“Live by the 3 and die by the 3″. This has been the epitaph for the Louisville Cardinals in recent seasons. It’s no doubt that the Cards style of play keeps them dangerous until the clock reads triple zeroes. However, Wednesday’s 88-74 loss to Villanova in Philadelphia exposed Louisville as an all or nothing team that must stay hot from start to finish to win games.
The Cards looked like a team of destiny in the first half when they went 8 of 15 from behind the arc and scored 41 points going into halftime. The problem however, was that the Wildcats had a one point lead at the half. The Cards quickly fell out of their game plan of playing sound defense and spreading the ball around and instead tried to keep the 3-point train rolling. The Cards ultimately went 12-25 from behind the arc and found themselves in disarray on offense.
Senior leader, Preston Knowles shot early and often and led the Cards with 24 points and made 6 of 10 shots from 3-point land. Unfortunately for the Cards, Knowles was just the peak of a very top-heavy scoring Cardinal team. Knowles and teammates Peyton Siva and Chris Smith combined for 56 points, which accounted for 76% of Louisville’s 74 points.
The Cards were also beaten badly on the boards. Villanova outrebounded Louisville 36 to 19 while the Cards only managed four offensive rebounds all game. The lack of rebounding was a major reason for Villanova being able to put up 88 points, the most allowed by Louisville so far this year. Senior Corey Stokes led with Wildcats with 23 points.
The Cards next game is Saturday at 11:00 AM EST against Marquette at the KFC Yum! Center. If Louisville expects to finish at the top end of the Big East this year (much less stay ranked), they’re going to have to fire on all cylinders for the majority of each game. If they don’t, they can lose to almost anybody, just ask Drexel.
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.