1. I don’t care what Indiana had or hadn’t done before Saturday. Picking up a victory over a “name” opponent was something that I think every Louisville fan really needed. That was evidenced in the level of social media interaction I saw for the rest of the day Saturday and the amount of people who still wanted to talk about the game on Sunday.
Beating Indiana in front of a rowdy crowd in a nationally televised game made this season feel as close to “normal” as it has since this whole secondary mess got going in late September. It was nice.
2. Having Ryan McMahon back in the fold is significant for more reasons than just getting a lethal knock-down shooter, as was clearly evidenced on Saturday. At the very least, McMahon is another guy who simply knows what he’s supposed to be doing out there. At the best, he’s a playmaker (see: late steal and multiple alley-oop passes to Anas) and a second ball-handler who can be trusted in tense moments.
That second part might be more important than the first. When Indiana was mounting its final charge and Louisville was countering with the lineup of Q, Deng, V.J., Dwayne and Ray, I couldn’t help but feel like I only trusted one guy wearing white to have the ball in his hands. When McMahon entered the game for a defense/offense deal with V.J., that number jumped to two. You need to have at least two if you want to be certain of avoiding a cataclysmic breakdown against a decent team.
3. This team has dealt with all sorts of negative attention it had nothing to do with as well as a start that knocked them out of the top 25, and this was still the bench this afternoon.
That’s why we all have to hang in there and give this team the attention it deserves.
4. Louisville either needs a De’ron Davis or it needs someone who can stop a De’Ron Davis. The bruising Indiana forward scored 14 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in just 23 minutes on Saturday. More noticeable than the numbers was the fact that he bullied every U of L defender he went up against.
Even though the ACC isn’t loaded with as many beefy forwards as it was last season, there are still plenty (Bonzie Colson, Ben Lammers, Omer Yurtseven, Phil Cofer, etc.) who are going to give Louisville fits if it doesn’t toughen up on the interior.
5. GOTHAM CLASSIC STANDINGS:
1. Albany (2-0)
2. Louisville (1-0)
3. Memphis (1-0)
4. Siena (0-2)
4. Bryant (0-2)
Why are Siena and Bryant tied when they have matching records but Louisville and Memphis aren’t? Don’t worry about it, that’s why.
6. There was a period of time in the first half where U of L’s best offense was to fumble the ball around a few times before having Malik Williams pick it up and knock down what seemed like a rushed three-pointer. I’m not sure how sustainable an offense that is, but it came up pretty big during a crucial stretch of the game.
7. Deng Adel appears to have perfected the Donovan Mitchell “oh that doesn’t seem like a good shot but hey it went in” shot at critical junctures late in games. His shot just inside the three-point line seemed ill-advised when he let it go, but it wound up putting the game on ice.
I also liked that Deng got back to taking three-pointers without hesitation on Saturday. I think sometimes when defenders start backing off you and telling you that you’re not a good outside shooter, you start to believe them. For most of last season, Deng’s best asset was his outside shot. If he can get that three-point shooting confidence back and combine it with his new “drive-first” mentality, then he’s going to wind up having a hell of a season.
8. The latest installment of “Getting Padgett’d” might be my favorite yet.
‘Give them credit. They’re really long, said IU’s Archie Miller about #Louisville. ‘They’ve got a big team.’ That includes their 6’11 coach with a mic stand evidently from the Big&Tall store. More: https://t.co/wVA4kGRBVW pic.twitter.com/vZfUrpTuYl— Matt Stone (@mattstonephotog) December 10, 2017
9. I feel confident in saying that Quentin’s back. The outside shot looks better, the drives to the basket are aggressive but under control, and the ill-advised turnovers at inopportune times haven’t been on him.
The only criticism I still have is one I’ve had since early on in his career. When the game is getting late and his team is winning, Quentin has to work just a little bit harder to get the ball, especially when (see thought No. 2) he’s the only capable ball-handler on the court. You know they’re going to deny you because you’re the point guard. It’s on you to fight through that and demand the ball.
10. There’s only way to wrap up this bad boy ...