-Wins are great. Losses suck. I can’t emphasize those two things enough when it comes to doing these posts with the film review, meaning I more than likely watched the game twice. It can be dreadful or wonderful. Wednesday night was the latter. Soon after the game ended and while NC State was whooping up on Duke (thanks Keatts), I gladly turned this game on and went through it all again. Enough about me, let’s get to the game…
-The quickest hitter of all is Coach K in the handshake line after taking an L. Guy was sprinting.
-Louisville just hit David Johnson in the middle of the zone and he turned it into a bucket again.
-Seriously, it’s a thing of beauty when the Cards have the Syracuse zone figured out and just exploit it over and over…and over. Put someone in the middle of the zone who can shoot, drive, or pass. Get said person the ball. Boom. Defense is done. He is open for a shot, or they collapse on him and he kicks to a shooter or down low for a dunk. Simple.
-I couldn’t imagine Louisville twitter if we ran nothing but a 2-3 zone ALL THE TIME and never made any changes when other teams had it figured out. Whew buddy!
-Welcome back, Trezl!
-This was the exact starting lineup I was hoping for with this particular game. I, like many others, wanted to see how it would look with David Johnson running the show from the beginning. In my last post, I did say Fresh at the other guard spot but that it wouldn’t surprise me if Ryan got the start because of the Syracuse zone. And then I felt like Malik had earned the spot over Enoch lately.
-Ryan McMahon was really good. He knocked down four triples because that’s what he does. He also made some great passes against the zone or in transition and played solid defense.
-Including last night’s game, here is what each of the four guards are averaging as far as minutes per game: David Johnson (14.5), Fresh Kimble (21.4), Ryan McMahon (24.9), and Darius Perry (20.6).
And here is how many each played last night: DJ (24), Fresh (20), Ryan (31), and Darius (7).
It’s clear that David Johnson is going to get more minutes going forward. I think that Fresh will remain consistent in that 20-minute range. The question will be the other two. I think with David’s minutes increasing, this won’t be as much of a four-man rotation with mostly even minutes. For this game, it clearly suited Ryan. But will there be games that Darius gets 25 minutes and Ryan doesn’t see the floor much? Or did we get a glimpse of how it will be the rest of the season?
I really don’t know where I see it going right now. I am trying to figure it out as I type this. I don’t see a game where the minutes are reversed and Darius plays 31 minutes and Ryan only plays seven. Darius has a little height advantage and his on-ball defense is a little better. But Ryan has still been a really good defender and he obviously brings great shooting and has passed the ball really well. He also spreads the floor and just makes the defense always have to be aware of where he is, which opens things up for other guys. If one of them ever hurts you, I think it’s more Darius being out of control or taking wild shots than it is Ryan just being a little short. I don’t know. This isn’t a quick hitter. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.
-David Johnson was great in the high post against the zone. He buried a jumper. He found Malik Williams multiple times down low. He faced the basket and made the defense fall back and then he just handed it to Dwayne Sutton for the open three. They had no answer for him because he could do so many things when he got the ball.
-Great to see Jordan Nwora have a bounce-back game. He took 18 shots, but I liked that. He didn’t let the last two games deter him from being himself. He is a scorer and you can’t do that if you don’t shoot. I don’t think he forced bad shots. His teammates were looking to get him the ball a lot. There was a play you will see on the film review where he catches the ball on the wing and I think he normally takes the three or takes the step back three. He shows both but drives to the basket and scores and gets fouled. I loved seeing that. He didn’t settle and he was aggressive.
-Don’t think I didn’t see that three assists to one turnover ratio for Jordan either!
-If you only looked at the box score, you would see that Steven Enoch played 11 minutes and had 10 points on 5-7 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Not bad, right? (We play UNC on Saturday, and he was a beast against them last season, so I don’t want to rush to judgement here…just throwing that out there.) But I was actually really disappointed in how he played, and frankly how he has been playing. You can’t come in for Malik Williams—who works his butt off on every play and at least goes for every rebound—and give up an offensive rebound and put-back ON YOUR FIRST POSSESSION THAT YOU ARE IN THE GAME! Did you block out? Eh, kinda sorta. You turned your body in the direction of the defender. But did you move him at all? No, and he went up and around you to get the ball and score.
-Can’t believe I made it this long without pointing out that we had 23 assists on 30 made baskets. Awesome!
-No, Dwayne, I am not ignoring the fact that you had 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block. I’m just spoiled by you and am in denial that you don’t have much longer in a Louisville uniform.
-As always, thanks for checking this out and for the feedback. Go Cards!
Nothing to break down on this one, just highlighting the effort on defense. This was a welcome change from the last couple of games. We needed this intensity. pic.twitter.com/eeXi53qAA4— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Common theme today will be DJ in the middle against the zone. When he gets the ball and turns, two defenders are on him. He kicks to Nwora, who drives and collapses the defense again. Jordan makes the good pass to an open Sutton for three. It all starts in the middle. pic.twitter.com/NiEf83Lpks— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Look, if Malik Williams is going to play as hard as he does, then these plays look even worse for Enoch. This is his FIRST defensive possession. He puts a body on the guy but doesn’t move him at all. This is just an effort play made against him. Steven has to bring more. pic.twitter.com/xxRJer2n2t— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Three seconds left on the shot clock. Fresh cuts to the corner and brings a defender with him. Malik sets such a subtle little screen that I don’t think Syracuse knew what was going on, and Sutton is wide open on the cut. pic.twitter.com/1t8eHD0D8K— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
I love this one. DJ got an offensive rebound to keep this alive. He gets the ball in the middle, and the defense is in chase mode after that. Good ball movement, and I think Jordan usually takes the first shot or even the step back shot. Loved seeing the aggressive drive. pic.twitter.com/idlrTs5jOD— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
More DJ in the middle. Sutton is at the top and ends up wide open for a couple reasons. Defense is focused on DJ, and the two guys at the top start to drift down with Nwora and McMahon. Just having those two on the floor opens up so much against the zone. pic.twitter.com/3TNxk57rSf— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
This just had to make it. Fresh always brings the defense and it’s awesome to watch. He now also brings a chest bump with Chris Mack. That’s the real highlight here. pic.twitter.com/178XTyApdt— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
A 6’5 point guard with vision is such a luxury against this zone. Syracuse extended it up and the bottom of the zone is at the free throw line. DJ has his choice of two open guys down low because he can see over the defense. Picked them apart. pic.twitter.com/7G929skhXd— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Two plays on this one. Ryan McMahon at the top of the key attracts so much attention that DJ is wide open for a free throw line jumper. Next play? DJ gets the defense since he just made that shot, so Ryan is open. Shot is missed, but it turns out ok. pic.twitter.com/UC8CIkdLS9— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Had to show all four of McMahon’s threes. He made some great passes and played solid defense. But this is the kind of weapon we have against a zone. And it opens up so much for everyone else. pic.twitter.com/6rinSzuBMF— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020
Let’s just end with what our theme was: DJ gets the ball in the middle and the defense is done. Two plays where he finds Malik right away. The defense has no time to reset. Ball in the middle, they are done. Helps to have taller guys like Nwora and Sutton delivering him the ball. pic.twitter.com/etnhJdG44U— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 20, 2020