Let’s just get Past this first round

(photo courtesy of @LouisvilleMBB)

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We missed out on the fun last season but the wait is almost over. Our Cardinals will literally kick off the 2019 NCAA Tournament when they play Minnesota at 12:15 pm. First round games have a history of being a topsy-turvy of events especially in games where the Seeds are more evenly paired. As a Louisville fan, I have some horrible memories of first-round games. I don’t want this to be one of those occasions.

As a fan you want this first game of the NCAA Tournament to be as drama free as it can be. Watch your team cruise to an easy win and move on to battle for a spot in the second weekend. The NCAA Tournament Committee did their part to make sure this first game was anything but drama free for Louisville. Speaking of Past. Louisville can’t seem to get away from theirs.

I have intentionally tried to stay away from all of the ”Pitino” rhetoric this week. Coach Mack said that he had tried to keep it away from his team this week. Listening to some of the comments from the open practice yesterday it doesn’t sound like these players care to much about it either. They appear to be in the moment. This team has been good at staying in the moment all season.

The Cardinals had the misfortune of facing some tough opponents in the tail end of their season, but they really didn’t get blown out in any game and held their own against the top-tier opponents for the most part. They overcame some tough losses along the way but were able to take on the season one game at a time. They’ll have to do that over the next few weeks to survive and advance.

I don’t expect this to be an easy one against the Gophers. They play hard for their Coach. His teams are known for their effective offense, and they make opponents earn points on defense. I can assure you that they will press and press some more. I respect their X’s and O’s and they also have some pretty good Jimmys and Joes. Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy are a great one/two punch for them. Murphy averages a double-double per game with 14.8 points and 11.5 rebounds. He is the kinda dude that can take one over.

Louisville will have the best player on the floor in this game. I hope that Jordan Nwora can rise to this occasion. It will be his first appearance under these bright lights. He has managed the pressure of being the ”go-to” guy this season but being the ”go-to” guy in the NCAA Tournament is a different pressure. I don’t think Minnesota has anyone that matches up well with Jordan but they’ll have a plan to slow him down.

This Louisville team has done a better job of cultivating offense in other ways than just launching bombs from the outside. But they are a live by the three and die by three type of team. It’s just who they are. Hitting that outside shot effects every aspect of their game and can even dictate their defense at times. We just have to hope they hit em.

It would be nice to see someone emerge from nowhere and get some important production. I feel like a great Tournament team always has this guy. For Louisville, I think that guy could be Akoy Agau. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him impact the game in some way. A big rebound or shot. At this point, it is so cliche to say that VJ King could have a big game. He really could have a big game and a good Tournament. He’s been playing with more confidence lately. This team is only one impact wing player away. Just sayin.

Back to Minnesota… They really didn’t look great against Michigan, but otherwise, they’ve performed pretty well lately. Still, the Gophers have had some trouble against the more stout defenses out there. This Louisville team has been solid on the defensive end of the floor lately. I think they match up well.

I just want to get past this first round game. I think this team needs to get past this first one. This game could also go a long way of moving us past that other stuff. It really is time to bury it. The program has moved on.

I love the NCAA Tournament and am glad that my Cardinals are back in the big dance. It’s going to be an event filled with drama as 65 games are played over the next three weeks. There will only be one team left standing. I hope that team is Louisville. I can hope.
Can’t I?

Go Cards!

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Cards are in the money round…


I headed into this week pretty confident that Louisville couldn’t really hurt themselves. I do think they are now in a position to help their seeding for the NCAA Tournament. That starts tonight in the money round of the ACC Tournament. It will be a rubber match between the Cardinals and Tarheels

Its been a long time since that game where Louisville trounced UNC by 21 on their home court back in January. A game that was never in question. North Carolina returned the favor in a 10 point win of their own against Louisville in the Yum Center back in February.

North Carolina doesn’t have too many issues heading into this game. They seem to have distanced themselves from those sketchy games in mid-January and have been on a seven-game win streak since. Louisville was able to sneak up on this team early on and were hitting everything they threw up that day. I don’t think anyone will do that to UNC again.

For North Carolina, it was about figuring out that they had to play hard. Louisville is still figuring it out and that has a lot to do with finding other ways to score when the outside shot isn’t falling. Over the last few weeks you can see them working on this but boy they really love that jumper. With this Louisville group, its been live by the three and die by the three. They’ll need a few to drop tonight and will have to crash the boards. They can’t let this UNC squad rebound and get out in front of them. Can’t chase them the whole game as they did back in February.

If Louisville wants to win this game they’ll have to take it. I don’t feel like they’ve gone out and just took one in a long time. Win this game and have a chance to move up a few lines. Play hard and lose this team could still have some great momentum heading into next week.

Go Cards!

Let the College Basketball Postseason begin…


Our Cardinals will start postseason play against Notre Dame in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Louisville was able to defeat Notre Dame in their only match-up of the season as the Cardinals won by a 75-61 margin in the last game of the regular season.

