“a BRIDGE over troubled WATER s”

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Have you ever watched a sports movie and said to yourself “man I’d love to have been a part of that?” Well last night Card Nation got to be a part of something that you usually only see in the movies. We got to watch our Teddy QB lead his team to a Big East championship, a BCS bowl and he did it while playing with one arm and on one leg. It was a heroic effort and a moment that will remain in Cardinal lore after most of us are long gone.

And how fitting that in a week that seen a football program finally be recognized after years of being disrespected, unrecognized, underrated and under appreciated that a young man like Teddy QB would win a game in this fashion. He epitomizes the University he plays for. Both he and The University of Louisville football program have had to battle long odds, tough times, and humble beginnings to get where they are today. Now both are poised to take their games to the next level. Next year Teddy QB will be a Heisman trophy candidate and The University of Louisville will be a national title contender.

And it’s crazy how all of these major moments have been played out with Rutgers involved. From the heart breaking moment in 2006 when they kicked a last minute field goal to end the hopes for a chance to play in the national title game, to 2009 when they came to Louisville and destroyed our Cards 34-14 in one of the darkest moments of the programs history, to last night that was perhaps one of the most defining moments of a young QB’s career and programs history. Also fitting that last night could be the last in the Rutgers vs Louisville dramas in New Jersey as we will be heading to the ACC and they will be moving into the Big10. Rutgers will visit Louisville one last time in the 2013 season before the conference change.

Somebody get Disney on the phone because this last week at the University of Louisville has had enough drama to be an instant classic. And at least enough for one of those ESPN inspirational shorts.

Teddy and Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson hug it out after the emotional game in Rutgers:


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– The battle against the Missouri Valley’s best continues


This Saturday our #5 ranked Cards (5-1) return to the KFC Yum Center after their second place finish in The Battle 4 Atlantis. They will face the Illinois State Redbirds (5-1) from the Missouri Valley Conference.


In the off season the Redbirds hired an alumnus Dan Muller to be their head coach. He was hired after Tim Jankovich left to be the coach in waiting at SMU. This is Muller’s first head coaching job, and often when a new coach takes over, he inherits trouble, plus lots of losses. But that’s not the case here. The Redbirds return all of their core players and are currently ranked in the top 20 in three division 1 categories. 10th in points with 85 per game, 11th in assist with 18.3 a game and 14th in field goal% at .505. They also have decent wins against UAB and Drexel on their 5-1 record. On Thursday Jay Bilas put out a list of his top 68 teams in the country and the Redbirds came in at 64. This is another very good team in the very underrated Missouri Valley conference and the combination of talent and experience, plus the enthusiasm of a new coach who knows the place, could land them a spot in the postseason.

Coach Dan Muller: “We’ve got good talent level,” “We’ve got good athleticism. We’ve got good skill. We have depth.”

In-conference offense: 1.04 points per possession (4th)
In-conference defense: 1.05 points allowed per possession (8th)

The Redbird Players:

Jackie Carmichael SR (16.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) 6-9 F is one of the top returning players in the Missouri Valley. A year ago he led the league in rebounding and defensive rebounding, was third in blocked shots and eighth in field-goal percentage (.533). He has scored 97 pts this season and 41 rebounds in 157 min.

Tyler Brown SR (18.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg) 6-4 G is the number 2 returning scorer and a year ago, he was the best shooter on a team full of them, making .454 of his 3-point attempts (79 of 174). During the NIT last season he shot 97% from the three point line through 2 games. He’s shooting 40% this season and 50% from the field. He has scored 113 pts this season and played 159 min.

Anthony Cousin SR (2.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg) 5-11 G is a combo guard, but can play multiple positions. Coach Muller: “he is more of a quiet competitor, but he has shown great leadership.” He has scored 10 pts this season and played 32 min.

John Wilkins SR (3.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) 6-9 G/F is the fourth returning starter. He has good perimeter skills and adds versatility to this team. He has scored 18 pts this season and played 113 min.

Bryant Allen JR (13.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg) 6-0 G started his collegiate athletic career on the University of Minnesota football team, was a scoring spark off the bench in his first Redbird season and should continue in that role. He is a really good shooter 44 % from 3 pt land and is a really defender. Has has 78 pts this season and has played 158 min.

Jon Ekey JR (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) 6-7 F posted the Redbirds’ best offensive rating last season he shot .407 from 3 (59 of 145) and was the Redbirds’ second-leading rebounder. He has scored 51 pts this season and has played 144 min.

Zeke Upshaw JR (1.8 ppg 1.0 rpg) 6-6 G has scored 9 pts this season and has only played 28 min.

Johnny Hill SOPH (6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg) 6-3 G is one of the players sharing minutes in the back court. He has 36 pts this season and played 125 min.

Jordan Threloff SOPH (4.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg) 6-10 C is a really good rebounder on both ends if the floor. He has 25 pts and has played 59 min.

Geoffrey Allen SOPH (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg) 6-6 G has 15 pts and has only played 37 min.

John Jones SOPH Has not played this season.

