The Cardinals opened Big East play on the right note with a solid win over Kevin Willard’s Seton Hall Pirates. Louisville jumped out to an 8-0 lead early and once they got it to 24-2 with about ten minutes to play in the first half, the game was over. I would like to act as if Louisville played extremely well and just blitzed the Hall with relentless pressure and superior ball movement, but quite frankly, Louisville won because Seton Hall is just really bad.
I don’t mean to act as if the Cards did not play well. They played well when they had to. But, for anyone who watched the game, you just knew Seton Hall was not going to win. And I’m sure the UofL players were also well aware of it.
When you look at the numbers, nothing really senstational jumps out. Louisville shot 48% from the field, which is pretty good. They shot 6-20 from three point range, good for 30%, which is okay, but not great. The Cards outrebounded Seton Hall 45-33, but much of that advantage came as a result of late game, garbage time boards. Louisville was down 18-16 on the glass at halftime.
Additionally, the assist to turnover ratio was poor, 16-15. Louisville did block 9 shots and had 9 steals, both pretty good numbers, but nothing to get real excited about.
My point is in a game against an inferior opponent, the Cards did what they were supposed to do: win the game. While a win over Seton Hall is nothing to throw a parade over, a home loss to Seton Hall would’ve been demoralizing.
I have my issues with some things Rick Pitino says, but I completely agree with him when he talks about how the importance of these types of games are often overlooked. Think of the damage losing to a Seton Hall does to a NCAA Tournament resume. It virtually kills it on the spot and forces you to win two games you aren’t supposed to to make up for it.
Again, I don’t want to hold a rally at 4th Street Live after this win, but it’s still a good win, if for no other reason than you start off conference play 1-0.
Perhaps the most positive sign of the night was play of Mike Marra. The one we call B-Rabbit finally returned to his early season form and played his best game in what seems like months. Mike hit on 3-5 from deep and scored a total of 14 points in 25 minutes off the bench. He also dished out 4 assists and grabbed 2 boards.
Mike Marra is a critical part of this team. When he’s on, he’s a threat offensively, something this team needs.
Another critical player to this team, which became obvious to me tonight, is Gorgui Dieng. The Gorgeous One is Louisville’s best big man and provides a constant presence on the offensive glass. Against Seton Hall, Gorgui had 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks (2 were clearly goaltends, but it was apparently no goaltend night).
To me, Gorgui’s biggest attribute is his activity, specifically in terms of offensive rebounding. Gorgui is not yet strong enough physically to constantly bang down low, but he can move around and grab some rebounds by simply being more active than his counterpart.
Please take note Terrence Jennings.
Quick thoughts on random things I noticed during the game:
-Preston Knowles on fastbreaks scares me to death. He appears on the verge of completely out of control for about forty feet, then somehow gets it together near the final ten or so. Don’t know how he does it.
-I love George Goode. Love him.
-Brian Brohm made an appearance at the game, along with a smokin’ hot blonde friend. Guess being a back-up quarterback on an awful team is a pretty good gig after all.
-I’m convinced some fans simply do not pay attention to the game at all. In a stretch of about five minutes, the same fan behind me managed to confuse George Goode for Terrence Jennings, then Gorgui Dieng for George Goode. However, my favorite was confusing Stephan Van Treese for Dieng. I know this because he verbalized his confusion each time. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?!?!
-Finally, Will Perdue was at the game. The man has four NBA Championship rings, which is four more than Charles Barkley. Unreal.
The Cards are now 12-2, 1-0 in the Big East, and finally leave the state for their next game. They travel to Miami to take on Stan Heath’s South Florida Bulls, who once again are not good at basketball. We’ll have a preview of that titanic struggle up in a few days.