Louisville basketball preview!!!

#263 R.P.I. Louisville #151 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s hoops be a buncha rummy’s… gin-rummys who looked a mite tippsy in their last 2-contests that were not supremely contested from the O&M point-of-view.

The Hokies were just done out by a whopping fiddy-three points, that’s Σ=53. That’s not good and some observant basketball observers have said it was not even as close as that. Some say this is Mike’s least Talented team… some say it is (actually), his most versatile… we say that (now) getting out to 9-3 with three straight winnable games will rinse at least some of that BIG-beat-down(s), out. We have not said this is a good team. It is a team that will be pressing to lowercase post-season Tourney qualify. As NC2A it jus’, ain’t. Now we catch the hoops factory that has fallen upon sabotage and walk-outs and (mixing my in-state metaphor) wildcat strikes. Louisville enters this one at a highly pedestrian 4 up vs. 3 down. They have been upset by pretty solid, (actually), Chattanooga by 10, dropped a single FT game to #19 everything is bigger Texas, and got beat by three shots by fellow hoops factory Indiana. Meaning, this L’ville team means to do us harm; as a win here could flock mo’ ’24 hopes to these have been winged of late Cardinals. ’cause they’re not as bad as their rec’ suggests. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, right(s)? So, read on… to find, out!

Louisville Head CoachKenneth Victor Payne: age=57, 7–31 (.184) overall and at Louisville. Does have a rep for winning Titles and recruiting.

Baller Payne… a 6 ft. 8 in. (2.o3 m) and 195 lb. (88 kg) small forward, Payne played college basketball at Louisville and was a member of the 1986 NCAA championship squad. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 19th pick of the 1989 N.b.a. draft.

In four Associative seasons from 1989 to 1993 for the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 3.5 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. He was waived by the team in January 1993 after failing to live up to expectations. He also played professionally overseas in Italy, Japan, Brazil, the Philippines, Cyprus, China, Argentina, and Australia. And a sporty enuff stint in the C.B.A. after all of that, (16.3 ppg).

Black is… beautiful! (Tho’ Eye take Stagg, here).

Payne served as an assistant coach for the University of Oregon from 2oo4 to 2oo9. From 2o1o to 2o14, Payne served as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky; from 2o14 to 2o2o, he was the associate head coach. In 2o12, Payne met with Mississippi State University’s athletic director about its men’s basketball team’s head coach vacancy, though ultimately, he was not hired.

Prior to being hired at Louisville, Payne spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (N.b.a.)

On March 18, 2o22, Payne was introduced as the new head men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville.

As an Ass.Coach, Coach Payne has bling(s); plural! 1 NC2A (and another one as a NC2A baller), six, that’s (6) So.Eastern and one P.A.C.-1o ring! wowow!

Daddy Payne and his wife Michelle have two children. One of his children, Zan, is a player for
the Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team.

Louisville at a glance:

  • 2nd strictest in Scoring-D allowed!!!
  • 3rd best in FG-percentage allowed D!!!
  • 4th nastiest in Blocks/game!!!
  • 5th fewest Turonovers/game!!! (Tight handles here).
  • 14th most fouls/game ‘whistled’ against!! (Hacky team).
  • 22nd best in Assist:Turnover ratio!!
  • 32nd best in 3-point-percentage allowed!
  • 39th most Steals/game!
  • 311st in 3-point attempts/game! (Not outside bomber happy).
  • 32oth best in Rebounding Margin!!! (wowow). (Bad on both ends, worse on O-glass, tho’).
  • 326th best in Scoring-O!! (They are a bit of a stall-ball team… not a BIG-O team by any memes).
  • 334th in Fastbreak points. (Lowercase tempo team, wants for easy baskets at times).

See: below… my bad ^there^…

  • NO injuries listed, ‘thanks’ @Coach God!

