Here are my bitter, bitter thoughts about last night's game. Nothing positive, what can I say...
The Cards had an embarrassing performance last night at the Bradley Center. Bottom line. Nothing said or done will be able to change the fact that the team went into a place where they have won 4 of 5 and get absolutely humiliated. However, was anyone out there taken aback by this? Caught off-guard? Shocked that this happened? I, amongst other Louisville fans, thought the team had turned a corner and were going to put these effortless outputs behind them. It wasn't the first time all year this team had people fooled with their inconsistency...
Only 2 Free Throws all game?
I want to blame the Big East officials for this. I really do. They did have their usual 7-10 questionable calls, but the Cards' ineffectiveness and complacency on the offensive end had the most to do with that. It's hard to get fouled on a jump shot and it's even harder if you're not taking the ball to the hoop aggressively. The coaching staff just could not figure out how to effectively get the ball into Samardo which forced the Cards to take jumpers all game. And the lack of aggression was frustrating. Do the Cards have a beef with the refs over lack of foul calls? Yes. Did they do enough to relive all doubt from those dope's minds? No.
Buzz Christmas or Lloyd Williams?
Buzz Williams took a page out of the Dumb & Dumber book of coaching fashion with his Lloyd Christmas get up last night. That was completely outrageous. i know he was trying to get a rise out of the fans on senior night in a huge game for Marquette, but c'mon man. In the day and age of HDTV, Williams made a bad choice. I will give the guy credit for sweating more than the majority of the players wearing red on the floor did. I just want to see him and Bruce Pearl play and both wear their orange/powder blue suits with the loser getting whacked in the back of the knee with a cane.
The Double Down - Samardo's Nemesis
Marquette did a great job in collapsing on Samuels when he got the ball. Due to their lack of height they had to or else Mardo would have dominated. Samuels didn't counter-act that by finding the open man after the double-team therefore Marquette did it every time he touched it. 4 points, 5 turnovers and 1 assist later, Mardo had his worst game of the year and his team lost by 21 points. For some reason the big guy didn't look quite into it last night. He was frustrated early and went downhill from there. It's not all Samardo's fault though. The team plays outstanding when they pass it 3 or more times in their offense and they failed as a whole in that respect last night.
Rotation...or lack thereof
Pitino is playing an alarming number of players at least a quarter of the game this season. 11 players are seeing at least 10 minutes a game. Playing a lot of guys and wearing the other team down with depth has always been a Pitino strong suit, however this season seems different. Guys like Mike Marra, Rakeem Buckles, and Kyle Kuric won't see action in one game and then end up starting the next. I understand playing the match-ups, but I don't understand how that could work with team chemistry and comfort-level. If you have 11 guys that play 10 minutes, then you play those guys every game. Right? Not in the Book of Pitino. For a team that "lacks talent", Pitino sure is playing a lot of guys he feels deserve minutes.
Swiss Cheese Defense
Aside from a blunder like last night, this year's team has been extremely efficient on offense. They average just as many points as the last two Elite 8 teams (09,08) and the Final Four team (05). What separates this team from those is defense. The gap in that separation is the size of Rosanne's ass. This team has failed to stop anyone on a consistent basis. They show flashes, but never for longer than say a half. It starts up top with the 4 guards (Sosa, Siva, Smith, Knowles) and trickles down to the paint. This team has to buckle down and play some defense or else Louisville fans will be watching more games at Freedom Hall.