Kaza Keane FR (4.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg) 6-1 G who was on schedule to join the college ranks in 2013-14 until he reclassified. He averaged 11 assists in his final season at Christian Faith Center (N.C.) Academy. He has 27 pts this season and has played 134 min.

Nick Zeisloft FR (5.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg) 6-4 G redshirted las year. He has 31 pts this season and played 104 min.

“Louisville gives our team a chance to play in an unbelievable environment,” Muller said. “It’s something I wanted our guys to experience.”

Our cards had a good run in Atlantis and in the game against Missouri they found good shots and hit them. But like last season they continue to shoot a low percentage from the field and are currently ranked 198th among division 1 schools at .428. They are also not getting to the free throw line enough which is one of the biggest reasons they lost to Duke. In these next 2 games we have teams that are capable of wearing that giant killer label. First up is Illinois State on Saturday and then College of Charleston on (Dec.4). Poor shot selection and not getting to the free throw line are a few of the things that could allow teams like this to sneak out a win. Will be watching to see if these things are addressed and if our Cards start to improve on these areas.

Will also be watching to see what adjustments have been made in response to Gorgui Dieng being out of action. Chane, Stephan, and Montrezl will need to step up. Russ and Peyton will need to be more conservative in their defensive approach and not take the risk they normally take with Gorgui in the paint.

I am always impressed by these Missouri Valley teams. They play with a lot of pride and don’t like to be taken lightly. I think the Redbirds will give our Cards a good challenge but superior talent is enough to see us through.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 86 Illinois State 78


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– The Cards basketball team will have to prepare for the road ahead without Gorgui Dieng


We learned yesterday that Gorgui Dieng did, in fact, suffer a fracture to the scaphoid bone in his left wrist, which will require surgery today and keep him on the bench for 4-6 weeks. The carpal fracture is a problematic injury, and the healing process is an unpredictable one because it’s at such an underserved point in the circulatory system. I have experienced this injury first hand. And even when the cast comes off and the bone is mended it still requires several weeks of rehab for the wrist to become fully stable. So a realistic return date would be somewhere around the week of January 1st.

So what does this mean for the basketball team? As much as Siva and Smith are critical to this teams ultimate success, Dieng is just as important for his ability to make a difference in the paint at both ends. He scores with consistency on one end, then protects the other with fierceness. Gorgui who is considered to be one of the best shot blockers in the nation has 194 career rejections. Our Cards allowed their conference opponents to make just 42.7 percent of their 2’s last season and Gorgui was a huge part of that swatting away about 10 percent of the 2’s that opponents attempted during his minutes. And he played more than 80 percent of the available minutes at his position in 2011-12, meaning opponents faced a formidable obstacle to their offense more than 80 percent of the time.
Now the Cards will face the challenge of filling this spot and the responsibility will be given to Stephan Van Treese (2 PPG, 2.5 RPG) and Zach Price (1 PPG, 1.6 RPG), although Pitino may at times elect to go small with Montrezl Harrell (6.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG) and Chane Behanan (8.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG). This will also change the defensive habits of Russ Smith And Peyton Siva. They will no longer be able to take the chances they did in the back-court while knowing they had Gorgui behind them to bail them out when needed. I fully expect the defensive game planning to change as well. Expect to see more zone and less man-to-man. I do think the guys filling in are more than capable. But you don’t replace one of your best players and a back-up plan is never as solid as the original one. The one thing looming in the back of the minds of most Cards fans including myself is that Dec 29th match-up against UK. With Gorgui in the line-up it gave us an advantage but facing it without him looks to become more of a toss up game. But hey they all seem to end up that way so really nothing new. And with Gorgui expected back when Big East play starts I still think we end up Big East Champions and with a 1 or 2 seed to start the Madness.

Coach Pitino: “I don’t want to overhype my players,” “But he’s one of the best big men in the country.”

It really sucks to lose a player to injury and especially one as special as Gorgui. He is more than just a basketball player. He means so much more to this team and to this program. There isn’t a college basketball fan among us that won’t miss his cheerfulness and his genuine love for the game. The young man is having surgery today and I know from experience that its not a fun one. Lets all keep Gorgui in our prayers and hope for a speedy recovery. Get will soon Gorgui!


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– Jersday Night showdown for the Big East Crown and BCS birth


Cards were out “Huskied” on Saturday but still remain in the hunt for the Big East championship and a trip to a BCS bowl game. Cards come in this game after a triple overtime loss to Uconn 23-20. They will face Rutgers who also had a let down on Saturday falling to Pitt 27-6.

