Cards Stuff The Golden Eagles

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Not much of a challenge in this one tonight and the Cards took care of business beating Southern Miss 69-38. The Cards add to their series lead over the Golden Eagles 31 to 11. The Cards who ended a 21 game winning streak last weekend now start a new one. Louisville #9 in the country is now 6-1 and has never lost back to back games in November under Pitino.

In true Pitino fashion the Cards starting line-up for this game had a few changes. Terry Rozier got the nod over Chris Jones and Mangok Mathiang got the starting nod at the center position. Both players took advantage of their starting roles early as Rozier hit a pair of three pointers and Magok hit a shot to help the Cards take a 13-0 advantage in the first five minutes. These guys would finish off their nights just as impressively as Rozier would end up with 9 points while Mango had 7 rebounds and three blocked shots. I hope this duo continues to trend upward. Would be huge for this team.
Louisville’s offense looked sharp tonight and ten players made it into the scoring column shooting 23 of 55 for 42% and matched a season high with 12 3-pointers. And while he didn’t get the start Chris Jones made the best out of coming off the bench and was a very big part of this offensive production. He lead the team with 18 points making 4 of 7 from three and 5 of 10 overall.
Russ was quiet in the first half but got things going in the second half and ended up stuffing the stat sheet with 11 points, 1 rebound, 4 steals and led the team with 6 assist.
Montrezl also had a good night scoring 11 points with 9 rebounds. I love seeing this guy try to rip the rim off but seeing him have a big rebounding night is just as fun. His rebounding is needed more than his offense in my opinion.
Kudos to Wayne Blackshear for showing up tonight. He had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assist. Now let’s see if he can keep it going. Consistency is the key with Wayne.

The Cardinals’ defense was the thing that everyone was watching tonight after the dismal showing in the loss last weekend. Tonight they were back on track forcing 22 turnovers and snuffed out the Golden Eagles at the start of both halves, holding them scoreless for nearly 12 combined minutes in the game.
Rebounding was also better tonight and the Cards grabbed 38 to their 33.
Free throw shooting took a step backwards again tonight and they were 11-22 for 50%.

The guys returned to the court tonight with a look of purpose. You could tell that they had been in the practice gym for a week. I think Rozier and Mangok will benefit from getting this start and it will help their confidence. Coach Pitino knows what he is doing with these two and knows that their development is critical for the teams success. It was a good night and good return to the court for the guys tonight. The December grind starts next week. Time to continue to improve and keep building on the successes. Lots of good things to build off of from this one tonight. Go Cards!

Wayne Blackshear after the game:

Terry Rozier after the game:

Luke Hancock after the game:

Mangok Mathiang after the game:

Montrezl Harrell after the game:

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The Beak Basketball Breakdown: Game #7

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Friday night the Cardinals will return to the hardwood for the first time after losing their first game of the season. This game can be seen at 7pm on WHAS 11 locally or on ESPN3. The Cardinals will be looking to start a new winning streak when they do battle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. This will be the 42nd meeting between these teams and Louisville holds the series lead 30 to 11. The last time these teams played was on Jan. 11, 2005, in Hattiesburg and it was the Cards who won that game 107-62. Southern Miss comes into this game 6-0 and were picked to finish first in Conference USA.

