Louisville Basketball has its Swag back…

(Photo courtesy LouisvilleMBB)


Touting a consensus top 10 recruiting class and a solid group of returning veterans Coach Mack met with the local media on Tuesday afternoon to provide a summer update. Along with Coach Mack two potential ACC all teamers Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch. None of these guys shied away from from the National Title talk and seem to be embracing the high expectations that already surround this team.

“I think you come to a place like Louisville to embrace those kinds of expectations…We’re not going to run from those expectations. Those guys that came here came to win a national championship.” – Chris Mack

Louisville basketball coach Chris Mack discusses Nwora and Enoch opting out of the NBA draft to stay at U of L and expectations for next season.

Both Nwora and Enoch echoed these sentiments as they addressed the media. I love it! This is the Louisville Basketball program I grew up watching. A consensus preseason top 5 team heading into the summer even the talking heads have jumped back on the Louisville bandwagon. Jeff Goodman is one of the few of them I pay attention to and he has Louisville ranked #3 in his latest preseason poll. Saying in a tweet ”And yes, I also have Louisville in front of UK.”

”Louisville in front of Kentucky”… That didn’t take long. But talk is cheap and this team’s first task will be to take back some of the respect lost in the rivalry.

Adding freshmen like McDonald’s All American Samuell Williamson and the freakishly athletic basketball sensation known as the ‘Irish Hulk’ Aidan Igiehon along with a grad transfer named ”Fresh” who comes in averaging 15.6 points in NCAA competition to a roster returning 56.7 points, and 28.1 rebounds you can’t blame Louisville for having their Swag back. Right?

It’s about time Louisville basketball and its fans get in a little chest thumping. The practice gym on Floyd Street will be bursting at the seams with basketball talent this winter. I’ve heard the players say Coach Mike Peques often refers to a quote found in Proverbs 27:17 “iron sharpens iron”. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper.

You can talk with any coach in America and they’ll tell you that its the competition in practice that makes a team better. I don’t think you’ll find another gym in the country with a more competitive environment than the Planet Fitness Kueber Center will have.

The theme here is Swag. And there hasn’t been a player in the last 10 years with more of it than Jordan Nwora. Since the first day, he walked into a Louisville gym just a young guy that knows how to carry himself. And won’t accept anything less than what he intends. My favorite player I affectionately call him Swag. This dude is the biggest offseason acquisition in college hoops and its not close. Already being mentioned as a potential First Team All American by some. With his size and ability, he is one of the best players in the country. On a team like this, he will be able to just fill his role. I think that will help him become the player he wants to be. That is a good thing for the Cardinals and Jordan.

Jordan Nwora discusses passing on the NBA draft to return to Louisville

In talking about the obvious I’m not ignoring the impact Ryan McMahon (best spot up shooter in the country), Dwayne Sutton (best sixth man in the country), Malik Williams (one of the best shot blockers in the country) and Darius Perry (one of the most energetic guys) will have this season.

Folks this team is loaded and for good reason, the swagger is back. Stick your chest out and look forward to the winter ahead. I expect that the hype will only grow as we get closer. Louisville isn’t just a player in the game this season they just might be the game. Louisville Basketball has its Swag back and I love it. Go Cards!

 

Survive and Advance


Credit a very good Clemson defensive scheme today it was like I was watching a basketball game being played in quicksand. Our Cardinals earned every basket. They split games this week but I think have learned a lot about themselves during this stretch.

I’ve said it many times on this Page that the college basketball season is a marathon and not a sprint. Just as a person has to find something deep within themselves in a marathon a basketball team must dig deep during a college season to overcome the challenges they face throughout. Those challenges prepare them for the postseason run.

This Louisville team has been challenged about as much as anyone and they’ve won 18 games. I think if they win two or three more they should be a lock at no worse than a 5 seed. Coach Mack is going to have to address his teams inability to finish games. They’ll have ample opportunity to figure it out with the games they have left.

Nothing pretty about anyone today but did like CC’s effectiveness throughout. He really showed moxie in the second half scoring 16 points and hitting 5-7 shots to bring Louisville back from a late 7 point deficit. And Jordan stepped up late. That late dunk and game-winning blocked shot saved us all a lot of heartaches.

The Tournament is just as much about surviving as anything. Our Cardinals are learning how to survive. They survived today.

L’s Up!

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Cards look to build off big ACC win


Our Cardinals came out as a team possessed on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Might have been the best ”effort” game of the season. You could tell a big difference in that effort from the Cardinals road loss to Pitt. Especially on the defensive side of the basketball. I wrote last week that this team had hit a wall. That wall still very much exist from a competitive standpoint. It takes a lot to come out every game and give that performance they had on Saturday.

