The Cardinals have won 5 straight, with wins over Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Duke, and Georgia Tech. They are 11-1 at home this season, 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the ACC. This team is getting it done but at times appear to ”just be getting it done”.
This Louisville team didn’t come out swinging in the last game. They played a sluggish brand of basketball letting the Yellow Jackets hang around until the very end. Due to the Cardinal’s effort on the glass (14 offensive rebounds) and their active defense down the stretch forcing 17 Tech turnovers they were able to survive.
I get it… I have days I don’t really want to be at the office. Athletes are no different. They aren’t robots that can be programmed for maximum effort every time they play. While I’m not concerned with this team playing down to the competition right now it is an ugly habit that can cause a team to have an early exit come Tourney Time.
I think Coach Mack would love to see his team come out with elite effort and win these types of games without the dramatics. Saturday is another opportunity for them to do that. Even tho Clemson has struggled away from home, posting a 2-4 record they have put together a nice little stretch of basketball winning three of their last four. During that stretch, they’ve beat NC State, UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest.
This Clemson team doesn’t really do anything that great with a defense ranked in the 100’s and offense ranked in 200’s but they have some scrappy guys who are playing some clutch basketball at times. They’ve had several come from behind wins this season. They are that team that hopes you come out sluggish and not ready to play. Clemson is 45-2 when teams score 50 or less on them.
We wanted to see more weapons emerge for this Louisville team. David Johnson and Malik Williams have been those guys. David has been a breakout star while Williams has been clutch over the last couple of weeks. He recorded 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots leading Louisville against Tech.
Now I think we’d all like to see this team start to put all of it together.
They are doing a lot of the tangible things well 67th field goal percentage, 18th three-point field goal percentage, top 100 scoring offense, 37th scoring defense, 8th field goal defense, 30th three-point field goal percentage defense, 67th rebounds and 67th in assist/turnover ratio.
It’s the intangibles that start to separate the great team’s from the good ones down the stretch. Things like attitude/effort and coming out every game playing to their ability regardless of the opponent. If this Louisville team can improve upon some of the little things it could mean big things ahead.
They can start doing that on Saturday. I hope this team comes out swinging because I could also use a break from the dramatics. I want to see one of those coast to coast victories in this one. Go Cards!