There was no letdown for Louisville after Tuesday night’s 55-point point thrashing of Pittsburgh. In fact, the Cardinals were every bit as impressive during their 85-60 demolition of visiting NC State on Sunday afternoon.
Donovan Mitchell, who scored a career-high 29 points in the win over Pitt, was trending nationally on Twitter after lighting the Wolfpack up for 23 first half points. He scored the first 14 of the game for U of L, and finished just one point shy of matching that career mark that he set on Tuesday.
Helping to hold it down in the backcourt along with Mitchell was David Levitch, who made just his second career start because of the injuries to point guards Quentin Snider and Tony Hicks. Levitch responded with six points, three assists, no turnovers and a pair of steals. He also helped lead a defensive effort that limited NC State star point guard Dennis Smith -- a likely top five NBA Draft pick who dropped 32 against Duke on Monday — to just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. Smith also was responsible five of the Wolfpack’s 15 turnovers.
Mangok Mathiang also continued his run of stellar play, scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Also coming off the bench with a strong effort was freshman V.J. King, who bounced pack from a lackluster stretch by scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds, the second-most on the team behind Mitchell’s eight.
Look, I know that NC State appeared for most of the afternoon to still be celebrating their win over Duke ...
#Defense pic.twitter.com/5xj2jKpihS— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) January 29, 2017
#Defense #TheSequel pic.twitter.com/zdSjhsx1zv— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) January 29, 2017
... but that’s still an awfully impressive win over an extremely talented team that really needed another big victory. And to get it while your two primary point guards are sidelined just makes it all the more praiseworthy.
Twenty-one of the 25 teams ranked in this week’s AP Poll lost at least once over the last seven days. Louisville won two games by a combined 80 points.
Who out there terrifies you right now? Who out there do you look at and say, ‘there’s no way we can hang with those guys?’ The answer should be nobody (I know you’re thinking Virginia, but whatever). The college hoops landscape is way more wide-open heading into February than any of us thought it was going to be, and the Cards are a team that appear fully capable of stringing six straight wins together when the stage gets the biggest.
That’s a very cool thing.