Louisville 52 Georgia Tech 51 As Jackets Allow 24-10 Cardinal Run to Close Them Out At Home

9:19 Louisville 52 Georgia Tech 51

GT by three with three to play. Louisville ball. This is what they refer to as a pivotal possession. Rozier elects to go one on 11 but drew the whistle (officials have been pretty good this evening, not too many missed calls, very few whistles). Converts 1 of 2.

Onuaku whistled at the other end on a shooting foul. GT only converts 1 of 2, good foul, by the Louisville Center. And a prime example of Rozier’s impetuous nature in hoisting a three immediately into a fresh 35 second clock. Another long rebound and we have redemption in the form of a Blackshear three. His revitalized play of late has been key in allowing Louisville to regain their bearings and come from 41-28 to tie the game at 46. Harrell has been a non-factor in this comeback, aside from his keeping some offensive rebounds alive with tap-outs.

Rozier and Harrell going 10-29 from the floor, with no 13+ per game from Jones. And Louisville reclaims the lead for the first time since they led 8-6 early in the first half. GT has little to offer in the way of excuses tonight. DeMarco Cox caught spectating as Rozier broke his man down for his 20th point.

And that was just the look the Jackets were looking for there with Tadric Jackson missing a 3 from 22 feet. That right there was the snapshot of GT season.

MGH of GT ties it with a coast to coast layup, but Rozier proved whose jets were stronger, by going right back down the GT throat with a conversion at the other end.

Harrell with a chance to provide a little security on a 1 and 1 attempt but missed the front end with Louisville up two. After a GT miss, Louisville’s Wayne Blackshear hits the most important FTs he took all night. Louisville up 4. The Cards allowed a made Tadric Jackson three point shot, making him 10-of-68 on the year (that’s 14.7%). Oh the irony.

So what was our conclusion tonight? Blackshear still has magic when he’s allowed to be in the flow of the game. Pitino might be well-served to run the offense through him and allow Rozier to run his man ragged off the ball. It might also allow Harrell to root himself on the block and put up the 25/12s he has in him. This is a simple fix for an adequate-enough offense. The other guard spot still has to be sorted out, and will likely (along with their lack of depth) prove to be their achilles heel.

Our conclusion about GT remains the same. This team can snatch defeat from the jaws of any victory, Remember I said below that 13 was about the upper limit for my comfort level of a surmountable deficit for U of L to overcome. They wound by winning by one point. At 3-13 in the league, that job down there is probably already on Monster.com.

Thanks for following along. My 3 stars: Terry Rozier (22 points, making 6 of his final 7 FG attempts), strong D on MGH of GT who finished with his usual 13, but he was a non-factor for the most part.

DeMarco Cox who had 11 and 11 in notching his 2nd double-double, though he has five near misses (by a rebound or point). Unfortunately, he was the rim protector late and couldn’t get it done, allowing Rozier a couple of easy buckets in close.

Wayne Blackshear who had 8 of his 10 points late. Every one was critical, and every one of them boosted his teammates. You can tell Louisville can feed off his aggressive play in much the same fashion as they do Harrell.

Harrell was held to just 8 and 8, one of his less productive games, but he created havoc in the post with his D, keeping Mitchell down and on the bench at times with fouls. He also had a team high three steals.

Louisville might have gotten it done with smoke and mirrors, but they got it done, and in a game like tonight’s that’s all that matters as they approach the stretch run of a season where they could earn the ACC’s final double-bye over UNC. Their solution to the loss of Jones? A far more murky proposition at this point. Nobody looks even close to ready to fill those shoes.

Thanks for watching the game with us. We’ll be back tomorrow night with two more games to blow through.


Both teams now a combined 2-19 from three point range. With Rozier connecting on two in the last 3 minutes in a mini heat check. No GT lead is safe, but that 13 that it swelled to had me thinking upper limits for a road comeback even for a potentially explosive team like the Cards.

RIBBIT…..wrong WB frog for Louisville tonight. He is 1 of 5 and 0-for-4 from the stripe where he is usually reliable. And boom just as I wrote this he hits a three to cut the GT lead to just two, where things generally tend to go wrong for them. GT would rather trail by 5 than lead by 3 as crazy as that sounds.

