WKU-Louisville leftovers

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A few random thoughts about Sunday’s victory over Louisville before putting it to bed and making a quick turnaround to Georgia.

• Those who were forced to watch the Murray State defeat last weekend still have to be stunned by the shockingly quick turnaround by the Hilltoppers. A win over Southern Illinois was impressive, but a victory over Louisville is nearly inexplicable considering how WKU looked in Murray. I began covering the Toppers regularly in the 2005-06 season and Nov. 22 was the longest WKU night I had witnessed since a 73-49 thrashing at Troy. Funny how long nights happen in towns like Troy and Murray, but anyway…

The difference though was that at Troy, WKU looked like a team having bad game with a dreadful shooting night. That WKU team at Murray looked completely lost.

How to explain the complete 180-degree turnaround? I can’t. So let’s have WKU coach Ken McDonald do it.

“I think we finally put our foot down as a team. And I think we had some older guys on the team that have been through this that said, ‘We’re not going to have a bad season.’ Just because we lost some very good players, we’re not going into a mode where this is acceptable.”

I’ll say this – I doubt I’ve seen the Hilltoppers play harder than in these two games against Southern Illinois and Louisville. That’s accounted for something and continued efforts like these past two could take WKU a long way.

• McDonald and WKU associate athletic director Todd Stewart did have a “Rowan and Martin”-esque comedy routine going on Sunday. After McDonald took several postgame questions, Stewart informed the media that there was time for one more question – likely because Louisville coach Rick Pitino was waiting to come into the media room (you don’t make Pitino wait after 14-point losses).

But upon hearing that there was time for only one more question, McDonald chimed in and said – “You do that at Murray State when we lose by 40. When we win a game, let’s stay in here a while. What’s the deal?”

• Although McDonald may be the king of one-liners, Pitino still might have gotten in the best line of the night.

He closed his impromptu media session by saying, “You get what you deserve. Obviously Western got what they deserved and we got what we deserved. Credit to them, and our ass-kicking was what we deserved today.”

• What does the Louisville win do for the enthusiasm of WKU fans? Dare I say sellout on Tuesday when Georgia and old buddy Dennis Felton comes to town? If I’m betting, I’m betting against it, but it should be a much more enthusiastic crowd than the first two home games.

Granted, WKU has had some scheduling disadvantages in drawing people into Diddle. Campbellsville on a Tuesday night doesn’t get many excited (it brought in only 3,528). Southern Illinois was a nice home game, but not after a loss, when the fan base wasn’t enthusiastic and not the night before Thanksgiving, when students are gone. That contest drew 3,948.

It’s a huge game for the Toppers, and completing a three-game trifecta against SIU, Louisville and Georgia would really be a statement. Georgia isn’t overly talented and hasn’t beaten anybody yet, but getting off the Louisville cloud and ready for the Bulldogs in such a short amount of time will be difficult for the Hilltoppers.

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One Response to “WKU-Louisville leftovers”

  1. Guy Down the Hall Says:

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing your insights from a different perspective. Interesting to read your take on the team/games so far, especially your feeling that their mind-set has changed.

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