Coach Charlie Strong: “We have a large task ahead of us,” “After dropping the last two games, we have to regain our focus and regain our confidence. The thing we have to realize is we’ve won nine games, and dropped the last two, but this team is still a really good football team. Now, we have to go on the road. We have to go on the road to win a championship. What’s at stake for us and what we really have to understand is we have a chance to win a conference championship. We have a chance to go play in a BCS bowl game. We also have a chance for a 10-win season.”
(Courtesy UofLsports.com)

If the Cards are to go to New Jersey and pull off the upset on Thursday night they will have to come out and have a better effort than they did on Saturday. They were not able to get anything going their way as the UConn Defense held them in check for most of the way. Teddy QB was 30-53 for 331 yards and 2 TD’s with one interception. DeVante Parker was the lone bright spot hauling in 8 passes for 91 yards and 2 TD’s. The Cards running game was completely held in check as Teddy QB was sacked numerous times resulting in -29 yards and Jeremy Wright was held to just 43 yards.
Rutgers also came out flat on Saturday in their battle with Pittsburgh. Much like UConn did with Louisville Pitt was able to control the line of scrimmage the whole day. Rutgers could only manage 207 total yards. Gary Nova was picked off once and managed a 3rd quarter touchdown. Savon Huggins and Jawan Jamison combined for just 32 yards. By laying an egg Rutgers failed to claim the Big East Title and now will face our Cards for all the marbles in a Thursday night showdown.


Coach Kyle Flood was promoted to interim coach once Greg Schiano decided to leave the program to take over the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And after FIU’s Mario Cristobal turned down the job he was made the head man of the Scarlet Knights. They have most of their top players back from a 9-4 team that won the Pinstripe Bowl including players at the skill positions. They will try to keep it on the ground with the rushing attack of Jawan Jamison who has 1004 yards with 4 TD’s on the season. And Savon Huggins who has 362 yards and 2 TD’s. Quarterback Gary Nova is the man under center for the Knights. He is a very capable QB with 2282 yards and 20 TD’s on the season but is prone to the interception with 13 on the year. The biggest story of this Rutgers team is on the defensive side of the ball where 2 time Big East defensive player of the week Linebacker Khaseem Greene has lead his team to be the 4th ranked among FBS schools allowing just 13.7 points a game and only Alabama, Notre Dame and Florida are better. Greene’s intangibles, production and playmaking ability could lead him to be a top 50 pick in the NFL draft. Another thing that will play a huge role in this game is the fact that Rutgers hasn’t won a conference championship since Big East football began in 1991. They have a chance to do this for the first time and possibly the last as they will be joining the Big Ten in 2014.

Coach Kyle Flood: “I think when you have the opportunity as a football program, as a coach, as a player, to do something that’s never been done in the history of your program … we are a very focused group.”

Our Cards will be limping into this Big East showdown on Thursday night. Teddy QB broke his wrist on Saturday and will be in a cast. He will only be able to take snaps in the shotgun formation while Senior QB Will Stein will take direct snaps on the plays under center. I think the biggest loss for this Cardinals football team was when Senorise Perry got hurt. I think he was more important to this team than most thought. He was critical in our rushing attack and his hard nosed play allowed things to open up for Teddy QB and the receiving core to do their thing. And I do think Wright and Lamb are very capable of giving us valuable time but you just don’t replace a player like Perry. I do think our defensive unit will hold their own and will have another solid outing.

Folks I would love to play the optimistic homer this week but the realist in me just won’t allow for it. I would love nothing more than for our young and battered team to go into Piscataway and pay them back for keeping us out of the championship game a few years ago. It would be great to ruin their chances for their first Big East title. But I just don’t think our guys have it in them. The real talk is that we are without our leading rusher in Perry, our QB is not at a 100%, and we are facing one of the top defenses in the country on their home field. I will be cheering hard for our guys to prove me wrong this week but it is what it is.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 10 Rutgers 17


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– Cards return home from Island with an understanding of where they stand.



UofL 51 UNI 46

The Battle 4 Atlantis started on Thanksgiving Day when the Cards faced the University of Northern Iowa. And even though the Cards were playing in the Bahamas they couldn’t throw it in the ocean on this night. They shot 22 of their 62 shots from the 3-point line in this game and only made 5 of them. And on a night where I thought our inside game would take over Gorgui and Chane had one field goal in the post out of the half court set. Gorgui would finish the game with 6 pts and 9 boards. Chane would finish with 4 pts and 8 boards. Russ Smith led all scores with 16 pts but was wild at times in this one committing 6 turnovers. The Defense was very solid in this one as the Cards scored 25 pts off 22 UNI turnovers. And did hold a very good shooting team to just 34.8% from the field and 31.6% from 3-point land.

Coach Pitino: “Our guys played tight tonight, and instead of playing to win the game they played to not lose the game.”

That was pretty much the takeaway from this one. UNI was not a very good match-up for the Cards and the slow tempo did not do much for a team that likes to get up and down the court on the fast break. Those fast breaks lead to more scoring opportunities. It was good for the Cards to see a team like this early on because they will see it again as the season progresses.



UofL 84 Mizzou 61

The second game for the Cards in the Battle 4 Atlantis was against the Missouri Tigers. This game had a completely different feel from the first one as the teams got up and down the floor. The scoring was much more frantic with Missouri hitting 46 % from the field and our Cards shooting 49% from the field. Unlike the first night in Atlantis the Cards would hit 9-21 from the 3 point line for 43%. The majority of those coming from the player who was the story of the night Luke Hancock. This was the game that most Louisville fans including myself had been waiting for from this young man. He went 5-7 from the 3-point line, 6-9 from the field to lead all scorers with 19 pts. It was a great break out game for Luke and one he will need to build his confidence for the season ahead. The defense was also solid as the Cards would score 31 points off 23 turnovers. Russ Smith would force 8 of those from a very good guard Phil Pressey. Our frontcourt of Siva and Smith had a solid effort in this one combining for 31 pts 9 assist and 7 steals. The Cards bench also stepped up big in this one as well. With Gorgui and Siva in foul trouble, they were able to extend the lead. The bench had 23 pts.

