About Jason Hahn

Die Hard Cards Fan. Fantasy Football Wizard. Karaoke Legend. Follow me on Twitter @JasonCardsnCats

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Cards Fold Down the Stretch

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ACCNo8o74Q

Chane Behanan Postgame

Russ Smith Postgame

Cards Hang On, 80-77

Louisville was able to hang on to defeat Kentucky for the first time since the Billy Gillispie era, as they notched an 80-77 win over the Cats. Louisville was up 51-34 with all of the momentum with just under 15 minutes to play, but Kentucky would not go down without a fight. Kyle Wiltjer hit two straight threes to trim the lead, and Kentucky was able to trim it to 2 with 5 minutes left, but were unable to get it any closer, but that’s not to say it didn’t get very interesting. A Russ Smith layup pushed Louisville’s lead to 9 with 2:16 remaining, but UK was able to make Cardinal fans sweat. Archie Goodwin crossed over Peyton Siva for a step-back and-one 3 to cut it to 3 with :30 remaining, but Louisville was able to overcome.

The main thing to take away from this game is simple: Louisville is very good, and Kentucky is beginning to live up to their potential. CardsAndCats.com is about both teams, and while I am the biggest Cardinal homer on the planet, I can give credit where credit is due. I told a UK fan friend before the game that I was expecting a game similar to that of 2009, where Louisville is in control the entire game, blows the lead at the end, but hangs on to win. That is pretty much exactly what happened, but there is a fundamental difference between the two games – this UK team will go far, unlike the 2009 version of the Cats.

We’ll start with Louisville. Gorgui Dieng returned tonight and it was evident that he was quite rusty. Gorgui began the season as the focal point of the offense, taking a David Padgett role in the high post. When he went down, that was all scrapped, and it will take a few games to initiate that back into the offense, and get his wrist back to 100%. Pitino said in his post game press conference that he still has to get back his defensive timing. He was plagued by foul trouble the whole game due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or reverting back to freshman Gorgui and leaving his feet too early. He will be back and help the team tremendously.

Moving forward for Louisville, the sky is the limit, and Pitino nailed it in the postgame (obviously). Peyton and Russ have been the catalysts for this team all year, and have consistently played at a very high level. The key to this team will be for the others to match their level of play. Behanan played a great game today, and has strung together a few games in a row where he has played like the guy we saw in the NCAA tournament last year. Wayne Blackshear had been playing at a high level before today where he struggled, but his growth WILL continue, and he will be an absolutely vital player on this team. The keys are Harrell, Ware, and Hancock. Harrell is already on the fast track, but Ware and Hancock need to gain some confidence. If they can, this team will be the same team they were last year defensively, but lightyears ahead offensively.

The future is also bright for Kentucky. After big back-to-back losses to Baylor and Notre Dame, I thought that this was going to be a throw-away (and by throw-away I mean sweet 16) season as they reload to become title contenders next year. After tonight, my opinion is completely changed. Kentucky fans have to be thrilled with their performance tonight. They came into an extremely hostile environment with a group of freshmen, held their poise down 17, and if not for horrific free throw shooting they may have won the game.

Archie Goodwin is a ball-player. Clearly a lottery pick, he was able to keep Kentucky in the game. The most surprising player to me today was Ryan Harrow. Ball-handling was a big question mark for UK going into the game, and Harrow stepped up big time. A point guard playing 39 minutes in a highly-pressurized, very loud atmosphere against the peskiest defensive duo in college basketball - and having zero turnovers – speaks volumes to the composure of the young guard. He held his own against the pressure and led his team well. The question mark for the Cats is if Alex Poythress can start to live up to his potential. At times, it looks like he just doesn’t care on the court, and Calipari only gave him 15 minutes because of it. He should be mentioned in the same breath, talent-wise, as Goodwin and Noel, but he hasn’t matched that with his effort. If he can start to contribute the way that he is capable, and the team continues to mature, Kentucky will be a force to be reckoned with come March.

