Good vibes are back

I know I really took it hard when Louisville took that L to Texas Tech in New York this week. After a few days, I was able to just chalk it up to one of those fluke games. I want to believe in this team so much.

I don’t really think it was a fluke and know that this team needs to get better and improve their guard play. It’s hard to tell much about teams in the fluff games like Saturday against EKU but Coach Mack said that he felt like his team moved forward and certainly didn’t take any steps backward.

I’m really optimistic about our guard play, especially after Saturday. David Johnson is impressive with his ability to see the floor the way he does. You can’t teach his court awareness and you can’t teach some of those dimes he was dropping in the Yum Center. The big fella finished with only 2 assists but the offense looked more lively with him involved.

I didn’t ask Jordan Nwora a question in the post-game presser but would have liked to tell him he’s still our dude. Keep ya head up. You are the best player in the country. I have believed in this dude since day one. Nothing gonna change after one clunker. He had a solid game Saturday.

Like I said not much to judge or write about this one. But there were a lot of good vibes in the Yum Center on Saturday afternoon. I drove to the game after my son’s first Reconciliation that morning. My heart was full and it was just one of those days trying to luv up somebody. I did my best.

They announced the Football Coaching staff during one of the intermissions and during the half time I was able to show some luv to Coach Dwayne Ledford (gave him a Bear Hug) and Coach Satterfield. I appreciate those guys… Awesome to be able to express that to them.

They didn’t bring EKU Coach AW Hamilton in the big press room after the game. I wanted to ask about his trip around Ky with his team. We are the 6th instate school they’ve played and wanted to ask him about his Coach Mack story (Basically sent him down his path). The last time I was in the same gym as AW he was winning a state title as player with Scott County. He’s got my alma mater playing hard. AW is a solid young coach.

Want to throw a bone to the Junkyard Dawg Dwayne Sutton. This dude became a 1000 point scorer on Saturday. Repping his hometown. He is one of the most selfless players I’ve covered. Just a hard-nosed player and a good young man.

It was also good to see the Super 5 out on the floor at the end of the game Saturday. We were watching the future of the program. I’m not convinced a few of them won’t be developed into solid minutes this season.

The Cards will get one more tune-up with Miami University (OH) on Wednesday night. Then it’s the biggest game of the nonconference with Kentucky. I watched David Johnson win a State Championship in Rupp back in March. I would love to see him have a big day on the 28th. Big-time players rise in big moments. We got some big time.

Today got me over the hump…
I’m over the loss in MSG. The good vibes are back. Go Cards!


They can’t all be pretty. Cards are 5-0.

Early November in college basketball can be perplexing. It’s that time of year where the smaller D1 schools are traveling all over the country playing the role of patsy and getting that big paycheck. But sometimes these guys don’t get the memo that they are supposed to take the dive and a real dog fight breaks out.

Boston U and Evansville are two teams that have recently flipped the script on college basketball. On Wednesday night USC Upstate was trying to write their own script. They came out shooting 50% hitting 6 of 12 three-point shots. Their hot shooting staggered the #2 team in the country. Our Cardinals had the look of ”oh shit” in their eyes…

Getting the chance to cover my first game of the season I also had an ”oh shit” moment. I didn’t want to be writing that postgame. But after some back and forth in the second half our Cardinals remembered who they were.

They started doing what they do. ”Junkyard Dog” Sutton pulling down 15 rebounds, Darius Perry dishing out 9 assist with only one turnover, Ryan Mack shooting 5-8 from deep, and Jordan ”swag” Nwora just scoring. He finished with a cool 28.

The Cardinals were also sparked in the second half by the triumphant return of David Johnson and Malik Williams. Johnson had two big dunks and Malik grabbed three big boards that helped shift the momentum. It’s hard not to get giddy thinking about what these two are going to mean to this team once they get their sea legs back. Their return couldn’t have come at a better time.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier with Akron on Sunday and the Cardinals will face a very competitive Western Kentucky team next week in Nashville in a game that’s already got weird written all over it. A five 0 clock game on Black Friday that will only be broadcast on Facebook Live.