The head coach of the Golden Eagles will be a familiar face to Louisville fans and one that brings back some not so good memories. Southern Miss Coach Donnie Tyndall and his then Morehead State team knocked our Cardinals out of the NCAA Tournament three seasons ago in one of the biggest upsets in Cardinal history. Now Coach Tyndall and his prowess has Southern Miss back on the right track. A season ago Tyndall did a masterful job of blending the old with the new mixing new players with returning starters and getting them to all buy into his system and begin building the program. This season he has a group of transfers giving him some good minutes. Aaron Brown (11.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assist) who transferred from Temple is a good scorer and a lanky defender who can get into passing lanes. He is leading the team in scoring this season. Chip Armelin (5.2 points, 2 rebounds, 0.6 assist) the transfer from Minnesota is providing great back-up minutes at the guard spot. He’s a good ball handler and tough rebounder. Matt Bingaya (5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds) and Ude Ifeanyichukwa (0.8 points, 0.8 rebounds) give them size, quality, and depth on the wing. Ude was ranked as a top-80 prospect by
Southern Miss does return four players who started at least ten games last season. Neil Watson (10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.5 assist) and Jerrold Brooks 9.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3 assist) are back for their senior seasons in the back-court. Both put up offensive ratings that topped 113, and Watson’s 59 eFG was in the national top 70 last season. Both of these guys are great outside shooters. In the front court Michael Craig (9.8 points, 6.2 rebounds) a 6-foot-5 swing-man can fill up a stat sheet fast, and Daveon Boardingham (10.5 points, 5.2 rebounds) a former junior college transfer is an efficient scorer in the paint and will be asked to take more shots as a senior. He had an offensive rating near 116 and an offensive rebounding rate in the top 100 last season.
This Southern Miss team is going to come at our Cards with a potent mix of turnover-forcing zone defense (a plus 4.5 turnover margin with 8.8 steals per game) and even better offense (shooting 48% from the field, .386% from 3pt line and .663% from free throw line, averaging 12.7 assists).

Southern Miss

Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #72
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
-98.2 ranks 63rd
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
-107.7 ranks 83rd

It will be the day after Thanksgiving and we will all be full of turkey. I will still be hungry for another Cardinal win and will be watching to see if this group can be more mentally and physically better on the defensive end of the floor this time out. This will be a good test and the Golden Eagles offense will challenge the Louisville transition defense. They will get up and down the court. Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Louisville backcourt but the front-court offense disappeared last weekend. Will Harrell, Behanan, and Mango have better games this week? More importantly will Wayne Blackshear get his head out of the sand and get things back on the right track? This team has had a week in the practice gym and I hope to see some positives from that Friday night. It will be a good test coming off a loss and I think the Cards will send November out on a winning note.

Tar heeled And Feathered

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Today Cardinal Basketball fans are dealing with something we haven’t had to deal with in 289 days. A Cardinal loss.. The team fell in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic Championship today to North Carolina 93-84. With this loss the Tarheels now lead the all-time series 9-3. The Cards also have their 21 game winning streak snapped and are now 5-1 on the season.

Coach Pitino after the loss: “We learned a lot from this game. They exploited some weaknesses of our team.”

Not much was going right for the Cardinals today and you could almost see this one coming by the way they played yesterday. The loss of Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng along with the injuries and off the court issues has really hurt the group dynamic of this team. Last year they were one heart beat and now this team has to re-focus and get that back.
The biggest issues today were the lack of transition defense and poor rotation in the half-court defense. It’s been a long time since I’ve written that about a Coach Pitino coached team. This is the first time Louisville has allowed 91 points since Western Carolina beat the Cards 91-83 in Freedom Hall on 12/12/09. Another thing missing in this Louisville defense is the lack of that big-time shot blocking presence in the low post. Hopefully we will develop one of our bigs to fill those shoes as the season progresses.
This group also needs to figure out what their identity is going to be on the offensive end of the floor. They looked really confused against the zone defense and weren’t very fundamentally sound, missing lay-ups, taking bad shots and the result was a 38.8% day from the field. That’s not going to get it done. This team must also get stronger on the boards. They were out-rebounded today 39-36. This was a better effort and I think it will continue to improve. Taking care and making better decisions with the ball also must continue to improve. 14 turnovers to 3 assist today. Not going to win many games with that stat.
Back-court scoring isn’t going to be a problem for this team and today Russ had 36, Jones had 18, and Luke had 10. Luke right now isn’t even close to being where he was last year. He just started practicing a few weeks ago so he will get it back. The real issue seems to be a lack of points coming from the front-court guys. Today Harrell had 5, Behanan 7, Van Treese 2, and Mathiang 2. And Wayne Blackshear ZERO’s across the board. Really thought he was done with his Houdini acts. This kid may never get it. But this front-court needs to do some real soul searching. They gotta be better.. This team has to and will get better…

North Carolina had a very good game plan and they are very well coached. They exposed the lack of transition defense and confused our guys with the zone. Their players stepped up big for them today. They deserved this one and got it. They had their Belmont moment and today was ours.
This one really hurts, but let’s face it Cardinal fans this basketball team has taken us on an amazing journey over the last 289 days since our last loss. They have given us memories that will last a lifetime. And now this group will refocus and find their own identity. A lot still to come for the 2013-14 Louisville Cardinals and they have a month to get some things right. December 28th is the next big one. The new streak starts Friday.. Go Cards!

