What Opposing Coaches Are Saying About Louisville

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Over the next eight weeks, CBSSports.com college basketball writers Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello will go through the national championship contenders and attempt to answer that question.

For each team, Goodman and Borzello will talk to four or five coaches who faced the title contenders this season and get in-depth insight into each title threat. Let’s take a look at what the opponsing coaches have to say about Louisville. Below I’ll add an excerpt from each key area. You can click here to read the entire article with multiple quotes from coaches.

Style Of Play:

“They want their defense to dictate offense. Not a great half-court offense. Get to the free-throw line. Press you. Deny you. They want their defense to score 60 percent of the offense. It’s not a great 3-point shooting team, probably [Rick] Pitino’s worst in years. But they’re so good off the dribble, getting in the lane, looking to find guys. They want to offensive rebound 30 percent of their misses. And they’re tremendous on the break.”

Offensive Strength:

“They’re better because they have those experienced guards, and Peyton Siva is a winner. They’re not complicated at all because they ball-screen. But with Siva, you’re talking about a guy who can come up off screens and get into creases. They have athletic finishers. They don’t have really good shooters.”

Key Player:

“Siva is the key. His leadership. His ball-handling. He makes big plays. His demeanor. The way he approaches. His skill set. He’s their most valuable player. He’s one of those guys. And he’s the guy at the ends of games.”

Primary Weakness:

“Definitely outside shooting. They don’t have that knock-down shooter, those great shooters. No Francisco Garcia. No Reece Gaines. No Taquan Dean. You know, a guy good for three or four 3-pointers a night. They can get beat in the tournament because they might go 2-for-13.”

How To Stop Them:

“The more aggressive you are with Peyton and Russ, the better you are. People say to leave space for them because they’re so good off the dribble — nah, do the opposite. If you are soft with them, they get a head of steam. They’ll pull up and make shots. If you let Siva and Smith get a head of steam, forget it. Pick them up at the 3-point line. Jam them. I think you have to zone them. They’ll take quick shots; they’ll start settling a little bit. It’s very difficult to guard them in the open court. They set so many picks. And when you have a senior guard coming off them, it’s very tough.”

Best Way To Score On Them:

“You have to make shots. Make outside shots. You can go the whole game without making shots against them. You can score against their backup bigs. We did a good job of beating the pressure and getting a shot at the rim. It also helps to have a guy who’s in the zone. Against the press, if there’s one guy guarding you, just bring it up the floor. Kept the least amount of people back there as possible.”

Ultimate Concern:

“Taking care of the basketball. You can’t get worn out with their pressure. Limiting turnovers, because they’re the best team in the country at converting turnovers. They’re not just getting turnovers; they’re turning it into two points. Limiting turnovers limits fast-break points. Also, limiting second shots, but that’s easier said than done. You don’t want to slow it down completely. If you have a fast break, go.”

Impact Of Gorgui Dieng:

“You can’t value his importance through stats. When you press like they do and you have a big guy who can block shots, it’s huge. He doesn’t give them much on the offensive end, but you can’t measure what he does on the defensive end — especially in their system.”

On Their Depth:

“Pitino preaches they’re going to be the best-conditioned team in the country. Russ comes out; Kevin Ware comes in, and he’s making sure there’s no drop-off. Chane Behanan gets replaced by Montrezl Harrell. Hancock is a smart player. I think it’s the best nine guys in the country.”

Leftovers:

“If we could get half our players to play as hard as Russ Smith, we’d be really good. He works his ass off. He’s the first player on the court getting shots off. His work ethic is unmatched. And he’s got all the little attributes.”

About Nick Coffey

Nick Coffey
Nick Coffey is the creator and lead publisher for TheCardinalConnect.com. Along with covering Louisville basketball, football and recruiting, Nick has worked in sports talk radio for over three years.

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