Don’t know if the Cardinals will match that intensity tonight but it is a good chance to build on the momentum of the last game. I’d like to think that this team is starting to heat up with the meat of the ACC schedule arriving. They have won 8 of the last 11 with only one blemish on the home court. They have shot 47 percent from the field while outscoring teams by an average of 15.5 points at home this season.

That doesn’t bode well for a Boston College team who has lost their last four games. They have lost two of their last three road games. The Eagles are shooting just 40.8 percent from the field during this losing stretch while being outscored by an average of nearly eight points. But as we have already seen this season its any given night in the ACC and BC does have three double-digit scorers and they do hit the boards averaging 34.8 a game. You score points and rebound you can win games.

I’d like to see the Cardinals come out tonight and take care of their business. It would be great not to see any kind of let down performance wise after the big road win at UNC. Now it’s about building on big wins and not taking steps backward. This team can’t afford to do that in a competitive conference like the ACC. They have to win the ones they are supposed to. And they should roll tonight.
Enjoy the game! Go Cards!

GOCARDS.COM GAMEDAY BREAKDOWN

Conference Play: The season within the season…


The College Basketball season is not a sprint but more like a marathon. Our Cardinals are about to hit the second leg of the marathon on Sunday afternoon in the Yum Center. I always looked at Conference play as the season within the season.

As a Coach and a fan, you hope that the non-conference prepared them for the grind ahead. Everything gets more physical, mentally challenging and premeditated in conference play. The team’s who play hard, smart and with great execution will prevail over the next couple of months. This Louisville team was challenged on all three levels during the non-conference schedule.

When I think of toughness I think banging inside and rebounding. The Cardinals toughness has been tested early on. Playing against some of the best rebounding teams in the country and holding their own. Michigan State, Tennesse, Marquette, Lipscomb, and Indiana all rank in the Top 50 nationally in defensive rebounding. While UK is among the Top 50 in offensive rebounding. Mich St, UK, and Marquette are all ranked Top 20 in Rebound margin.

In the last game, our Cardinals did bang the boards with a team ranked second in the country in rebounding margin at the time (UofL 33 rebs, UK 34 rebs) and won the offensive rebound battle (UofL 13 rebs, UK 10 rebs). UK came into that game third in offensive rebounding percentage. Hitting the glass is important in basketball but it’s crucial in conference play.

When I think about their mental toughness being tested I think about the game against Seton Hall on the road. That game was tied at 5 different segments and had six different lead changes. Louisville dominated the boards that day 42 – 28 and hit 11 of 12 free throws to win a close one. Cards were mentally tough that day but then lost some of that mojo when they played flat against Robert Morris and really lost the mental battle with Kentucky. They are a monkey on our back at this point.

When I think about this teams execution I think about the game against Indiana when they failed to execute down the stretch and think about the game against Michigan State where they controlled throughout and hit free throws down the stretch in that one. They executed well in the game against Kent State and did against UK to a certain point but was out-toughed on the offensive end of the floor.

This team is showing some promise heading into conference play and have had about everything thrown at them so far. The Cardinals are ranked nationally #87 in Scoring offense, #6 in Free-throws made, and #16 Free throw percentage. If this team makes a run it will be done as a result of great offensive execution and getting to the free throw line. The defense has been hit or miss with this group early on. Hoping this extra week helped them make up some ground there.

As far as individually Jordan with 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and CC with 9.6 points a game have been the most consistent players. While Sutton with 9.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and Steven Enoch with 8.8 points per game have had a few stand out performances. Really would like to see another guy get into the mix during conference play. VJ, Darius, Malik, and Ryan have to raise their level of play night in and night out.

I always enjoy the conference part of the schedule. We had some great Rivalries roll over into the ACC from the Big East days with Notre Dame and Syracuse and have formed a new one with Virginia. The ACC conference looks to be tougher than ever and I think this Louisville team can be right in the mix.

It all starts on Sunday with Miami. They are a team that will play solid defense on every level without fouling. A tough team in the paint. Our frontcourt will be tested in the conference opener. This Louisville team has exceeded most expectations and I think Coach Mack still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Looking forward to covering this game and looking forward to seeing what this Louisville team has for the ACC. Go Cards.

GOCARDS.COM GAME PREVIEW

Battle of the Bluegrass Eve…

Funny thing about a great Rivalry like the Louisville vs Kentucky basketball game. Everyone knows when they first started to pay attention and everyone remembers that one great high and that one big low.

