Sunday, December 28, 2008

A game of troubled teams: UAB at Louisville

UAB was supposed to be having its big year. Mike Davis had backloaded the roster with "BCS" transfers. Yet when the Blazers took the co(ur)t (Pitino-speak) yesterday, they had exactly six scholarship players left. Two were just recently lost to academic ineligibility (AI). The coaches's own son just came back from AI. His own frakking son! Lenny Elmore tried to defend Mike Davis, but it looks like perhaps the Knights were right after all. Yikes!

And the remaining UAB players played as hard as they could, considering their numbers, the numbers of the opponent and the PitinoVille-friendly crowd. They should still be able to out-gun most of the C-USA teams, but it looks like their big chance to dethrone a struggling Memphis team has gone bye-bye.

Louisville on the other hand made a good step in the right direction. On a very related note Edgar Sosa made only a brief guest appearance. Pitino over-reacted to getting burned by Sebastian Telfair (as if he would ever go to college), and decided to stick with Sosa, who is turning out to be a net-negative, and would probably do better running and gunning for a NEC/MEAC team.

Samardo Samuels on the other hand has been EXPOSED. He can't jump over a wet towel when stand-still. This means that the eight-figure NBA salaries are not coming any time soon, but he could make a good back-to-the-basket traditional Euroleague center. Of course he's only a freshman, and it's only late December, so let's not rush to conclusions just yet ;-) Still that does not mean he can't be a very effective college player assuming he learns, adjusts, adapts and develops his game physically and mentally. He is still a space-eater after all!

Nevertheless, without consistent guard play and without reliable shooters that can play defense (eg crack the rotation), this team certainly does not look like a top 20 team, even though it has top 10 to top 15 talent. But if Pitino works his magic as usual, this could be a very dangerous team by February. Or not?

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