LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I will begin with a confession:
Before I wrote this column, I exhaled for 101 seconds and reminded myself there was a reasonable chance that the social media police will save this link and launch it repeatedly as soon as things go another direction.
I'll live with that danger.
Here goes: After one night of the college basketball season, both Louisville and Kentucky looked the part of teams that deserved their considerable preseason hype, teams that will remain formidable through the final dribble.
In another note, the Big Ten crowd around the mystery team that is Indiana does not look as dynamic as they looked a day earlier.
Let's go to the videotape.
Louisville overwhelmed Miami. The final margin was 13 points, 87-74. The Cards were at least 25 points better. They led by 32 with less than 10 minutes to play.
That was when I researched the last time that coach Jim Larranaga lost by 32 points at Miami. The answer was never.
Larranaga still has not been defeated by 32. He might have been if Chris Mack had not substituted so liberally or the Cards found a way to score in the final three minutes.
Know this: Louisville is a deep, talented, aggressive and confident team that will likely not be challenged until the Cardinals play national runner-up Texas Tech Dec. 10 in Madison Square Garden.
Jordan Nwora played like a guy who has ignored the hype about his status as a national player of the year candidate to continue to work on his game. You could see the upgrade in his ball-handling and determination to attack.
Nwora checked every column in the box score except one -- Nwora did not commit a personal foul. College basketball moved the three-point line out about 16 inches this season.
Nwora made four of six shots from distance -- and also showed up on SportsCenter for the soaring alley-oop that he converted in the second half.
He also had 10 defensive rebounds (12 total). Nwora did not contribute 10 defensive rebounds last season until Louisville's ninth game.
Get this: Five Cardinals scored in double figures and all five made at least half their field-goal attempts. It's a one-game sample, but Louisville ranked second in offensive efficiency at KenPom.com Wednesday.
"Well, I thought Louisville's defense was outstanding, especially in the first 30 minutes," Jim Larrañaga said. "They combined terrific defense with really running their offense extremely well.
"They have got a lot of veteran guys, and they found the open man and made shots. They certainly deserve their high ranking."
Here is another team that deserved its high ranking: Kentucky.
The Wildcats made Michigan State look disorganized, inefficient and like a questionable selection as the consensus No. 1 team while handling the Spartans, 69-62.
Tyrese Maxey, John Calipari's freshman guard, came off the bench and outplayed and out-skilled Cassius Winston, Michigan State's senior national player of the year candidate.
It's just one game. It's just one game. But Maxey looked like the kind of difference maker that every legitimate contending team needs -- a guy who simply gets buckets. It's just one game.
When the play did not work as planned or the shot clock got short, Maxey found a way to score. There was a reason for that. He has blow-by speed and a jump shot that must be respected.
Kentucky will host Eastern Kentucky Friday night in the Wildcats' home opener at Rupp Arena. On Monday Calipari's team will be voted No. 1 in the AP and USA Today coaches' poll -- and, looking at their schedule, they should stay there for at least a month.
I decline to draw any significant conclusions from a 33-point victory over Western Illinois. The most impressive development from Archie Miller's team was Al Durham and Justin Smith played the way that third-year players are supposed to perform.
They took intelligent shots and made 18 of 24 attempts. They limited their turnovers to three in 49 minutes. They defended with pride and persistence.
But for the Hoosiers the most encouraging development was this: The rest of the Big Ten endured a rugged night.
Michigan State lost to Kentucky -- and did not appear overwhelming on the glass.
Nebraska, IU's second conference opponent, lost by 19 points to UC-Riverside in Lincoln. UC-Riverside was ranked No. 285 prior to the game by Ken Pomeroy.
Illinois needed overtime to defeat Nicholls State.
Wisconsin lost to a solid Saint Mary's squad on a neutral court.
And Michigan let a 30-point lead melt into an eight-point victory against Appalachian State. John Beilein and three talented starters from last season's team don't live in Ann Arbor any more.
A look at Pomeroy's projected Big Ten numbers Wednesday morning showed Miller's team projected to finish fourth in the league, behind Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State.
Of course, Pomeroy's numbers also showed this: Kentucky ranked No. 2 and Louisville ranked No. 3 -- just as the preseason magazines suggested.
For one night of college basketball, it looked safe to believe the hype.
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