2014-15 might be considered the end of an era…or even a bridge between two eras.  But on the court, one thing is for sure.  2014-15 was the season of “The Droughts That Doomed the Cards”.

In his post-game press conference Rick Pitino said, “One team could really shoot it, and the other team struggled. That’s the bottom line. It’s my job to go out there and replace these guys with some shooters. That’s our number one objective.

Louisville this season relied on its defense, Michigan State became just the 8th team this year to score 70+ points on the Cards, and no team scored 80+ on the Cards during the 2014-15 season (we’re still researching to find out when the last time that happened).

But at times, Louisville struggled to score too.  Ball movement would evaporate and players would resort to ‘hero ball’ out of frustration.  It’s natural to fall into that trap, but SHOOTERS can stop a drought and create a spark…..something to build on.  In Louisville’s 9 losses this year, that spark was missing….the hero never came.

Let’s take a look (below) at the profile of Louisville’s 9 losses.  All of the Ls the Cards took during 2014-15 fit the same criteria….LLLLLLLOOOONNNNGGGGG  periods without a field goal.   The below chart tracks periods without a field goal longer than 2:45.

The Droughts

Kentucky:  5 Periods…. three of which were longer than 5 minutes.  Cards lost by 8.

North Carolina (Jan): 4 periods…..one lasting 5+ minutes. Cards lost by 1 on last second drive to basket by Marcus Paige.

Duke: 6 periods….2 longer than 5 minutes. Cards fell by 11 and suffered 1st double digit loss in 3 seasons.

Virginia:  4 periods…..One Lasted over 12 minutes.  Cards lost by 5.

NC State:  3 periods….2 longer than 5 minutes, and one that lasted nearly 8 minutes.  Cards fell by 9.

Syracuse:  5 periods….3 were longer than 4:20.  Cards fell by 10.

Notre Dame:  4 periods…1 over 5 minutes.  Cards went down by 12.

North Carolina (March):  5 periods….1 over 5 minutes. Lost by 10.

Michigan State: 5 periods.  1 that lasted 7 minutes and 14 seconds. Fell in OT by 6.

Looking Back

It’s tough to think about just how close this team was to having an outstanding year.  The Cards had a lot of great pieces.  A dominating Power Forward in Montrezl Harrell, a solid Small Forward in Wayne Blackshear, and a dynamic Guard in Terry Rozier.  For the 2nd year in a row, Louisville did lack any offensive presence from the 5 spot, and Quentin Snider really did develop in the last month of the season.

But the Cards really did lack a ‘Game Breaker’ or (if you will) a ‘Slump Buster’ like Luke Hancock or Russ Smith.  Droughts happen with every team at every level of Basketball.  But if UofL could have halved its long periods (5 minutes or longer) of droughts, it’s easy to think about how much different the season could have been.

Kentucky – December 27th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
5:40
4:13
2:57
6:15
7:51
North Carolina – January 10th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
5:24
3:01
2:57
3:39
Duke – January 17th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
5:11
2:51
2:58
6:49
3:38
2:51
Virginia – February 7th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
4:18
12:04
3:52
4:23
NC State – February 14th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
7:57
3:48
5:21
Syracuse – February 18th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
6:04
2:56
4:28
3:45
4:27
Notre Dame – March 4th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
4:01
3:26
5:25
3:00
North Carolina – March 12th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
3:34
2:45
4:00
3:35
5:25
Michigan State – March 29th
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
3:17
7:14
4:38
2:46
4:46
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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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