If this team keeps building on what they do it’s going to be hard for anyone to beat them. There are so many weapons on this Louisville team and so much versatility that they can absorb a blow like they did tonight and still win by 26… And two big-time players are back in the rotation.

Tonight was my first up close and personal basketball game. I thought I was going to be front row to a shit show but when this team flexed its muscle the shit hit the fan. My up close and personal evaluation is that these guys are really good. How good their season goes will depend on other variables but they got the goods to give us our Atlanta redemption. Cards are 5-0. I’m here for it…

Go Cards!


Louisville Football is fun again

For the first time in 7 years, I didn’t take the time to write a game break down. I hadn’t spent any time around this Louisville team. Other than media day I hadn’t seen them. I just didn’t want to anticipate anything this season.

I hadn’t seen this Louisville team on a football field since last November. The only thing colder than the seats at Cardinal Stadium that night were the player’s hearts towards the program.

That along with the clowns dancing around on our logo at the 50 yard line with their L’s down was the low point for me. My beloved program had hit rock bottom.

Things were really dark on 2800 S. Floyd Street when Coach Satterfield and his staff rolled in. Coach Satterfield said that goal #1 was to put his arms around the team and love on them. During the spring, thru the summer and this fall, we witnessed that.

Crazy what a little love can do…

I had never seen a player more isolated and disconnected than Jawon Pass was at the end of last season. Monday night I saw a player out on that field giving it his best for his team and for the name on the front of the jersey. He never hung his head. More importantly, I saw a player who had confidence in the name on the back of the jersey again. Jawon led a few great drives down the field rushing for touchdowns of 8 and 17 yards in the first quarter. There was a Puma sighting.

The Cardinals had the worst defense in the country last season. I hadn’t seen any real pop out of a Louisville defense since 2014. The clickity-clack is back. Those big stops on third down were awesome. It was that stop on 4th and 1 that really stood out. The D line/linebackers shut those gaps down. LB Rodjay Burns second in tackles with 6. And the secondary was on skates. My son kept hearing Russ Yeast name and smiling. He’d say. ”Dad that’s ur name”. Russ led the team with 6.5 tackles. You couldn’t even hear the third-down music because the crowd was so loud. Been a long time since the D had the place rocking like that.

I went into this game excited about our running backs and the offensive line. Freshman Javian Hawkins rushed for 122 yards becoming the first 100-yard rusher since 2014. Oh and the Cardinals outrushed the #9 ranked Irish by 19 yards on the night. A lot of great execution and effort from these offensive units on Monday night. All a reflection of this young and hungry coaching staff.

We lost and that sucks but I’ve never been a football snob. Give me a good Bowl game every year and play competitive football. Just make it fun.

Card March was a fan frenzy, we had the Good Year blimp circling around Cardinal Stadium on Labor Day with the Cardinals in primetime. We had the lead on the #9 team in the country at one point. Cardinal stadium was rocking. Louisville Football is fun again.

L’s Up!

Cards Kick off New Year with Conference Win

It wasn’t pretty early on but I will contest that playing just 3 games in fifteen days was the primary reason for the guys coming out flat. I even asked Coach Mack about it after the game. I knew it would take a bit for them to adjust to the bright lights but once that happened the Cardinals got to see some of that hard work in the gym pay off.

They were locked in towards the end of the first half and for most of the second half. They were playing like a team that has spent a lot of time in the gym together. Communicating, making the extra pass, crashing the boards and had five different players scoring in double figures. Everybody on the team was scoring. I mentioned in my Pregame post that this team needed other guys to step up and that happened in this game.

It’s great having a player like Jordan Nwora in a game like this. He put the team on his back in the first half scoring 18 of the 40 first-half points. That one-handed alley-oop dunk was next level. My dude Swag is next level…

Dwayne Sutton is the Junk Yard dog of this group. It was good to see him get some of his bark back on Sunday. He played physical got to the free throw line and scored at every level with 13 points. He also banged the boards and was 3rd on the team with 7 rebounds. This is the Sutton this team needs.

