No one told Rick Pitino’s team that they aren’t supposed to compete in the Big East this year. With injuries galore, the Cards have been able to overcome all adversity and pull off two huge wins in the past week. Last Wednesday’s one-point victory over West Virginia was a coming of age win that may have changed the direction of the season. Being down 11 points at halftime, the Cards rallied back in the 2nd half and held the Mountaineers to only 17 2nd half points. Their next game took place at the hostile XL Center to take on the #5 UConn Huskies who just happened to have the potential player of the year in Kemba Walker. It was supposed to be over in regulation until a late charge from Louisville forced overtime. It was supposed to be over in the first overtime until Peyton Siva single handedly took over the game. Then finally, it was over after two overtimes. However, it was the boys in black and red that left Hartford victorious and in sole possession of the second best Big East record.
It’s easy to see that the Card’s biggest strengths are their hearts and Pitino’s ability to have every one of his players buy into his plan.
“We don’t have no superstars on this team and that helps us out a lot, because we know anybody can take that last shot,” Siva said.
Although no one player on Louisville’s roster is an outright superstar, there seems to be a transitional apprenticeship going on in the backcourt. Preston Knowles is without a doubt the senior leader of the team and not just because he is the only active senior. He leads the team in scoring and adds a burst of speed on the defense that simply can’t be recorded in stat books. His work with sophomore Siva gives Cardinals fans an exciting look into the future. Siva, who was booed off the court against St. John’s two weeks ago, has since risen to the occasion and is now averaging over 11 points per game with 5 assists.
Now, fans should no go overboard and assume the Cards are going to keep this pace up and roll to a Big East title. This is still a very young and raw team than slipped up against lesser teams like Drexel and Providence. But the Cards are a passionate team that will give everything they have until the clock reads 0:00, which is why they can compete with any tam in the Big East. Maybe this won’t be such a “bridge year” after all.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.