Regular season college basketball doesn’t get much better than that. Two top ten teams traded punches all game long in front of a VERY loud, record-setting crowd in the best arena in the nation. Louisville led for most of the game, before relinquishing the lead with 5:28 left. They were able to regain the advantage with two minutes remaining, but consecutive turnovers on their final two possessions spelled doom for the Cards.
Brandon Triche was absolutely unconscious. He connected on 5-7 threes, and really stuck it to Louisville during crucial segments – time, and, time, again. He was a difference maker for Syracuse, and he killed a lot of momentum that the Cards would build. Louisville shot 54% from the field in the first half, and it looked like they were beginning to put their foot on Syracuse’ throat, but Triche answered every call, scoring 10 points in the last five minutes of the first half.
Luke Hancock played a very nice game today. I’ve been a bit harsh on Hancock recently, but he was able to knock down a couple big threes and come up with a few steals. The 3 position is the one area on this team that really needs improvement. The backcourt and the frontcourt have been solid all year long, but for Louisville to push itself through a championship run, they will need consistent, effective production from Hancock and Blackshear. Blackshear has shown glimpses of brilliance throughout his inconsistent career at UofL, but has not been able to live up to the huge amount of hype placed upon him as a recruit. He is improving, as is Hancock, and I expect to see marked improvement from both players as we get deeper into conference play.
After the game, Rick Pitino was very short with the media. His post game press conferences typically run between 10-15 minutes, but this one lasted a shade over four minutes, and he made it known that he was upset at the outcome of the game. Still, the sentiment from Pitino and the players alike was simple – there’s a lot of basketball yet to be played. And they’re right. It’s hard to be too upset with this loss. We shot poorly from the line, had a very uncharacteristic meltdown in the final minute, and fought some very questionable calls from the officials down the stretch. Still, we looked like the better team on the court, and we’re only a quarter of the way through conference play. We’ll learn a lot from this game, and there’s a good chance they’ll get a shot at revenge in the Big East tournament. I look for the Cards to come out angry looking for redemption at Villanova on Tuesday, and put together an impressive showing.
Rick Pitino Postgame
Gorgui Dieng Postgame
Chane Behanan Postgame
Russ Smith Postgame