My favorite win in the Rivalry was that game in 2003… It had been six years since the Cardinals had won at Rupp Arena and they ended the Wildcats’ 27-game regular-season winning streak that season beating them 65-56. Kentucky was ranked #1 at the time. Louisville’s win also ended a strange streak – the winner of the annual Kentucky-Louisville football game had lost the basketball game between the schools each year since the football rivalry was resumed in 1994. Louisville also won that year’s football game 40-24.

The biggest low for me in the rivalry had been the loss in the Sweet 16 game back in 2014. Really thought that team had a repeat Championship in them and then to get knocked out of the tournament by them. But that all changed last year in that loss at Rupp Arena. Everything that Louisville group had been thru and then had to take that 29 point beating that day. It was awful. I think the weight of everything the program had been thru hit me that day. I covered the game in Lexington and I will never forget how that post game locker room felt. It was like entering a funeral and in some ways felt like the soul had been sucked from us all. Don’t want to ever be a part of a gameday-like that again.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since that day. What a difference a year can make in College sports. A year ago things looked so bleak but now the outlook couldn’t be better. Coach Mack has put a smile back on the player’s faces and back on the faces of the fans. Basketball is fun again in Louisville and you can just feel that redemption isn’t far behind. We owe the NCAA and College Basketball a payback but what Kentucky has coming their way is a reckoning.

Gone are the days of having a Coach who spent more time over the last 10 years comparing Kentucky to Camelot than he did planning how to beat them. With a 2-9 record against them to prove that. Coach Mack has a history of immersing himself in these kinds of rivalries. Just go watch some of those YouTube post-game videos when he was a part of the crosstown shootout with Cincy and Xavier. He is a guy that knows what a game like this means for the players and the fans involved. I’m looking forward to these Bluegrass battles with him at the helm.

Now about the game Saturday…

Kentucky is pretty much the same team they are every season around this time of year. A group of talented freshmen still learning how to play together and still learning the process of College Basketball. Saturday will be this young Kentucky team’s first true road game of the season. The last time Louisville beat Kentucky at the Yum Center they were coming off a big win against North Carolina and it was their first true road game. Let’s hope history does repeat itself.

The players that concern me the most on their team is Reid Travis a graduate transfer who is a two-time all-Pac-12 first-team player and is averaging 15.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game this season. He has scored 20 or more points in four games. And Tyler Herro who is averaging 12.4 points and has drained 17 3-pointers this season. Both of these guys are very good players and are emotional guys. The kind of guys the rest of that team feeds off of. Can’t let either of them have a big day. The size advantage that UK has this season is also a bit concerning. They are using that size well ranked second in the country in rebounding margin and third in offensive rebounding percentage.

I’m confident that Coach Mack will dial up the right game plan to thwart these concerns and to compensate for that size advantage. I think the Cardinals will employ a very physical style of basketball on Saturday. And a lot will depend on which way the whistle blows as it often does in this rivalry game.

Last year I wrote an article before this game titled ”A Player that comes out of Nwora” and think I was a year behind as far as Dave Padgett was concerned. I always knew that Jordan Nwora would be that guy. I think on Saturday that he will be that guy. Jordan made his comments after the Robert Morris game saying all he wanted for Christmas was a win over UK. I think he’ll go out and get that win. He has the size and ability to match them.

CC and Steven Enoch will also be two other guys that will need to have a big day. Or at least a solid day. CC has been a solid leader for this team all season and he’ll have to run the offense effectively on Saturday. Look for him to drive and dish to the open man on the perimeter. UK hasn’t been great at defending the three-point shot. And Steven is another guy that can match the size and ability of UK’s post guys. He’ll need to bang with them and hopefully draw some fouls to get their guys in trouble. Stevens ability to shoot free-throws is a great weapon to have. If he is effective. I’ll say my sleeper of the game would be Ryan Mac. He has been a part of this rivalry for a few years and lost some tough ones. A kid with his moxie hasn’t forgotten about those losses either. I’d sure enjoy seeing him get some payback.

Coach Mack said in his weekly press conference that he doesn’t want a player on his team that doesn’t let an “ass whooping” like Kentucky gave us last year set with them a little. I can bet that game is still on the mind of our guys. It has sat on my mind for a year. It’s time for payback and it’s time for a new Era in this rivalry. Let’s hope that a new era starts 1-0.

