mentor to them and coaching at a place like Duke, which you have to respect.

The other college coach we've heard, and the guy I think would be way more likely to get this job, if it were to be a current college coach would be John Calipari. Calipari had already coached the Net's in the late 90's and was fired in 1999, but these are different times. Coach Cal is sort of the it guy right now at Kentucky and would be slick enough to move on to bigger and better things after only one year at UK, if the situation was right for him. He also has a solid relationship with Lebron James, who may consider the Nets when he becomes a free agent this summer. Also with the chance that the Nets will have a top pick in the NBA draft Calipari could acquire one of his current players he coaches now in either John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins.

Some may argue, why would an NBA team who needs to rebuild hire a college coach? When so many times it hasn't worked out in the past, and with 2 out of the 3 coaches mentioned for this job being the primes examples we speak of. Well, when Phil Jackson stepped down from the Lakers for the one year Kobe wanted nothing more than to have coach K on his bench. So if Lebron James being seen at Kentucky games means he would love to play for Calipari, then the Net's need not think too long and hard about offering Coach Cal their head coaching job, if nothing more to get LBJ into a New Jersey Net uniform. If it doesn't work out you fire the guy. At least you probably landed arguably the best player in the NBA....Plus it would be hysterical to watch Kentucky loose their Pride and Joy.

Please check out Widespread Sports on Facebook. It's an interactive sports fan page filled with articles and debate on all things UL/UK and national Sports news as well. Become and Fan and get involved in the discussion.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Podcast After Game

Looks like we might have a lot more to talk about besides Coach Pitino and his possible flirtations with The League.
Trevor and I will breakdown tonight's St. John's game and talk about the rumors of Pitino's return to the NBA on The Evening Buzz on We'll start the broadcast about 15-30 minutes after final buzzer and hopefully a Louisville victory.

Call in live at 646.381.5206 (come on it's toll-free).

Pitino Looking Elsewhere?

Mitch Lawrence from the New York Daily News reports that Rick Pitino is going out of his way to throw his name in the hat for the New Jersey Nets head coaching job.

It's reported while Pitino was at the funeral of Dick Mcquire, he spoke with some New Jersey Nets officials about taking on the overhauling of the Nets program next year. The job is now held by GM and interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe, who is more than expected to be gone at seasons end with the Nets on pace to set all time NBA records in losses. Would Pitino be a good fit for the Nets? Do the Nets even want Pitino?

Rod Thorne (Nets team president)is denying that the conversation never happened. It appears all of the interest has been pretty lopsided, leaning toward Pitino trying to get his name on the short list the Nets had already drawn up. That list has never had Pitino's name on it, and it seems like it never will. The Net's seem to be leaning toward Jeff Van Gundy to take over in 2011.

Whats next for Pitino? Has he grown weary of The Ville in his 9 years? This has been his longest tenured at any program college or pro. Will he continue to seek out other jobs or will he continue with business as usual at Louisville? Lot's of questions are now to be answered. Louisville fans and media won't let this issue go to rest, or at least they shouldn't. It's one thing for your name to be mentioned by a team. But when a coach goes looking on his own, that's where things can get a bit sketchy. Is Rick just looking for a change? Is the Sypher scandal getting to be too much for him living in the city where it all went down? Is Calipari's success at Kentucky rubbing him the wrong way or is a combination of everything?

Maybe Pitino should check his ego at the door being that he could have lost his job this past summer when all the facts came out about his affair. Instead he got the support of Louisville AD Tom Jurich, his players and all the Louisville fans. Not to say he would have been a bum on the streets if he lost his gig here. He would have been coaching again by 2011 after a year off. but does the support of everyone in Louisville especially his boss and his players mean nothing? Stay Tuned to find out...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Swop Returning to Starting Lineup

The Louisville team arrived in New York City for Thursday night's match-up against St. John's a day early due to the snow barrage that has slammed the majority of the East. It was either that or gameday and last time they traveled day-of they took a beating at the hands of Notre Dame last year. The team arrived safely last night, which was confirmed via the players' obsession with Twitter (Hey, I'm obsessed too). Due to the early arrival in the Big Apple, Coach Pitino had his pregame press conference via the phone. It's what the old-timers call a teleconference.

As Trevor so beautifully told us earlier, George Goode will not return to the Cards this season due to some bad luck and injury. I have a funny feeling we have seen the last of Mr. Goode due to the fact that Pitino is going after next year's class heavier than he ever has and 2011 could be six-deep. The schollys just don't match up if you look at it. Unfortunate because I thought Goode was always a great defender at the 4 spot and when I saw him in practice he could knock down a 15-footer like he was playing in the wrong era. Here's to a speedy recovery for George.

Now to the players currently on the floor... Pitino said today that Jared Swopshire would be back in the starting lineup at the 4 spot for Terrence Jennings. St. John's plays a smaller lineup and even though he has been slow of foot at times this season, Swop is a better match-up in this one. T.J. has just not been playing good defense when his man floats outside and Norm Sloan's Red Storm are the type of team that could possibly exploit that. Pitino, I'm sure, knows that his team can't have a brain fart against a team they should most-definitely handle with ease.