Ryan McMahon is such a great young man and such a team guy. All of these teams have scouted Louisville enough that it’s made it even harder for Ryan to get his shot off. With his size disadvantage, he has to earn it. He never hangs his head and instead uses that attention he draws to himself on that three-point shot to get his teammates opportunities. He had 9 assist in this game. So glad he’ll be around next season. Those freshman coming in will benefit having a player like him in the locker room.

Malik Williams has so much upside and Coach Mack is getting the best out of him. On Sunday he messed around and got a double-double with 19 points and 11 boards. He also had 1 blocked shot. He is a high-level shot blocker with great length and timing. After this game, he moved to #114 nationally in blocked shots. He can be a big threat on offense but his defensive presence means everything to this team.

I have lauded over ”CC” Christen Cunningham all season. Dude is a gamer. He is taking full advantage of his opportunity as a grad transfer and there aren’t too many grad transfers who mean more to their team than CC does. In the second half when Miami tried to make their own little run he was the dagger with a scoring flurry of his own. He finished with 11 points and 5 assists.

I’m only going to say this once. Leave VJ King alone. Stop saying he’s gonna eventually break out and stop with all of the lofty expectations. VJ is VJ. The young man is a great teammate and his peers are always praising his demeanor. The Louisville Basketball program has put this guy thru hell (3 different Coaches) and he hasn’t once wavered. Not once! So please spare us all of the ”fan” bullcrap. Cheer for VJ King and be happy for him when he has a good game. You don’t see his type of loyalty in young people often. Embrace that.

It’s great in so many ways to get that first win in conference play. It will help these guys carry some momentum with them on the road and good for morale after that tough loss to Kentucky. They can put that one behind them now. And so can we. It will be wins and losses in conference games like this one against Miami that could determine our Tournament chances come March.

I had a great evening inside the Yum Center. I love this team and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Go Cards!


Coach Mack provides perspective in a tough loss to Arch Rival

Another tough loss in the Rivalry game with Kentucky. As I’ve grown older I can handle my Cardinals losing better than I used to, but when it comes to this game I get just a sore as ever. It really is like a punch in the gut. But after watching this post game and having a guy like Coach Mack put some things in perspective I feel a little better.

Coach Mack is a class act and he knows his basketball. I know that when he gets his guys in this system that things will look and feel much different. With everything our program and players have been thru, he has them playing their hearts out. Sometimes talent just takes over. I really believe that this is the last season we will see the talent gap play such a big role in the outcome of this game.

The recruiting class we have coming in next season will be one of the best in the country when all said and done and the momentum will continue to grow as Coach Mack utilizes all of the resources at his disposal now. And just listen to him talk about the X’s and O’s. This guy knows his stuff. Our program is in good hands and much better days are ahead.

I will be in Rupp arena a year from now and it just might be our turn to spoil the party. Most of their guys will be long gone. But we’ll have a few guys that are tired of losing to Kentucky and add in one of the most talented groups we’ve had on campus in a long time. I bet Coach Mack won’t forget about this loss either.

It’s tough to see the good in a loss to your arch rival but our Cardinals did bang the boards with a team ranked second in the country in rebounding margin (UofL 33 rebs, UK 34 rebs) and won the offensive rebound battle (UofL 13 rebs, UK 10 rebs). UK came into this game third in offensive rebounding percentage. And giving up just 12 turnovers against a team with their length and talent isn’t awful. These are two very good things this Louisville team can build on moving forward in conference play.

They’ll continue to grow on the offensive and defensive side of the ball as the season progresses and I still believe Coach Mack will have a team come March that nobody will want to see across from them on the bracket. Am I still hurt and a little pissed sure, but I can find some comfort in knowing that things are headed in the right direction. And after everything we’ve been thru who knew things would be as good as they are. Looking forward to ACC play. Go Cards!

