“ALL RISE!!! Court is now in session. The honorable Bucket Hat King LJ tha Fiasco presiding. Please be seated and come to order”

Ok, I was fully prepared to come back to Louisville with at least two wins and one loss. I even expected us to drop the match against Notre Dame since South Bend has been a nightmare for past Cardinal teams. It didn’t happen.

Each time I begin to worry about this team, they do something to make me think, “hey, we’re gonna be ok”. Four things that have changed in the past few weeks.

  • The starting back-court of Kimble and Perry has been effective, especially against Duke on Saturday
  • The increase in playing time for Sam Williamson has been really helpful for Louisville.
  • Malik Williams making key buckets and defensive stops late in games.
  • David. Freaking. Johnson.

Over the summer we heard that Johnson was going to be one of the freshman to keep an eye on. Due to a shoulder injury that required months to heal, we are just now reaping the benefits of having him on the court. While I am not sure if we switch the rotation up so that he can start, I do think it would be a travesty if he is not playing at least the bulk of the game.

Enjoy it, Cards fans. We have a freshman who is finally allowed to spread his wings, make mistakes and not get pulled, and have body fat. It also doesn’t hurt he is a hometown kid.

To the notes!!

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  • I would be doing a disservice to this blog and the fine folks over at TCZ if I didn’t start this week’s edition off with this:
Anton Gill

You ain’t slick Anton…….

  • I would also be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t drop this on you during this fine Wednesday morning:
“Cards by 5….

Malik Williams played like a man possessed the final few minutes of the Duke game. Big blocks, key defensive rebounds, free throws, and he also owns all the rights to Jack White’s life.

I have been a strong critic of Malik mainly because I want him to take advantage of his frame and dunk every chance he gets. He is becoming a key piece of the offense and stepping up on defense.

  • David Johnson is healthy now. Johnson provides another scoring threat that Louisville so desperately needed. It also makes you wonder how the UK or FSU game would have turned out had he played more. But regardless, we are all breathing a little bit easier now that we know he is ok after a hard foul (that was not called). I worried about next season with Louisville losing so much off of this team, but I think we will be just fine.
  • How sweet was it that right as Dan Shulman was talking about Ryan McMahon being scoreless he nails a critical three just as he was finishing the sentence?
  • I am fan of Jay Bilas. I love how he calls the games, offers humor, and isn’t bias. BUT Jay was working my last good nerve during the game with the “chest foul” rants. If I am straight up and not initiating contact, then we should play on. If there was ever a moment where a chest foul should have been called, it should have been when:
  • Joey Baker, you have now joined a exclusive list of opposing players who will forever draw the ire of Louisville fans. This list features some names you may remember:

Diego Guevara

Brian Wardle

Mike Dean

Travis, Drew, and Drake Diener

DeMarcus Cousins

Darius Washington Jr.

Eric Bledsoe

Trash Daniels

Jordan Jones

Stevie “Got Loose” Johnson

Benny Snell

Grayson Allen

Scott Martin

Bob Knight

Digger Phelps

Doug Gottlieb

I would given anything to hear exactly what Darius said. Also, I want to know what fighting style requires you to run in crotch first into a heated battle. He pushed absolutely NOTHING but air, and then realized his trust fund was not worth the ass whipping.

It also appears that Duke fans never do anything wrong. Listen to this reaction:

  • Kudos to Jordan Nwora. The fact that he contributed in other areas when his shot was not falling speaks volumes. Nwora has been accused of fading in big games, most notably the one against that team to our east, but he showed up big in the Michigan game, and he was the only source of offense we had against FSU. Personally, I couldn’t care less if he doesn’t score 20ppg, just as long as someone else steps up to carry the slack.
  • I am not sure what Coach Mack told Perry and Kimble before the game on Saturday, but it had to be along the lines of “that is your basketball, take it”. Go back and watch the first 10 minutes of the first half. Louisville didn’t even have to work hard, Duke willingly gave them the ball each time. I honestly have not seen that type of defensive pressure since Russ and Peyton were here.
  • I am going to drop it later in this column, but the funniest thing about the Louisville/Duke recap video was the fact they had Quinn Slazinski smiling in a few scenes which seemed to mock Duke even more. I am a HUGE fan of these videos and the behind the scene looks we are given following each game. Hats off to UofL Marketing yet again.
  • I am so glad we are getting more Samuel Williamson these days. It finally appears the staff if getting comfortable with the rotation each game.
  • Louisville should be favored in every game starting now until their anticipated rematch with FSU on February 24th. The ACC is really down this year, and we are looking at getting 5-6 bids which is weird. I am so used to the ACC getting 8-9 teams in. Cards have a chance to start a streak and also improve potential seeding in March.
  • Not to rain on this Duke bashing parade, but by a show of hands, who all expected OT in South Bend when ND got two offensive boards late? Yea, me too.
  • Random but……I miss college football…….bad. We had fun this year.
  • Pissing off the Capel brothers is one thing, but causing one to forget the mic was hot was another. Jason Capel demanding that Malik “take that shit off” made my damn week.
  • A lot has been made about guys sulking or hanging their heads when shots are not falling or things are not going their way. I just want to say, not once have I ever seen this from Ryan McMahon. Losing his starting job and going through a noticeable shooting slump earlier this season didn’t derail him. I still think he is going to win a big game for us with a well-timed three pointer.

