This was a game you would’ve loved to have. Another win against a top 10 team on the road can do wonders for your RPI, tournament status, not to mention record in Big East play. Unfortunately, the Cards could not pull it off and dropped an 89-79 decision to Notre Dame.
There are many things that will be the focus of discussion after this game, but I think three of the biggest are the Kyle Kuric technical, the last play of regulation, and what the hell happened in overtime.
First, let’s quickly address the Kyle Kuric technical at the end of the first half. After strait humiliating Scott Martin on a dunk, Kyle stands over him (which is where he landed), and looks at Martin on the floor. After watching the replay, Kyle didn’t say anything, but referee Pat Driscoll called a technical for taunting.
Ok, there are two issues here. One, is it a technical by rule? Yes, probably. Second, is what Kyle did something that occurs in almost every game in major college basketball? Absolutely.
The technical call by Pat Driscoll is absurd. I said on our Twitter page, if what Kuric did was a technical, than Terrence Jones should have eight this year. I don’t say that because I think Jones has deserved technicals, I say that because was Kyle did happens all the time, particularly in big games. If Kyle said something while standing over Martin, then I would agree with the call. If Kyle purposely walks over to Martin to stand over him, then the technical is deserved.
Neither of those things happened. Pat Driscoll made a terrible call. Moving on.
The play at the end of the second half is already being heavily discussed. For those who missed it, with the score tied at 74 and Cards’ ball with 25 seconds left, Peyton Siva ran the clock down, drove the right side into traffic, and Louisville was only able to get a challenged three pointer from Preston Knowles as time expired.
You have to give Notre Dame some credit on that play. They showed a man defense while Siva was running the clock, but switched to zone right before he started to drive. Obviously, a deep three is not the best shot in that situation and you would think that’s not the play drawn up in the huddle. However, my issue is not really with that specific play. My issue is with the offense as a whole during the final minutes.
After having a lot of success, particularly late, with Siva driving and creating, the Cards seemed to abandon it and settled for far too many jump shots in my opinion. Some will blame Rick Pitino for that and I guess that’s partly true, but as far as I’m concerned, Peyton has to get the ball in his hands.
There were several situations when Siva was being guarded by Ben Hansbrough, saddled with four fouls. Notre Dame had no one who showed they could guard Peyton, and Hansbrough in particular had no chance. In that situation, Peyton must get the ball and be the one to make a play. Instead, too many possessions involved perimeter passes and a jump shot. In short, wasted opportunities.
You simply cannot do that on the road against a top 10 team and hope to win.
Finally, many are still wondering what the hell happened in overtime. Quite frankly, I have no clue, but I can tell you what it looked like to me. Sadly, it looked to me like once Notre Dame went up by six points, Louisville quit. The crowd was in a frenzy and the Cards had the look of a team wanting to get out of there.
I hope I’m wrong, but it definitely had the same feel as the Villanova game when ‘Nova went on a run and the Cards, by their own admission, folded.
-Lost in the discussion about Kuric’s technical was the fact that dunk was sick. I think Evan Daniels said it best on his Twitter page when said, “Scott Martin got ruined on that dunk.”
-Another solid effort from Terrence Jennings tonight. Without Gorgui Dieng to give him a decent break, TJ produced again with 14 points and 7 rebounds. TJ was a force tonight and if you don’t believe it, watch the game again and look at how bad the UofL offense was without him in the game.
-Preston Knowles returned and despite scoring 13 points, I did not think he played well at all. Preston took way too many challenged shots and on key possessions, I thought he made some very poor decisions. As a senior, Preston has to be and play more composed.
-Lastly, Digger Phelps and Bob Knight. This will be brief. Digger is a clinical moron and even though I like Bob Knight as an analyst, it was obvious he watched exactly zero Louisville games this year. The man strait had no clue what he yappin about tonight.
With the loss tonight, the Cards fall to 18-6 and 7-4 in the Big East. They return home to play a Saturday noon game against the 13th ranked Syracuse Orange. It should be a raucous atmosphere as UofL will honor the 1986 National Championship team and wear throwback uniforms. We’ll have our preview of that game up in a few days.