Louisville Card File: South Florida

This was obviously a beat down, but came with a less than auspicious start.

On Louisville’s first possession, the Cards were running pick & roll. Peyton Siva dribbled back and forth. And back and forth. And back and forth. Then launched a jumper. Which missed.

Nary a single pass.

U of L’s second possession started with a Siva steal. He passed to Russ Smith, then jetted ahead of the defense. Instead of returning the ball to his running mate for an easy, uncontested lay up, Smith did what Smith does, driving into the defense, trying an impossible shot and getting fouled.

For Smith, it was a harbinger of things to come. For Siva, not so much.

Peyton ended up with 17, including the Cardinals’ only three treys (on 5 attempts). He had three steals, and three boards. Though only 1 assist. (Louisville as a team had only 6 assists against 15 turnovers.)

Russ’s “slump” continues. He was 2/13 from the field (2/10 in the first half). And continued to attempt to make lemon meringue pies, when a simple foray at lemonade would suffice, repeatedly driving into dead end situations.

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The bottom line is this. Louisville played a mediocre offensive game.

On the other hand, its defense was très magnifico. (An international term, loosely translated as “very very very good.”) Stifling. These Bulls were dead from the moment they sauntered into the ring, before the picadores showed up to sever their nerves.

Louisville bamboozled the visitors into 27% shooting from the field, 3/17 from the beyond the arc. SoFla only got off 45 shots, only canned 12.

The Cards had 12 steals. The rebounding advantage was 49-24. +25 on the boards. They were +20 at the break. That’ll do.

South Florida was toast from tipoff. U of L, not totally in offensive gear itself, was up 7-1 at the first media timeout. And led 19-3, during the second break to sell Bud.

In my notes during that break in the action, I jotted down the question: “Best D of the year?” Probably. But defending this South Florida team was like shooting fish in a barrel. Let’s see what happens Monday night up Connecticut way.

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My favorite play of the game came at the 7:07 mark of the 2d half.

Long armed, burgeoning defensive ace Kevin Ware stole the ball and headed uncontested toward the hoop.

No razzle dazzle ensued. No double pump. No 360 with a triple axle. No taking off at mid court to show his hops. He got to the hoop, elevated and in a taking-care-business fashion, slammed in a deuce with both hands. Then bolted into defensive position.

Runner up was Silent L’s blocked trey with 8:06 to play, in yet another marvelous team defense sequence, resulting in SoFla shot clock violation.

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Not much else really jumps out at me.

This was a workmanlike victory by a clearly superior ball club.

Okay, there was Gorgui Dieng’s ho hum 12 points, 16 rebound performance.

Chane Behanan grabbed 12 boards.

The Cards were a nifty 15/17 at the line.

* * * * *

On the periphery.

The student section was a third empty.

The trombone rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” after the baseball team intro was sweet.

Yest again, there was no introduction of the Sugar Bowl Champs. I’m betting it’ll happen next Saturday. Big recruiting weekend. The Cards are on ESPN with that network’s prime crew.

* * * * *

The stakes amp up this week.

Louisville vistits UConn on Monday. The Huskies have won 5 of their last 6, winning yesterday in South Bend.

The Orange come a calling next Saturday.

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Finally, in the category of “I’m Not Sure If It’s A Good Thing,” if Michigan loses at Ohio State today, U of L will likely leap to the top of the polls.

Personally I hope the voters are so taken with IU’s W over Minnesota, that the Hoosiers rise to the top spot.

– Seedy K

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