Returning Starters=1!*

Louisville Strengths:

  • * r-Soph., Mike James G (2o22): (OUT). (2o24): (IN). James had to miss the entire 2o21-22 season after tearing his left Achilles tendon. Yikes! St.Achilles bless and intercede. Also out would be James’… 6′5″, 2oo lb., as a 1st-year, S/F-G crossover guy. NO STATS 2 seasons ago… per: a pre-season hurt. Last season, however, M.James was getting you: a 2nd-place: 9.5 ppg with 3.2 rpg and 1.1 apg. All on a near solid 36% deep and 44.8% from the floor. James is one of those rare guys who looks heavier/mo’ muscular or mo’ physical upon breaking tape. Not a soft touch this off-G here. 66th ranked Rivals kid in USofA terms and the 2020-21 Orlando Sentinel Boys Basketball Player of the Year award does not suck. Neither did M.J.’s best Oreo Milkshake mixer swagg either. Whatever that means/memes? Brings all the boyz to the yard notwithstanding… said to be the enforcer of the team or a mini-me Maurice Lucas of yesteryear terms if you will. And every team needs a hard-hitting, clampdown backcourt stopper like this. All the mo’ so during our 3-point kra-kra era to boot.
    Lindy’s rates this kid ahead of the next kid; F.Y.I. James has shed nearly 1 full stone (15 lbs.) since we (did not) see him last. Dinged/dented career, though there is Talent(s) here to be sure. This is an efficient home position ’23 Wing. 11.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg with 1.0 apg on 31% long tell you this caliber Talent is still working his way back.  ’cause the Class 7A Player of the Year in Florida and 68th ranked kiddo (Rivals) is better than he has been able to insalbrious show. The All Classroom Conference All-Academic Team is a smart look from a rebounder who can score. 29% from 3-point-land and 39.7% overall say he needs time/reps here. Godspeed! (Do dig the new ‘due up top on the long/straight locks look).
  • One, double-nickles or #five-five, Skyy (coooool-name) Clark: your alpha-G1. Your Qb1 or Pt.G1 to boot. At: 17.4 ppg with 2.9 rpg on 2.7 apg and 1 swipe. This partly sunny offensive kid is late of Illinois. As he skyed and broke them off a little sompthin’ propper-propper; and yah, that prolly left a fighting-Illini, mark. This Clark bars at: 6′3″, 2o5 lbs., as a second-season VHT (very highly toted) Laker-land inner-city baller. His father, Kenny Clark, played three years in the NFL as a Wideout with the Minnesota Vikings. His uncle, Steve Rhem, played Wr for the New Orleans Saints. A handy family tree to be sure. Says: he’d most like to meet “God, not anytime soon though.” His fave book=The Good Book too! +many. Is an interior designer and an amateur boxer on the side. wow. Never read that 1-2 combo’ before. Cut down the Natty Championship net(s) at: Montverde Academy. Plus many on that. Outburst H.S. scorer, right at 28/game. 33% from behind the arc is okay; the 41% from the floor tells you how much he has to shoot and how much he loves to do the same. Has some slash to his game on film, the 78% FT’ing is reasonable. Lindy’s says he could not put it all together @Illinois, has the reins here, and is merely the key to L’ville’s season. That’s all… no 79th 247Sports overall baller pressure there. Did dig the coolio wannabe looksee(s); that… and what’s up, doc?

    Cottontale, 1o1…
  • 6′7″, 2o5 lb., sophomoric Tre White… is a Three from So.Cal. Who is merely your 2nd-scorer: at 14.9 ppg and your leading rebounder at: 7 rpg. 1.3 apg and your best defender (1.3 spg) make this a rounder roundballer.  This is an athletic-looking Three with a wingspan (6-1o) which makes him a tough cover. Lindy’s only glossed him the: “Most Impactful” A.c.c. transfer this off-season. That’s all. No pressure there, either. Same shooting as seemingly everyone else… 33.9% for and 1 in 3 deep. Pac-12 All-Freshman Team last year where he started every game for the Trojans says he must have some measure of game. Speaks Pig Latin… +-1 fo’ dat. 31st via ESPN.com in the country is titillating to be sure. A penetrator via trade, who does play a bit ‘wild’ on film, and does try to do a lot; if not too much. However, this Tre is worth a double-check come ’25 or so.
  • JJ Traynor F 6′8″, 19o lb., final-year though springy Four. Your signature fourth option on O: at: 1o.4 ppg paired to 4.6 rpg. Lindy’s says he is a lanky shooting P/F. Help-defender and the team-pacer on 3’s at: 35.3 when dialing long-distance. 7-2 wingspan, was ranked No. 79 nationally by 247Sports.com. Has had a solid legacy career, though not epic. Traynor’s father Jason Osborne played two years at UofL (1993-95) and was a McDonald’s All-American at Louisville Male High School, where he was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1993. JJ slept in his dad’s practice jersey as a child. Although he has improved his game each-n-every year, a ceiling if not a roofing guy who is outta career headroom. And there are worse things we can all say than that…

Louisville Weaknesses:

  • Ty-Laur Johnson: and his SPANX or ride-up… or T-back or whatever the hell this is ’23 code fo’?!? As ‘yes’ and St.Elmo’ bless as Laura has suffered the dreaded ‘groan’ I mean groin-injury; granted. Tho’ wardrobe malfunctions, manpons, manscaping, and whatever else Urban Dictionary is ’bout to go triple-double on your low-post for… this; is, …nutz. (In a word…). Still yet, this elephantine Johnson and his: 8.9 ppg with 1.1 rpg and a team-pacing 3.7 apg needs some tights/supportive QVC assistance, indeed; in… ♠’s! (Guess this is why he is only Aqua-Netting 8% long and 38% overall?)