Coach Pitino on Smith: “Russ is a home run player. Every possession you really have your heart in your mouth, but he really hits a lot of home runs.” “He bothers everybody, and he allows Peyton to do a lot of good things out there because he is so intense.”

Coach Pitino: “Our bench won the game. The starters finished it off, but when Peyton and Gorgui are out and you extend the lead, that’s special.”

The take away from this one was the fact that if Louisville is more patient and finds better shots for themselves instead of just jacking them up it pays off. They shot fewer shots in the second half but scored more points with 65 % shooting against a very good team.



UofL 71 Duke 76

Game three in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship was supposed to feature two of the best big men in college basketball but we found out before the game last night that Gorgui would sit due to a hurt wrist. This hurt the Cards as expected when the team had only 6 assist on the night leading to a lot of one on one basketball. Gorgui is one of the leading assist men for this team and a guy who directs the offense. Also coming into this game the Cards had made 140 pts off of 374 steals. In this one, they had 14 pts off 14 steals. They were not able to force Duke into many mistakes with the ball. Both teams shot the ball pretty well. The most surprising stat to me was that Louisville outscored Duke in the paint 46 to 26.The Cards also out rebounded the Blue Devils 37-31. Duke held their biggest advantage at the free-throw line hitting 23-27 while the Cards only made 9-14.
Our Frontcourt duo in Siva and Smith were once again very solid combining for 36 pts and 9 boards. Would have liked to seen them have more assist but still very solid.

The takeaway from this one is that we have a very good basketball team. Even without perhaps our best player, we went blow for blow with a high caliber team. Couple of plays here and there was the difference.



The Cards come home 2-1 from the Battle 4 Atlantis and with a lot of very good experience heading into the rest of the season. They learned an awful lot about themselves against 3 very different teams. Was good to see Luke Hancock have a great game, and was very good to see our bench step up at critical moments for this team. We found out that we have strengths all over the court. I can’t think of another season when we knew so much about the basketball team this early. I am looking forward to the rest of this season and looking forward to watching this team mature and develop along the way. They took those first steps this weekend.

(Hat Tip to @EricCrawford for the stat sheets)


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– Battle 4 Atlantis round 2


Our Cards survived a tough first round match-up with Northern Iowa as they shoot 31% in the 51-46 win. Russ Smith led the Cards in scoring with 16 pts. They will now advance to face the Missouri Tigers of the SEC who beat Stanford on their opening round game 78-70. The Tigers did go 22-25 from the FT line which helped in their win. They didn’t shoot very well from the floor and outside of Laurence Bowers 9-15, made just 17 of 56 shots.


On paper this team looks as talented, if not more so, than the 2012 edition. But what made Missouri click last season was the fact that the players had played with each other for so long. This season coach Frank Haith finds himself charged with the task of rebuilding his team after losing 5 seniors. The Tigers have plenty of depth on this years squad but Haith must work to fit his talented newcomers, transfers Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell, Earnest Ross, and Jabari Brown, in with his returning backcourt stars Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon. In my opinion folks aren’t gonna want any part of this team in March. But right now they are learning on the fly and still recognizing their potential.

Coach Frank Haith: “I go back to our identity,” “We’re not going to be fluid right now, offensively. That takes time. But we are gonna be tough. That’s what we can challenge them to do is play with toughness.”

In-conference offense: 1.15 points per possession (1st Big 12)
In-conference defense: 1.04 points allowed per possession (6th Big 12)

The Tiger Players:

Phil Pressey JR (15.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg) 5-11 G is one of the nation’s top returning point guards after handing out 223 assists a season ago. He excels at penetrating and either getting to the free throw line or passing to shooters. He has scored 46 pts this season and played 96 min. He had 18 pts against Stanford.

Tony Criswell JR (4.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) 6-9 F The junior college transfer will be asked to provide depth down low. Last season at Independence (Kan-sas) Community College, he averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. He has scored 13 pts this season and played 49 min. He had 2 pts against Stanford.

Keion Bell SR (9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) 6-4 G played 78 percent of Pepperdine’s minutes and took 33 percent of their shots in 2010. Bell scored 1,365 in his Pepperdine career, an average of 16.4 points per game. He’s also a stat sheet stuffer. In his sophomore season, he ranked among West Coast Conference leaders in steals, assists, free-throw per-centage and rebounding. He has scored 28 pts this season and played 72 min. He scored 8 pts against Stanford.

Michael Dixon, Jr. (0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg) 6-1 G was suspended indefinitely by Haith for unspecified reasons in October. Averaged 26 minutes and was the Tigers’ second-leading scorer in Big 12 play when he shot 52 percent from the field. He made the trip to Atlantis and is available if Coach Haith decides to play him. He was as after the Stanford game and said it would be unlikely.