Hard work and new swagger pay off tonight

Hard work and new swagger will pay off tonight

I’ve been waiting and looking forward to the first big basketball game of the season. With this schedule, I didn’t have to wait long. Our Cardinals will play a pretty good Volunteers team here in about an hour as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off from the Barclays Center. Louisville has won the last 5 matchups against the Vols.

I think the biggest challenge for the Cardinals tonight will be how well they have learned the new defense. Will they be able to stay disciplined enough at this point in the season and stay out of foul trouble. We don’t have the bodies for foul trouble. This Tennessee team moves the ball really well and they do a great job at finding the open man. They are 14th nationally with 20.7 assists per game. Hope our guys are ready.

Scoring hasn’t been an issue for our guys either with four players Nwora, Perry, Enoch, and VJ all averaging double figures. This is a very offensive oriented Louisville team with 3-point shooting big men and all. The versatility of Malik and Steven could pay off tonight. They can stretch a defense.

Nwora leads the Cardinals with 18 points and 6 rebounds per game while Ryan Mack leads Louisville with 3 assists per game. Ryan makes good things happen when he’s in the game. His Basketball IQ is off the charts. As a team, the Cardinals are averaging 91.7 points per game on 53.5% shooting from the field, 37.3% from behind the 3-point line and an impressive 78% from the foul line this season. Getting to the foul line will be big tonight.

It won’t be just a game of horse for Louisville. This Tennessee team’s defense is some of the best in the country. They held the Yellow Jackets to just 53 points in their last game, which is their average in terms of points against this season. The Volunteers are ranked 4th in the nation in field goal defense. This Louisville team has been prone to turn the ball over and take a bad shot. Can’t do that against this Vols team. Cards have to make every possession count.

I’m super optimistic. If our guys don’t let the bright lights get to them I think they win this game. I’ve said it 20 times just this week. Coach Mack is for real. And this team thru about 8 guys deep can run with anyone in college basketball. I really believe that. This team has been working hard and are walking with a different swagger. That will pay off tonight.

L’s Up! Go Cards! preview:

Release The Hounds

Tonight one of the photographers at the game Gail Kamenish captured this picture of Coach Mack.

It reminded me of the Simpsons Characters Mr. Burns. One of Mr. Burns’ trademark expressions is the word “Excellent”, muttered slowly in a low, sinister voice while steepling his fingertips. And He occasionally orders Smithers to “release the hounds”.

Tonight Coach Mack released the hounds on Southern as Louisville flexes their muscle in game #2 with a 104-54 win. Coach Mack also talks a lot about excellence. Tonight in his post game you can tell that he believes his team took another step towards that goal tonight. He still hasn’t smiled during a post-game but tonight he appeared satisfied.

It’s getting to be the standard to talk about Jordan Nwora after these games. And tonight he stood out again coming off the bench scoring 20 points, grabbing 6 boards, with 2 steals and a blocked shot. There was one sequence in the game that stood out the most to me tonight. Jordan missed a three badly… Sprinted down the floor squared up on D, grabbed a defensive rebound and then led the break hitting CC for a three coming back up the floor. Good stuff!

Following Nwora tonight in scoring and also having himself a game was Malik Williams with 17 points and 5 boards. Malik is one of the guys on this team whose upside is off the charts. He really is a ball of clay at this point just waiting for someone to mold into an NBA type player. Coach Mack has a great reputation for player development, especially with Malik’s skill set. Mack knows how to use that versatility.

Another guy with a high upside is Steven Enoch. This big fella has not missed a free throw yet. Going a perfect 9-9 in game one and 5-5 tonight. He is 14-14 on the season. I said it last week and will say it again this week. This guy is a great weapon to have.

Honorable mention tonight goes to Akoy Agau.
‪(Old Faithful) The average interval between its spoutings is 78 minutes.‬
‪(Old Faithful Akoy) The average interval between his games played in a Louisville uniform is 1439 days. It was good to see him back on the court. That guy has had some journey.