The Beak Basketball Breakdown: Game #6

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On Sunday at 1pm the Louisville Basketball team plays their toughest game of the season taking on the Tarheels for the Hall of Fame Tip Off Championship. North Carolina leads this series 8-3 and won the last time these teams met in the NCAA East Regional Final 83-73. The Cards will be looking to go 6-0 and to win their 22nd straight game. The Tarheels are ranked 24th in the country and were picked to finish 3rd in the ACC. This game can be seen on ESPN.

There are a lot of good basketball players on this North Carolina basketball team, of the 11 players that see most of the minutes in the North Carolina rotation, 10 were four-star recruits and they’re led by a head coach that’s won two national titles since 2005. Their biggest challenge of this season so far is getting their pieces all working together and finding their identity. Roy Williams is known for playing a certain style, one characterized by a fast tempo, offensive rebounds, exceptionally tall front lines and shooting a lot of free throws, to name a few. They also do a great job of playing defense on the ball. Leading the fast tempo offense is Nate Britt (2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2 assist a game) a talented freshman with the quicks to really push the ball up and down the floor. He has struggled with his defensive responsibilities this season but does lead the team with six steals. And Marcus Paige (18 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.3 assist a game) who was moved to shooting guard when Britt arrived and has taken off in this role. He’s a solid shooter and was 6-9 from 3 point land with 26 points in his last outing. The guys crashing the boards for this team and filling the role of that tall, athletic front court are James Michael McAdoo (19.7 points, 8.7 rebounds a game), Brice Johnson (12 points, 6.3 rebounds a game), J.P. Tokoto (9 points, 6.3 rebounds a game), and Joel James (4 points, 4.3 rebounds a game).
McAdoo has all the talent and potential in the world, and can do some good things in transition, Johnson is big for them on the defensive glass, and James and Tokoto are big for them on the defensive end and offensive boards. This team also has some very promising freshman bigs in Isaiah Hicks (1.3 points, 2 rebounds a game) and Kennedy Meeks (6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds a game). They are both good inside scorers.
This team can hurt you in many ways when they put it all together.

North Carolina

Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #26
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
-94.1 ranks 24th
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
-109.9 ranks 49th

The Cards will be ready for this one and they might have been looking ahead to the match-up during their game against Fairfield. UNC can match the size and the talent of the Cardinals. It will be a tough battle on the glass as Carolina has been the better team in that category this season. And our front-court will have to step up big in this one. Montrezl, Chane and Wayne will all have to hit the boards and be aggressive on the defensive end. I think our back-court has the advantage with the depth. Russ and Chris are slightly ahead of their duo but they’ll need to take care of the ball and make good decisions. I do think our bench will also be big in this game especially Luke. This is the one we’ve been waiting for Cardinal fans, and it will be a great opportunity for the Cardinals to send a message to their future conference foes that they are ready for the ACC. It will be a great early season match-up that goes down to the wire. Cards win a close one…

Cardinal Basketball Sluggish Against The Stags

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I’m convinced that sluggish is the theme of the day if you are a Louisville fan. First we watched our football team win in sluggish fashion and then the Basketball team follows that theme in their semi-final game of the Hall of Fame Tip Off classic with a sluggish win over Fairfield. The Cards beat the Stags 71-57 in what was their worst performance of this young season. Regardless of how it was won the Cards are 5-0 and have now won 21 straight dating back to last season. They will now be competing in the Championship game of this tourney tomorrow against North Carolina and will be looking for their 27th title in a regular-season tournament. Louisville is now 156-37 in non-conference games under Coach Pitino.

