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

Bummer….Louisville was two infinity stones away from owning the North Carolina guantlet. We already had UNC, NC State, and Wake. We were only missing a UNC sweep and the biggest one of all, Duke.

But unlike Thor, UNC went for the head in the second meeting and here we are sweep-stoneless. There is still a chance to get Duke and hopefully a rubber match with the Tarheels in the ACC tournament. Don’t fret, Louisville Thanos may still make an appearance.

Before we dive into February and the brutal weeks ahead, can we just take a moment to appreciate how awesome January was for Louisville basketball in general. The Louisville women ended January by finally slaying Goliath (UCONN) after failing to do so the previous 17 times. The Louisville men followed a head scratching loss to Pitt with a unexpected ass kicking of UNC. The month of January was filled with some blowout wins and some satisfying moments for both programs. Kudos to everyone involved, what a month it was.

To the notes.

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Any outbursts and you will be removed from the court by Mary Robinson (@CardChick). Look, I have respect for all of the women of CardNation starting first and foremost with Mrs. BHK. But Mary has a quietness about her that scares the hell out of me. Ya know how in the movies there is always a villian who has a sidekick that doesn’t say much, just stands there and stares into your soul? That is Mary. I am not saying she is the real life “Atomic Blonde”, I am only saying that make sure if you see her at a game to acknowledge her for the sake of everything holy. There are certain things you don’t want. Gout, herpes, and a death stare from Mary:

  • Gonna start off differently today. Welcome back Darius Perry. After not leaving the bench last week for the Pitt game, it was revealed Darius was late for the shoot-around. Darius returned in the Wake Forest game and played 10 minutes. While he did pick up a boneheaded technical foul, it was good to see that he was back out there trying to help the team. He followed that game up with a 17 minute, 8 point performance against UNC. Hopefully the points, and added playing time will spark him going forward. Yes, I know that a few of those points came in garbage time, but for a guy struggling with his offense that could be a confidence booster. Even in defeat.
  • VJ King played 16 minutes against Wake and then only 3 minutes against UNC. While I am not going to go into his stats, I will say its still disappointing that a lot of our fans continue to blame him for things completely out of his control. He played only 3 minutes against UNC but would you believe there were fans around me complaining those entire 3 minutes? One fan blamed VJ for a foul that he didn’t even commit. It is tiring, annoying, and at this rate I hope VJ does transfer so our fanbase can fnally shut the hell up about him. I really don’t understand what VJ did to a lot of you but for f—- sake get over it.
  • Christen Cunningham is so valuable to this team I almost want to put him in bubble wrap and protect him from any harm. It is extremely evident during games where he is not on the floor the offense stalls completely. Khwan Fore can score, but passes instead. Darius has struggled on the offensive end and with turnovers. When CC goes to the bench, so does the offense. Louisville will have to find a way to get better when CC is on the bench. He can’t play the full game and not get tired.
  • Sadly, the EnochNess Monster refused to make an appearance against UNC. Big Steve Enoch played a total of 16 minutes. He grabbed 4 rebounds, took one shot, and finished scoreless. He was a big piece in the previous UNC win but today he could do nothing to get himself going. It stinks, but hopefully he comes out and redeems himself in the Virginia Tech game tonight.
  • It was Freaky Saturday inside the YUM! Center. I tweeted that this was the same game, just a role reversal. UNC did everything Louisville did in the first game during the rematch. They murdered Louisville on the glass, they forced tempo, and they played great defense. Similar to UNC in the first game, Louisville looked completely lost on defense and left Cameron Johnson wide open on several occasions. They also allowed UNC to pull down an embarrassing amount of offensive rebounds….18 to be exact. Louisville was destroyed on the glass 49-32. That can’t happen if Team 105 wants to get some signature wins this month.
  • Love Jordan Nwora to death but I really want him to pass the ball at times. Nwora has tunnel vision on fast breaks and at time he tends to forget there are four other guys out there wearing the same jersey. Granted his points have secured a lot of our wins this year, but there has been a lot of times where he could make one more pass but instead keeps if for a either a three or a drive to the basket. We all have noticed it. The fact Nwora can heat up faster than the grill at Kansai is enough to have us look past it. Nwora has improved his scoring and rebounding and if he starts distributing the ball more and working on defense he will really be complete player.
  • Malik Williams had an interesting post-game interaction with some so-called “fans” on social media. And before I dive into that, just know I am on his side 110%. CardNation spends a ton of time crapping on other fan-bases but there are a few bad apples in our family as well. The tweets have been deleted but it seems some fans wanted to play the role of Coach Mack and jump on Twitter to critique his play. By critique I mean bash and call him names that would make Andrew Dice Clay shudder. So, as we did with Wayne Blackshear, James Quick, VJ, and all the other players that some fans feel they can trash, let me just remind you:

A. Malik would beat the living **** out of you and then go play a game of Fortnite.

B. Malik would embarass you on the court and then give your mom the eye.

C. The only pick and roll your fat ass is capable of executing is when you go to Krispy Kreme to pick out a jelly roll.

D. STFU and stop calling out players on social media

People were quiet when he was he was helping the team to a 7-1 record last month. Lose one game, the bandwagon fans come out. I love CardNation, hate these fans though.

  • Ryan McMahon had a tough afternoon on Saturday but none tougher than getting elbowed in the face and not even getting the benefit of a review from the ref. That ref is a jerk and I wonder if he has always been like this.

