“And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression…”
After losing to Kentucky 61-49 in Freedom Hall in December, Louisville continued to spiral downward into the dregs of the Big East. Speeding through mediocrity and approaching rock bottom, Coach Rick Pitino’s future in Louisville is shaky at best…
Using their 61-49 loss to Kentucky in Freedom Hall is December as motivation, Rick Pitino’s club as rebounded with authority, and are one of the hottest teams in the Big East heading into March. Pitino seems to have rediscovered his fire along the way, and the early season woes appear to be a rear-viewed mirage…
There’s a good chance you’ll find one of these two articles in the pages of the Courier Journal as this season unwinds. Which one will it be? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Also, my trip to Vegas this past week is still permeating through my veins, so please mind the trite gambling references.
As implausible as it sounds, Tubby Smith came out of yesterday’s Miss Wyoming Beauty Pageant of a game as the second most maligned coach in the state of Kentucky. Folks, Louisville is very un-good, and now I think it’s safe to say, find themselves engrossed in a good ol’ fashioned coaching controversy. But Intern, Pitino has earned a lifetime of mulligans, as long as he’s on the sidelines, there’s no debate. Well, I would normally agree with that logic, however, the current Louisville product Pitino has concocted is worse than the assemblage that eventually forced Denny Crum into retirement (and even worse, radio). As the game’s preeminent motivator, many (myself included) believed Louisville’s early season misery was half parts a ploy by the crafty Pitino to place a mammoth chip on his player’s shoulders, and several teams were going to pay dearly. Vegas apparently thought so, making U of L a 3.5 point favorite yesterday. Alas, the Cards proved that Pitino is more Carrot Top than Copperfield at the moment, and any illusions of promise appear to be rather fruitless. I mean, they suck folks. And that’s not just my bias talking, they are really, really dreadful. The three staples of any Pitino team have always been shooting, pressure defense, and grit…this team is 0/3 in staples. Palacios, you might remember him as the supposed “next Mashburn”, continues to prove he’s the next Rod Rhodes. Padgett is a nice player, but doesn’t have enough of “it” to take over a game. Sosa will be solid, but solid is not what drives a team deep into March. Character has a decent chance of realizing his potential, but just as equal a chance to flame out into the land of what-ifs. Those 50/50 odds weren’t sexy enough for any D-1 coach to bite except Pitino, whose roll of the dice has been a “crap-out” thus far. Terrance Williams? Maybe he’ll get it together, but right now he’s doing his best early-career-Kelenna Azubuike-disappearing act. Jenkins? Puhlease.
Louisville had ample opportunity to give their fans a sparkle of hope yesterday. Kentucky was virtually without their Ace the entire contest, and worthy ‘kickers’ Bob Perry and Joe Crawford once again failed to make the trip. Yet, even with Morris on the bench, Bradley handling the rock like Michael J. Fox (no, not the Teen Wolf Fox), and Crawford and Perry laying bricks like they were on the first cargo truck out of Juarez, it appeared a mediocre effort would be the only requirement at appeasing the home crowd. But this isn’t a mediocre team. This is a lousy team who fell to the silken hands of Jodie Meeks, and the unrestrained dominance of Woo. When you coerce Billy Packer into mentioning All-SEC and Woo in the same noxious breath, you know things have bottomed out. Looking at Pitino before and after the game, it’s obvious that nobody is impervious to bewilderment.
“I have to go out recruiting….Can you imagine having to go to central Florida now to see a high school basketball game after scoring 49 points? What a great life.”
Even from the matter-of-factly mouth of Pitino, this doesn’t sound like a skipper up to the task of righting this ship. Then again, who knows. If anyone can turn a negative into a positive, it’s Rick. However, this is the lowest point of his college career thus far, and judging by his demeanor, may be too much to overcome. As they say in Vegas, “your luck is only as good as your cards,” and good, these Cards are not.