Coach Pitino pretty much summed up this one today with his comments after the game: “Tonight we were just flat in every phase of the game,””We were flat offensively with only nine assists. Our two point guards turned it over eight times, which they haven’t been doing. We didn’t do the little things necessary to exploit the weaknesses of Fairfield. We were late to the glass a lot. A lot of things were disturbing but we’ll go ahead.” It wasn’t the crisp, business like group that we have seen through the first four games of the season. Perhaps it was nerves from the first road trip of the season or maybe just one of those off days. For as long as I can remember the Louisville basketball team always has one or two games during the season where they play down to their competition. Hopefully today was just on of those occasions.
From their 14 turnovers, 26 fouls, and the poor shooting (38%) this one just wasn’t much fun to watch.
The positives from this game was the balanced scoring with Wayne, Chris, Russ and Montrezl scoring in double figures while Chane had 8 and Luke had 9 respectively. The rebounding was a little better and it was good to see Montrezl crashing the boards with 12 rebounds. And the free-throw shooting was better as the team shot 74% from the charity stripe. It was also good to see Terry Rozier come into this game and have some production. He would finish with 3 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assist. His confidence will continue to build off of these minutes of PT. We will need Rozier by seasons end.

Like with the football team it’s really hard to complain about a win. Ugly or not a win is still better than a loss and I think the sluggish performance today will be a great teaching moment for Coach Pitino and his staff. They can use some of the things the guys did wrong today to help them improve for tougher games down the road. The environment of this tournament will also help this group in the long run. Tomorrow they will have a very tough test against a very talented and athletic North Carolina group. Like they played down to the competition today I expect them to play up to it in the next game. I expect a battle in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Championship and It will be the best game of the year so far.

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Senior Day Win

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Today the Cardinal Football fans at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium said good-bye to another group of seniors. And for the first time since 2007 they got to see them go out on a winning note. The Cards beat the Tigers 24-17 and now take the lead in the all-time series 24 to 19. With the win today it marks the first time in school history that a Louisville football team has had consecutive 10 win seasons. The Cards are now 10-1 on the season with one regular season game left on the road against Cincinnati.

The way this group of seniors has played during their time at the University of Louisville I knew that they weren’t going to let this on get away from them today. This group has achieved so much over the last 4 years including a 69% winning percentage, four straight bowl games, and a Sugar Bowl win. They have also went 21-3 in their last 24 games.
This game was a bit sluggish and at times wasn’t very exciting to watch but the Cards got it done behind the play of some guys that have stepped up big all year long. One of those guys didn’t go through senior day ceremonies and most assume he will enter the NFL draft next year Teddy Bridgewter threw for 220 yards and a touchdown in what could be his final home game. This guy has the courage of a lion on a football field and no matter how difficult things get he always finds a way to pick himself and his team up. Today it appeared that he had a lower back issue but like he has many time in his Louisville career fought back and helped secure the win for his team. Bridgewater targeted 10 receivers in finishing 26 of 36 and his big receivers of the day were senior Damian Copeland and junior DeVante Parker. These guys would combine for 94 yards and Parker had one touchdown grab. Louisville out-gained Memphis 342-279 in total offense with 122 yards of that coming on the ground. Senior Senorise Perry and junior Dominique Brown combined for 105 yards. Brown had one touchdown on the day. It was good to see Copeland and Perry have a big hand in this win today. Both are two of my favorite Cardinal players. Both of these guys had to fight back from season ending injuries during their Louisville careers and both have come up big time in critical moments for this team.
No matter how you slice it Louisville is a defensive team and that has been it’s identity this season. It’s the number two ranked defense in the country and the only one that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the first quarter of a football game this season. This defense also features two of the top sack leaders in the country in Senior Marcus Smith and Junior Lorenzo Mauldin. Both made some big plays again today. It was really an emotional day for one Senior on the defensive side of the ball. Preston Brown not only feeling the emotions from his last time playing in front of the home crowd also was dealing with the loss of his grandfather who passed away from cancer earlier this morning. He dedicated this day and this win to his grandfather who he said loved to watch the games on TV. Preston had a good game with a team high nine tackles that was topped off when he returned a fumble 48 yards for Louisville’s first touchdown. He said after the game:
“It was great getting the touchdown for my grandpa. I put on a show for him.”

