The Cardinals moved to 4-0 in the early season after an 85-41 victory over St. Francis last night. The Cardinals have been participating in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. This five-team, round-robin event will conclude on Saturday night when the Cardinals face St. Louis in Brooklyn. After the Cardinals finish up with this tournament they’ll then head to East Lansing to face the #3 Michigan St. Spartans in the annual Big 10/ACC Challenge. This is the 7th consecutive season that Louisville has started a basketball season 4-0 and they’ll need the positive momentum from these early victories to help them when they face these next two opponents.
Over the last few seasons the Cardinals have had to rely on great defense to help them overcome being anemic on the offensive end of the floor. This is usually the time of year when we are all wondering where the point production is going to come from. But if these early games are any indication this year offense is not going to be a problem. The Cardinals have shot better than 50% from the field in the first 4 games. This team is getting scoring from every position on the floor and the team is shooting a blistering 52% from the field. The Cardinals have 7 players who are shooting 50% or better from the field, have 7 players who are averaging 7 points or more per game, and as a team averaging 87 points per game. This team is currently 13th in the country in field goal percentage, and have moved up to 31st in the country in scoring offense. In the current Kenpom statistics Louisville’s adjusted offensive efficiency is 108.3 ranked 47th and their effective Field goal percentage is 56.5 ranked 31st. Having a team like this with some many weapons is something worth getting very excited about.
The Cardinals may not have to rely as much on their defense this season but that doesn’t mean they aren’t performing just as well on this side of the ball. Through the first 4 games of the season they are holding their opponents to 49.8 points per game and holding them to just 29% shooting from the field. In the current Kenpom statistics Louisville’s adjusted defensive efficiency is 90.6 and ranked 3rd and their effective field goal percentage defense is 34.7 ranked 5th. It might be against teams with less talent but so far the Cardinals are really getting it done on the defensive end and they look like they enjoy it just as much as they do when they have the ball in their hands. After the game last night Coach Willard said that they weren’t completely happy with the defense yet and talked about fine tuning some things. But I know they have to at least be happy with the effort.
I know it’s early but these guys are playing some solid basketball and they look like they are having fun doing it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do against both St. Louis and Michigan State. We will know exactly where they are after this stretch. They could come out in these next two games showing everyone that they will be a contender this season. I know they will be. Go Cards!
Louisville vs. St. Francis