The Rivalry game is always big for me but on Saturday it will mean just a little bit more. My son is 7 years old and has taken a big interest in Louisville sports this year. This will be our first time attending the Louisville vs Kentucky game together. There will be many more but this one is special. He is so excited. I want my Cardinals to win but I really want his Cardinals to win.

Cheer hard folks! And let’s hope we enjoy it.

Go Cards!

GOCARDS.Com GAME BREAKDOWN

Another Scrappy opponent on Saturday



Louisville fans are counting down the days for the annual Battle of the Bluegrass now just 14 days away. Also, conference play is right around the corner. If planned out correctly I was always a firm believer that the early nonconference schedule was critical in getting a team ready for the conference grind. This Louisville team should be ready when conference play starts. They have played against talent, different styles, have played in close games, have played in overtime, and have played some scrappy opponents. 

This season’s nonconference schedule has had it all. And They’ll get another scrappy opponent on Saturday afternoon with Kent State coming to town. The Golden Flashes come into this game playing some solid basketball. They’ve won 6 in a row, including a 2-point win over Vanderbilt as a 12-point underdog. They’ll be a 13 point underdog in this one. As a team, Kent State is averaging 82.2 points per game on 45.6% shooting from the field, 37.5% from 3-point range and 70.4% from the foul line this season. That’s good enough to land them in the Top 50 nationally in scoring offense at 48th. This Kent State team is an excellent passing team and they don’t turn the ball over. They are 32nd in the nation in assists/turnovers ratio. 

If I had to point to one area that this Louisville team needed to improve that would be on the defensive side of the ball. They are still very much a work in progress on that end of the floor but are moving in the right direction. Now up to 111th in FG% defense, 168th in 3pt FG% defense, and 133rd in scoring defense. You can see the light come on during certain stretches but then it dims a little throughout. These guys are starting to get it. An opponent like Kent State will be another tough test defensively. 

Things are rolling right along on the offensive end of the floor for our Cardinals. We got a guy like Jordan Nwora who is gonna get his no matter who we play. Jordan is in the top 125 nationally in points per game, top 115 in rebounds per game and in top 100 in total points and rebounds on the season. He is the best scorer we’ve seen since Russ Smith. I knew this kid was it. Glad to be right. We have other guys who are stepping up as well. Malik Willams just produced his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds the last time out. He is 72nd in the country in blocked shots this season. 

We also have the top free throw shooter in the country in Ryan McMahon. This young man is also effective at getting to the line. Most underestimate his game. That’s a mistake. Hope opposing players keep making that mistake. Dwayne Sutton has also been important for this team. He’s a guy that’s gonna give you a great effort everytime he puts on the uniform. He is averaging a solid  8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Our glue guy has been  Christen Cunningham who leads the team in assists with 3 a game. It’s great to have a mature guy like him running the point. 

There are also guys like Steven, VJ, Khwan, Akoy and Darius who at times have all made their impact felt in a game this season. I like how Coach Mack has developed his rotation. He’s let these guys settle into their roles and it has been fun to watch. It all seems to be coming together at the right time and at the right pace. Still, a long way to go sure but man I like the progression. 

With another scrappy opponent coming into the Yum Center on Saturday afternoon it’s another opportunity for Mack Attack to get better and to continue that progression. I’ve seen some talented Louisville teams lose games like that last one against Lipscomb. But the toughness and winning spirit that has been instilled into this group were on full display in that one. They are headed in the right direction. Enjoy another step in that process folks. Go Cards!

GoCards.com Game Preview:

https://gocards.com/news/2018/12/14/mens-basketball-cardinals-host-kent-state-on-saturday-afternoon.aspx



Cards Continue Tune up for Conference play

It feels like such a long time since our Cardinals took the floor against Indiana on Saturday. After a loss like that it always feels like forever before the next one. That’s just as fan. You can imagine how a player in a game like that would feel. This will be the next test for this Louisville Basketball team and Mack attack. Just how will these guys respond after another tough loss that should have been a win. 

These guys responded well to their first few setbacks but as we get closer to conference play they’ll need to continue to improve and get better. They are headed into a stretch of games that will give them the opportunity to do that. Don’t let the mid-major tag on this Lipscomb team fool ya. They are a veteran team who  starts 3 seniors and 2 juniors. They have won five of their last six and they were recently ranked in the top 10 of the Mid Major top 25. The Cardinals won’t be able to just come out flat and walk thru this one. 