In the end, the Cards got the victory. It was a great environment at the Yum! Center and the fans were very civil. Moving forward, both teams have a ton to be excited about, and I am confident that both teams will find their groove by season’s end. I really believe that BOTH teams will be top five teams at the end of the year, and it will be a fun ride for the next four months. Stay tuned…

 Rick Pitino Postgame

John Calipari Postgame

cats fan
The Kentucky Fan

Childish. Hypocritical. Ignorant. As I sat and pondered what words best described the University of Kentucky fan, these words popped into my head rather instantly. The words flowed off my fingertips and blazed the keyboard so rapidly, smoke started to rise. The blood was boiling within my veins before I could get to word three – which came in about three seconds. As I wrote the last part of that sentence, I thought about all the jokes Kentucky fans would make in reference to a certain coaching scandal. I must admit, I chuckled, but instantly turned straight-faced and serious once again.

 

 

 

This guy is 40 years old.

Childish

Kentucky fans are the first ones to shamelessly gloat and pound their chests after good things happen, but when bad things happen, they are the first ones to either A) whine about how unfairly you’re treating them, or B) say that they didn’t care in the first place. They are the fans that ruthlessly ridicule other teams’ fans,  and call them losers while mooning them as they hold a 40 point lead. They are the fans that cancel a series once they lose, and blame it on the other team’s unruly fan behavior. They are the fans who literally shed tears over a regular season loss. They are the fans who just can’t get over a loss that happened over 20 years ago. They are the fans who have rushed the field after beating a team with a .500 record, a losing record (happened twice), or even a loss. They are unable to handle success or failure in appropriate, civilized fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

I continue to cry over a loss that happened 20 years ago

Hypocritical

Kentucky fans are perhaps most notorious for talking out of both sides of their mouths. On one hand, they will pretentiously boast the power of the Southeastern Conference, and how proud they are to be in such a prestigious league. On the other, they will bemoan the fact that they simply have no chance of success in football, due to the fact that they are in the SEC. You will find a Cats fan who will chant “S-E-C,” and literally in the same day question why they even try to compete. They’re like the guy who brags about having a hot girlfriend, but spends every dollar he earns on her and gets his penis size mocked on a regular basis. They are the fans who bash a coach, question his tactics, and say he’d never be able to do things “The Kentucky Way.” Then when they hire him, they’ll tell you they wanted him all along, that he’s misunderstood, and create around 40 t-shirts per day celebrating their fearless leader.

 

 

 

 

Just assuming these guys are Cats fans

Ignorant

It’d be easy for me to take a path down the education highway, but I’ll avoid it. Rather, I’ll focus on the fact that they proudly claim their 8 national championships, but ignore the fact that 4 of them were before color TV and John F. Kennedy’s presidency. They’ll ignore the fact that NCAA championships in that era were not regarded as highly as they are today, and were not the best achievement at the time. They feel the right to celebrate those four titles, just as much as the right to ignore the fact that each one of them was drenched in racism. They actually believe that top 10 players come to UK to be a part of the tradition, splendor, and glory of Wildcat basketball, rather than to simply walk through the revolving door of Calipari’s UK2NBA system.

 

 

 

Casual Gamer Reed – YouTube’s #1 Kentuckah Fan

Kentucky fans live their lives in small bubbles that revolve solely on UK WILDCAT BASKETBALL. They’ll type UK WILDCAT BASKETBALL in all caps, as if to make a statement that UK Wildcat basketball is more important than life itself. All of these characteristics aside, they are, for the most part, genuine, nice people. Nice people that don’t have jobs or all of their teeth, and camp out beginning on Wednesday afternoon for a  Saturday afternoon drawing for tickets to a scrimmage… They genuinely think that is a really awesome thing. Tomato – tomáto, I suppose.

rickrich
Richard No Match For Rick, 79-55

In the 11th annual Billy Minardi Classic, a father-son matchup took center stage as Rick Pitino’s Cards were able to handily defeat Richard Pitino’s FIU squad 79-55. There was a lot of buzz leading up to the game due to the fascinating coaching matchup, and many thought there would be a great moment to capture before the game as the two coaches shook hands. Alas, the greeting only lasted about five seconds, and the game was out of hand in slightly more time than that. If you call a 10 point advantage “hanging around,” Louisville let FIU hang around for most of the first half. Then the shots began to fall for the Cards, and the legs began to fall for the Panthers.

Notes

Peyton Siva hit 5-8 threes tonight, and did not attempt a shot inside the arc. He finished with a career high 12 assists, and played smart offensive basketball. FIU’s gameplan was to deny him the paint, so he responded by finding the open man when he got trapped and shooting the open deep balls that were given to him. Great game for Peyton.