Laurence Bowers SR (15.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) 6-8 F took a redshirt last season. He is known for his efficient offense, his defense is very good also. In his two seasons as a starter, he put up good block rates and good steal rates a rare combination for a big man. He has scored 46 pts this season and played 75 min. He scored 19 pts against Stanford.

Earnest Ross JR (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) 6-5 G averaged 13.1 points per game in 2010-11 at Auburn before finding greener pastures with Haith in Columbia. He led Auburn in rebounding 13 times as a sophomore. Has scored 40 pts this season and played 74 min. He scored 10 pts against Stanford.

Alex Oriakhi SR (13.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg) 6-9 F at his best he is an efficient post player who is great on the offensive glass. He is a familiar foe from the Big East transferred to Mizzu after NCAA sanctions against UCONN. He has scored 37 pts this season and played 78 min. He scored 13 pts and had 4 reb against Stanford.

Ryan Rosburg FR (1.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg) 6-10 F has scored 3 pts this season and played 19 min. He scored 5 pts against Stanford.

Stefan Jankovic FR (5.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg) 6-11 F is a big body, but his strength at this point lies in his jump shot and on the perimeter. He has scored 15 pts this season and played 40 min. He didn’t score against Stanford.

Negus Webster-Chan FR (6.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) 6-7 G Has 20 pts this season and played 90 min. He scored 3 pts against Stanford.

Dominique Bull FR Has not played this season.

Corey Haith FR Has not played this season.

Danny Feldmann FR Has not played this season.

Perhaps the most anticipated match-up of the tournament is the game between the Cards and the Blue Devils. The battle in the paint between Plumlee and Dieng would feature two of college basketball’s premier big men going head-to-head. But first Gorgui will have to battle with a pretty decent big man in Oriakhi. Will be interesting to see how Gorgui responds to his toughest competition yet down low.

Peyton Siva is one of the few point guards quick enough to keep up with Phil Pressey and he will hopefully play outstanding Pitino-style defense. He has been leading the nation in assists per game. But he only had 1 assist to 4 turnovers against UNI. It was expected that Siva’s assist would go down against elite competition. But in this one he is gonna have help move the ball in what will be a big jump in competition and athleticism.

The Cards have been playing a lot of man-to-man but I expect to see some zone in this one as the Tigers make a living getting in the lane.

This one should be a great one as it will feature two very talented teams. But the Cards have the advantage because our guys have been through these battles many times before. The Tigers are trying to figure out how to play together and with the lack of prep time in between these games it will hurt them. I think the Cards advance to the finals but it won’t be a cake walk.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 79 Missouri 71

THE BEAK PREVIEW: Cards vs. Huskies

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– The quest for a perfect season has ended but the journey to the Big East title is still ahead


Our 9-1 Cards return to the gridiron on Saturday after a loss 2 weeks ago that put an end to their hopes for a perfect season. They will face a 4-6 UConn team that is feeling better about themselves after ending a 4 game losing streak with a 24-17 win over Pitt.

Coach Strong: “We won 9 games before that loss a Syracuse. We can’t let that game beat us twice. Our focus is on winning this week against UConn.”


The Cards have had a week to regroup after the tough loss to Syracuse. They fell behind 31-10 and never recovered. Despite the lopsided loss, Teddy QB was once again solid. He threw for 424 yards and 3 touchdowns but unfortunately the Cardinals inability to stop the Orange on D was too much to overcome. Louisville gained under 50 yards on the ground and turned the ball over twice in the defeat. And even though the Cards lost their top 10 ranking, chance at a perfect season and lofty BCS standing they are still very much in the picture to win the Big East crown and go to a BCS bowl game. If they can get past UConn, they will likely face Rutgers in a season finale, winner take title showdown. UConn was able to get their mojo back after a four game losing streak. They jumped on Pitt early and never looked back. Chandler Whitmer connected with receiver Ryan Griffin for a 2 yard TD and then return man Nick Williams took a kick 80 yards to the house and UConn built a 24-0 halftime lead. Lyle McCombs had a big day for the Huskies, rushed for 120 yards and a TD on the day, and was a key reason the Huskies dominated ball control all day.


They keys to making this UConn team go are Chandler Whitmer and Lyle McCombs. Chandler is a QB that makes good decisions and is accurate with the ball. He is a former Illinois recruit who redshirted with the Illini one year, spent last season at Butler (Kansas) Community College. He directed BCC to the No. 2 ranking in the nation while throwing for 3,022 yard and 25 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. One of the staples of the UConn offense is to have a workhorse running back. McCombs has taken over that role for this Huskies squad. He earned freshman All-American honors last year. His 95.92 yards per game ranked second in the conference and 29th in the country. Nick Williams is also a guy who is a game changer. He is explosive in the return game for UConn. If he catches the ball he is always capable of making a huge play and against a Louisville team that is vulnerable in the coverage game it could happen.