It’s all about taking steps forward. Tonight Team 105 did that. L’s Up!

Coach Mack Post Game:

Malik Williams Post Game:

Jordan Nwora Post Game:

Akoy Agau Post Game:

Bittersweet Win in Cards Opener

Cardinal fans have waited all summer for the Chris Mack Era to begin… and Thusday night it started with a bang literally as the new intros featured fire, pyro and a laser show. But it didn’t take long for the celebration to end and the grind to begin. Defensive lapses, turnovers, and offensive inconsistency kept a scrappy Nicholls State team in the game before the Cardinals were able to pull away late.

Chris Mack didn’t make his way from a JV Basketball coach to a 4 million dollar gig at Louisville by settling for any type of mediocrity. And he showed me tonight that he isn’t going to let any of the sentimental stuff get in his way either. When I asked him how his first Louisville win felt in the postgame he didn’t mix his words in expressing his displeasure for how this game turned out.

It is refreshing to have a head coach that doesn’t sugar coat things. I don’t think we’ll ever be left wondering what Coach Mack really thinks. He’s gonna tell you. This guy is a winner in every aspect. I know that his drive prohibits him from showing too much emotion but I bet that he will have the game ball from Thursday night saved to commemorate his first win as the Louisville coach. There haven’t been many other guys get that first one here as head coach of the Cardinals. Pretty big deal IMO.

And even though the game didn’t go as well as they had hoped there were some bright spots on the player’s side of things as well. Steven Enoch is going to be a beast for this program. He pretty much had his way against the much smaller Nicholls State frontcourt. He had 15 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocked shots. Perhaps his most impressive stat line was going 9 for 9 at the free throw line. Talk about a weapon.

The Cardinals spent a lot of time tonight at the charity stripe going 42 of 55 from the line for a respectable 76.4%. I really like how Darius Perry took the ball to the basket. He ended up with 14 points. Jordan Nwora struggled from the outside and adjusted his game making some strong moves to the basket. He ended up with 12 points. Ryan McMahon provided a spark in the first half hitting some big three-point shots.

I know that these guys can’t relish in a close win against a scrappy but inferior opponent. But this game was good for them and I’m glad the way it turned out. Thursday night started my 6th season behind the scenes covering Louisville Basketball. I’m looking forward to covering this team and watching them grow and am excited for the Chris Mack Era. L’s Up!

Coach Mack Post Game:

Jordan Nwora Post Game:

Ryan McMahon Post Game:

Darius Perry Post Game:

Christen Cunningham Post Game:

Red and White Scrimmage Team 105 Squad Goals

Red and White Scrimmage Team 105 Squad Goals

Coach Mack walked on campus and the players were ready. We have a great core group of guys. They are guys who want to be coached and they really bought in pretty quick. The physical transformations are very obvious. Nobody gonna just take the ball from this group. And you can just see the extra bounce in their game.

Jordan Nwora and VJ King will be the straw that stirs the drink this season. They are both bigtime guys and there won’t be too many better on the floor in any game this season. This coaching staff has given both of these guys an environment they can thrive in. They led the way Sunday. King scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three, and snagged five rebounds. Nwora recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Really like what I see out of Christen Cunningham. He has a real nose for the lane and is really crafty off the dribble. He puts his head down and goes. He’s gonna force a lot of help situations this season. Nwora and McMahon will feed off those dump outs. He’s gonna run the offense but ”CC” is gonna score points. He led the Red team in scoring with 15, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists. Solid!

My sleeper for this season is Malik Williams. He is starting to realize that his game is in the post. I like that he has the versatility to step out and shoot that three but good things happen when he is jumping off of that block. He had a couple of really strong moves Sunday that were legit. He had a good scrimmage scoring 11 points and hauling in six rebounds.

