The 2013 NBA Draft came and went, and the dust has mostly settled 24 hours later. A 6’8, 280-pound Canadian was the #1 overall pick. David Stern rode off into the sunset after grimacing through a bunch of names with unfamiliar diacritic marks. The economies of Greece and Spain inched slightly toward solvency.
Both prospective former-Cardinals heard their names called, marking the end of a four-year dry spell for UofL in the draft. That point can’t be underscored enough, even if Gorgui Dieng slid a few spots below optimistic expectations (courtesy of Atlanta’s front office ignoring the wishes of their last remaining All-Star and some light sedition from Chicago). The folks at Card Chronicle and elsewhere have already compiled most of the relevant analyses, but here are a few gems that fell between the cracks.
Gorgui Dieng, #21, Minnesota Timberwolves
- On a night where the theatrical and bizarre set the tone, The Timberwolves’ mid-first round draft picks of Shabazz Muhammad and Dieng were pragmatic, and consequently seemed to fly under the radar in the ensuing punditry. That didn’t stop Matt Moore at CBS Sports from raving about the picks and listing Minnesota among the five teams that “won” the draft:
Minnesota Timberwolves: Made out like absolute bandits. Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad. Minnesota reeled in two high-value guys and managed to squeeze out some cash as well. Great start to the new Flip Saunders era. Dieng has such potential either off the bench or as an emergency starter, and Muhammad was once considered the top pick in the draft. Just a stellar job.
- In his draft pick rankings, Moore also grades Dieng’s selection as a B-plus, explaining:
Very solid pick. Maybe shooting guard might’ve been a better position pick, but I love what he brings. Kevin Love and Dieng together? All of your rebounds now belong to Minnesota. [Emphasis my own, because this needs to go on a t-shirt or a teddy bear]
This post appeared on Rush The Court’s Big East microsite on Wednesday, but it’s still relevant after the Cardinals dismantled North Carolina A&T in the Second Round the following night. UofL will face much stiffer competition at 5:15 on Saturday in a Colorado St. team that rebounds well, scores efficiently and averages fewer turnovers than all but 12 teams in the country.
With seven regular season games remaining on the schedule in mid-February, Rick Pitino called on his team to win them all. The Cardinals had just lost a demoralizing five-overtime road game to Notre Dame, capping a precipitous three-week fall that saw his team lose four of seven games and drop from #1 in the country all the way out of the top-10. While the Cardinals’ bout with the Irish was heralded by some as the game of the year for its suspense and intensity, Louisville fans shook their heads in resignation after their team choked away an eight-point lead in the final 45 seconds. The team hyped as the strongest national title contender in the Pitino era at Louisville couldn’t seem to generate enough offense outside of Russ Smith, couldn’t seem to generate the fast breaks it desperately needed, and couldn’t seem to close out games.
Louisville received a surprise visit from a certain former head of state after beating Villanova 74-55 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on Thursday night.
But it wasn’t that much of a surprise; or at least, no more surprising than a good buddy rolling up unannounced because your relationship has come to transcend such formalities through years of intimate kinship and understanding.
What I’m trying to say and what most national media will skim over is that Louisville basketball is already on a first-name basis with The Bill. Let’s recap:
March 2011: Clinton surprises the team following Louisville’s 83-77 overtime victory over Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament Semifinals. Mark Lieberman with the stone cold photobomb:
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The biggest shocker following Saturday’s big win over Syracuse was this statistic:
Not only was last Saturday Louisville’s first March road win over a ranked team in the past decade, but it was also only the second time the Cardinals had won their first road game of March against anyone––ranked or unranked––in their eight seasons in the Big East. (Bear in mind, Louisville didn’t play a true road game after February in 2007.)
This entry appears on Rush The Court.
The narrative of today’s defensive match up between #1 Louisville and #6 Syracuse has already been explored extensively. A collision of defensive juggernauts: the nation’s first and third most efficient defenses, respectively. The two lead the Big East and are top-five nationally, again, in creating steals. The Cards check in at #2 in the country in turnovers generated; the Orange: #8. Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams leads the conference with a staggering 3.18 steals per game and combines with Brandon Triche to produce 4.8 SPG; Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are top-five, producing a cumulative 4.6 pilfers.
On paper it’s a push, and a juicy storyline to hype. In reality, Syracuse fields an excellent defense, but Louisville’s has the potential to be historic, and it’s just now hitting its stride. Continue reading
This Louisville team could have played in a national title game tonight, had they not drawn Anthony Davis in the Final Four.
I’ve been hesitant to read much coverage of this game, because I already know what some will say. “The outcome was never much in doubt.” “The game was never as close as the final score indicates.” Many writers explored the rivalry exhaustively during the proceeding week, aware of the millions of clicks any bullshit headline containing “Louisville” and “Kentucky” would effortlessly generate. But I question how many of those media commentators––especially the younger ones––perceive any measure of parity in the rivalry; and whether these clichéd refrains were scripted well in advance of Saturday’s tip-off.
To dismiss Louisville’s effort yesterday is a disservice to a team that acquitted itself well with a scrappy, defiant performance, which fell short in the face of missed dunks and overwhelming talent. The Cards were irreverent underdogs, bent on postponing UK’s media coronation and never losing sight of the pugnacious style that had gotten them to an unlikely Final Four. Continue reading
In the wake of Louisville’s surprising Big East Tournament championship run, the dominating narrative going into the NCAA tournament is the transcendent play of Peyton Siva last week. But it’s impossible to appraise the Cardinals’ revival without acknowledging the play of Gorgui Dieng, who received All-Big East Tournament honors and averaged 8.8 ppg, 9 rpg and 3.25 blocks over the four games in the Garden.
Another impressive stat that falls through the cracks is 23.5. That is, Gorgui received his second foul after 23.5 minutes of game time on average. In my first post on the timing of Dieng’s fouls, I mentioned that the big man picked up his second foul after 20.3 minutes on average through the USF game. My argument was that Gorgui entering halftime with 2 or more fouls was, statistically, a kiss of death for this Louisville team.
That argument still holds water:
Pat Forde published his much-anticipated best case/worst case analysis for each team in the NCAA tournament field today. Here’s his take on the Cardinals after the jump: Continue reading
My typical anxiety that precedes a Louisville game was tinged with uncharacteristic dread last night. It was potentially their last opportunity to notch a win against a current top-25 team before Selection Sunday, and the stage was set for a letdown: Marquette’s best team in years was fully rested and looking to avenge last year’s blowout loss to the Cardinals in the Big East quarterfinals. Louisville’s historic offensive struggles were on full display in an ugly win against Seton Hall on Wednesday night, and it had been almost a month since the team had last secured a win in a highly emotional environment, against West Virginia. Defense notwithstanding, it was hard for me to imagine U of L scoring enough points to beat such a skilled, explosive Marquette team.
Then the whistle blew, and Louisville scored 50 points in one half for the first time this season.
I sit writing this for you in the little free time that I have found. Having taken a job tending bar at the best restaurant in Louisville, RYE on Market (shameless plug, come in, say hello,tip me well) I have fallen off the map as a u of l fan. Yes, i record every game, but I have rarely watched any of them. I read the write ups on the chron and then cannot force myself through the impending disappointment. The past couple of weeks have been the most tormenting and I am repulsed with myself when I say that I’m glad that I did not have to suffer through watching u of l bball (bring on football season!). But that being said it is game day today and instead of previewing what will hopefully be a notch in the win column this evening (I’ll leave that for the other writer on this site). I will instead give you with reflections and thoughts. Continue reading