Seedy K’s GameCap: Western Kentucky

With all the news coming from the Belknap Campus this week, who was listening to the InterFraternity Council bulletin?

Looks like a new dorm has been added to Greek culture at U of L.

Omicron Delta.

The ODs are apparently a jockhouse. Their first promise: Malik Williams. Which went straight through Hell Week.

As a result, the Cards missed Saturday afternoon struggle at Uncle Ed Diddle Arena. (Although for some very strange reason he appears in the box score as if he entered the game for a second of action. Did I miss something?)

In Bowling Green, U of L fell, if not meekly, inexorably for the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky.

82-72 was the final.

The Toppers drilled a few treys at the start for a lightning-quick 6-0 advantage. The home city was leading 13-5 on the first media outage.

And essentially the Cardinals kept track the rest of the way. They led a whopping 14 in the 1st, before going into the half with an 11-point lead.

The Cards formed a 10-0 run early in the 2d to get inside 3 47-50, and were one figure closer at 52-54. Immediately after, they wasted a defensive stop, coughing up, turning WKU into a +1 fastbreak layin.

At the next commercial timeout, U of L’s deficit was 7 at 54-61.

Louisville didn’t stop. Louisville never got over the bump.

* * * * *

Would U or L’s leading scorer and rebounder and adult leader have made all the difference?

One must believe it.

But maybe not. Obviously more ready for battle, Western rode the emotion of the real Hell Week in their region, pumping the crowds in search of air.

Louisville never seemed able to cope with the very tall prodigy Javion Sharp. The Hilltopper spindle blocked 4 shots and changed at least 2-3 times that much. None of the cardinals effectively challenged Sharp on either side of the court.

* * * * *

I’m not sure if my previous admonitions are still valid, when I warned that we won’t really know anything about this edition of the Cardinal Hoopsters until January.

Flaws begin to manifest.

One is the most detailed with this stat. Louisville was -20 at the charity mark, double the finishing margin. 5/7 against 25/31.

Don’t blame the zebras. Louisville just doesn’t have enough players with a good enough handle to drive the ball and attract attention and fouls. (But let’s be honest with Western. With Sharp to protect the rim, stopping driving isn’t mandatory.)

* * * * *

Were there any positives for Louisville?

Not really on the defensive. The victors shot 50% precisely from both inside and outside the arc, boosted by 55% on 2s and 82% on 3s in the opening stanza. In addition, they scored 25 points on those 21 U or L errors.

Noah Locke was more or less coming out of his slump. He scored 20 with 4 triples.

Roosevelt Wheeler continued to show his positive sides. He scored 8 on 4/4 shooting, but in his 20-minute PT, he only got 3 of the Cards’ 28 cards. Western Kentucky won the glass with 37 snares.

* * * * *

There is a Yiddish word that you may be familiar with.

Chutzpa. This means extreme confidence and daring.

That’s what came to mind when El Ellis challenged Sharp a few times. When Sharp hit his shots with ease.

* * * * *

For some sort of explainable reason, I wasn’t as despondent as I normally would be after the loss.

Their commitment was not comparable to that of the volleyball players, who played an incredible match in the national semi-final and just lost.

U or L didn’t play well at Bowling Green at all.

No, I think it’s this.

The reality of the Cardinal Hoops state has finally broken through.

U of L is located in Hank Raymond’s territory.

For those unfamiliar, he was the Marquette coach after Al McGuire retired. The Warriors, or whatever they’re called now, never really recovered.

That Chris Mack, or anyone for that matter, could continue the mostly year in, year out success of Hall of Famers and National Champions Denny Crum and Rick Pitino is a bit much to ask.

I’m afraid U of L will be running for a while too. At least until the NCAA cloud and sanctions run their course.

sigh.

Next: In Rupp, Kentucky. Who just beat North Carolina 29 in a neutral field.

— cd kaplan

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