Swop has been the butt of many jokes amongst both Louisville fans and our adversaries. I won't say whether he deserves it or not, but consistency has definitely been a problem. The last two games against UCONN and Rutgers, Swop has came off the bench for some of his best play of the season. 9 & 9 vs. UCONN and 13 & 8 vs. Rutgers. What people fail to see is that Swop played 32 & 34 minutes respectively in both contests - those are starters minutes so it shouldn't make that much of a difference. Fact of the matter is, Jennings and Swop both have problems defensively. Swop inside and Jennings outside. They both need to improve moving into the teeth of the season. It's just a matter of which one Pitino thinks fits better in a particular game to get starters minutes.
We'll find out tomorrow whether Swop plays better coming off the bench or if it doesn't really matter as long as he gets the big minutes.

Yea They Took The SAT

Maybe the same guy who John Calapri gets to take his players SAT tests should have been called upon to oversee the making of Kentcuky jerseys. I hear DeMarcus Cousins is still trying to figure out what the problem is.

Pitino Previews St. John’s

Here is today’s press conference with Rick Pitino. He talks about losses to Charlotte and Western Carolina, Terrence Jennings needs to look into a mirror, and even gives some thoughts on Charlie Strong…


No Good For George Goode

Louisville Sophomore forward George Goode will likely miss the rest of the season according to coach Rick Pitino at his Wednesday press conference to preview St. John’s.

Goode has not played this season since a 22 point loss to Charlotte back on December 5th and was averaging under a point a game.

Pitino stated that Goode, who has been battling bad luck and injuries all year, fell during practice recently and an MRI has been scheduled to determine whether it is a meniscus tear or not.

Cards Announce Football Schedule

Louisville Cardinals released the first schedule for rookie head coach Charlie Strong on Wednesday and here it is…

Sat, Sep 04 Kentucky TBA

Sat, Sep 11 Eastern Kentucky TBA

Sat, Sep 18 at Oregon State TBA

Sat, Oct 02 at Arkansas State TBA

Sat, Oct 09 Memphis TBA*

Fri, Oct 15 Cincinnati 8:00 p.m. ESPN*

Sat, Oct 23 Connecticut TBA*

Sat, Oct 30 at Pittsburgh TBA*

Sat, Nov 06 at Syracuse TBA*

Sat, Nov 13 USF TBA*

Sat, Nov 20 West Virginia TBA*

Fri, Nov 26 at Rutgers TBA

The Ugly Ex Back On The Market

Looks like the ugly ex-girlfriend that Louisville fans as a whole aretrying to forget about is back in the news. You know the one youstarted dating after that spectatular woman dumped you for a plasticsurgeon/trust-fund baby (aka the NFL)? The one that was a little belowyour standards but still attractive because you thought it was safefor a broken hearted individual such as yourself at the time? Yea...That one.

The ugly ex who you dropped like a sack of potatoes after realizingwhat a collosal mistake was made even starting such a fling might havefound some new work. Soon after departure, you were told about howmany options were on the table (aka multiple BCS offensive coordinatoropportunities) that somehow vanished or ended up not existing in thefirst place. Hell, even heard a story that the ex attempted torekindle an old flame with a former lover - let's call it Tulsa - butwith less quality time and attention (aka money & title). Well I guessboth options fell through. This time the ex is back in the news as apossible candidate for the Texas A&M QB coaching job.

According to CollegeFootballTalk and Tom Deinhart of Rivals, the ugly ex has or is slated to interview with A&M headman Mike Sherman todirect the signal callers in College Station.

Two reasons come to mind on why this might be an actual suitor for"the one that Tom wanted to get away" and not bogus like the otherrumors. One, as we all know from his constant barrage of namedropping in pressers, the ex worked at A&M under RC Slocum a few jobsback. You would have though Slocum was Bear Bryant or even DickJauron. It was almost like when a girl constantly talks about herprevious realtionships, simply annoying. It reminded me of thered-head in American Pie whenever he brought up A&M...

"One time at A&M, RC Slocum let me watch film with him and we stayedout past MIDNIGHT!!!"

Completely ridiculous. A&M needs to make the hire just to pay him backfor all the free advertising he gave the school the last 3 years.Second, A&M throws the ball about 10% of the time - or something likethat. I think the ex can handle teaching the QB/RB exchange and notmuch else for 3 hours a day. Although I wouldn't really give him a lotmore responsibility than that. You don't want to move that fast afterbeing in the business end of a traumatic dumping. Ask Tom Jurich.

