The best news of the night was watching the Cards take care of business by putting the disappointing 5 OT loss behind them and knock off St. John's. Louisville now has 20 wins on the season, making it the 11th straight year that coach Rick Pitino's team has reached that mark.
What I believe has gone overlooked in the win was senior Peyton Siva dishing out six assists and reaching 600 for his career. That's a big time accomplishment. Siva is No. 2 in school history, but will be hard-pressed to catch Louisville's all-time leader from Bay City, Texas. LaBradford Smith has 713.
The coaching staff challenged Chane Behanan to be more aggressive on the boards and he's responded in a big way. Behanan pulled down 8 rebounds against the Johnnies and is averaging 10 boards per game over his last three.
Russ Smith had four assists and zero turnovers. No, seriously. Russdiculous also scored 12 straight in the second half and finished with 24 points. Half of those points were collected at the charity stripe when he drained 12-of-14 free throws.
It's great that Siva went 4-of-4 from the line, but the concerning aspect to me is that he needs to be there a lot more.
There's no reason why Siva couldn't be like Russ and average 8-10 points per game off free throws.
Think about this - Siva has been to the line just 29 times over the last 14 games. That's barely 2 free throws per game. For a guy that's hit 27 of those 29 attempts, why isn't he camping out on the line?
Gorgui Dieng set a career-high on Thursday with 17 rebounds. The bad was that he's still having a terrible time holding on to the entry pass in the post. Whether it's a lingering thing from his wrist or fatigue, it's an issue that's been consistent since his return and one that will need to be cleaned up in the next few games.
What would have been really bad is if one of the St. John's players tried to swing on Montrezl Harrell. Things got heated for a moment last night and Montrezl and the Johnnies weren't exchanging Valentine's Day pleasantries.
It was a bad move on the part of St. John's as there were 20,000 people in the Yum Center and I can assure you that Harrell is the last guy I would want to fight.
As the NBA heads into the All-Star weekend, there are rumblings that Samardo Samuels may get picked up by the Memphis Grizzlies. The Jamaican big man averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 37 games with Cleveland.
One former Card that's about to get paid is Earl Clark. He has started 18 games for the Lakers this year and is averaging 8.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. What the stats don't tell is the type of impact Clark has had on the aging Lakers. He signed a one-year, $1M contract at the beginning of the season and many thought it would be his last in the Association. While it likely won't be in LA, Clark has now positioned himself to earn a big pay day once the season's over.
If there was any night to break out the retro uniforms, it should have been Thursday. With former coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Denny Crum at the KFC Yum Center, I think everybody would have appreciated a dunking Cardinal on the shorts and some old school block lettering.
Coach Pitino catches a lot of hell from fans for not apologizing or taking the blame after tough losses. That's why his post-game press conference on Thursday was refreshing when he shouldered some of the blame for the loss against Notre Dame. The mea culpa came as Pitino explained that he spoke to Russ Smith about his apology to fans after the 5OT loss.
Pitino told Russ that he had nothing to apologize to the fans for and that you shouldn't apologize when you play hard. Pitino went on to mention that while Russ obviously made mistakes, so did the coaches, Chane, Gorgui, Wayne and Luke.
One of the other things Pitino said in his post-game presser was that he feels Gorgui is gettng fatigued from playing too much. Pitino said he's going to give Stephan Van Treese more minutes starting Sunday at USF. My take? I'll believe it when I see it. This is the third time this year Pitino has promised SVT more action, but we rarely see the Big Hustle.
With Zach Price regulated to near obscurity, Van Beast needs to play a major role down the stretch. One reason Pitino said he was hesitant to play SVT was because of his extreme lack of confidence on offense. The coach does have a point there. I'm still in disbelief that SVT passed up an open dunk in OT against Notre Dame that could have sealed a Cardinal win.
Football Fix The UofL Sports Information Department released an updated roster for the football team and immediately the football junkies scoured the list looking for additions and departures. Those looking were able to find plenty of both.
Here's the quick rundown: Jeremy Wright is no longer listed on the roster. It shouldn't come as a huge surprise, but it's the first official indication that we've received from the university.
In other news, defensive lineman Finesse Middleton is listed as an early enrollee.
And in what I consider positive news, both Charles Gaines and Zeke Pike were on the roster.
Finally, it looks as if Kai Dominguez has pulled a "Greg / Joshua Tinch" on us and changed his name. The kick off specialist is now listed as Kai De La Cruz.
It's Friday, so we'll leave you with the Harlem Shake. First the UofL student section, followed by the team's version.
Special thanks to CardinalSports.com's Steve Ludden and UofL's Nick Stover (@ULFlyingCard) for the video highlights and Harlem Shake.