Coach Paul Pasqualoni: “We have these next two games ahead of us. We’re looking forward to winning this game and coming home for Cincinnati and winning that game as well to become bowl eligible.”

Some stats very favorable for Louisville:

-Louisville is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games following a bye week.
-UConn is 5-24 on the road in BIG EAST games.
-UConn is 1-3 all-time in games at Louisville.
-UConn is 1-18 against ranked teams.

Anticipating a Big East title push and with a potential BCS game looming the Cards will be licking their chops to get a win. Plus it will be a day that will see 13 seniors play their last game at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. I think UConn will stay in the game at first but Teddy QB and company will take over and win this one going away.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 45 UConn 17


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– Battle 4 Atlantis first round


Ok Cards fans here we go. The team will be in the Bahamas this week but it will not be a vacation. Our 3-0 Cards will take the next step up in level of competition Thursday as they face a very formidable foe in 3-0 Northern Iowa from the Missouri Valley.

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UNI won 20 games for the fourth straight season last year and they appear set on making it five. Like our Cards they are a team that is known for their hard nosed defense. But this year they have a new quality that may define the season for them. This is the deepest UNI squad coach Ben Jacobson has had and they are the only team in the Missouri Valley without any incoming recruits. To go along with their depth they are very athletic, experienced and will play either a nine- or 10-man rotation. They return the top four scorers from last year and lost just one starter. They have solid size, especially for a mid-major, bringing four players off the bench who are 6-foot-6 or bigger.
 The Panthers were the slowest-paced team in MVC play, and a three-point shot is typically their first offensive option. They will try to play their brand of basketball and avoid an up-and-down game.

In-conference offense: 1.03 points per possession (5th)
In-conference defense: 1.01 points allowed per possession (4th)

Coach Ben Jacobson: “We want to put together a schedule that if we do well against it, when we start Valley play, we’ve positioned ourselves to get an at-large bid if we finish in the top three or the top four in our league,” “This year’s schedule is as difficult as any we’ve had in the time I’ve been here.”

The Panther players:

Deon Mitchell SOPH (17.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 6-1 PG was a MVC all-freshman team member, He started 24 games, including the last 11 last year. He has scored 53 pts this season and played 84 min.

Chip Rank JR (6.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg), 6-6 F “He’s got a toughness to him, and he’s got a real passion for playing,” I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shoot low-to-mid 40 percent from the 3-point line” Jacobson said of Rank. He has scored 18 pts this season and played 44 min.

Matt Bohannon FR (9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg), 6-4 G the best perimeter shooter on a good perimeter shooting team, he redshirted last year. He has scored 29 pts this season and played 81 min.

Seth Tuttle SOPH (12 ppg, 7.0 rpg), 6-8 F made two All-MVC teams All-Newcomer and All-Freshman, became the first freshman to ever lead the Valley in field goal percentage, excels at drawing fouls; he made 66 percent of his twos and nearly two-thirds of his attempts are the result of cuts, put backs, or paint touches. Of all D-I freshmen, only Tuttle and Cody Zeller had usage rates of 20 percent or more while also notching offensive ratings over 120. He has 36 pts this season and played 69 min

Marvin Singleton SOPH (5.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), 6-6 F one of several players figures in the mix at forward, He has scored 17 pts this season and played 38 min.

Nate Buss SOPH (8.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg), 6-9 F gives UNI a taller look than usual from the forward position, added 20 pounds to his 6-9 frame in off season, and his outside shot and speed will cause match-up problems. He has scored 24 pts this season and played 39 min.

Jake Koch SR (11.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg), 6-9 F led the team in blocks and assists and finished second in free-throw percentage last season, “He led us in assists; he led us in blocks. He made 30-some 3s; he gets to the free-throw line. He does a little bit of everything” Jacobson said. He has scored 35 pts this season and played 75 min.

Matt Morrison JR (4.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 6-0 G averaged nearly 12 minutes a game and played in 30 contests last year. “He was able to have some big games for us,” Jacobson said. He has scored 14 pts this season and played 41 min.

Marc Sonnen SR (7.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 6-3 G will reprise his off-the-ball role, started at least 21 games last year and averaged more than 28 minutes a game. He has scored 23 pts this season and played 91 min.

Max Martino SOPH (1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg), 6-5 G vying for a key role on the perimeter, He has scored 3 pts this season and played 38 min.

Chris Olivier FR (5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-8 F suffered a broken foot last fall and redshirted, “Olivier is big and left-handed but needs to gain strength and improve his conditioning to impact the club,” Jacobson said. He has scored 5 pts this season and played 16 min.

Matt MacDougall FR 6-4 G Has not played this season.

Austin Pehl SR (2.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-10 C averaged 7.4 minutes a game last season, He has scored 2 pts this season and played 9 min.

Tyler Lange JR 6-6 F has not played this season.

Anthony James SR 6-0 G was an honorable mention All-MVC pick for the second straight season and led the Panthers in scoring. He scored in double digits 21 times despite coming off the bench for UNI’s final 10 games. He was suspended for the first 3 games of this season but will play against the Cards.

