Thursday, February 25, 2010
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.”
1. What do you make of the reports that Louisville's Rick Pitino is- 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...
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
Pitino told ESPN.com, "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.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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.
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?
At least we have the first half, right?
There has been much controversy and debate over a local Kentucky sports writer's column on a national sports page. Matt Jones who runs KentuckySportsRadio.com got a chance to travel and report for CBSSports.com. 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)
- 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
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....
So take this Matt Jones article with a grain of salt. It might as well have been a message board post on CatsPause.com. 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 CBSSports.com. And when it happens, part of me hopes Calipari hasn't ditched the Big Blue Charlatans like our coach did.
"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
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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
RPI Rankings on particular date...
4th in NCAA - Offensive Rebounds/game - 15.7
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
Monday, February 15, 2010
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
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.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
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.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Finding out tomorrow if I'm in the dunking contest