15-seed Norte Dame kept their season alive after defeating the 10-seed Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 78-71, on Tuesday afternoon. The Irish came into the ACC Men’s Tournament on a 7-game losing streak. They showed some signs of life against Tech in the first half of this game but the Irish team we’ve seen for most of the season showed up in the 2nd half and had trouble holding on for the victory.

Our Cardinals struggled down the stretch, however, they’ve clearly established themselves as one of the toughest teams in the country. We have one of the best players in the country and in the ACC. I feel like Jordan Nwora was overlooked in the ACC accolades announced Monday. But screw em. I think Jordan and this Louisville team could make a deep run this week.

I do think there is still a chance for Louisville to move themselves up a couple of lines if they have a successful ACC Tourney, but don’t think they can hurt themselves much. I do think this team would benefit from some good momentum heading into next week. Some of these guys haven’t experienced the NCAA Tournament. Would like to see them enter with some confidence.

I don’t think they’ll have any trouble in this one as I expect Notre Dame to be out of gas. They gave it all they had just to reach this game. Hope we see a lot of guys score and a lot of smiles. I’m already smiling because I love this time of year. Nothing like College Basketball in March. Just gonna take it all in.

Enjoy folks! Go Cards!

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Knock knock. Hoo’s there? Virginia again!


It’s been too long since our Cardinals have had a win over conference rival Virginia. The Cavaliers have made their way up my shit list of College teams over the last few years. Not only do they make you set thru their deliberate and frustrating approach on offense and defense for 40 minutes they usually win. The Cardinals have lost the last eight games in this series.

During that time the basketball Gods have been pretty unkind to Louisville with that devastating one-point loss to them a year ago this week. Enough is enough. It’s the Cardinals turn for a win in this game?

A few weeks ago I jumped the gun and pulled out my VJ King prediction. Haven’t we all made that prediction? I had saved it up and really thought the last game against Virginia we might see something. But this team was in the midst of an offensive funk.

A funk so bad that it seen Louisville have some of their worst totals in a while scoring 59 points and a low of 49 over that three-game stretch. It was really encouraging to see them put up 75 against Notre Dame. They scored points and scored in different ways. Oh, and VJ King made his return.

VJ really looks like he has regained some confidence. He has had success playing against Virginia averaging 11.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. He scored a career-high 24 points against Virginia during his freshman season. I think he’s capable of a big game today.

Jordan also returned to form with 20 points and 11 rebounds against Notre Dame. It was good to see Malik Williams double-double for the Cardinals in that one with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Think these guys could play a big role today.

This is like a final exam for this Louisville team. They had moments this season where they looked really good and here lately have looked really bad. The live by the three die by the three mentality is fun to watch when it works out. Not so much when it doesn’t.

Maybe this team learned during that losing streak not to rely so heavily on the outside shot. Maybe they ”just learned” during this brutal conference stretch. This team should be pretty tough at this point. They’ve had a week to prepare for this finale.

Today is our day Louisville fans. VJ King will Beast out and will be proclaimed the King Slayer. This Louisville team has been solid on the road. Today we see the return of the Road Dogs. Please, basketball Gods!

Go Cards!

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Cards need a win on Senior Day


Kinda hard to believe that there are only two games left in the regular season of College Basketball. Our Cardinals came out of the gate strong but have really struggled down the stretch. At one time they were riding a six-game conference win streak and had won those games by an average of 18 points.

In the past few weeks, the wheels have fallen off, which includes losing five of their last six and being outscored by an average of eight points. A drastic turnaround since that great run in January. The difference? During that great run, they were shooting 46.7% from the field. In the last six games shooting just 33.4 percent from the field. Things have really gotten stagnant on offense.

The good news is that we know these guys are capable of walking into any gym in the country and beating anyone. They have at least shown the ability to play at a high level. They can turn things around. Offensive woes come and go and let’s hope we left them in February.

You can’t say the same thing for Notre Dame. The Irish have pretty much been the same team all season. They’ve lost 10 of their last 12, are shooting under 40 percent from the field on the season and are shooting 38.4 percent from the field on the road.

On Sunday afternoon three Cardinals will lace them up for the final time in the Louisville locker room. They are not seniors of the traditional type but there will be a ceremony for Graduate Students Akoy Agau, Christen Cunningham, and Khwan Fore. They had some big shoes to fill following some great grad transfers from past seasons and lived up to those expectations.

In successful programs tradition never graduates and these three guys have added to that great Louisville tradition. Each playing some role in getting the program back to the NCAA Tournament. I want to thank them for deciding to spend their last season of college eligibility playing for the Cardinals. They are all great guys.

I hope they get to walk off Denny Crum Court winners. And this team needs a win. They have secured their spot in the postseason but could really use this game to get back some of that momentum they had early on. I’m ready for March Madness. Go Cards!

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