Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Teams Enter...One Team Leaves

Ahhhh yes, the wait is finally over. March Madness officially begins today (I don't count the play-in game because it's stupid). Here at Sportsthat we have two teams that we cheer for the most and both teams are actually in the tournament this year, even though Louisville fans were not so sure about their fate a month ago. The big question today is: will both teams survive the weekend? The answer is no. Only one team will advance to next weekend and that team will be the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

After an impressive 30-2 season the Cats look and talk as if they want it bad. They have a couple of catch phrases that they are working with at this point: "Refuse to Lose", "Land the Plane", and "Band of Brothers". The last phrase is the most important one. The team chemistry has been off the charts fantastic this year when many predicted that youngsters John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins would have egos big enough to fill two Rupp arenas. Didn't happen. The Cats break their team huddle with the shout of "Brothers!" as the breakdown.

In today's Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky's resident Boogie Man DeMarcus Cousins was quoted as saying, "The honest truth: We have never had a fight on this team. Most teams go through that. A team full of brothers, they fight or whatever. But we're a team full of brothers that get along all the time." Does that brotherly feeling extend towards the coach? Not all the time. We have seen in the past Cousins and Calipari exchange words on the bench and Daniel Orton was made to go to the locker room against Tennessee this past weekend for saying some things that Cal did not agree with. That happens in player/coach relationships. Let's just hope it is at a minimum this weekend.

The experts have been calling for the Cats to start showing their youth at some point this season and it really hasn't happened yet. Right now would be the most inopportune time for the team to have a meltdown but I don't see it happening. After watching the utter joy and happiness the team exhibited after winning the SEC tournament I feel that they will want to duplicate that same type of atmosphere. They are hungrier and they want it more than ever. They understand what it is to wear the blue and white, they feel the love from the fans and the team has been clear on one thing: Let's do this for Patrick Patterson. This is why, right now, I feel that Kentucky will advance this weekend on to the Sweet 16. They want it, they feel it, they love playing together, they have someone on the team that they look up to and they have the TALENT to win. I might change my mind after Saturday, but that's how I feel at the moment.

The Louisville Cardinals have lacked consistency all year long and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. The scary thing is that the team goes as point Guard Edgar Sosa goes and sometimes that's not even enough. Sosa exploded for 28 points in their last game against a bad Cincinnati team and it still wasn't enough. The Cardinals are going up against a mediocre California team and that should not make the Cards feel any better. They have lost to bad and mediocre teams all year long.

5 of their 12 losses came by way of teams that did not make the tournament. They range from teams as bad as Western Carolina to bubble teams like Seton Hall. So, what's the good news? The good news is that Louisville seems to play well against teams that are supposed to blow them out. Here's what I mean: lost to UK by 9; lost to Villanova by 8; lost to Pitt by 5 in OT; lost to West Virginia by 3. They did lose to Georgetown by 10 even though they led the entire first half and Marquette utterly blew them out by 21. Then again, they beat Syracuse twice.

So what does this all mean? They better hope that Cal is better than people think. If Cal is good or even pretty good then the trend suggests that Louisville will play hard and beat them. If Cal is just mediocre or just so-so (like Edgar Soso) then the Cards will lose. I am not expecting them to lose, I am just suggesting that there may be a trend and Louisville fans need to be wary of it.

If they get past California should we expect them to then play great and beat Duke? Play great yes, beat Duke no. They have played really well against some quality teams this season and have come up short. I expect them to do the same against Duke on Sunday. Duke really isn't all that great and could be upset by Louisville but I just don't see it happening because Louisville just hasn't put together good stretches all year long.

IF Louisville does get past Duke then look for them to possibly put together the stretch that they have been incapable of all season. Don't count your blessings but anything can happen.

The wrap up: Louisville loses to Duke on Sunday and the Cats get past the Bucs and the Longhorns to advance to the Sweet 16. Good luck to both teams!

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