I think I speak for most UofL fans when I say that I want us to play Western every year, but I also understand that in big-time college athletics sometimes fiscal decisions have to be made which is exactly what the original decision by UofL to put off the game was, a fiscal, budgetary decision. I mean, aside from some maniacs out there who cheer for the team 75 miles East of here, does anyone really think UofL was afraid to play Western, ever?
Yes, Western had won the previous meeting between the schools, by a whopping three points. That game featured one of UofL's worst team in its history and one of Western's best teams over the last two decades. So how could anyone possibly believe that an improved UofL squad would have shuddered at playing Western whether they had Chris Marcus or Shaquille ONeal?
No, UofL's decision was based upon the financial realities of big-time college athletics. It needed another home game for financial reasons, but Woody, without a diplomatic bone in his body, wouldn't stand for it. Ironically, WKU has done the same thing in its own self-interests in canceling series with in-state schools, including old-time rival EKU. So how is it that Woody decided that it was unacceptable for UofL to do the exact same thing he has done as AD at WKU?
Also, why is it that a few state lawmakers from the Bowling Green area felt compelled to put their noses where they didn't belong yet they sit by silently as UK refuses to schedule WKU? Can you say hypocrites? Can you say double standard? Can you say certain folks in our representative form of government continue to show their biases towards certain state institutions and many times at the expense of other state institutions. The legislature had as much business stepping in to this situation as Wood Selig would have teaching a class on how to make friends andinfluence people.
Who will be the starting Point Guard come March? Taquan Dean looked more comfortable handling the Point Guard duties in the Western game, but it's pretty obvious that he's still a scorer first. Brandon Jenkins will get his fair share of minutes at the position but can't be expected to start there anytime soon. No, it looks more and more like Pitino is going to go with a Point Guard by committee approach, and his motion offense lends itself to such a set-up. Even Francisco Garcia took on many of the Point Guard duties in their half-court offensive sets during the WKU game and did a fairly good job distributing the ball to his teammates. The great thing with this team is that with the depth at the guard spot and the versatile players on the roster, many different players will be able to handle the Point Guard duties during the season.
It was great to see Nouha Diakite finally suit up for the Cardinals against Holy Cross. Not just because they badly need another big inside body but because he seems like a very nice, intelligent student-athlete, and he brings a ton of energy to the defensive end of the floor. The response from the entire team in blocking 18 shots was amazing. Hopefully, he will be a needed inside fixture for the remainder of the season. Here's also wishing a speedy recovery to Otis George, who played very little against Holy Cross while still nursing his injury from the WKU game.
Finally, I know Pitino and Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard are long-time friends, but if we're going to schedule Holy Cross again, can we at least get them to agree that 25% of their shots will be taken within the first 20 seconds of the shot clock? I thought for a moment that we were playing Temple. In truth, that kind of team and game is something that should be very helpful to the team come NCAA tournament time because you never know when you may run into a team that plays a similar style.
To contrast the styles and game with Holy Cross, the schedule interestingly presents #1 ranked Florida this Saturday. Anyone who was concerned that the two teams might not score 75 points between them in the Holy Cross game won't have to worry about that in the Florida game. No, Billy Donavan presents a mirror image of Coach Pitino in virtually everything he does from how he dresses to how he handles timeouts to how his team plays aggressive, pressing, and up and down the floor basketball.
Fasten your seat belts because I have a feeling this game with Florida will be a wild one.
Freedom Hall is one of the greatest places on the planet to watch a basketball game.