It hasn’t always been exciting watching this group this year but in the end they are 10-1 and going to another Bowl game. There are many fan bases in the country who would take 10-1 right now over the situations that their football program is in. In the end winning is all that matters. The group of football players that played their last game at Papa Johns Cardinal stadium understood that and because of them that’s what this program is. A WINNER! Go Cards!

The Beak Basketball Breakdown: Game #5

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Our 4-0 Louisville Cardinals are set to do battle again on Saturday at 2:00 PM EST in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. This will be one of two games the Cards will play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut this weekend. The Fairfield Stags are up first and this will be the first time the Cards and Stags have met on the hardwood. The Stags were picked to finish sixth in the MAAC Preseason Coaches Poll.

Fairfield is a team that likes to run the Princeton offense. They like their back door cuts and want to slow their opponents down and pick them apart. They have succeeded in slowing teams down this season holding them to around 59 points a game. These guys did have the 27th ranked defense in the country last season. On the offensive side of the ball they have struggled to pick teams apart and make shots effectively. They have made 80 field goals this season on 40% shooting and 24 three pointers on 32% shooting. They are also having trouble taking care of the ball averaging 18 turnovers a game. Not good when facing the Cards. Marcus Gilbert (11.8 points, 5.2 rebounds a game) is their leading scorer. He made the MAAC All-Rookie team last season. His brother Malcolm Gilbert (4.2 points, 5.2 rebounds a game) a former top-20 center by multiple recruiting services, transferred from Pitt to play with him. He provides size and athleticism for the Stags when he’s in the game giving starting center Amadou Sidibe (7 points, 6.8 rebounds a game) a rest. The Stags also get quality minutes from another player who transferred from the Big East in Sean Grennan (3.8 points, 2 rebounds a game). He played for Seton Hall as a freshman, and has made an immediate impact on a Fairfield backcourt that was left bare thanks to graduation. Grennan is regarded as an excellent shooter and can get hot from behind the arc. The guy running the point for this team is K.J. Rose (7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds a game). The leader of this team is senior Maurice Barrow (6.2 points, 5 rebounds a game). He was named to the All-MAAC Preseason Third Team.


Kenpom Ranks
Overall – #255
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
-98.5 ranks 80th
Offensive Adjustment Efficiency
-91.6 ranks 340th

This is the weekend that the Cards should get a chance to play a quality opponent in North Carolina. But first the Tarheels must get past Richmond and our guys have to take care of business against the Stags. An article was written in ESPN stating that it was time to start talking about Louisville. They are rolling right along this season with one of the lowest turnover rates in the country averaging just 6 a game and according to Kenpom are the top team in the nation with a 116.9 offensive adjustment efficiency and a 87.9 defensive adjustment efficiency. The Cards will have to be on their toes to guard the back door cuts in the Fairfield game and should get their toughest test of the season against UNC if all goes as expected. Im looking forward to two great days of basketball. Go Cards.

The Beak Football Breakdown: Cards vs. Tigers

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It seems like it was just yesterday that I was writing about the anticipation of the upcoming football season and now here I am writing about the last game of the season in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The Cards will close out the 2013 home stand at 12pm on Saturday afternoon against the Memphis Tigers. The final game of the season on the home turf hasn’t been kind to the Cards and they’ve lost 5 of them in a row. They will be looking to end that streak on Saturday and to keep their BCS hopes alive. The Cards and Tigers are meeting for the first time since Oct. 9, 2010, and perhaps the final time as a conference opponent. The Cardinals hold a 23-19 lead in the series and have won 15 of the past 18 matchups, including three in a row. Memphis has lost its last 13 games played against ranked opponents.

