-Full disclosure: I have not yet read Mike’s extended thoughts post about the game so if you see anything similar, it’s just a coincidence that neither of us know what we are talking about. I try to get my post done sooner and, in all honesty, it is nice when his comes out later and I see some similar thoughts that he expands on. But in this case, whenever his comes out first, I do avoid it so as not to be influenced by any of it. Just wanted to get that out there. I know it doesn’t matter.
-I started watching the game about 40 minutes late, but I started from the beginning and knew nothing. I told my group text of guys that I would catch up to them as soon as I could. All I saw was one person had said “Justin is going to have fun with this first half (for film review).” So I assumed “Ah, cool. We come out and dominate and look great. This will be good.” Then Wake kept hitting shots. And extending their lead. Then I realized what he meant. I would have fun pointing out so many negative things. Great.
-Luckily a different team came out in the second half and the Cards were back. It’s cliché, but that was definitely a tale of two halves. Be upset about the start if you would like, but I will never be bummed after a Cards win. Just can’t do it.
-I’m sure there are people that look at lackluster starts and just blame coaching. If you watched the game on TV, you heard them say how much Coach Mack emphasized ball pressure at shootaround and not backing up from the ball handler. What I have learned in coaching (not at this level, I know) is that you can have a perfect game plan and tell your players exactly what to do to be successful, and you know what? They may just not do it. But if you do blame coaching for the first half, that means you need to credit coaching for the second half, right? Either way, the players came out flat and then they are the ones that turned it up. They control their effort, regardless of what someone tells them to do.
-For the first time this season, Louisville had six double-figure scorers, led by Jordan Nwora’s 21. Love the balance.
-The Cards continue to light it up from three, making 14/28 for 50%, which is just crazy.
-17 assists on 24 made baskets is also very good.
-As said before, Jordan Nwora had 21 points and also seven rebounds. This was another game where it didn’t feel like he forced anything. He hit some big shots early to keep the Cards in the game and ended up 6/12 from the field, 5/8 from three, and 4/4 from the line. Very good performance and any time he plays within himself and the team and doesn’t try to do too much, everyone benefits.
-Fresh Kimble just continues to make big shots. He was 3/5 from three and for some reason, his seem to always feel like they are at big moments. All three were in the second half. His first one cut the deficit to 49-38 right after Wake had hit one to make it 49-35. His next one pushed the UofL lead to 63-58. And his last one felt like a dagger, taking the lead to 80-72 with 2:40 left to play. You will see that one on the film review. He also had four assists and four rebounds with only one turnover.
-I said in the last post that if two of the four guards play well, then this team puts themselves in a good spot. This game it was Kimble and Ryan McMahon. Darius Perry and David Johnson still did some good things, but it wasn’t their best games. And that’s fine. It will be hard to have all four play their best in the same game.
-Malik Williams just doesn’t look healthy to me. That knee looks to be bothering him and he seems a step slow and not as aggressive.
-Steven Enoch had a huge block and a monster dunk. Can we get more of those? Also the 3/3 from the field and 5/5 from the line were good to see.
-Dwayne Sutton: Beast. 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, one steal. One big dunk after his steal.
-Let me go back to Jordan Nwora for a minute. Sometimes we see bad or lazy defense. I did not see that last night. I saw him talking and communicating with his teammates. I used to see him switch everything, which showed laziness to me. Last night I saw him make the RIGHT switches. I can’t remember exactly, but there was a time where he and (I think) Sutton switched. But then Malik’s man screened and Jordan fought through it and did not switch. So he realized which switches were ok to make and which to try to avoid. I point out so often when he doesn’t play good defense so I had to give him props for his effort there.
-Was the first half ideal? Absolutely not. But this team got down by 15 and came all the way back and looked dominant in the second half. And it was definitely a team effort to do so. Again, some will just be upset about the slow start, but I love this team and where we are at. 20-3 and 11-1 in the ACC is not too shabby.
-Next up is Virginia. We owe them.
-As always, thanks for reading and checking out film review. Go Cards!
When Steven Enoch gets this kind of position so close to the basket, you have to get him the ball. There is a quick moment where Kimble’s man goes to the corner and Enoch has a clear one on one matchup. pic.twitter.com/0MDy0PRFIz— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Good pass by Nwora here. McMahon going to the corner takes his man with him, leaving no help on Enoch. Nwora looks at McMahon and delivers the pass inside where only Enoch can catch it. pic.twitter.com/lX8vi2EtyR— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Example of how the defense was in the first half. Sutton and Kimble both pick up the ball handler. Nobody has the shooter. No sense of urgency. This put the Cards down by 15. pic.twitter.com/zqaVXWIdFg— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Malik hedges the screen way too far and Wake is able to split the trap. This leads to an open three, which misses, but they get the offensive rebound because we are not in position to block out. pic.twitter.com/5rGnZ9ZzbV— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Malik backs off way too far. He can’t leave the ball until Fresh is for sure back to his man. Normally he is fine guarding on the perimeter. I just don’t think that knee is good right now. pic.twitter.com/hAz7wMCt8Z— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Wake Forest also thought it was good to back off of a shooter. Very next basket after that last one comes from them making the same mistake, only worse because they backed off of the best shooter on the floor. pic.twitter.com/DkJ9OYiCli— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
As soon as Malik passes the ball, his man turns his head. He cuts to the basket and draws another defender, leaving Sutton open. Sometimes a simple cut will get somebody open, even if it isn’t the guy that cuts. pic.twitter.com/97956KckKf— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
That second half defense was just different. It sparked a lot of transition for the Cards as well, including this big three by Ryan McMahon. pic.twitter.com/RVQEh7zrB9— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
More good defense and Malik Williams does a good job of pushing his man under the basket to take him out of position to rebound. Nwora hits the wild three and we all celebrate like Darius Perry. pic.twitter.com/UKqUfp5HRT— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
I’m a sucker for good ball movement and extra passes. This is just beautiful and unselfish basketball. pic.twitter.com/yW2GAnmBgB— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020
Last one, and it’s subtle, but big. Defender has his hand up in Kimble’s face to defend the shot. Watch Fresh step to the left but then that little jab step to his right. The defender’s left hand comes down so he can play the drive. Gives Fresh just enough room for the shot. pic.twitter.com/6pdIlPjXwU— Justin Renck (@JustinRenck) February 6, 2020