are poised for a deep tournament run. Solid guard play coupled with a dominating inside presence and one of the best athletes to ever step foot in Freedom Hall spell bad news for future Louisville Opponents. Let's take some time to break down this Louisville team, and see exactly what makes them one of the best in the country.
- Excellent coaching. All the talent in the world is worthless without a solid mind to direct it. Rick Pitino is one of the best to ever coach the game. He dominates on the X's and O's, can stock the cupboard with plenty of talent, and has a natural rhythm come March. The guy has taken 3 (count 'em, 3) different programs to a Final Four. Starting with Providence, he has only become more and more remarkable. Returning the University of Kentucky to prominance in the 90's was a feat that is almost un-matched in the history of Kentucky basketball. To top off his career, he has regained the little swagger he lost in the Not Basketball Association at Louisville. This team was drowning under Coach Denny Crum. He set the program back about 10 years, but that did not matter to Mister Pitino. Louisville reached the final four just a few short years after he took over. By the time his career comes to an end, he will be mentioned with the likes of Adolph Rupp, and Dean Smith.
- Guard Play. Starting at the 1, Edgar Sosa is full of talent. He does have a tendancy to make bad decisions, but no worry.... Preston Knowles is one of the best freshman backups in the nation. Hungry, Talented, Hardnosed and Tenacious, this kid has the look of a future Louisville star. Moving on to the 2, Jerry Smith is extremely smooth. With a pure shot plenty of athleticism, you can only hope this kid doesnt try to make a dastardly early jump to the Pro's. Pitino could make this kid a lottery pick with a little bit of work. The only thing missing from his game is the ability to consistantly create his own shot. The last thing this kid needs is to become complacent with a catch and shoot game, for he will end up a nobody in the Pro's (ala J.J. Reddick).
- Terrence Williams. What can you say about this kid that cant be communicated through one breakaway slam over two Pittsburgh defenders. Sick. This guy is a superstar. If he continues to improve his outside shot, this freakish athlete has Lottery Pick written all over him.
- Earl Clark. Maybe the most sound all around player on Louisville's roster. He can dominate the interior with his size, lacks nothing in footwork, and can step out and drain the 3 with the best of the big's. Think a skinny, scrappy Dirk Nowitzki. If he sticks around for the fabled 4 years, this guy will dominate the Big East.
- Saving the best for last. David!! David!! David!! I was watching the UofL//Notre Dame game tonight, pondering a Bermanism for this kid. How about David "Goliath" Padgett? Very fitting. This guy is a MAN in the interior. Forget the fact that he looks like a T-Rex, his bullish physicallity and solid footwork makes him one of the underrated big men in the country. Suffering from horribly weak knees, this guy was left for dead by the NBA scouts. Oops. Who needs knees? This guy can dominate the Big East without 'em. Bring back the long lost mid-range jumper, his game needs no more work. The left hook is a thing of beauty. This guy will have a very productive pro career. Just as hungry, with more talent then Chuck Hayes. Willing to do the little things required to scrap out a win. I can't say enough about this kid.
You know, some UK fans may knock me for making a blog post glorifying UofL. To you, I say, SHOVE IT. I can be proud of any team I want, and this team is one of the most solid teams in the country. If UK beats Tennessee in Knoxville this weekend, they deserve my focus. Unfortunately, the travesty of a second half last night has made me very reluctant to praise this team.
and I never thought I'd say it, but...