-They made us nervous, but the Cards picked up another ACC win on Wednesday night. I am likely in the minority here, but I was happy with it. I know with this team, we probably shouldn’t have any letdown games or “trap” games, but regardless of how experienced they are, they are still college kids and it happens. College basketball is wild this year and Louisville isn’t immune to it. Three big wins on the road, including one at Cameron Indoor, and then you come home and get down by 11 and still fight back to get the win…I’ll take it.
-Just a random thought as I typed that first note. We are less than five years removed from a self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban and another year of not even making the tournament at all. While it hasn’t looked perfect, Louisville is 16-3 and 7-1 in the ACC. Again, I’ll take it.
-Now for the game. I think depth played a factor. Georgia Tech only played seven guys, and one of those only played four minutes. Louisville played nine guys for at least 10 minutes.
-14/23 from the free throw line still isn’t good enough. Side note: I think if you miss the front end of a one and one, it should count as two misses.
-David Johnson showed flashes again of what he brings this team, and also showed where he needs improvement. On one play, you will see a steal in the post and he takes it all the way down court and finishes and gets fouled. But then you also see him get blown by on defense and either foul or his man dishes for an open dunk. You’re going to have those things happen. He’s a freshman and will improve. The good thing is that he gets to be out there after mistakes and doesn’t get pulled right away. With his size, he just has the ability to do some things that our other guards can’t.
-Good to see Samuell Williamson playing with confidence again. Regardless of how he is scoring, he is always rebounding. And he always seems to find his way to a big offensive rebound at some point.
-The center spot of Steven Enoch and Malik Williams combined for 26 points and nine rebounds.
-Dwayne Sutton was invisible in the first half, but made up for it in the second half with hustle plays and knocking down a big three right after Georgia Tech took their biggest lead of 11 points. It was his only three of the game, but very timely. He also had six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Things are just different for this team when he is on the floor and filling the stat sheet.
-I want to go back to David Johnson for a minute. He had four fouls in this one. His first two were on offense and were 31 seconds apart. The first was the moving screen after the dribble handoff. The second was a pushoff when he was driving baseline. You can live with the fouls where he may be a little slow on defense. That’s just going to be a part of it. The ones that hurt are the ones I mentioned that happened in the first half. Those are unnecessary and very avoidable. Again, not hating on him at all. He will learn and improve. But the cheap ones are what hurts when you get the “normal” fouls later and are suddenly in foul trouble.
-Jordan Nwora assist/turnover watch for this game was one assist and two turnovers. Aside from that, he did some good and bad things. He forced some shots, but then he led the team in rebounds with seven. However, the defense reverted to being pretty bad for the most part. He got caught ball watching at one point and his man went back door on the baseline for an easy bucket. Then we all know late in the game he was pulled because he just wasn’t helping. He had a very bad closeout (in film review) that led to a wide-open layup. It all looks worse when it looks like effort. You can’t look like you got shot out of a cannon when you have the ball on offense, but then look like you would rather be anywhere else on the defensive end. All-Americans play on both ends, and there’s still time for Jordan to fix this. He is better at it than last year, but there is still so much room to grow. I really hope I am not typing this same stuff in late February and early March, or the season may not last long beyond that.
-Speaking of defense, watching Fresh Kimble play defense is a thing of beauty. That is all.
-Again, I know we all wanted to see Louisville come home from the big win over Duke and ride that momentum to a 15-20-point win here. But winning with some adversity can be a good thing as well. Now you have a middle of the pack ACC team in Clemson coming to town. Yes, they beat Duke. But they are coming off of a loss to NC State (5-3 ACC) and a three-point win over Wake Forest (2-6 ACC). Louisville should win, and it shouldn’t be one that we have to worry about with a couple of minutes left. Key word: shouldn’t. We know how that goes. We’ll see if this team got the letdown out of the way and if they can set the tone early and often on Saturday.
-As always, thanks for reading. Go Cards!
Not sure how GT lets this bounce pass get all the way through the zone, but Steven Enoch sets a nice clear out screen to allow Nwora to get the open dunk. pic.twitter.com/tB8iTQOERn— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Malik Williams and Ryan McMahon show you what boxing out means. The rebound hits the floor before Sutton comes to get it. It leads to a David Johnson layup on the other end. Love it. pic.twitter.com/BMkoYgfCkv— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Patience is the key on this play. The guys don’t force it to Enoch. They wait until there is a good passing angle. He works the whole time to get position and shows his own patience when he gets the ball. pic.twitter.com/9crpgGCSZd— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Watch Fresh when the second screen comes. He gets closer to the ball handler and the screen can’t even be set. GT ends up turning the ball over. He wasn’t going to let GT dictate how this play happened. pic.twitter.com/PGk3fv7q9Z— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Sam, I love ya. But when you have Enoch one on one down on the block, give him the ball. Pretty sure Enoch agrees. You can hear him yell for it. pic.twitter.com/aY5qI3PSRy— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
No box out from the corner gives GT an extra possession, which they turn over. Then the Cards have a very bad 4 on 1 fast break. Not very good spacing. pic.twitter.com/nScXfxEVNX— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Forced shot with Perry and Kimble wide open leads to a GT three in transition. This gives them their biggest lead of the game. pic.twitter.com/pym6JS6ahk— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Haven’t seen this play in a while, but I love when it works. Perry brings his man out of the play. While GT guys in the lane are watching the ball, Sutton screens for Enoch and he gets the dunk. The timing has to be perfect. Pass to corner, screen down low, pass to block. pic.twitter.com/35dPTyXv2i— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
I had to include this one. The energy and effort levels are just different when that Dwayne Sutton guy is out there. pic.twitter.com/X1Jka0S9YI— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
David freaking Johnson. Gets the steal on one end and the finish at the other end plus the foul. Great effort on the steal to not foul or just let the big man catch the ball on the block. pic.twitter.com/b3Syttgo8a— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Offensive rebounding is mainly about effort. As much grief as he gets (from me also), Jordan Nwora deserves the credit for keeping this play alive and it leads to a bucket from Fresh, who has a nice hesitation move, by the way. pic.twitter.com/P3kDtEnQNF— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
I just gave him praise, so I guess the world wanted me to be balanced. This is just a bad closeout and he gets beat off the dribble. There’s also no help at the rim. pic.twitter.com/TM8rkKEJsX— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020
Two of David Johnson’s four fouls were him getting beat off the dribble and fouling with the body or reaching. The quicker this part of his game improves, the better. No foul here, but the dunk is because Malik had to help. Even Pastner sees the matchup and says to attack. pic.twitter.com/toHEsopnEO— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) January 24, 2020