Wayne Blackshear is beginning to play like the guy we thought he was. He was lethal from three tonight, connecting on 4-8. He showcased his athleticism as he finished an oop from Russ. What I liked the most was his mid-range game. Last season, it seemed like we tried to work that feature of his game into the offense. In his first few games, he tried taking a dribble or two and stopping for a midrange jumper, but something seemed to go wrong every time and we scrapped it. Against Memphis and tonight against FIU, he has started to become an aggressor from 10-15 feet. If Wayne can become a guy that can consistently create his own midrange jumpshot, it will make this team even more complete.

Kevin Ware just has so much potential. Slowly but surely, he’s gaining confidence, and by season’s end he will be a terror on defense and a freak on offense. He’s taking the Lorrenzo Wade path at the moment, as every time he touches the ball or gets out on a break you’re just waiting for amazing to happen. Up until tonight, he has been the most spectacular layup-misser in Cardinal history. Late in the first half though, he tried to flush an alley oop, but lost control of it about a foot above the basket. The ball went in, but he hung on the rim and was called for basket interference.

Chane Behanan logged his second double-double of the season, and his second great game in a row. He’s also been connecting on the mid-range J, and has been more of a focal point offensively. Feed the studs. Chane is a stud.

Russ Smith is still the man.

Father/Son Time

Rick Pitino Postgame

Richard Pitino Postgame

suit gorgs
Cards Hop Past Kangaroos, 99-47

I know what you’re thinking – how’d this guy come up with that headline?! I know, I know, you’re making me blush. Louisville unmercifully punished a completely outmatched Kangaroo Squad today. From the opening tip, it was all Louisville and Russ Smith. Russ poured in a career-high 31 points on 12-18 shooting while adding in 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals in 27 minutes. Russ is rapidly emerging as not only the best player on the team, but one of the most unstoppable players in college basketball. There’s really not much else to note about the game, as UMKC was simply a horrific basketball team. I am never one to bash the competition, and I am sure the ‘Roos try really, really hard. This one paragraph that I will write about this game can be summed up

Louisville legend Chris Redman had floor seats for today’s game, and spoke with Sean Moth over the PA during a timeout. I wanted to go party the second the interview ended. He said that Louisville was the best city in America, Teddy Bridgewater is the best quarterback in college football, Louisville will win the Sugar Bowl and the national championship in basketball, and that the ACC was now the best conference in college sports. I was working so I couldn’t go party, but I teared up and started a slow clap anyway.

Suit Gorgs looking sharp

 

In the post-game press conference, Rick Pitino didn’t have too much to say, but had high praise of Russ. Then, amazing happened. Bob Domine had his cell phone on the podium to record the press conference. Mr. Domine conveniently forgot to silence his phone, and Pitino answered. Bob will be at Jeff Ruby’s this evening to enjoy dinner and drinks with friends if you’d like to say hello.

 

Cards Shoot Redhawks out of the Gym

Russ Smith led the Cards to an easy win against Miami (OH), 80-39. This game was a good old fashioned butt slappin. Seemingly every year there are a couple games in November/December where Louisville completely smothers the opposition defensively and can’t miss a shot on the offensive side of the ball. Typically, Coach Pitino responds in typical fashion and is upset about something. We’ve heard the quote “good shooting cures a multitude of sins” from Coach countless times over the years. While he was unable to exit the press conference without saying that, it was a very optimistic mood in the conference room with Pitino saying it’s the best the Cards have looked thus far.

Louisville looked good today. They looked really good. Miami had nowhere to go on offense, and could not keep up with the movement of the Louisville offense. Louisville shot 26 threes on the game, making 12 of them. I don’t think I’m telling any tales out of school when I say this isn’t a stellar shooting team, but what it lacks in number of deep ball threats it makes up with speed, strength, and intelligence. The ball movement was very crisp today which will always increase the likelihood of a strong shooting performance. I really think that’s all Pitino wants on offense. Beating this Miami team the way they did is nothing to boast about, but it was a great tuneup for the battle that lies ahead in the Bahamas.

The Battle 4 Atlantis field is absolutely stacked. Louisville will play Northern Iowa (3-0) on Thanksgiving night at 9:30. Should the Cards win that game they will play the winner of the Missouri/Stanford matchup Friday evening. On the other side of the bracket you have Duke, Memphis, Minnesota, and VCU. It’s one of the most loaded preseason basketball tournaments in recent memory, and will be a great early season test and tournament resume builder for the Cards.