The Cards have dropped two in a row to unranked opponents, including 3 of the last 4.  When the Cards fell to Duke a month ago, it seemed like UofL Basketball turned things around and reeled off 4 wins in a row, 3 of which were road games.

Now, the Cards sit at 20-6, 8-5 in the ACC and are still in position for a double bye in next month’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro. But there is a problem:  Louisville isn’t scoring.

We know that the Cards are not great in the half-court offense and Rick Pitino keeps touting Defense as the savior.  WHY?

Louisville’s defense isn’t creating steals, leading to a lack of fast breaks, which is causing LOOOOONNNGGG  scoring droughts.   Last night vs. Syracuse, Terry Rozier played 40 minutes and registered 0 steals and 0 fouls.  That’s a lack of aggression from one of the country’s premier players.  Terry Rozier is on pace to have a Top 10 season for steals at the University of Louisville and he HASN’T REGISTERED A STEAL IN THE PAST 3 GAMES, and has just 1 steal in the past 4.  That’s not the Rozier that the Cards have depended on throughout 2014-15 and it has to change.

Last night, Chris Jones was not in the line-up and Jones has been a catalyst defensively and last season had the 11th most steals in a single season for the Louisville Basketball program with 73.  Chris is on a similar pace this year and teamed with Terry the duo is slightly behind the blistering pace that Peyton Siva and Russ Smith set during the 2013 Championship run.   Quentin Snider isn’t the defensive player that Chris Jones is and Louisville can’t get steals from Jones if he’s suspended.

Rozier’s lack of production last night could be attributed to the lack of Jones as the backcourt is designed to feed off the pressure of the other.  But that doesn’t excuse the previous 3 games from Terry, especially last night finishing with 0 fouls in 40  minutes.  Rozier has to engage, Chris Jones has to handle his business and Louisville basketball needs to get out on the break and avoid the scoring drought.

Against Kentucky Rozier & Jones combined for 4 steals.  North Carolina 2, Duke 1, UVA 2, NC State 2, and against Syracuse 0. On the season the average for Jones/Rozier is 3.73 per game combined.  This may seem like splitting hairs, but in just one of Louisville’s 6 losses this year the Cards gained more steals than average from its starting back court. Also on the season Louisville currently sits at 18th in the Nation in Steals per game with 8.1 per game, which is down from a high of 13.0. Take a look at the slow erosion of Louisville’s steal production and national ranking in the chart below.

With a few more steals, maybe the Cards could ignite some offense and if nothing else avoid some of these extremely long scoring droughts.  Against Kentucky, the Cards lost by 8 and had 5 different long stretches between field goals, including one that lasted nearly 8 minutes.   The loss to UNC wasn’t as bad, but there were 4 different periods longer than 2:45 between made baskets and the Cards fell by 1 in the final minute.

The Duke game featured SIX drought periods between field goals including two that were longer than 5 minutes, UofL lost by 11.  At Virginia the Cards had 4 field goal less stretches including one that lasted OVER TWELVE MINUTES.  The NC State game there were 3 periods, two of which that lasted longer than 5 minutes.  And last night, the Cards had 5 different stretches of field goal less basketball over 2:45 including one that endured longer than 6 minutes.

Keeping in mind Louisville’s steal performance on the season of a range of 13.0 – a current low of 8.1 per game, in losses Louisville’s steal production was as follows:  UK 10, UNC 10, Duke 4, UVA 2, NC State 2, Syracuse 2.

The Cards were in the expected range for steals vs. Kentucky & North Carolina and lost.  That happens.  But in the other (and most recent) 4 losses the Cards are WELL BELOW the steal production on the season.  And THAT IS PITINO’S point.  From this moment forward if Louisville Basketball doesn’t start applying pressure and turning over its opponent then losses to unranked teams in the ACC will continue to happen.  The Cards have to return to Louisville Basketball as Kevin Ware once dubbed it, “Turnover City”.

The Droughts in Losses

2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
North Carolina
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
NC State
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals
2:45+ Periods Between Field Goals

Steal Stats Throughout 2014-15

After Steals Per Game Ranking
11/14/14 Minnesota 11.0 20th
11/17/14 Jax St 11.0 19th
11/21/14 Marshall 11.5 11th
11/24/14 Savannah St 13.0 3rd
11/26/14 Cleveland St 11.0 7th
12/02/14 Ohio State 11.0 4th
12/05/14 FIU 11.4 3rd
12/09/14 Indiana 11.2 2nd
12/14/14 UNC-W 11.1 2nd
12/20/14 WKU 10.4 3rd
12/23/14 Cal St. Northridge 10.7 3rd
12/27/14 UK 10.7 3rd
12/30/14 Long Beach 10.6 3rd
01/04/15 Wake 10.6 3rd
01/07/15 Clemson 10.4 4th
01/10/15 UNC 10.5 4th
01/13/15 VT 10.4 4th
01/17/15 Duke 9.7 4th
01/25/15 Pitt 9.4 5th
01/28/15 BC 9.2 7th
01/31/15 UNC 9.2 5th
02/03/15 Miami 9.2 5th
02/07/15 UVA 8.9 7th
02/11/15 Pitt 8.6 9th
02/14/15 NC State 8.4 11th
02/18/15 Syracuse 8.1 18th
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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of

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