Once he sheds the ring rust Steven Enoch is going to be big time. And he is a big dude. He already has a solid post presence but once he gains some confidence watch out. His goal should be to dunk the ball every time he gets it. We will see that beast eventually. Enoch pitched in 10 points and eight rebounds Sunday.

These are the guys that stood out at the scrimmage and I think you can expect them to stand out for most of this season. I will give an honorable mention to Dwayne Sutton. He has a blue collar game. Not gonna bust out on the stat sheet but is going to do all the little things and will have that one tempo changing play that stands out. He finished with seven points and four boards.

There is still a lot of talent and ability left on this roster folks. Ryan Mac left from that great 2015 Class. He has a lot of ability. VJ King the lone 2016 recruit is one of the most highly touted in the history of the program. He was a 5* Top 25 guy. It’s all there if the right buttons are pushed. The 2017 Class of Nwora, Williams, Perry and Thomas was top 10. All of these guys have upside for days. Thomas left the program but I think the other three are ready to step into their roles this season. Enoch is also an elite talent. Once he learns to put it all together. Say what you will about Rick but he didn’t leave our cupboard empty.

Not going to get too confident after an intrasquad scrimmage but you can feel the change and that’s exciting. If this team meets its squad goals then they could be a special group.


Out with the old, In with the new, and a little Déjà vu

Coach Petrino said after the game last night: “We didn’t play well at all. But the one thing that helped us at halftime is that we had some guys with good attitudes and they worked hard and found a way to win.”

You can be negative about the coaching and it’s ok to be upset that things appear to be in some disarray with Louisville Football. Just remember that there are young men busting their ass every day and who busted their ass last night to make sure the Cardinals didn’t lose this game against WKU.

I’m not happy things aren’t working out like we had all expected them to all offseason. I had very high hopes for this team and for this season. There are no more excuses and some of the things this team did last night are not what we have been used to. As fans, it’s time to put our big boy/girl pants on and support the players on this team who are trying their best under some obvious disarray.

If not for the guys in the locker room who gave it their all last night we’d be sitting here today with a loss to WKU. We’d be no better than Kentucky who got their tails whipped by the Hilltoppers a few seasons ago. And have a two-game losing streak to them. We’ll just leave that right there. I digress.

My point being. We got guys in that locker room busting their asses for this program, this team, and the fans. Guys like Jarrett Jackson who came in making big plays including the game-winning sack and Robert Hicks who led the team with 11 tackles last night. These young men were in high school last year folks. Our defense is banged up. These guys stepped up. That’s big for this team moving forward.

On the offensive end of the ball, things are really in disarray. Strange territory for Coach Petrino. But now he will pull out his book of tricks from the past two seasons and start game planning around a young and dynamic new starting QB. If you aren’t excited after watching Malik Cunningham the last two weekends there is no hope for you. There were moments on that field last night when I experienced Déjà vu. This young man is the real deal folks. Our season is not lost.

It was great seeing Dae Williams come back into his own last night. He’s a great athlete but an even better person. With 63 yards and 2 TDs he just took over in the 4th quarter and started running over guys. Back a few summers ago during practice and before he got hurt Dae Williams was such a presence and so dominating (just busting thru guys) that he had everyone’s attention. Haven’t seen media guys so giddy at a practice as that day. Dae Williams is for real folks. Our season is not lost.

We have a solid offensive line (they still have their moments), and two very athletic and physically superior athletes in our backfield. And I think our receivers finally come around with the leadership of Malik Cunningham. This gives Bobby something to work with. I’m optimistic he figures it out. We still get 8 wins and beat the Cayuts ass…

As a side note, I do feel really bad for Jawon Pass. I don’t know what’s going on with the young man and hope he figures things out. Card Nation has been super supportive to him and we need to continue that. I hope he keeps battling.

It was miserable at times but I managed to find some enjoyment in last night. I like watching young guys take advantage of an opportunity and the new stadium expansion is incredible. It adds a lot to the game day experience. Can’t wait for the Florida State game. Go Cards!