Louisville-Siena: Toughness Prevails: Cards 79, Saints 72

straitpinkieCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22:  Terrence Williams #1 of the Louisville Cardinals reacts after a play late in the game against the Siena Saints during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Louisville fans can now take some comfort that this group of Cardinals will not go down without a fight. The Cards displayed real basketball toughness en route to Sunday evening’s 79-72 victory over Siena in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena.

The win propelled the Cards to the Midwest Regional Semifinals against Arizona (the lowest seeded team remaining in the entire tournament) next Friday at 7:05 PM at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Terrence Williams played one of his best games in a UofL uniform, scoring a team high 24 points, while pulling down a game high 15 rebounds to go with his four assists and two steals.

After a Clarence Jackson layup that gave the Saints a 63-59 lead with 7:52 remaining, Williams sparked a nine-point run almost single-handidly, scoring a layup, followed by a three-pointer assisted by Jerry Smith, and another layup following an offensive putback by Samardo Samuels, which helped Louisville take the game back over.

Earl Clark posted yet another double-double for UofL, with a dozen points and boards. Samrado Samuels grabbed a total of eight rebounds (five of them offensive) to go with his 13-point tally.

Siena’s Edwin Ubiles matched T-Will with 24 points of his own, collecting eight rebounds and three steals in his 37 minutes of action. Despite only committing nine turnovers as opposed to Louisville’s 17, the Saints were handled on the glass, relinquishing a 44-31 rebounding advantage to the Cards.

The Cards did face some adversity throughout from this senior-laden team. This is the type of game, which Williams commented afterwards, that the Cards probably would have lost early in the season.

The toughness UofL showed, especially from inside players like Samuels and Terrence Jennings, overpowered the Saints throughout the evening.

Up next is a date with Arizona on Friday night. In an rather bizarre anomaly, every first, second, and third, seeded team in the tournament advanced to the Sweet 16.

In turn, the Big East sent a record five schools (UofL, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Syracuse, and Villanova) to the regional semifinal round, and were within a couple baskets from sending a sixth in Marquette on Sunday afternoon.

Be sure to check out the preview later in the week, as well as a recap following the game on Friday in Indy. On to the honors...


The Good: Shot Selection. The Cards were more than willing to make the extra pass on the night. Whether it was Edgar Sosa’s sick no-look pass while driving the lane on a fastbreak in the first half, or a multitude of Jerry Smith ball fakes that seem to always open up another player, the Cards’ distribution of the ball was impeccable.


The Bad: Verne Lundquist’s pronunciation guide. Verne, I know we’re only a few short weeks away from listening to you on the 16th hole at Augusta National calling some incredible bunker save to propel one golfer to a green jacket, but I will bet $100 you don’t call the guy “TEE-ger Woods.”

It seems Mr. Lundquist just cannot pronounce the name of the reserve forward that fills in for Earl Clark in the Louisville rotation. It’s, “Jared Swopshire,” and the second syllable of the last name rhymes with the word “fire” or even the name of that Duke guard who made the incredible save on Saturday night.

It is not pronounced “Swop-SURE” or “Swop-SHUR!” I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears, since we all remember the way he botched Juan Palacios’ name for FOUR YEARS! But if you want my opinion Verne, it makes you sound unprofessional.

I still love ya, and I hope you and Bill get the Indianapolis assignment over Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg this coming weekend, but if you’re going to praise UofL sports information director Kenny Klein like you did on Friday night, at least use the material (pronunciation guide) he provides.

Whew! For such a rant like that, you may be wondering “Uh-oh, that was only ‘The Bad!’ What could be worse?” Ladies and gentlemen…


The Ari Wolfe: The CBS production director. Let’s make this clear. First off, those of you (like myself) watching the game on WLKY in Louisville, received the “Dayton Constant” feed.

This means that viewers on this feed will receive all of the game in Dayton (where UofL played Sunday), with an occassional Tournament Update showing the other games for approximately one minute after one of the commercial breaks, and live updates on close games in other sites for the final minute of the game.

Well, on Sunday, we had the perfect storm. First, the USC-Michigan State game in Minneapolis was winding down, but was within one possession. Second, the Marquette-Missouri game was also within a possession with under a minute left. At the same time, Siena had just taken a six-point lead on the Cards.

The CBS production director switched the entire country to see a possession of the Marquette-Missouri game until a timeout was called following a foul. Those with the “Minneapolis Constant” feed were sent back to the USC-Michigan State game, but the “Dayton Constant” remained with the timeout instead of being sent back to the Louisville-Siena game with approximately five minutes remaining.

As the USC-Michigan State game ended, the ENTIRE NATION had to sit through the confusing officials’ deliberation in the Marquette-Missouri game. As a result, viewers on WLKY were not sent back to Dayton until there were about two minutes left in the UofL-Siena game, well after the Cardinal comeback had commenced.

If not for WHAS Radio, I would be about a million times more upset than I already was. And apparently, I wasn’t the only one. It seems many frustrated viewers called the WLKY studios to complain, leading the station to run a crawl at the bottom of the screen giving the phone number and the personal e-mail address of some CBS executive up in New York.

If the Cards had ultimately lost tonight, I could not imagine how bad that response would have been.

It is the production director’s job to coordinate these transitions between games so that they are smooth. This weekend’s coverage of the first two rounds has not been as smooth as in year’s past, and that was even before the perfect storm that occurred tonight.

CBS, please get your act together, because there may come a time where not even Luther Vandross and “One Shining Moment” can help you escape the wrath of some upset Cardinal fans.