One of my favorite blogs is Card Chronicle. I read it, I have commented on it, all that stuff. I started this site specificially because I wanted there to be a Cincinnati site that was like CC. That really hasn't happened as of yet, mainly because that site is a lot better than mine, but that's something I'm still aiming for. Anyway, with the Bearcats and Cardinals meeting on the hardwood tonight, I took this as an opportunity to talk to the man behind the site, Mike Rutherford. You can follow him on twitter. Thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer. The font didn't copy over all cool like it did last time. Stupid Gmail.
Louisville has had problems winning on the road, all 4 conference losses have been road games. Why haven't the Cards closed on the road?
I don't think it's anything outside of the two basic reasons the bulk of teams in this league have problems on the road: you're playing good teams in hostile environments. When you look at the four games, the only one that really jumps out at you is the loss at the Dunk to Providence, and that just happens sometimes when you're facing a team with an elite scorer (Marshon Brooks) during the second half of the season. Look at what the Friars did the next week to Villanova, or what Seton Hall and Jeremy Hazell did to Syracuse. In the Big East you get about two hours to sulk and then it's time to move on.
Some brilliant reader on your site wrote that Kyle Kuric needed to become a bigger part of the offense, and Kuric tore it up against Notre Dame (28/6) and Syracuse (23/5). What's turned on for Kuric? Is it just a matter of him being more aggressive?
Getting more aggressive and playing with more confidence (which generally go hand-in-hand) have definitely been the two biggest factors. Kyle's always had the size, athleticism and mid-range shot to make plays inside the arc, but until the past few weeks he'd let himself be primarily a one-dimensional player.
Another big thing has been the maturation of sophomore point guard Peyton Siva. Opposing defenders have to respect Siva's driving ability, and when he is able to draw the defense in and create shots or driving lanes for guys like Kuric.
Kuric's averaging more than 21 ppg over Louisville's past five contests, and he's knocked down 17 of his last 28 three-point attempts.
Another player who has dramatically improved lately is Terrence Jennings. He's scored in double digits in 5 straight (4 dbl digit games last season) and pulled home his first 10 rebounding game of his career. What do you think caused this improvement? It looks like just more than getting minutes.
Freshman center Gorgui Dieng replaced Jennings in the starting lineup surprisingly early in the season, but has missed the last five games after suffering a concussion against West Virginia on Jan. 26. Jennings has struggled with confidence issues for the past couple of years, so I think it's been really big for him to have it in his mind that he can make minor mistakes without being taken out of the game. He's played with reckless abandon over the past three weeks, and Louisville fans have to hope that continues once Dieng returns to getting his fair share of minutes.
How is such a good shooting team as the Cards, so bad at the free throw line?
There actually are some very good free-throw shooters on the roster, but the problem for Louisville has been the the two guys who have gotten to the stripe the most - Peyton Siva and Terrence Jennings - are not among that group. Siva and Jennings have taken 191 of U of L's 469 free-throw attempts.
Both Kuric and Preston Knowles are over 80% from the stripe on the year, but both spend too much time on the perimeter for that to be an especially enormous stat.
Reginald Delk had two of his best games of the season a year ago against the Bearcats. What random player is going to torch UC this season?
If I was forced to pick one, I'd say Rakeem Buckles. It's unlikely because Saturday was his first game back in six weeks and he didn't score a point, but if he were completely healthy I think he could cause some matchup problems for the Bearcats.
How did you get into writing Card Chronicle? Did you ever imagine it would be one of the premier Louisville sites it's turned into?
I was a journalism major in college and had always planned on writing for a newspaper, so I thought combining my two biggest passions - U of L sports being the other - was a worthwhile venture. I was 21 when I started writing online in 2006 and figured I'd do it as away to pass time during school or until the last of my friends stopped reading. It's almost cliche to say, but I never imagined I'd still be doing it at 26, that it would have played such a large role in my life for the past five years, or that it would have become this "successful" (a term intended to be read with the loosest of possible translations).
--Rapid fire time. I asked people on your site for questions. Here are a 5.
WWF action figures.
I hated Irene in '98, and I hate Irene in 2011. To this day I mock her voice whenever I have to say "lyme disease." If I'm around people who won't judge me, at least.
Wayne Blacksehar will be the best of the group, but Behanan will become an all-time fan favorite.
Waldo Geraldo Faldo? Probably in the kitchen. Man can cook.
Yeah, the people on CC did not take the questions very seriously. A thousand thanks to Mike once again. Not just for answering my questions, but his hard work on his site. Sports are a fun thing, but I think that it's even better when it's a community experience. That's why I think things like twitter and blogs are a lot of fun and have become popular. Being able to talk and read about something you are passionate about with others is one of the best things to do. Especially if you can't get tickets, or live out of town or whatever reason. It's all the fun of watching the game with other people, with none of the actually having to talk to them. But really, it's a place where people from all over can talk about something they love with people who feel the same. For many people, me included, one of those places is CC. So thanks for that Mike. That is one of those things I wouldn't actually say to him, but I said it in a place where he could read it. Kinda like how in buddy cop movies, the partners are separated and one of them says 'I started off not liking him, but dammit, he's all I got,' and the other dude hears it because the lamp is bugged. Except it's not like that at all. Anyway, let's wrap this up. Thanks to Mike, thanks to the people on CC who asked questions, and thanks to you for reading.