Three questions going into this game:

Peyton Siva was the key to the runs in the post season tourneys at the end of last season. His speed and athletic ability define his game, but that same speed that allows Peyton to blow by opposing defenders has also triggered trouble. By his own admission he knows that he needs to learn to harness some of that ability. When he’s playing well, he’s as good as any point guard in America. But he hasn’t been the most consistent player in the country and he can be prone to turnovers. Still, he has been mentioned all off season in the All-American conversation. He is the key to this whole season and the Battle 4 Atlantis. This is his first chance to shine. Will he?

Wayne Blackshear now looks physically strong and his timing is good as he is now ready for battle. He can provide perimeter firepower as a big guard type who can also post up and create fouls on defenders. He seems to be coming into his zone. He is another key factor this week. Will he continue to do his thing?

I love the run and gun style of basketball. When it is working its the most exciting brand of basketball there is. But when those 3 point shots aren’t falling it can get real ugly real fast as we found out at Providence last year. Those 3 point shots falling like they did against Miami(OH) can be fools gold. And if the Cards have an off shooting night can they take advantage of one of the top Frontcourts in the country?

With UNI’s talent now boasting experience, coupled with a deep bench and a renowned dogged defense, the Panthers should give our Cards a tough challenge. And we don’t have to wait for the second round of this tournament to find out where our team stands. We will find out Thursday. I think we get this one but it will be far from easy.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 80 Northern Iowa 73


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– Redhawk Down


“Redhawk Down” is an understatement as our Cards completely dominated this game from start to finish. And looked pretty good in the last dress rehearsal before the big trip to the Bahamas this week to “Battle 4 Atlantis”. Cards roll 80-39.

When watching this game tonight it was very apparent that talent is everywhere on this squad. Yes Cards fans this team is very deep and loaded. They are the strongest at the most important spots on the floor point guard and center. Peyton Siva was the talk of the college basketball world before the season started a few weeks ago and so far he is living up to his billing. He is averaging 9 assist a game and that time he spent attending the Chris Paul point guard camp seems to be paying off. His shots seem more effortless and fundamentally sound. Tonight he had 6 points, 10 assist, and 4 steals. Gorgui Dieng was probably the second most hyped player in the time leading up to this season behind Peyton and he hasn’t disappointed either. He was one rebound shy of having his 3rd double-double in a row. He was not only great on the defensive side of the floor tonight but was very efficient on the offensive side of the ball as well. He had 11 points which included a monster dunk that will surely be on the top 10 plays of SportsCenter tonight. To go along with 9 boards and one steal.

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And perhaps the biggest surprise of this early season has been the offensive performances by Russ Smith. He has been a scoring machine averaging over 20 a game and has lead in that category the last 3 times out. He had 23 points and was 5-7 from 3 point land tonight. One of my questions coming into this game was if Russ could start putting together more complete games by adding some assists and rebounding to his performances? Well tonight that answer was no. He didn’t have a rebound, assist, or a steal. I’m very impressed with his offensive out-put but in order for this team to go Russ is gonna have to add more to the stat sheet than what he’s done so far.

Welcome back Chane Behanan. He is such a polished and powerful player down low. He dominated his position tonight and when he establishes a low center of gravity he is gonna put any defender at a disadvantage. He also possesses strong hands to rebound the ball and soft hands to score it. He’s always capable of producing a double-double. My second question coming into this game was if he would continue his climb out of the hole he had dug for himself to start the season? The answer to that question is yes. Chane is back and he had 7 points with 7 rebounds in a solid performance tonight.

Was great to see this team come out and have a better shooting performance tonight. It seems like everyone was making threes. They shot 12-26 from three point land for 46.2% and also shot and impressive 80% from the free throw line hitting 12 of 15. But we all know that this team will not be champions because of their offense. If this team is cutting down the nets in Atlanta at the end of the season it will be because of their suffocating defense. Coming into this game the Cards had made 60 of their 159 points off of turnovers. Tonight they had 24 points off of turnovers and held Miami(OH) under 29% from the field. The defensive pressure was awesome in this game and the guys were flying all over the court. My third and final question heading into this game tonight was if we would see some match-up zone in preparation for tougher competition down the road? Didn’t see much of the zone but the full court pressure was awesome. And due to our depth we may not have to play as much zone this year. Looks like we will go man-to-man and press, press, press.

Tonight was a great dress rehearsal for the tough week ahead and without question our Cards played the part of the #2 team in the country.

Coach Pitino: “This was a great game for us, and we definitely played well in all facets of the game.”



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The 2012-13 season rolls on Sunday in the KFC Yum Center as the Miami (OH) RedHawks come to town to take on our Cards. The RedHawks come into this game 1-1 after beating Grambling St 80-54. The Cards come into this game 2-0 after a dominating win over Samford 80-54. Yes, those scores are right and make me wonder how many times teams have played each other coming off an identical score in their previous wins.


