The Cards rode a hot first half to a big time win over 18th ranked Butler 88-73 in the official KFC Yum! Center opener. This was really a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Cards successfully fed off the emotion of the crowd and jumped out to a 41-23 halftime lead.
Early in the second, it appeared the Cards would put a huge beatdown on the Bulldogs as they pushed their lead to 50-26. However, Butler is an experienced, poised team and slowly started the chip away. They narrowed the lead to only 11 points with about five minutes remaining.
Fortunately, the Cards got it together and put the Bulldogs away.
You have to love the way UofL played in the first half. Offensively, they distributed the ball with 11 assists on their first 15 field goals. They got good scoring from several guys like Mike Marra, Rakeem Buckles, and Preston Knowles.
Defensively, I thought the Cards switched extremely well. The switches were crisp and there appeared to be good communication by the players. They rebounded decent, but Butler is lacking in size so I don’t think there was too much to get excited about in that area.
It’s very late and I’ll have more tomorrow, including individual breakdowns, but here’s a little preview. Rakeem Buckles got my MVP award and Elisha Justice impressed the hell out of me.