There will be a lot of debate and hand-wringing by the fanbase over the next couple days about whether this one game, on January 9th, has decided the fate of Louisville’s post-season. I’m not going to get in to that, but there’s not really any way to spin it other than this is disappointing. Here are my quick thoughts from the Pete about Louisville’s 89-86 OT loss:
- This really felt like another game in which the team thought they had the win in the bag on the plane ride over. Pitt hadn’t beaten Louisville since 2010, and the Cards handled them deftly the last couple seasons. It seems they are in the habit of not valuing second tier opponents. It’s the ACC. You have to forget history and dial-in every night.
- I don’t know how much the home crowd played into the loss, but it was pretty darn loud at the Petersen Event Center, even if it wasn’t very full outside of the packed student section. These kids brought it.
- 18 turnovers —> 27 Pitt points off turnovers. Hard to get anywhere when the ball isn’t valued or secured.
- Jordan Nwora had terrible night shooting to the tune of 2 for 14 but chipped in 9 rebounds. CC remains a bright spot, 9 for 11 shooting. He willed the Cards back into this one.
- More paint touches would have been nice, especially in overtime. UofL had a significant height advantage, but they couldn’t seem to take advantage of it.
- Defense was pretty porous. That’s about all I can say about that.
- It’s frustrating to see Louisville get out-toughed. They’re not the most talented team in the league, so effort is going to be the x-factor. There were a few times when players reached but didn’t jump for loose balls, and that’s just hard to watch.
- Love the fight this team showed to get back in it, even if it was clear players were getting frustrated with each other for missing assignments or cues. They just need to figure out a way to keep the toughness spigot open rather than let it come out in spurts.
Cards have an even tougher out Saturday when they travel to Chapel Hill to face UNC. There’s a lot to take away from tonight’s road experience, both during film review and while taking stock emotionally. Coach Mack has two days to get them ready.