Jan 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) reacts during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at KFC Yum! Center. Cincinnati defeated Louisville 69-66. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

No Time to Panic; A recap of last nights game

No Time to Panic; A recap of last nights game

Author : Jon Mcswain

After tonight’s loss, is it time to panic?  Are our beloved Cardinals not the team we had all hoped and expected they would be? Worse yet, is the “Year of the Cardinal” officially over?!  I tend to think not.

The loss last night stung.  There is absolutely no way to get around that.  It is a rivalry game against a team we all hate.  I can, throughout the years, vividly remember the many gruesome battles we have had with Cincinnati.  Games that had you not known were NCAA sanctioned, you would have sworn were being played for bragging rights on the neighborhood court.  The mere mention of former players like Danny Fortson, Nick Van Exel, and Kenyon Martin still spurn emotions of hatred.  Needless to say, there is no love loss between UofL and UC.  That, coupled with our current year aspirations, were all the motivation and desire we needed to want to win this game.

Perhaps that is it?  The fact that this is a rivalry game, against a very stingy Cincy team, with a very talented player in Kilpatrick, that could be the very reasons we stumbled.  Cincy is good, and I am not about to take that away from them, but should we have won the game tonight?  Most likely, yes.  However, when you dig yourself into a 17 point deficit, (no surprise here) it is never going to be easy to win, and we proved that again tonight.

Where this team struggles is in leadership.  It has been written about and harped on since the beginning of the season and it proved true again tonight.  Russ is amazing.  One of my all time favorites, but he is a great basketball player, not floor general.  It has ALWAYS appeared that his interpretation of leading the team, is in scoring the winning bucket, and (had that been the case we would be praising him), but that is not really leading and what this team is missing is a Peyton Siva type leader.

Chane…Chane…Chane.  Another reason we ought not panic is that NO ONE expected Chane to be off this team.  We all expected him to continue improving on his terrific championship game, and not having him is most definitely affecting this team.  He is human, and we all make mistakes, but it sure would have been nice to still have him.

On to Chris Jones.  Chris is a great player, and one I thoroughly enjoy watching, but he hasn’t gelled with this team yet.  Tonight he gave a 6 point effort, (which is not horrible) but the glaring stat is he had 0 assists.  Now call me crazy, but if you are going to be the point guard shouldn’t you be distributing the points?!  Just wanted to touch on that a little, but I see that as an enormous road block for our goals ahead.  We have to get more out of Chris if we are going to have any real opportunity at another Final Four.

The flip side of that is Luke and Montrezl.  Excellent effort from both of them.  Luke scored 16 points and had 6 assists and Montrezl had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.  Don’t get me wrong, we need more rebounds out of both of them, but lets be honest, we need more rebounds out of everyone!  UC out rebounded us 36-25 and that just exacerbated our efforts of making a comeback.  BLOCK OUT, BLOCK OUT, BLOCK OUT!!!

With all the negatives aside, we need to be reminded of who we DO have.  Rick Pitino.  There is not an honest UL fan that thought our 2012 team could make it to the Final Four.  That team lost 10 games and Rick still guided them to a Final Four!  He is not in the Hall of Fame for nothing and we should not forget that he is here.

We also have a VERY determined Russ Smith.  If he can continue to work on leading this team, then the skies the limit.  MOP of the tournament Luke Hancock and potential lottery pick Trez.  We have enough talent, in fact, the potential of this team is staggering.  They have beaten teams by 39 points twice this season.  That takes talent, no question about it.

Folks we are the University of Louisville.  We win games because that is what one of the most highly decorated basketball programs do.  When we lose a game, we don’t fall apart and spend the next few days sulking, we remind ourselves that when we say “Louisville First, Cards Forever, its our mantra for success.  Go Cards and BEAT UCF!

Jon McSwain



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