Cards deck: (depth=5 or so deep with lottsa experience downloaded onboard)

BIG ole 6′1o″ and 24o lb., Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is your Four or P/F1. Tennessee transfer who volunteered to git dat Louisville work. 6.1 ppg on a team pacing 9 rpg and 43.6% from the floor and you wonder if UT cares fo’ his… welfare? As mo’ was voluntarily expected here. What with the penta or ***** or five-stars and only topping at 19th in the Nation per ESPN.com. A big VeeTee recruit and everyone you can name S.E.C. and A.c.c. wise alike. VERY limited scholastic info exists here… and you gotta wonder: ‘why’? Transferred around in H.S. and again in collegiate terms alike. Had reasonable digits at the IMG Academy (FLA.) hoops factory of: 11.4 points and 6.o rebounds. Only coaching sewing circle ‘whisper’ Eye could glean was that he has had trouble: ‘finding his footing’. Not code for anything shiny, is it? Tho’ still… Top-20 American recruits tend to be good for something(s), beyond being so mercurial or suffering Elden Campbell syndrome 1o1. As this four seems mo’ 110v or domesticated at times to me. And yet everyone says he does have 220v or industrial capacity. Time or a 3rd school=tell… though I can tell you he too has cut right at 1 stone or 15 lbs. again away. He has added just a little 3-point range (25%). B.H-H, he working… trying… I like that.

Accordingly, the newfound Cardinal S&C/fitness regime was an off-season emphasis here.

Emmanuel Okorafor, P/F, goes; 6′9″ and 22o 2nd-year lbs. This is by way of; Lagos, Nigeria/NBA Academy Africa. He is of no N.B.A. relation that I could find. He is however a dancer of some measure; no joke. Prior to that he won all kinda African merits/awards and averaged a double-double a season ago for BC Espoir Fukash out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the highest of any BAL Elevate program player in the league. He too was unlisted as a Four in all of my pre-season mags— so you can see the latent rush to assemble this roster here. As Okorafor is a year or three away from being much mo’ than a development/project at the Four. Tho’ he does chef-up mad: Egusi and Fufu dinnertime game. Whatever that means… {sic: African goat, stew!} wow. Yet again, time=tell here…
(UPDATE: Okorafor has sat several games with an ankle issue, (St.Philip bless), although this is a useful big when operating on 2-good-wheels).

Grad’-year… Zan Payne… who only got nepotistically included here… is dropping a paternal looking: o.3 ppg with o.7 rpg and o.1 apg on 27% overall. Z do be having his UK (Wildcat-striker) transfer u.grad’ degree. That’s good; +1 there. 6′5″ kinda bulky looking 233 lb. 2-Guard or S/F ‘tweener. Said to have the nicest shoe collection on the team; nepotism/connections prolly ain’t hurtin’ that one-iota (1ι) either. Has a history of knee dings/dents (St.Nikon help) and of Academic Honor Rolls (St.Catherine bless). Glue/practice worker-bee guy… who has 15 mo’ career collegiate total (Σ) points than you and Eye do combined.

Rookie card or debut year… Curtis Williams, an off-G, 6′5″, 2o5 lbs., is your bench shooter (of sorts/in relative terms) at: 30.8% from trifectaville for L’ville. The 34.8% from the floor tells you where/how often he shoots from… said to be a volume shooter who can help on the ‘glass. No.73 scholastic baller from: Rivals. Named runner-up for Michigan’s 2023 Mr. Basketball award… good tho’ not great H.S. digits. Tho’ he could/can shoot right at ≅4o% on 3’s. A swimmer who carries a chessboard on the side… said to be the fastest ‘card on the draw an end-to-end speed goes. Curious prospect… we shall see if he next-year contends…

Which bird does Audubon wanna frequently flyer with, here?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of 'cards who could shuffle @Tech=6+.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is

not to be too taken with this fall of the some say grounded Cardinals.