Nevermind……..it was TV Ted.

  • Can I just say that I love the job that Lottie Stockwell and the marketing team have done this season for some of the games. Between “Louisville Live” and the Muhammad Ali themed game against UNC they have really made the days leading up to the event fun and enjoyable for a fanbase that had seen some tough times the past few years. However…… I think it is time to put the color-themed games to bed for a while until we can fully recover. Here lately the whiteouts and blackouts have gone great…………..for the other team. Lets see:

-2015 Blackout vs. Clemson (Loss 20-17)

-2017 Blackout vs. Clemson (Loss 47-21)

-2018 Blackout vs. Georgia Tech (Loss 66-31)

-2017 WhiteOut vs. UNC (Loss 93-76)

-2018 WhiteOut vs. UNC (Loss 79-69)

I am all for getting new uniforms and doing fan events but the white/black color theme games need a moment to breathe and then we will see how we do in a year or so. Sorry, I know that is probably an unpopular opinion but we need to hit the reset button.

  • I was extremely happy that Chris Mack shot down the idea of wearing a white suit on Saturday. I may be alone in thinking this but I prefer Coach Mack do his own thing and not continue a tradition created by our former head coach. He is not Rick, that much is obvious. The white suit was a gimmick that worked for Pitino and fans loved it. But Pitino was fired and gone with him are his suit choices. Let Mack create his own identity here at Louisville and don’t force him to do something that is not in his character to do. A white Louisville starter jacket would have been cool though…..

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The courtroom will now be opened for questioning:

Jeremy Faith (@JmFaith78): So based on how UNC playee us yesterday, did they lay down a blueprint for the rest of the acc schedule on how to play us? I noticed they were playing terrific on ball defense and really up in our boys faces. Good adjustments by Roy or just dagum bad luck?

If you ask me the blueprint on how to beat us was laid down by Boston College in the second half of that game. They figured out that pressure defense as well as not letting Louisville get clean looks was the key. Only issue was, they ran out of time and Nwora hit a huge shot to nail down the win. UNC knew this in the first game, they just played like crap and didn’t respect the opponent. Of course Roy made adjustments, that is what HOF coaches do especially after they get blown out in the first meeting. UNC didn’t give us an inch at all. The defense was stifling. I am sure the word has been out on how improved Louisville is.

Bass Ackwards (ChadinJax): Would it be feasible to eat your partner on the show “naked and afraid” if you were starving?

Are they dead?? Are you grilling or smoking them? How are you preparing the body to eat? What are the sides? Based on all my questions I am going to suggest you starve to death.

Go Cards! (@matchewV4): What do you think lead to some of the curious decision making from Ryan today? Was his “pass up the open look and drive the lane” strategy part of the game plan? Or just him trying to do more than the team needed from him?

Most of this has to do with the great defense UNC played. They were determined to not let anyone from Louisville get an open shot. Also, we have seen enough of Ryan to know he is a spot up shooter so if you run him off the three point line he is going to get frustrated and try to force things to happen. That is not his game, neither is playing the point guard role. Ryan is going to be fine, he had a bad game along with his teammates.

eisedebCard (@eisedeb): How about if they want it to be a white out they actually come out with some white shirts that look good.

True, some of the shirts have not been great. But even if they did come up with a great shirt people would still wear an opposite color. People would show up wearing orange and purple to the game. And UK fans will still show up in blue. Just wear a plain white tee and try to ignore everything else.

Tanya Cowan (@CardsBballFan): Can we get a Twitter for all the haters, player bashers, couch coaches, and keyboard cowards! Please and Thank You!!

It already exists. Google the word “Facebook”.

Sam Kustes (@SK_L1C4): Projected record for our last 9 games?

Sam, you know I don’t give predictions but I would say Louisville has a chance to either go 5-4 or 4-5. They could also go 6-3 or 3-6. Let’s face it, we would all love 9-0. One thing is for sure, barring a complete tanking the last nine games by this team, Selection Sunday should be less stressful this season.

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Person(s) or things who earned free Wendy’s from the S.A.C at UofL:

  • Dwayne Sutton
  • Christen Cunningham
  • Coach Mack’s veto on wearing a white suit
  • UofL Marketing department
  • Darius Perry
  • 60 degree Sunday’s during the winter
  • The Louisville Women’s team breaking 17 game losing streaks
  • For the fourth weekend in a row…..the goons.
  • 21 Savage’s accent

Person(s) or things who earned some questionable Taco Tico:

  • Ted Valentine
  • Geno Auriemma
  • White Out games
  • Black Out games
  • Super Bowls with the Patriots
  • Maroon 5 Halftime shows
  • Andy Warhol and Burger King
  • Michelob Light Ultra ads
  • Indiana losing streaks ending
  • Matt McGavic of course

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And in closing……February is here. Much like the theme of every season of Game of Thrones, you knew it was coming and you just hoped you are prepared to face it. While the UNC game was a disaster, I am fully confident in Chris Mack that he will get it fixed. This is a entirely different Louisville team obviously but the thing I have noticed is they are mentally strong. In their minds, they are never out of the game. There has not been a game this year that I have seen where Louisville was down and stopped competing.

While Louisville has let big leads shrink in a few games, you can’t doubt that they continue to fight until the final buzzer. The good thing is, Louisville has numerous chances this month to make up for this loss. The bad thing, there aren’t anymore Wake Forest’s or Central Arkansas’ left on the schedule.

February is here.

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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