Now Rozier with his third three in a row, cuts the lead to just one. Who will GT go to for buckets here? Will the guards remain patient and work the bigs in, or will they jack up poor shots per usual? Louisville with a chance to take the lead now.


A quick start to the 2nd half by Louisville, quickly derailed by a missed Harrell FT to complete a 3 point play. Why Pitino insists on playing cat and mouse games with Harrell when he has one of the top 3 post presences in the game at his disposal is simply mind-boggling. It’s almost as if the arrogance (which he has always possessed in spades) has taken over completely, and he believes his game-plan going into a game is always going to be sufficient to win. And most times he’s right, but those few games his teams lose, his imprint is all over those. You have to adjust from time to time to counter the opponent. Talent alone doesn’t always get it done, and Pitino’s tactics this year have been subpar to put it mildly. At least 3 of the 6 losses were winnable.

In a sign of PG life play for Louisville, Quentin Snider is getting everyone involved and has two assists. But a more pressing concern is that 3 of GT’s 4 second half buckets have been dunks or layups.

Rozier can beat MGH off the dribble, and should try to do more of this. But DeMarco Cox is early frontrunner for MVP, as he has 9 and 9 and he and the U of L offensive scheme are combining to hold Harrell to 3-of-9 shooting.

Charles Mitchell with GT’s 7th dunk. Not exactly what you’d expect against U of L of all teams, but the lack of Jones defensive presence is allowing too much GT guard penetration right now, leading to dump offs for strong Jacket finishes. Mitchell hasn’t even made his impact felt due to the foul trouble and Cox having his way tonight. And this is a man with six double-doubles in just 22.5 mpg.

Louisville lead now at nine as they’ve put in David Levitch as he has replaced Snider who got irrationally confident with his 2-of-8 shooting, for some reason thinking that replacing Jones also permits him to shoot whenever he’s “feeling it”. Anton Gill passed over again in search of a solution. This year Pitino has declared war on his team in the name of system and disciplined play, and he appears to be losing it.

Jackets lead by nine, 37-28 at the under 12 timeout.


Louisville had plenty of issues before Chris Jones finally wore out his welcome. The team appears to be sleepwalking on both ends of the court without the spark normally provided by the guard. With all respect, Georgia Tech isn’t a good basketball team and they look far more effective right now than the #17 Cardinals. It’s hard to see Louisville making any sort of run in the postseason at this point. They just seem to lack motivation and confidence. Credit to the Yellow Jackets for being so motivated tonight. They may be playing for Brian Gregory’s job so there’s some added juice behind the outcome.

Justin Cates

Halftime, 8:00pm

There’s a pack of rabid dogs
Pawing at my front door
There’s a pack of rabid dogs
Pawing at my front door

There’s a swarm of yellowjackets
Pounding against my window pane
There’s a swarm of yellowjackets
Pounding against my window pane

–Widespread Panic, Greta, off of Bombs and Butterflies


As news of the Chris Jones grows saga grows weirder by the minute, now with news of him threatening a female on campus via text message, I for one am extremely glad he is taking steps to deal with his issues.

As for Louisville, they had to start rangy frosh Shaquaan Aaron in place of the missing Jones. He has been clocking in at nine mostly garbage minutes a game, and has a game high of 11 pts in 24 minutes vs Wake in a pivotal league-opener. The other evidence we had was not so good. In place of Jones during the Pitt game last week he offered up 0 pts in 23 minutes. He actually hasn’t scored in 11 of his 15 appearances.

It’s time for Wayne Blackshear to be assertive and provide steady wing play to take the pressure off of Terry Rozier who already had an itchy trigger finger even WITH Jones in the lineup. Which WB frog do we get tonight, the Opera Singer, or the ribbit in the box with the spotlight on him?

It doesn’t appear as though Louisville is changing much in terms of the high ball screens they are setting with Harrell far removed from the block where he belongs. GT wisely allows him to pop, and are denying the dives. Can Louisville get the penetration they need for those dives to be effective. Right now we are knotted at 12 halfway through the first half.

