Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

Dedicated to the joyful noise of the Card faithful

Louisville 57 – Pittsburgh 54 : Now, What Must Be Done From Here…

Posted by frankpos on February 27, 2012

Let’s see now….  A summary of this game.  OK: A ragged, low energy effort– certainly not one to inspire any dreams of deep post-season runs.

After the game, Coach Pitino empshasized we must push the pace–up the tempo– or at least try.  He also threw in thoughts about us pressing more, and using subs like Wayne Blackshear.

Kyle Kuric was clutch again, easily shaking off an 0-for-11 performance in the previous game, by hitting his first shot, nailing 4 of 7 trey's-- and making a key 3-ball late. He also filled the stat sheet with 4 bounds, 2 assists, and 0 TO's.

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Hmmm… well, here are my thoughts on that soupy potion for us moving forward.

I was at the press conference and I asked Coach Pitino about how we address these 3-8 minute offensive droughts that plague us. He answered by again saying we need to push the pace, so the opponent is not ready for our half court set— which they by now in the season have scouted and prepared for very well.

Post-game, Coach Pitino stressed we need to push the pace more, and Peyton Siva's the main man in the plan.

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The key point is that…. he has been saying that we need to push the pace since near the beginning of the season. He has, perhaps not so pointedly—but he has.

Guys and gals— we ain’t gonna move much faster. We just are not. We would have, if we could have, before now, I can assure you. This is not a new thunderbolt idea that has suddenly hit Coach.

I also pointed out in the press conference that he had just emphasized before the game that the key thing we needed to focus on was our assists vs, turnover ratio—and asked him to comment on the solution, since we were upside down once again. In the video on this presser, you’ll hear him and Kenny consult the stats and say we improved in the second half on that—which we did. But that was/is not an answer to my question—it was just a diversionary point…

Seen here sinking a soft hook, Center Gorgui Dieng had a rare off- game. But he's one of the keys to a deep post-season run.

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Sadly—and I do say this sadly and heartfelt—we are simply just as stat guru Ken Pomeroy pointed out to Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich just a few days ago— a turnover prone, offensively challenged team that will be highly prone to struggle both in the Big East tourney as well to go very far in the NCAA tourney.

There are many reasons for this…injuries to key backup players, no true backups for Gorgui or Siva, Blackshear not being ready now (and not going to fully be by yr end), no one like Preston ( ! ) able to create a shot at a key time, yada, yada…

Rick can work some magic , and we can possibly magically maybe catch some fire…but we are what we are…

Let me quickly add, so you don’t think I’m being totally negative: We are very good defensively, and have proven we can go nose-to-nose with any team in the country.

Several pundits seem to think that one of the main answers to this team's continuing scoring droughts is to throw in some "wild cards." Well-- none is wilder than Russ Smith, who has singlehandedly won 4-5 games with his heroics, but who sees limited minutes because of his wildness.

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UK, Syracuse—any team. But we also have not proven we can beat them— yet.

There is hope, as there always is with a top 15 team like ours.

But “pushing the pace” is not some new , magic bullet.

However, I’ll agree with Coach’s suggestions–they are at least worthwhile and on target.  Whether we can truly execute those “fixes”  effectively will be the key.

Coach Rick Pitino is searching for answers--and some magic--for this year's Card team, that began the year so full of promise.

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I’ll also toss in Eric Crawford’s suggestion today about involving/starting Russ Smith more–basically trying to throw in some “wild cards” as Eric summed it up.  And Russ is the wildest card of them all, no doubt.  And I personally believe he should start, and play more NOW.

Wayne Blackshear is the only other player on the team right now that I think could add something potentially…and I say potentially because I just personally don’t think we can expect too much from him, given his time off and the fact he is still not fully recovered physically.

But I frankly think he is truly the only other card Pitino can play, besides more Russ, that will have a positive effect at this point. (Sorry- not Ware, Justice, or Price.)

.

One thing this year's team lacks is a player who is able to create and make big shots--like Preston (!) Knowles-- who happened to be in the crowd for the Pitt game

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So… let’s see whether the tempo quickens against South Florida this Wednesday…and against Syracuse this Saturday.

Let’s see if Pitino actually throws in some wild cards, like more Russ and Wayne.

Let’s see if some magic can truly happen…

(BTW…ck out the full set of photos from Hell in the Hall photographer, Matt Wickham, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylures/sets/72157629462206415/   and at the right sidebar .

Long overdue, DeJuan Wheat had his numbered retired, to join the greats in Cardinal lore.

Oh yeah...the LadyBirds were there too...

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