Miami (OH) begins a new era with the hiring of Tennessee State’s John Cooper after 70-year-old Charlie Coles announced his retirement in his 16th and final season serving as his alma mater’s coach. Cooper arrived in Oxford after engineering a remarkable turnaround at TSU. One of his games that some of you might remember is when Cooper’s team was the only one to beat Murray State in the regular season last year. During a three-year period in Nashville, Cooper’s teams improved each year. Miami (OH) is winningest program in the MAC and have had 17 NCAA appearances. But Cooper will have another tall task ahead of him as they were not very good last season and their best player Julian Mavunga was a senior. Despite the loss of Mavunga Miami does return a few decent offensive players.

In-conference offense: 1.02 points per possession (8th)
In-conference defense: 1.06 points allowed per possession (10th)

Coach John Cooper: “Obviously I was very familiar with the university for the basketball program,” They’ve had some unbelievable tradition. Look at the staffs there. Charlie Coles. (Before him) Herb Sendek was the coach with Thad Matta and Sean Miller as his assistants. Now it’s about how to bring that back to fruition.”

The RedHawk Players:

Geovonie McKnight FR (4.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg), 6-3 hails from Middletown High School, averaged 20 points and six rebounds during his senior year and chose Miami after Cooper’s arrival. Has played 44 min this season and has 9 points 6 rebounds.

Reggie Johnson FR (13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg), 6-1 played at St. Joseph’s High School, He signed with Tennessee State last November, but joined Cooper and his staff at Miami. Has played 42 min this season and has 27 points 7 rebounds.

Josh Sewell JR (6.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg), He’s the team’s top returning 3-point shooter. Has played 17 min this season with no points and 3 rebounds.

Quinten Rollins JR (7.7 ppg, 3.2 apg), might be Miami’s most indispensable player as the only true point guard on the roster, He led the RedHawks and ranked sixth in the MAC with 1.6 steals per game. Has played 47 min this season 7 points no rebounds.

Allen Roberts JR (14.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg), a projected starter last season who didn’t play a minute as he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in December. Roberts averaged 7.9 points in 24.0 minutes per game as a sophomore. Has played 59 min this season with 28 points 3 rebounds.

Bill Edwards JR (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg), a 6-6, 245-pound junior who spent his freshman year at Penn State. Has played 40 min this season with 19 points 8 rebounds.

Will Felder JR (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), 6-7 power forward averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for St. Francis (PA) in 2010-11 before sitting out his transfer season last year. Has played 40 min this season with 17 points 9 rebounds.

Jon Harris JR (7.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Classic stretch four who’s more comfortable on the perimeter than in the post. Drilled 37 percent of his 3-point attempts (58 of 155) while taking just 60 shots inside the arc all year. Has played 49 min this season with 15 points 12 rebounds.

Drew McGhee JR (5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg), made 20 starts last year and his 59.2 percent field-goal shooting made him the only RedHawk to hit better than 46 percent from the floor. Has played 25 min this season with 11 points 7 rebounds.

Joe Mezher SOPH Has only played a total of 3 min this season no points no rebounds.

Jared Tadlock SOPH 6-9, played just 10 minutes last season, but three of his four shots during that stretch came from 3-point range. Has only played 3 min this season with 2 points 2 rebounds.

Will Sullivan SOPH (2.1 ppg) is Miami’s other backcourt option with experience, walked on last fall with the promise of a scholarship this year, wound up making 10 starts and playing 13.7 minutes per game. Has only played 14 min this season no points 4 rebounds.

John Hawkins SOPH Has not played this season

Vince Legarza SR (1.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg), made three starts last year and averaged 9.7 minutes per game. While he shot just 37 percent on his limited attempts, he handed out 21 assists versus 12 turnovers to enjoy the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the squad. Has played 19 min this season with 4 points 4 rebounds.

Three questions going into this game:

Russ Smith spent last year as a sparkplug off the bench for the Cardinals, and while he had a penchant for the big play, his usage rate was incredibly high and he was prone to big mistakes as well. Going into this year, Rick Pitino tasked Russ with improving his consistency and becoming a more reliable basketball player. Well so far he has answered that call and has lead this team in scoring. Will he continue to do that and will he start to get his teammates more involved?

Chane Behanan started this season in Coach Pitino’s doghouse. However, it looks like the message has been received and the guy who played a major role in the Final Four run seems to be starting his comeback. He had 18 rebounds against Samford Thursday night as his rebounding instincts and nose for the ball were very apparent. He is more than capable of dominating games with his brute force. Will he continue to be this effective on the boards and will he continue to climb out of the early season hole he dug for himself?

Coach Pitino usually plays a different defense than most, going with a match-up zone that can change to man-to-man within a possession, but so far we have only seen a lot of man-to-man. Just wondering with the stiff competition looming in the “Battle for Atlantis” if we will see him start using the match up zone a little more or will he stick to the man-to-man?

Charlie Coles’ influence will remain at Miami (OH) in several ways. The most obvious at this point? The schedule. Coles loved to play a rigorous schedule to prepare his guys for the MAC. The first part of this tough out of conference schedule starts with the game against our Cards on Sunday. Again, our Cards will be dominate in every position. It will be another cakewalk in this one as it is the final primer for much tougher competition ahead. Cards will roll.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 80 Miami 51