GT once again brings Charles Mitchell off the bench. He will occupy Harrell defensively tonight, and foul trouble will always be a concern with a short-handed Louisville group. Of course, Mitchell picked up two quickies, one cheap, and is now able to be mitigated against.

And in Tadric Jackson news, you’ll be comforted to hear that he has begun the night continuing his blazing streak of perimeter ineptitude, quickly missing 3 shots until that dunk in transition where he was cherry-picking.

Tech is up six at home as Rick Pitino gets a timeout to stare at his guys in disgust for 45 seconds. At this stage of the season, most teams are what they are, and if we follow the UVA model of the pack line, you could pack the paint on Louisville and dare them to make shots 13 feet and out and probably have a strong chance. We’ll see if Brian Gregory can find a way to avoid making life harder for his team.

Rozier and Harrell have started a combined 3-of-12, and that will be a recipe for early Louisville exits at tournament time. Surprisingly my expected replacement starter for Louisville, Anton Gill, has not entered the game to this point. Quentin Snider has gotten the nod ahead of him as the 3rd guard.

The teams are surprisingly not hot from deep, and reluctant to shoot it from beyond the arc at this point, combining for just seven attempts and missing them all to this point.

Just 10 FTs to this point, and no significant foul trouble. Of note, the Cards had been averaging 12 dimes a game with the selfish Jones running things, tonight they are suffering from even worse pace in that area, assisting on just two baskets.

It’s a shame, this Louisville team, managed properly with Jones and Chane Benahan (dismissed last season prior to the NCAAs) would be a strong contender for another national title. It’s very difficult to envision this now.

Under 3 minutes to go in the first half, Louisville has once again started slow. Trailing 20-17. After the start in Miami on Saturday, just 15 first half points, you’d think that Pitino would have made adjustments. Maybe his hands are simply tied at this point, and he is dealing with an ill-suited group. He seems to be operating with business as usual with Rozier hawking the ball after made baskets, but little pressure otherwise. This GT backcourt is not stellar by any stretch, but it seems a waste of Rozier’s energy if he doesn’t have his explosive backcourt defender in Jones playing free safety to intercept errant passes.

Chinanu Oneaku has regressed this year. He is not to be trusted with the orb. He just threw it into the seats on a misplaced attempt to get out in transition after a Jacket miss. After a Dermarco Cox putback, Louisville muddled on offense to the point of getting a ‘Trez fadeaway inside the 3 pt line as the shot clock was expiring. Not the desired look.

And Tadric Jackson is rubbing my season long joke about his shooting in my face (still just 9 of 65 from three) by scoring both his baskets on dunks. The 2nd one a poster worthy dunk over a mini-Mutombo in Onuaku. That wraps up the scoring for the half with the Jackets leading 24-17. The Jackets have five dunks, indicating poor defensive rotation by the Cards, and inadequate rim production by Onuaku or Mathias Mathiang.

Louisville is not playing to their strength offensively, and its indicative by looking at the shot distribution. Demarco Cox is taking Mitchell’s place more than adequately with a 7 and 7 in the first half. Harrell leads the Cards with 4 and 6, but too many attempts are coming outside the paint. While ‘Trez came into the year boasting of an improved jumper to accompany his devastating post presence, that 3-of-10 start from deep has degenerated into 8-of-35. Just 20% on his last 25 attempts. This is worth 30% true FG %, and that is simply a red light. IF he were to come back next year, it would be more of an opportunity to develop that area of his game. But with the likelihood that he goes lotto, he needs to avoid operating under the misconception that range is part of his repertoire.

As I said, we are at the half, GT by 7 at home, 24-17. Three triple option keepers by the QB and a FG. Danny Biasone (creator of the shot clock) and Ken Pomeroy (due to pace factor) are both on suicide watch right now.

Back with more after the game.

4:07 PM

Here’s my early impression of what we can rename McCamish Pavilion (still not used to the renaming from Alexander Memorial) after tonight’s Louisville/GT tilt:

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