If you were to ask me who my favorite college coaches are, I would give you a list of coaches that I have always rooted for. Billy Donovan, Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens (really wanted him to fail at Boston so he could replace Rick when he retired. We now know that didn’t happen), and Kevin Keatts come to mind. None have really come close to Coach Karen though…..till now. Coach Karen is a well respected coach, but his influence on the game is really annoying at times.

For instance, after Louisville won the 2013 Championship, Coach Karen ranted about hand checking and whatnot. His Duke team was blasted by Louisville by 20+ after beating the Cards earlier in the season. Soon after, the NCAA changed the defensive rules limiting hand checking. Hmmm, interesting.

Each time Louisville has hosted Duke at the YUM center, I have watched Coach Karen pull the refs aside and right after the timeout, a foul was immediately called on Louisville. Again, interesting.

I get Coach Karen preaches class, but he has done some foul shit over the years that gets swept under the rug, and it really needs to be called out. Remember the phrase “freedom of motion.” I can almost guarantee you will hear that called a lot next season. I am not calling Coach Karen a snitch, but he does dry snitch a ton to anyone that will listen.

When your team has twelve more attempts at the line than Louisville, I would say your point is moot. Also, had it not been for late free throws in the game, Louisville would have only had twelve or so attempts compared to your twenty-nine. Stats don’t lie.

Bottom line, Coach Karen, your team fouls, too. Stop bitching.

If we are going to change the game because of Coach Karen, he should at least be required to take his hair off.

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Person(s) or things that earned a shot of top shelf liquor this week:

  • David Johnson
  • Malik Williams
  • Sam Williamson
  • Darius Perry wanting all the smoke
  • Dunking. The Cards did a LOT of it in Cameron Arena.
  • Bank shots
  • Shouting “Take that shit off” in random moments throughout the day.
  • Undefeated road trips
  • “YOU” on Netflix. Finally started it and boy am I hooked. I really liked the series “Dexter” when it was on so this was right up my alley. This guy though…..sheesh…he is nuttier than a shit-house rat.
  • Louisville’s 2020 football schedule
  • Jack White. This poster is going to look awesome in my next man cave.
  • Kansas City Chiefs. Technically I am supposed to hate you due to you sharing a division with my Raiders. But I am just happy that the AFC representative does not include the words New England.

Person(s) or things that must protect themselves from Joey Baker’s crotch first fighting stance:

  • Joey Baker. You fight like a younger man, memorable……but mistaken.
  • Jack White. You fouled and got embarrassed.
  • Coach Karen.
  • WKU fans. I don’t know why but something tells me I shouldn’t give you a pass anymore.
  • Louisville fans who @ players. Sit your entitled ass down and watch the game. You don’t have to form a strongly worded tweet to let people know they need to play better.
  • Security guard in LSU’s locker room. They just won a championship, I am sure a lot worse has happened after a Saints victory.
  • Security guard who began to file charges against O’dell Beckham
  • Security guards at Louisville Live. We remember.
  • Baseball scandals. Like, you really don’t have to cheat at baseball just like you don’t have to really be in shape to play.
  • Winter. Go away.

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And in closing:

  • Louisville vs. Georgia Tech tonight at 7pm on the Fox Sports South
  • Louisville Football’s 2020 schedule drops today. Time to see when we host V-Tech and who we open the season with.
  • Mack has now beaten two bluebloods on their home court. Rick could never….

Only one way to cap this off……..Quinn Smilin’:

Be cool in this hot city.

Court adjourned. (bangs gavel)

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LJ Nesbitt

The BHK. Writer for thecrunchzone.com , 1/2 of the TCZ Podcast. Surviving in the great city of Louisville, in the not so great state of KY. Loui$ville KY thecrunchzone.com

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