First off, I am just as upset as anyone about this loss, but let’s be realistic. This team went on the road and played the #7 ranked team in the country and hung right in there for the first 30 minutes. No loss is good, but I’m not sure you can classify it as a bad loss.
With that being said, there are some things from last night that really concern me. The Cards looked great in the first half. Knowles and Smith were shooting lights out and we still couldn’t pull away. When you shoot 12-25 nearly 50% from downtown and you don’t win, that’s very concerning.
This may sound like I am going over the deep end, but I have never seen a worse rebounding team at Louisville since I have been alive. 17 rebounds in a 40 minutes game? Nova doubled that with 34 boards. God Bless SVT, he plays very hard and runs the floor great for a big guy, but the kid was simply out of his league last night. He played 27 minutes and grabbed just 1 rebound. I think he had his hands on just about every shot that came off the rim, but he just couldn’t hold on to it. We got just 7 rebounds between Dieng, Jennings, Van Treese, and Goode. Credit Nova for attacking the glass, but shame on the post players for getting abused. I’d give anything to have Joseph N’sima right now.
We have never needed Rakeem Buckles more than we do right now and thank goodness he will be back in early February. He probably wouldn’t have had a huge night in scoring, but he would have eliminated half of Nova’s twenty-something second chance points.
I question some of Siva’s decisions in transition, but I really think he is playing pretty solid for us. Outside of Knowles and maybe Smith, Siva has nobody to pass the ball to and create for, but yet he still managed to get 7 assists last night. Siva also added 14 points.
Preston Knowles and Chris Smith continue to be the only real consistent players on this team. Knowles is playing out of his mind right now. He had 24 points and shot 6-10 from long-range. PK also had a team leading 5 rebounds and added 4 assists. Smith, went bananas in the first half. He didn’t produce a lot in the second, but I still think he played a pretty solid game. I think he is probably physically the toughest player on this team right now. He finished with 18 points and 4 rebounds.
Kyle Kuric and Mike Marra need to quit disappearing. Anytime the Cards play a legit team, Mike Marra is simply invisible. Kuric needs more minutes in my opinion. Even when he does play it seems like he is only in there for a couple minutes before he is yanked out. It seems like he has been rushing his shot in the last couple weeks.
The Cards will host Marquette on Saturday morning and I can’t say I have a great feeling about this one either. Size wise they are similar to Nova. Not quite as tall, but just physically very strong. If we can control the tempo and get out and run, we have a good shot, but if this game gets into a half-court setting, I don’t know where we are going to get points. If this team doesn’t find a way to rebound the ball it may be a long year in the Big East. I’m confident in our half-court defense, but it simply comes down to grabbing the rebound after forcing your opponent to take a tough shot.
Maybe This Will Help