-Anyone else wake up today in a really good mood? It’s amazing what a big win over a top five team can do to start your day. I wasn’t there, but the Yum center looked and sounded great. Props to the fans that had that place rocking on ESPN for the country to see. Way to bring that smoke…
-Defense, defense, defense! Sometimes your shots won’t be falling, but the one constant you can have is effort and defense. If you bring your defense every game, you give yourself a chance to win. There will be 12 clips on the film review for this week, and six of them involve defense in some way. There was no plan for that to happen, but it does seem appropriate. Louisville shot 36.7% from the field and 21.1% from three and beat the 4th ranked team by 15 points. Always bring your defense.
-For future reference, a “kill” on defense is three possessions in a row where you get a stop. I learned about this a few years ago and we incorporated it into our game plan at the high school I coached at for the last seven years. After doing some research on how many was a reasonable goal, we set ours at six per game. Whenever we hit that mark, our winning percentage was probably in the 85-90% range, no exaggeration at all. You are “killing” any momentum for the opposition by getting that many stops in a row and doing it several times in a game.
-Louisville’s goal for kills is usually seven, as it was last night. Their final number was eight. I’d like to start tracking these for this post just so we can see how hitting or missing that goal reflects on the score and outcome of the game.
-Sometimes you just let the best player on the floor do his thing, and that was Jordan Nwora. He made big shots and sometimes did that when there was a defender in his face. There is a play you will see below where he uses a screen and his man still stays with him and the help defender is there as well. Nwora still drives to the basket and scores. Sometimes it’s just about going out and making plays because you are better than them. He has been great at not forcing the drive. If it’s not there, he takes the midrange jumper.
-I do have a feeling that Nwora will get called for flopping again before this season is over. That leg kick on his jumper when he gets fouled is going to get called. Coaches will start telling officials before the game to watch for it. Just my guess.
-As far as his assist/turnover ratio, he had one of each this game. Very happy with just having one turnover. His season totals are now eight assists and 19 turnovers.
-Is saying that you “want all the smoke” the basketball version of football teams jumping on the Cardinal at midfield several years ago? Just don’t do it. Better yet, go for it.
-Ryan McMahon was 1-8 and only scored four points, yet played 35 minutes. Why? Because he is doing other things very well. His defense has been very good this year. He is staying in front of his man or being in the right spots as a help defender. He hasn’t shown to be a liability out there just because of his size. He is much more than “just a shooter” this season and it’s been a pleasant surprise for this team.
-Steven Enoch showed up in a big way and was a beast down low. He also knocked down a couple threes and if he starts to hit that more consistently, it’s not even fair. I was very happy with his defense as well. Michigan runs so many ball screens and we see a lot where our big men will hedge out VERY far and sometimes can’t recover back to their man down low. Enoch was quicker to recover and played the ball screens very well. It was a major boost to the team defense. It allows the defender that is helping down on his man to recover back to their man on the perimeter.
-I like how even though his minutes have dipped, Samuell Williamson still makes the most of his time. He had a huge and one bucket where he finished through contact and it was a big momentum play heading into a timeout. He also grabbed four rebounds in just nine minutes.
-Virginia Tech football kind of has dibs on “Enter Sandman”. South Carolina has “Sandstorm”. I feel like “Joker and the Thief” is becoming our thing, and I love it. I’m sure other schools play it, just like we play the other two mentioned, but it feels like that song is definitely becoming ours. I have no idea what that means, and this may have been a pointless quick hitter note, but I just love when that song is played at our games and felt like it needed to be mentioned.
-Back to the game, where Louisville had three guys with double-digit rebounds. Nwora had 12, Sutton 11, and Enoch 10. You have the chance for more rebounds when you play great defense and force missed shots. Michigan only had nine offensive rebounds.
-That’s all I’ve got for this one. Enjoy this victory, it was a big one. Let the team move on to Pittsburgh, that’s their job. We don’t play, so we can soak this up a little bit longer. Go Cards!
Darius Perry forces this pass to Enoch, but it can be made simpler by just passing to McMahon and letting him dump it down low. Enoch has position and that angle of a pass would be much easier. pic.twitter.com/Y4gidyq0Ex— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Theme for today is defense. Sutton plays great on-ball defense. Enoch hedges and recovers quickly. Perry reaches to help. Nwora and McMahon are in help position on the weakside. pic.twitter.com/0ltODcfDMQ— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Watch Enoch here. Teske comes to set a screen but slips it. Rather than anticipating the screen and hedging early, he stays right with Teske and Michigan turns it over. It would have been very easy to expect that screen and hedge, and the slip would have been open. pic.twitter.com/LoAZYoWigw— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Perfect execution of a fast break. Nwora and Kimble spread the floor so it’s a true three on two. McMahon keeps it until the defense is back on their heels. Keep the floor spaced on your breaks. pic.twitter.com/0UJ8xnIcOe— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Darius uses the screen from Enoch and doesn’t force the issue. His man gets back to him and Enoch’s never leaves the paint. If Enoch starts knocking this shot down...yikes. He can step into it with no defender on him. pic.twitter.com/wk4Y065OZd— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Oh my, this defense! Darius plays great on the ball, Enoch helps and recovers, Nwora is there to help on the drive, Williamson closes out to defend a potential shot, then Nwora challenges the shot. This all leads to a rebound, transition, and huge three for McMahon. pic.twitter.com/QLvEs0qqaS— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Quick clip of McMahon helping down on Teske until Enoch recovers. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but this is just so important and unselfish play. And then he gets back to his man to challenge the shot. pic.twitter.com/LRECXokrFZ— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Sometimes, Jordan Nwora is just better than you. He uses the screen and still ends up with two defenders on him. Doesn’t matter. No X’s and O’s here. It just needed to be pointed out that he can go get this bucket when needed. pic.twitter.com/NlGdsYg0Ty— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
We love his rebounding, defense, and grit. But sometimes we forget that Dwayne Sutton can drive to the basket and get points on his own. Check this crossover. If a team is ever able to take Nwora away, Sutton can do more than just score on put-backs. pic.twitter.com/E7WLEYCTUv— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
Cards get lucky here on a bad defensive miscommunication. Looks like Kimble picks up Enoch’s man, but Enoch leaves the ball and shooter wide open. They could have fixed it in transition, but since they didn’t, you can’t leave the ball like that. pic.twitter.com/ETSNmPHfiz— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019
McMahon gets his hands up in the passing lane to get the deflection and start the break. Then he makes the unselfish pass to Nwora for the finish. A shooter like him definitely could have taken that shot and we wouldn’t have blamed him. Defense leads to offense. pic.twitter.com/YSF48yJMMc— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) December 4, 2019