If this scenario comes to fruition, both parties will finally be movedon in different directions. One with a new-found hope and the otherwith a sense of desperation. Even though it doesn't happen everytime,Tom Jurich came out on top in this break-up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New York State of Mind

Pitino and The Cards gear up for a road trip to New York this week, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to 3 when they go up against St. Johns and to 4 if they can knock off Syracuse. But we'll try not to get ahead of ourselves, Cardinal fans, let's back up and look at St. Johns. The Cards have had their ups and downs in Madison Square Garden, but if they handle the Red Storm like the 12-10 (2-8 in conference) team that they are, and don't stumble, they should be heading to the Carrier Dome with that winning steak extended as planned. That would be their longest since before Christmas when they rattled off wins against Louisiana-Lafayette, Radford and South Florida.

St. Johns is going to put up a fight trying not to loose their 6th game in a row, and they certainly won't be a push over at home. If you'll remember just over a month ago, St. Johns outscored Louisville in the first half of their meeting at Freedom Hall and only wound up loosing by 7. DJ Kennedy scored 20 points with 8 rebounds and could be motivated to put on another show in the garden. Straggly Jarred Swopshire and Jerry Smith who had been struggling at the time had their best games for The Ville that day. They both have played up and down all year, down for the most part, but just recently shined this past weekend at Rutgers. Hopefully, they can continue their up swing for this game in The Big Apple.

This will be the first meeting between Syracuse & Louisville this year but The Cardinals are no strangers to big time Big East showdowns. After Playing hard against respectful foes Pitt, Nova and West Virgina (I said the teams were respectful, not the fans of all the foes *cough Mountaineer in-breds*....excuse me I've been sick, sorry) we wound up blowing large leads by the conclusions of those games. That being said we have the tools in the box to beat a top rated team like the Orangeman. We just need to make sure we use those tools correctly. Shutting down Wes Johnson would be a good start to coming home with that key victory we need.

A split on this road trip would be suitable for the Cards but it doesn't take much to figure out that Louisville would really benefit from a Marquee win against a team to begin to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament. Two road wins including a win over a top 3 team would almost ensure we get a bid as long as we can win the rest of our home games and take care of those opponents we're expected to defeat.

What do you say Cards?....Feel like proving something to those who doubt your toughness and ability to close?

Monday, February 8, 2010

T-Will Lobbying for Spot in Dunk Contest

Terrence Williams in the Slam Dunk Contest? Everyone knows this should happen. T-Will is most-definitely one of the top-5 most explosive, stylistic dunkers in the league (as a rookie) excluding the guys that refuse to particpate anymore or ever for whaever reason - like LeBron, Josh Smith, Dwayne Wade or Dwight Howard. Anyone that followed Louisville the last 4 years knows that Terrence Williams can dunk with the best around. He originally was excluded from both the Rookie/Sophomore game & Dunk-Off. More than likely coming from how pathetic the New Jersey Nets are playing this season. The Nets are on pace to tie the worst record in the history of the NBA currently at 4-46.
However, last night on his Twitter ( @TheRealTWill ) he said he would be "finding out" if he was getting into the dunk contest today. From around 9PM last night....

Finding out tomorrow if I'm in the dunking contest

T-Will being T-Will went on to ask people for suggestions on dunks he could throw into his reportoire in 140 characters or less. This year's dunk contest has 5 contestants so far - defending champion Nate Robinson of the Knicks, Shannon Brown of the Lakers, and Gerald Wallace of the Bobcats. A new wrinkle "dunk-off" for the 4th and final spot is slated to happen before the All-Star Saturday night tradition between Eric Gordon of the Clippers and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors. However, both Wallace and DeRozan are nursing injuries and have missed some time in the last week and could decide to sit out this weekend's festivities. T-Will could be right there to fill in for an injured competitor.

Should have an answer by tonight or tomorrow morning so stay tuned.

Earl Heyman - Super Bowl Champ

Earl Heyman hoisted the Lombardi trophy last night as a Super Bowl champion member of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints in their infinite wisdom signed the former Louisville defensive tackle to a three-year contract after he went inexplicably undrafted last season. Heyman was a part of the Cardinals Orange Bowl team and is a product of Ballard High School. Big Earl, who's brother Dexter is a returning defensive end for Charlie Strong, can always tell his grandkids that he was a part of a defense that stopped the almighty Peyton Manning and won the title. He will forever be enshrined in Super Bowl and New Orleans lore for his accomplishment.

OK, that was a little over the top. So what if he was just a part of the Saints' practice squad all year? I don't think Earl minds at all. Heyman still can claim himself to be a champion in both the Big East and the Super Bowl. He got to compete against the high-powered Drew Brees/ Sean Payton offense, score some serious bling in the form of a championship ring (yes, practice squad players do get rings from what I'm told) and probably threw a few beads out/Hurricane's back on Bourbon Street along the way.

Maybe this will pay off for Earl this offseason and he can secure a spot on an active roster in 2010 - Saints or not. I'm sure there was a learning curve this season for Heyman due to the fact he was coached by a bum his final years here. Although, he did have a season under Ron English, so hopefully it wasn't that tough to fix. I don't think his little brother is going to have the same problem.

Congrats to Earl Heyman. Louisville grown Super Bowl Champ.