Louisville Card File: DePaul

Love this quote from Louisville’s coach after last night’s win:

“If you want to be a good basketball team, you have to go inside out.”

The gotcha is that the coach is Jeff Walz, mentor of the U of L women’s team which beat Seton Hall 72-62. Not Rick Pitino, whose men’s squad battered its third cellar-dwelling rummy in a row.

At one point during the Cardinals’ decisive but inelegant victory, I jotted this down: “Passing O – Rarely open shot without dribble.”

There has been significantly less PG dribbling in the half court offense in the last couple weeks. It’s a heartening trend.

But, to what end? So that Behanan or Dieng gets the ball with his back to the hoop too far out for a flip hook? And, neither never — okay, maybe not never, but pretty close to never — throws that quick inside out pass and gets it back for an easier shot closer to the hoop. Or, for the reverse skip pass for an open trey.

Which is my passive aggressive way of noting that this Cardinal team still has a long way to go, half court offensively speaking. More than before, the team will pass the ball five, six times or more without overdribbling by whomever is at point, but the end still doesn’t seem to ratify the means. At the end of the sequence, Peyton or Russ or Kevin usually wind up having to dribble to a spot for a shot.

Shouldn’t there be plays where Chane or Wayne or Luke or Kevin get the ball in a comfort zone where they can just set and fire without putting the ball on the floor?

* * * * *

But, I’m not here just to complain.

Here’s a stat and explanation therefor that should bring joy to the Red & Black faithful.

Silent L was 5/7 from the field.

Because Siva and Smith were able to penetrate the Blue Demons D, draw attention and slip the ball deftly to Harrell for easy slams. Because Siva and Smith actually completed those passes.

Russ, when attempting assists which are beyond his default predilection, still throws it away more often than one would like in such instances. But less than he used to. That those passes are coming is positive trend.

What strikes me about Montrezl is that, despite his appearance of being ripped, he still needs to get stronger, so he can take the ball and defender into the hoop instead of getting blocked, as he does more than it seems he should.

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It seems fair to blame Louisville’s day-of-game travel weariness for its annoying, sloppy performance.

Louisville played its usual pesky D. The Cards blocked 7 shots and stole the ball 12 times, forcing 19 Blue Demon turnovers.

The yin and yang is that U of L committed 18 turnovers and had 5 shots blocked.

Against a woeful team like DePaul, they can get away with that. Against NCAA-caliber squads, they cannot.

The Cardinals went 25/31 at the line. Remember what I said previously, kids, the NCAA champion shall be determined by free throws.

Louisville won the rebound battle, 46-33, but gave up as many offensive boards, 17, as it grabbed.

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While it was the correct call when the zebras reversed the charge on Chane’s monster slam for a converted +1, I’m just not sure I’ve ever seen it done before.

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Peyton Siva has to be on the floor when it matters. (You heard that before?)

His silly fouls could become the Cards’ Achilles heel.

DePaul made a late run, cutting their deficit to 8.

With four fouls, Peyton returned to the floor. Hit two FTs. Assisted on a Dieng jumper. Stole the ball after a Silent L follow slam, then fed Russ for a bunny. Followed by scoring a layup.

Siva’s return resulted in that 10-0 run for an insurmountable 18 point advantage.

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All in all, it was a more than acceptable, workmanlike effort in front of a sparse Chitown crowd. The team survived travel woes — the players had hollow eyes during several of the timeouts — and Jim Burr.

The Cards were behind the 8 ball early, 0-8. But then ran off 10 straight points in a minute and ten seconds, and never looked back.

On a night when Michigan showed what happens to teams not stalwart enough on the road in late February, and Georgetown, displaying true grit, survived under similar tough circumstance, Louisville did what needed to be done against a lesser foe away from home.

* * * * *

Of ESPN’s second-tier announcing teams, Adam Amin and Tim Welsh, are top shelf. They deserve elevation.

* * * * *

Louisville has jumped to 2d in Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings, and remains at #3 in Ken Pomeroy’s. The Cards have jumped a spot to #7 in the realtime rpi ranks, and have moved to the top of the third line in a consensus compilation of bracketologists.

U of L is 3-4 against teams currently in the AP top 25, and is one of less than handful of schools without a double digit loss.

Saturday’s game in the Carrier Dome is a litmus test.

– Seedy K

 

3 Comments

  1. fred
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    In our ESPN culture, the dunks get all the airtime. But without a doubt the two most spectacular plays of the night were Kevin Ware’s blocks. The kid has some springs!! At the beginning of the year, it seemed like we lost a little when Ware was subbed. Not so now.

  2. fred
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    As to Russ, I still think it’s a bad shot when an attempt hits the bottom of the rim.

  3. mark
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I concur with Fred; Kevin Ware’s block at the rim was one of the most freakishly athletic plays of the season, and certainly deserved some Sports Center highlight play; I really like watching him on D. His defensive acumen is an invaluable asset to this team. If only he could develop some handles with the ball.

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