Well, there we go. We gave it a game effort in the first half, but in the second half, Louisville's superior depth and talent simply did us in. Congratulations to the Cardinals, they played hard, made good adjustments at the half, and rode our cold shooting to big victory. This was not a case of Kentucky giving the game away, it was a case of Louisville earning the victory with perseverance and superior depth and talent.
First of all, I want to dispose of the ... fracas in the second half. I thought the referees got that one exactly right. Bradley clearly committed an intentional foul, and owned up to it right away. Terrance Williams clearly earned a technical with a shove on Crawford. I don't hold anything against Williams -- if the situation had been reversed, I am reasonably sure Bradley would have been T'd up. Bradley said some very ungentlemanly things to Williams during the encounter, so I am satisfied with the outcome and I hope most Kentucky fans are as well. Williams was standing up for his teammate, and even though he took it too far, it was not without provocation. In the end, it was the right call, and diffused a potentially explosive situation.
As to the outcome of the game, well, that's different. In the first half, I think Kentucky showed great defensive pressure and played hard. This entire game, the Wildcats were bedeviled with poor perimeter shooting, something we could ill afford. Jodie Meeks played a poor game, taking bad shots and making very few. Patrick Patterson was not himself, and the Cardinals deserve all the credit for getting him off his game. Caracter and Padget just refused to let him get a clean look, and Patterson attempted some very strange and uncharacteristic offensive moves. The big guy gets a pass on this one -- he is a freshman, and for the first time all year, played like one.
Joe Crawford delivered his usual mixed bag. He scored, he made free throws on good drives to the basket, and he spent the basketball like a sailor seeing his first liberty in six months. God knows whether he did more harm than good, but from my viewpoint, he did marginally more good than harm. But in the end, it wasn't enough.
Louisville simply had too much depth and talent for us to beat them. Not only that, they are not a young team -- they are filled with juniors and seniors, and that leadership really worked in their favor and against the Wildcats in this one. Pitino stuck with the zone almost the entire game, which is really a surprise to me. If we had been able to shoot the ball like we did against FIU, the outcome could have very well gone the other way. But alas, we didn't.
So we suffer our first loss at the hands of the Cardinals in four years. I suppose that is just the facts of life, and just another log on the fire of a difficult and painful season. Can we turn it around? I don't know. But in the final analysis, we are going to have to play much better to have any chance of being competitive in the SEC. I am searching for a silver lining here, but I confess, I can't find one. Feel free to help me out.