I can't speak for the attitude of the locker room, but based on anecdotal evidence from fans and radio, I haven't seen a loss galvanize the fanbase like this in awhile. It's a combination of factors I guess, but mostly it's due to the bogus T on Kuric and listening to the cloying and crotchety duo of Digger Phelps and Bobby Knight refer to Notre Dame as "we" all night while shaking their heads in disapproval at the Cards.
A win would have done wonders, but the loss can do many of the same things, albeit to a lesser degree. Here's some other thoughts...
* I agree with a caller to the Drew Deener show this morning that said Preston Knowles needs to regain a little bit of a shooting conscience. I understand he takes his role as senior leader and clutch performer seriously, and I know he's earned his green light, but when others are stepping up and having splendid offensive nights like Kuric, Siva, and TJ were last night, he doesn't need to do all the heavy lifting.
He'd do well to remember that perhaps his most clutch play of the season was passing up a jump shot to find an open Kyle Kuric at the end of the Marquette game.
* The bogus T notwithstanding, I thought the refs were atrocious last night. Notre Dame out-free throwed the Cards 28 attempts to 11, in a game where the Cards were the much more aggressive team in the paint. All game Abromatitis, or whatever his name is, was throwing his elbow with every offensive move, using it like a weapon to create space to get his shot off. Not called once.
Add this game to the terrible call that marred the outcome of the Villanova-Rutgers game last night, and the quality of officiating in the Big East is becoming a serious concern.
* Mike Brey made a nice defensive adjustment on the final possession of regular play, switching to zone during the play, taking away Siva's driving ability, and befuddling the Cards. Even though Knowles shot almost dropped, it was horrible execution and the Cards should have gotten a much better look.
Having missed their prime opportunity to seal the upset, I can't imagine most were very confident heading into OT. Notre Dame striking first with a 3 and TJ's subsequent 5th foul, and that was all she wrote.
* There's not much else you can say about Kuric's outstanding game. 28 points 6 boards, wonderfully aggressive without ever forcing. I hope this performance will be a light-switch game in terms of his aggressiveness on the court. When he decides to impact the game with his athleticism as well as his jump shot, the sky is the limit for this kid.
* "Rudy" is moving down on my DVD rotation for awhile.
* Effective minutes by Elisha Justice and George Goode, but Marra still isn't producing enough when he's on the floor.
* Time will tell, but I have a feeling that last night's game will be viewed as a turning point when we reflect on the season. It could be the moment the Cards let a prime opportunity slip away and never regrouped. Or it could be the game that rallied the team together, when they proved to themselves that even as a depleted team they are good enough to go toe to toe with any team in any environment. They only get better as they get healthier and roll into a deep tourney run.
Who knows. When March comes around, I'm not sure what they'll be saying about this team. But they won't be able to say they're not battle-tested, that's for sure.
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
CliffySmalls is also known as Cliff Elliott. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.