Cards need to get back to basics against Cuse


Tonight we get back to basketball and after days of the ”sky is falling” nonsense in the Louisville media and elsewhere I welcome it. I’m hoping that our team realizes that their season is nearing the end and can get back to playing with a sense of pride and with the sense of urgency to finish this season strong. Just get back to the basics.

Despite all of the doom and gloom side talk this Louisville team is still at the top of the ACC standings, in third place sitting at 12-3 in conference play. They can still win this league outright owning a head to head victory with Duke and a trip to Florida State left on the schedule.

Jordan has had two rough outings. Maybe the two worst of his Louisville career. It’s not easy carrying the weight of a college basketball program on your shoulders. Especially one with a passionate fan base. The grind of a college season alone and getting everyone’s best shot. I think he gets back to that 18.2 points, 7.3 rebounds per game player tonight.

Steven Enoch is 2nd with 9.9 PPG and Dwayne Sutton is 3rd in scoring and tops in rebounding with 9.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG this season. These guys will have to bring their games tonight also along with Malik Williams. It’s always a frontcourt battle with Syracuse.

Coach Boeheim’s teams are known for that stingy two-three zone defense and having those very athletic and explosive wings on offense. The Orange are in a logjam in the middle of the ACC, sitting at 7-7 in conference play after losing 4 of their last 5 games. The Orange just stepped up against Florida State, taking the Seminoles down to the wire. We all know that Cuse teams usually come alive this time of year.

This is a very important game as far as team morale is concerned. Lose this game tonight and we could see this team spiral downhill for the rest of the season. Things are sensitive right now with this group and a three-game losing streak is not what the doctor ordered. Win this game and carry some much-needed momentum into that big game with North Carolina on Saturday. I would love to see this team have a strong finish to this crazy regular season. I hope that starts tonight.

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Changing the trend


There are two teams that this Louisville Program plays where they just can’t seem to get on the winning side. One of those teams I won’t mention and the other is Virginia. The Cardinals have won 9 in a row but it is Virginia that has won their last 9 against Louisville.

This is not the same Virginia team of years past, as teams have been able to figure out the Cavaliers pack-line defense. Teams that have been able to produce some consistent offense in games against the Cavaliers have been able to get the lead and keep it. Exposing the Cavaliers offense that is near the bottom in scoring offense, field goal percent, and 3-point offense.

The Cardinals should have enough firepower to take advantage of this one. I think another thing that will help this Louisville team against Virginia is that they understand the principles of the pack-line defense now that they themselves play a Coach Mack version of it. They go against this version every day in practice.

In order for the Louisville program to really arrive in ACC play, they’ve got to level the playing field in this rivalry. With a return trip to Charlottesville coming at the end of the season, it is also important to at least split one in this series for a chance at an outright regular-season ACC Championship.

This team wasn’t able to buck the trend in a game with that other team this season but have another chance to change another trend today. I’m tired of losing to the Cavaliers. I think this Louisville team is as well.

Change the trend today. Go Cards!

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Things will only get tougher after this one


Our Cardinals head into the Yum Center tonight looking for their 20th win of the season. It will be the first time a team has reached 20 wins this fast since back in 2004-05. That team finished 33-5 and lost to Illinois in the Final Four.

That team like our current team had some guys that could flat out shoot the rock. The current Louisville team is 6th in the country in three-point field goal percentage and 49th in field goal percentage. Thanks in part to guys like Jordan Nwora who is shooting a cool 47% from deep in the last nine. And Ryan Mcmahon who hit seven three-point shots his last time out.

This team is also getting it done on the defensive side of the floor ranked 5th in the country in field-goal defense. Behind players like Malik Williams who has six blocked shots in the last five games and an energized Darius Perry who has had five steals over the last four games.

This team is doing everything pretty good right now and the reason I think Wake Forrest will be running into a buzz saw tonight. Wake is a team that has got some pieces back but one with a defense that ranks 200th in field goal defense and 251st in scoring defense. The Deacs have been poor on the road, having gone 1-6 in true road games this season.

I told a guy on the Fan Page this week that I don’t think this team looks back now. I think they are past blowing games like this one. If not it would mean taking several steps back. Not what you want to see a team do in February.

It doesn’t get any easier after tonight with the heavy part of the schedule still ahead. Cards need to come out take care of this one and get themselves ready for the final push.

It should be a night with no drama. But as confident as I am in this one I wouldn’t be surprised at anything. Go Cards!

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Wolf Pack down…


My son and I were at a Louisville Football game two years ago. It was during the Petrino debacle and NC State beat our brains out that day. Towards the end of the game, the NC State mascot came over by our section. My son who was 6 at the time ask me if he could get a photo with it. I said “Sure!” He ended up getting that Wolf good. I ask him after the picture “what was that?” He said, “I wanted to do Wolf Pack down Dad”. We’ve had an agreed dislike for NC State since. It’s always Wolfpack down at our house.

We will be watching on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals take their seven-game win streak and best-ever conference start into Raleigh. The Wolfpack will be a hungry team after losing two in a row including a tough one to their arch-rival UNC. They are going to see this game as pivotal to their NCAA resume. And it probably will be.

I have seen that some of the talking heads are predicting the upset here. I guess they haven’t seen what we have over the last few weeks. This Louisville team has stepped up and has rolled through their conference schedule at this point. Guess it just comes down to proving it again. I think folks are waiting for this Louisville team to show their flaw.

I think they are beginning to become one of those teams that can win despite some of those flaws. I don’t think there is a team in the country that doesn’t have a chink in the armor. It will be the team that has the ability to grind through tough ones and overcome that who will be raising the trophy in April.

Coach Mack has talked about how his team is starting to fill into roles and how they’ve been playing together. One of the most impressive things about this current win streak is how it has featured different guys each week.

The emergence of David Johnson, the resurgence of Malik Williams, Sam Williamson coming into his own and Darius Perry’s recent contribution. And got the best player in the country Jordan Nwora who just had a career outing with 37 points, 9 rebounds, while adding 1 assist. Who will be the guy on Saturday?

The Cardinals converted on 12 3-pointers in their last game against BC. They are currently ranked 12th in the country in 3-point percentage, while NC State ranks 130th in defending the three. I think the long ball will play a role in this one as it always does especially on the road.

This NC State team got beat up pretty good on the boards against UNC 42-31. This is another area where Louisville can pounce. Our guys have rolled up their sleeves and have been owning the glass. Currently ranked 19th in defensive rebounding and 45th in total rebounds. Have to look way down the list for the Wolfpack ranked 176th in defensive rebounding and 162nd in total rebounds.

There is a reason why this Louisville team is winning. They are winning the hustle stats. I can’t remember a team that got after it on the glass-like this bunch does. Prolly would have to go back to that 2013 group. If they keep doing the dirty work they will win Saturday. And got a shot to win it all.

This Louisville team is on one of the best runs in college hoops and that just puts a bigger target on them. Just like at BC in the last one I expect NC State to come out and play out of their mind. With a rowdy home crowd in tow. Same recipe as the last one for the Cards. Just go prove it. Wolfpack Down! Go Cards!

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