Friday, March 4, 2011

College Hoops: Louiville Keeps Winning

Why is a Montrealer writing about a college basketball team as random as the Louisville Cardinals?  Good question. Let's just put it this way: I've always been a big fan of the undersized underdog.  The Buffalo Bills started growing on me because of the exploits of diminutive QB Doug Flutie.  With the Phoenix Suns it's the same idea, Steve Nash is the ultimate example of a little guy taking on the world.  The Habs have a host of a small players.  Louisville?  Well they've always been a small-ball, guard driven team, that uses the 3-ball as there most prized possession. They have 6'2 Chris Smith who sometimes plays power forward. 'Nuff said.

Anyways, lets talk Cards. How can you not love this team? Rick Pitino must be some kind of genius because he's managed to take a team that a) was supposed to finish 8th in the conference b) lost only returning starter Jared Swopshire for the season, before the season even begun c) endured countless injuries to practically every important player on the team--and turned them into a team first, defense first, no-star powerhouse.  They currently sit alone in 3rd in the Big East, with a record of 12-5.  Rick Pitino said earlier this year that 10 victories would be a great accomplishment in this conference.  12, maybe 13 wins would therefore be some sort of miracle.

After finding out that they lost small forward Rakeem Buckles for the remainder of the year, Louisville came out at the KFC Yum! center last night and showed the rest of the NCAA how much that loss will mean.  Very little.  The Cards trounced the Providence Friars 87-60, a team that beat them earlier in the year, and who also have wins over Alabama and Villanova.  Going into the tournament, I predict that the Cards will continue to surprise, simply because nobody really respects them as a true tourney favorite, despite the fact that all they keep doing is beat top ranked opponents.  Maybe the Cards prefer being the underdog, though I'd be a bit miffed if I were Pitino and saw where Joe Lunardi had them in his recent much lauded "bracketology". Hey Joe, wake up! How do you have the Tar Heels, who have ZERO victories against top 25 competition, ahead of the Cards, who have 6?  No respect, I say. But then again, being a fan of the perennial underdog, I guess that's just the way i like it...

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