Here's a few things I learned yesterday in nihilsitic, qui gives a shit, what's-the-point-anyways order. Did I mention I don't take losses well?
So what did we learn...
* That blogging for 18-hours straight breaking down the minutia of the matchup is pointless. Every Rivalry Game for the forseeable future will play out the exact same, no matter the court, no matter the faces. The script goes thusly...
In the first 6 minutes both teams will play hard and cancel each other out with moments of madcap action and mistakes. Then the game will settle in, players in the Louisville uniform that have made shots all season will brick a new addition onto whatever building the game's being played in. Kentucky will play poised despite a few turnovers and build a slight lead while UofL does stupid things like miss a dunk or turn it over while bringing the ball up the court uncontested. A UK stud-of-the-season will then make a play, a 3 or dunk, causing me to say: "Dammit. Let's just get into the locker room within striking range".
But coming out of the locker room, nothing changes. Louisville will continue to shoot itself in the foot for the first four minutes, making the routine look difficult. The Cards will be on life support, but will spring to life for one segment of action and make a few consecutive shots. But then they'll overplay on defense, trying to make up the deficit in a single possession, which will lead to uncontested Wildcat points at the rim. Then they'll be tucked into bed.
That's the dynamic. Done and done.
* And that will be the dynamic so long as Pitino is the coach at UofL. Don't misinterpret, I'm not blowing a gasket or calling for his resignation or anything. I have no doubt that Pitino will regroup this squad, and that UofL will knock off some teams with numbers next to their names during Big East play.
But that is the dynamic for the Battle of the Bluegrass; the prospects for the forseeable future are grim. If this is a "bridge team" for UofL, it's likewise for UK. This was the most beatable Wildcat team we're likely to face in near future. I don't think Pitino's washed up, but playing his former team every year takes a toll on him.
He doesn't get up for it at all, he just wants to get it over with.
* Siva's potential is very much in jeopardy. Though talented, he's small. And he plays smaller the bigger the matchup.
* The home court advantage in our new digs is borderline embarassing. When CBS cut back to start the second half it looked like a third of the primo seats being caught by the camera were still empty.
* If Louisville doesn't want to be called Little Brother they need to stop playing the part. By my count only two guys played the game, Preston Knowles and Gorgui Dieng.
Don't get me wrong, both had moments of suckitude, but at least they played without fear. After scoring the first points of the game, Knowles forced and flustered his way through the rest of the first half. But at least he wanted the ball in his hands. True to form, he kept shooting and sparked the brief "comeback", the only stretch of basketball the Cards don't have to be embarassed about.
And Gorgui was the other, his foreign-ness a benefit. He had mistakes too, a blown open dunk and a couple turnovers. But at least he was playing basketball, bringing energy and life to the game, not getting the pre-game memo that this game is so intense it can't actually be played with finesse.
In sterotypical, borderline-offensive but meant in a complimentary-fashion, I can envision the half-time talk going something like this...
Gorgui: We always play this 'gainst these guy?The point is, Dieng at least played like a guy unencumbered by the burden of the rivalry. Until we get more guys like him, all we have to look forward to is more of the same.
Siva: Yea, pretty much.
Gorgui: Why we no make shot?
Siva: There's always next year.
Gorgui: OK. Their coach fat.