Coach Strong previews Memphis and Senior Day:

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In total offense, the Tigers average 330 yards per game and are 112th nationally of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision programs. Leading this offense is freshman quarterback Paxton Lynch who has started at the position all season long. Lynch has 1,581 yards and six touchdowns on the season for the 106th-ranked passing offense while his eight interceptions have been a problem. The run game has been the best option for the Memphis offense this season, ranking 79th in the nation behind Brandon Hayes‘ 703 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Lynch’s main targets this season through the air have been Joe Craig and Mose Frazier. Craig has 293 yards on the season with no touchdowns and Frazier has 275 yards with one touchdown.
The struggling Memphis offense will have to face a Louisville defense that has been getting better every week and it’s one of the best units in the nation. The Cards rank second in both points per game allowed as well as yards allowed per game. Preston Brown, Marcus Smith, Roy Philon should have big senior day performances in this one and the Cards defense should dominate.

Last season, Memphis had one of the top defenses in Conference USA, but the move to a stronger offensive league has been a challenge for them this season. All of their defensive line returned, but the unit does lack athleticism, versatility and speed. This group is anchored by linebackers Charles Harris (48 tackles) and Anthony Brown (41 tackles). Lonnie Ballentine is the leader of their DB unit and has 39 tackles this season. The Tigers rank 21st in points allowed as well as 15th in yards allowed per game.
This could be a defensive game especially with the conservative offense our Cards have put on the field lately. Hopefully in their final home game as Louisville Cardinals Teddy Bridgewater, Damian Copeland and Senorise Perry can put together a big day for the Cardinal offense and provide a spark in doing so.

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This will be a sentimental day for this Louisville football team and the fans. It’s always a bit sad when the home football games come to an end but throw in saying good bye to 20 players that have meant so much and that adds to it. The players taking the home field for the final time Saturday are: Mike Addesa, Anthony Branch, Preston Brown, B.J. Butler, Damian Copeland, Jarrett Davis, Brandon Dunn, George Durant, Ryan Hubbell, Kamran Joyer, Champ Lee, Roy Philon, Senorise Perry, Stephan Robinson, Deon Rogers, Titus Teague, Hakeem Smith, Marcus Smith, Chris Walker, and Alex Witcpalek. It’s not official that Teddy Bridgewater won’t return for his Senior season and he won’t be included in the ceremonies but it’s a safe bet that he will also be on the sidelines at Papa Johns for the last time. Louisville’s 4th Year Seniors will come into Senior Day with a 69% winning percentage, Four Straight Bowl Games, and a Sugar Bowl Win. These guys have changed the face of the Louisville football program forever. Get to the game early Saturday and make it the best Card March as well as the best crowd ever. These guys deserve it.

The emotions of this day will carry over to the game play and our Cardinals will dominate this Memphis team up and down the field. The defense will look great and the offense will be wide open. Cards win big on Senior Day. #L1C4

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 48 Memphis 10

Cardinal Success Breeds Contempt

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Success does breed contempt and there hasn’t been a more successful college program in the nation than ours has been this past year. Folks are taking anything they can and trying to bring us down. I know you have heard the recent news about Chane Behanan, and man did folks run with the news when Louisville decided to stand by Coach Hurtt. And then we find out about a Mississippi man that made an attempt to extort money from the University Athletic Association. Back in April a 35-year-old Thomas E. Ray used the alias “Melinda White” and sent an email to Tom Jurich threatening to hurt the reputation of the association. This bozo claimed he had info on three Louisville players shaving points. Those players Gorgui Dieng, Russ Smith and Chane Behanan. Chane is a real kingpin these days.. Point shaving, gun smuggling, and prostitution.. LOL. Then the latest of these attempts to discredit the success of the University of Louisville is the rumor about Kevin Ware using a car of a supposed Louisville booster that he later got a speeding ticket in. But again this was fully investigated by the University’s compliance office and then turned over to the NCAA who also found no wrong doing.