At least not data-point, yet.

As you saw above… their surely is Talent(s) on this roster here. Top-1oo recruited Talent(s), mind yah. So, most of ’em can (in theory) play dat damn game. As their rebounding and defending would never go cold. Further, have plenty of heaters as individual offending pedigree(s) go.

Kinda left me wondering if they are just looking to pop clean and go off on someone.

That, or, are there other internal ills here just beneath the Periodic Element chart in locker-room chemistry terms?

As Louisville, (so far), is anti-Gestalt Theory— or, ≤ the sum of their parts… time=tell…


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a askback in a few mo’ weeks.

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… VeeTee is up a modest +2% in shooting percentage margin (per: going right at +1% on both O&M O and D alike); Vah.Tech added up another +2% in 3-point percentage margin (though here this one was L’ville defending a bit better tho’ unable to make a “3” with a pencil), and Louisville was also up a decent +4 caroms collected in rebounding margin year-to-date. (VeeTee has slumped or not climbed the backboard of late, with Louisville cutting to the high-card’ along on the O-glass).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Cardinals are now up +2% in shooting percentage margin (virtually all entirely due to a Hokie dip on defending of late); the Cards are now up a stunning +7% in 3-point percentage margin (as their recent 3-D has been meaner that vice-like (@20% 3’s allowed!), even if the Gobblers net 3’s just a smidgeon better), and on top of all of dat… the Fighting Polyester Denny Crums are now up a nearly useful looking +7 Windex wipes in rebounding margin in the most recent fortnight of runs. Again, solid on the O-side tho’ the Techmen are not following their shots any on O in their own right.

Armchair Pt.Guard’s:

VT is a 1.oo host; whereas L’ville is .ooo (o-o, overall) as a guest.
V.P.I. is up +8% at the charity stripe for the year.
Louisville is up +7 in R&R.

The Call

No.2o7 Net Ranking  Louisville @ no.132 Net Ranking Vah.Tech:

The VerdicT:

So, up above we see -yet again- why you run laps not, yo’ lips!

As this one seemed a hopeful homesteading Hokie one until I went Holden Hall and yet again; dug a little deeper. And found Eye (somehow) hit the March ’23 digits for the at a glance Cardinals! Here are their Saturday early December digits for ’23 thus far…

So, as you can vis-à-vis early ’23 to late ”23… L’ville has disremembered how to play… D. Though their close of business ’23 stats did usefully illustrate what has fallen and just how far that what {sic: D} has fallen since these two bird mascots flocked together. i.e., leaving L’ville a bit flocked-up of late.

Their Guard-play is not on Point or guarding much of anything of late… 317th in Assist:Turnover margin, 3o8th in 3-point percentage on O, and yet 5th most in FTA’s. As they are dribble-drive getting to the rack if nothing else…

The digits:

…the digits say Eye needs me some new glasses and/or contact lensing… LOL.

Mea culpa… too much Analyst/consulting on (local) High School football and too little in the way of sleep(s) has made Jade a dull toy? (Eye said the local team (p’ton, WVa.) would be beaten by 6o-2o. It was… 57-13… off a 3o.5 point-spread… ooops.

NO, wait, that’s not it…

…what it is however is that… although, ‘yes’ VeeTee is the better team overall and in annual terms, L’ville has narrowed this supporority gap more than a bit of late. Some might even deign to say that they are now right about even, or the slimmest of margins, ahead. In addition to all of that swinging of late, our very own M.Collins Jr. has a knee-ding (St.Culbreth help) and is whispered to be: ‘questionable’ for this one here. As that ‘sound’ you just heard was our bench and therefore our rotation each narrowing alike.

That… and similar to the climbing Pry-bar…  Louisville has already matched its win total from a season ago, coach Kenny Payne believes his team hasn’t even come close to reaching its full potential.

4 PM kick!


So, therefore, ergo, to Whit… IF you think VeeTee could still be playing FLA.Atlantic and Auburn, you might just have to consider saying this one is for the birds, here.

IF you think VeeTee has successfully put all of that bridie gone double-bogey behind them, you might just have to consider saying that this one is for the birds, here.

383 miles East-by-So-East later over in a temperate New River Valley come ~7 PM and we will know…
i.e., Tech is the better team here; at least @home. Might help to act/play like it just the same.

Meaning… either way… this one is all about VeeTee.
As I am quite certain one of these two Wings their way to victory, here.



(52% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=77, Louisville=7o

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