Live by the 3 and die by the three. This Louisville team can shoot the ball but in the Indiana game they relied too much on the jump shot and really went away from some of the things that were making them successful. They didn’t get to the free throw line, they didn’t feed the post and they didn’t make that extra pass. Some of those late possessions in that Indiana game were just awful. They were jacking up quick three point shots and when their defense tightened up our guard play was minimal. 

I would be shocked if you didn’t see an emphasis on some of these things tonight. Don’t want to let bad habits and bad vibe carry over.  If the Cardinals get back to doing what they do best on the offensive end of the floor they shouldn’t  have any issues beating the Bisons tonight. This team will also need to continue to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Now ranked 127th in FG% defense, 160th in 3pt FG% defense, and ranked 135th in scoring defense. A lot of room for improvement on this end of the floor. 

I’ve enjoyed watching this team learn and grow thru every game this season. We will continue to see it. Coach Mack expects big effort from his guys and won’t let them rest on their laurels. They are nearing the mid way point in the season. It’s not gonna get easier. Looking forward to another great night of Louisville Basketball. Enjoy it folks!

Go Cards!

GoCards.com Preview:

https://gocards.com/news/2018/12/11/mens-basketball-cardinals-host-lipscomb-on-wednesday-night.aspx


The Rivalry game before the Rivalry game

I always thought Indiana and Louisville should play more and to Coach Pitino’s credit, he was always working to get these teams back together on the hardwood. Unlike that coward that coach’s that team up the road, Rick made it clear that he wasn’t afraid to play Indiana anytime and anywhere.

Louisville and Indiana renewed their rivalry in a game back in December of 2014 as part of the JimmyVClassic. That was a one-game contract. I will always remember that game as the night Montrezl Harrell became Louisville’s all-time dunk leader. That game also sparked up the rivalry enough that talks begin between the schools and an agreement was reached for the schools to meet up in a series on the Hardwood and the Gridiron. 

The team’s played the first in a three-game (neutral/home/home) agreement at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 31, 2016. Cards won that one 77-62. The second matchup came last season on Dec. 9, 2017, at the Yum Center. Cards won that one 71-62. The game in Bloomington on Saturday will be the final game of the renewed hardwood series.

Indiana and Louisville will kick off the football series part of the agreement at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sept. 16, 2023, with seating split equally between the two schools. The second football game will be played in Cardinal Stadium in Louisville on Sept. 7, 2024, and the three-game series will be completed at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington on Sept. 6, 2025.

With the UofL and IU campuses only being separated by 107 miles this rivalry just makes sense and I really hope the hoops series will continue after this season. Coach Mack and Archie Miller have already had a pretty good rivalry together between Xavier and Dayton. Hopefully, the two will work to keep this new one between them going as well. 

Our Cardinals have won four straight over the Hoosiers but will face a pretty good team in Bloomington tomorrow and will be playing in front of a hostile crowd. One of the loudest opposing crowds they will play in front of this season. Dynamic Freshman guard Romeo Langford has really provided a spark to the Indiana offense this season scoring almost 18 points a game. But he also has a pretty good team around him. 

Senior Juwan Morga is averaging 15.6 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. He is on the top 50 list of all-time scores at IU. He and Langford provide a pretty good one-two punch for a Hoosiers offense that is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage shooting almost 52% a game. 

The Cardinals are doing pretty well on the offensive end of the floor as well and there is no shortage of scorers on this team. The scoring has been good enough to rank them 40th in the country offensively. It’s taking a little longer for things to come together on the defensive end of the court and this team will face one of its toughest tests to date on Saturday. 

The defense has been trending in the right direction ranking now 114th in FG% defense and 171st in 3pt FG% defense. You can see the light coming on for these guys. You will hear them talk about defensive Kills. That is a goal that Coach Mack has give his team every game they play. 8 defensive kills during a game according to what I’ve heard equals a win almost every time out. There are different criteria set up by Coach Mack to achieve these defensive kills. Just another example of him getting this team to buy in. 

I don’t know if they will get their 8 defensive kills in the game on Saturday but they will have to figure out a way to slow down the hot shooting Hoosiers.  

This game is the Rivalry game before the Rivalry with Kentucky coming to town in just a few weeks for the annual in-state showdown. This game will be a good test to see where our Cardinals stand and will be good for these guys as they get ready for the game on the 29th and as they prepare for a tough conference slate. I’m gonna enjoy this one. And I really do like our chances.

L’s Up!

