If this is truly a “bridge year” for the Cardinals as Rick Pitino has stated several times so far this season, Louisville has to be considered the best rebuilding team in the Big East if not the country. Thae Cards are currently 13-2 overall and are 2-0 in Big East play. Louisville’s most recent 86-77 victory over South Florida epitomizes how the Cards are going to try to win games this year. For the Cards to be successful, they need a solid array of points spread throughout the roster, lock down their full court trap defense, and stay consistent from behind the 3-point line. Sunday’s win showed flashes of all three of those aspects. Five different Louisville players scored in double digits while at least ten Cardinals registered points by the final buzzer. Behind the arc, Louisville shot close to 40% while sharpshooter Mike Marra went 3-7 from the 3-point line. The Cards defense also clamped down when it needed to by creating 14 South Florida turnovers and only allowing four field goals in the final 9:43 of the ball game.
What makes Louisville so efficient is also what is ultimately their Achilles Heel. The Cards rely heavily on team play and everyone contributing a certain but don’t have a designated playmaker that can take over the game when the team is struggling. In their loss against Drexel last month, the Cards were held to 46 points and went an abysmal 4-16 from behind the arc. Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva both had 13 points but then the next highest point total was 7 from Chris Smith. Knowles, a senior, has the highest point per game average with 15.1 but is considered far from being a player who completely takes over a game.
Louisville Basketball is an entertaining yet nerve-wrecking style that has had fans pulling their hair out for the last couple years. Like any Pitino team, they’re going to launch the ball early and often from the 3-point line, sometimes to a fault. It’s not uncommon to see the team completely disregard the inside game for quick and ill-advised long-range shots. The Cards are a fragile machine that works very efficiently as long as all of its parts are doing their jobs. If one thing goes awry however, their wheels could very quickly start falling off.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.