Folks I make light of this, but there will be UK fans that you work with that can’t wait to ask you about Louisville shaving points, Chane having young prostitutes, and Kevin Ware driving booster’s cars. I fully expect Matt Jones to launch his own investigation and write a three page essay on his findings. Somehow it will all tie in together. Louisville is really the front for an organized mafia group (Corn Bread Mafia turned Cardinal Mafia) and Chane Behanan, and Clint Hurtt are all part of this. Russ Smith runs his part of the mafia back in New York and Gorgui has a gun connection in Nigeria… Kevin Ware got a speeding ticket trying to smuggle drugs over the county line. Or maybe it was moonshine.. The enemy or “RIVALs” as Coach Pitino called them last night are among us so be prepared for these crazy stories.

5 minutes after I publish this article and it begins..

Just remember Cardinal fans we have one of the best college athletic programs in the nation and just had one of the most successful seasons. Folks are gonna target that. And folks are gonna run with any rumor they can dig up. It’s just a price for success. I say bring it on.. And I can’t wait to see what happens after “The Year of the Cardinal” Part 2…

“Small people talk about other people”, “Average people talk about material things “, “great people talk about ideas”, “Cardinal Fans are planning their next trip to a championship game.” – The Beak

Cards Drive The Hawks Out Of The Gym

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The Cardinals took care of business right out of the gate tonight and won their 20th straight game blowing out Hartford. These Cards haven’t lost a basketball game in 284 days and were never in danger of that tonight as the put their foot on the gas and drove the Hawks right out of the gym from the beginning. Cards move to 4-0 on the season with this win and advance in the round robin style Hall of Fame Tip Off.

The thing that is very noticeable about this Louisville group is their professional demeanor. When this team steps on a basketball court they go to work and forget checking in, it’s more like clocking in. They may lose some games but it won’t be because someone sneaks up on them; that will not happen this year. After the game Coach Pitino said “the defense was still a little behind the offense”, but to the average eye of the fan it looks pretty darn good to me. They were challenged a little more in this game due to Hartford extending them to cover the three point shot and the Hawks were more deliberate with the ball than other opponents the Cards have faced so far. But none of that mattered. The Cardinals still held the Hawks to under 50 points, held them to 41% shooting, 23% on 4-17 from three point land, and forced them into 25 turnovers. Not bad for a group that needs improvement.
This group can also come at teams with so many different options on offense and so far are outscoring opponents by over 30 points a game. The guards can drive the lane to score, shoot the three, the forwards can also score in a variety of ways, and they can hurt you with the power offense down low. There’s just not going to be many teams who are versatile or athletic enough to stop the Louisville attack. You might shut down one thing but this group will find another way. Very exciting to think about the progression as we are just 4 games in and it looks this good. And these guys do a remarkable job of taking care of the ball and are are ranked second in the country in turn-over margin. They only had 7 tonight and so far through four games have only had double digit turnovers once. They are averaging 6. Rebounding needs work but looked better. Cards did win the battle tonight 35 to 29. And free throws were a little better tonight as the Cards shoot about 70%.

As far as individual players go I was really pleased with the minutes I saw from Terry Rozier tonight. He is one of my favorite new guys and I have followed him since he was a recruit. I’m expecting big things out of him and tonight he showed some flashes of that future. He finished with 7 points and 1 rebound.
Montrezl Harrell looked great again and this time leads the team in scoring. He stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assist, 1 block and 2 steals. If he has nights like this forget about it. And I love the look of he and Chane in at the same time. That’s a power look.
Speaking of Chane Behanan he had 11 points and 4 rebounds but his presence in the game was much bigger than the box score.
Russ Smith made some miraculous shots tonight and got to the basket whenever and wherever he wanted. Just when you think he can’t amaze you anymore he takes it to another level. Russ 2.0 was the second leading scorer behind Trez with 14 points.

The competition hasn’t been top notch but the play of this basketball team has been. We can only hope that they keep speeding past the competition like this all year. I know that now we are all ready to see our Cards take on a team of a higher caliber and hopefully that happens on Sunday afternoon. If UNC gets past Richmond it will happen. I don’t think the Tarheels are playing their best basketball at the moment but they do have the athletes to perform well. The Cards will face Fairfield on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena to advance to the Title game Sunday. Looking forward to this weekend! Go Cards!

Coach Pitino after the game:

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