GoCards.com Preview:

https://gocards.com/news/2018/12/7/mens-basketball-cardinals-play-at-indiana-on-saturday.aspx

Mack’s Cardinals trending upward heading into December


It was a great weekend for the Louisville Basketball team. They were able to meet the challenge of their first big road game. It’s been so much fun watching them get better every week. With two NCAA Tourney resume wins under their belt they’ll head into the month of December with a couple of big games on the horizon. They still have to travel to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers on the 8th and have the Cayuts coming in for the Annual showdown on the 29th before they head into conference play.

The most pleasant surprise to me has been the play of Akoy Agau and Dwayne Sutton. I knew he would be an excellent voice inside the locker room due to his experience and his journey but did not see him being a solid contributor and that’s just what Akoy has become averaging almost 5 rebounds and 6 points a game. And he’s been effective getting to the free throw line and hitting 73% from the stripe. He has been a spark plug.

Speaking of a spark plug Dwayne Sutton has one button and that’s full throttle. He is second on the team grabbing 41 rebounds and has also been a solid contributor points wise averaging 8 points a game. He also is one of the leaders on the team with 6 steals. Sutton is one of those players that does all those little things and makes plays when his team needs him.

Not so surprising and living up to the expectations of this season is Jordan Nwora and Ryan McMahon. Nwora leads this team offensively averaging 16.4 points a game and more impressively leads this team in rebounding with 7.3 a game. He also has 6 steals. If Jordan can cut down on his turnovers (19) thru 7 games) he is going to be a more complete player than he is now.

I said from day one that Ryan McMahon would go down as one of the best players in the history of the program. That opinion is more popular now than it was a few years ago as Ryan is the second leading scorer on this team averaging 9.9 points a game. Ryan is another player who is very effective and has learned to play to his advantages. One of those advantages is drawing the foul and getting to the free throw line. Ryan is ranked 3rd in the country shooting 95.7% from the stripe. Glad this guy is on our team.

Other guys who have stood out in their own way thru the first few weeks are Malik Williams who has worked his way inside the Top 130 in the nation with 10 blocked shots, and Christen Cunningham leading the team with 20 assists.

It’s always good to look and see your team on the front page of the national statistical categories. This Louisville team is on the front page nationally in Fewest Turnovers ranked 38th, in Scoring offense ranked 30th, in Free Throw Attempts ranked 12th, in Free Throws Made ranked 2nd and in Free Throw Percentage ranked 24th.

This team is in a good spot heading into the December period. The schedule is set up nicely for improvement and I think we’ll see this team do just that. The players are having fun again and getting better as they are doing it. At this point in the season and after two big back to back wins they find themselves on the cusp of the Top 25. Don’t think many expected that. Looking forward to more improvement and think this team could be a real threat come March.

L’s Up!

A Player that comes out of Nwora



It is the eve of one of the best rivalries in college sports… If you grew up in the state of Kentucky, then you chose your side very early in your life. I was singing the Louisville fight song to my son on the night he was born. And at age 6 he already loves his Cardinals. I picked a side 30 years ago and have never regretted my decision. I love my Cardinals and I love this rivalry. Rivalries are what define sports and every competition needs a great one. We have one of the best and it deserves the credit.

This is one of those games that you could analyze to death and a player comes out of nowhere and scores 20 points to turn things upside down. I just hope that player is a Louisville Cardinal this year. You keep hearing a lot about Ray Spalding and Ryan McMahon being guys that could have a big impact in this game. Ray will have to play an important role and I think Ryan will hit some big shots.

The guy not getting much attention this week is Jordan Nwora. He is only averaging 5.5 points a game so far, this season but I do think he could be the guy that comes out of nowhere. Nwora looked great in the season opener hitting 3 Big 3-point shots in that one. I can see him have that kind of game tomorrow. He has the size and the athleticism to give the UK defense trouble on the wings.

We are one of the few teams in the nation that can match their size all over the court. According to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced analytics Louisville is ranked 7th in average height and UK is ranked 4th. In effective height the Cardinals are ranked 13th while the Cayuts are ranked 23rd.

Anytime the Cardinals get a win in Rupp Arena they win the rebound battle and hit their free-throws. This Louisville team has struggled at times on the boards. They can’t afford to do that tomorrow. This is one of the best free-throw shooting teams we’ve had.

This will be one of the biggest tests of the year for both teams. Each must play to their strengths and attack the others weakness, but as I mentioned above with the player always coming out of nowhere there will be a scenario play out that nobody expected. These rivalry games are packed with emotion and that along with the home crowd will also factor in. I’m looking forward to a great game and an opportunity to knock off this Kentucky group. Should be another great one in the series…

Go Cards!

Official Louisville Game Notes