Could the Louisville Cardinals be a repeat of last year’s UConn team? Both teams won the Big East Tournament and are playing their best basketball of the season in March after up and downs during the regular season. Point guard Peyton Siva is playing his best basketball of his career. Along with Siva the play of big man Chane Behanan and Gorgui Deng has been the difference for the Cardinals. They are also getting big play out of Russ Smith of the bench. Below is a recap of Louisville’s wins in the tournament to get to New Orleans.
-Despite fouling out of the game Louisville point guard Peyton Siva had an excellent game. He had 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting and he also added 6 assists. If he plays smart this Louisville team could go a ways.
-Freshman Chane Behanan had a double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
- If the Cardinals want to get past New Mexico they will need to shoot the three better and cut down the turnovers. Louisville was only 1 of 5 from three. Also Louisville had 10 turnovers compared to 8 assists.
- The Cardinals won this game because of great defense and the play of Russ Smith off the bench.
- Louisville held New Mexico to 39 % shooting. For the game New Mexico only shot 5 of 23 from three. Louisville also came up with 9 steals.
- Russ Smith came off the bench to lead Louisville with 17 points. He was 3 of 3 from three.
- While Peyton Siva didn’t have his best game, he came up big at the end of the game. Siva had a real nice pass that led to a dunk by Gorgui Dieng. Deng also came up big on the glass finishing with 10 rebounds.
- Kyle Kuric and Chane Behanan both added 10 points.
- One thing Louisville did not do well in this game was rebounding. They were outrebounded by 11.
-Louisville won this game in one word “defense”. They forced Michigan State to shoot 14 of 49 from the field that is 29 %. The Cardinals also forced 15 turnovers and had 7 blocks.
-Michigan State is also one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. In this game Louisville out rebounded them by 2. That is impressive for Louisville considering in their last game against New Mexico they were minus 11 on the glass.
-The Louisville big man stepped up big time for the Cardinals in this one. Chane Behanan had a monster second half. He finished the game with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. The only negative is he shot 3 of 7 from the free throw line. Sure, Gorgui Deng only had 5 points but he was the real difference in this game. Deng had 7 blocks and 9 rebounds. He shut down Michigan State’s centers Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix , who were both playing well.
- Sure Peyton Siva only finished with 4 points on 2 of 9 shooting but he had a huge impact on this game. He finished with a career high this season in assists with 9. If they Cardinals want to advance they need Siva to continue to set up his teammates.
- Louisville got great contributions from Chris Smith, Russ Smith and Jared Swopshire. The three combined to go 7 of 12 from three. Chris Smith finished with 5 rebounds while Russ finished with 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
- Louisville really needs to get Kyle Kuric going. In NCAA tournament play he is only shooting 35 % from the field.
- Sadly for Dryamond Green this was the end to a great career. He finished the game with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
- Rick Pitino just owns his former point guard Billy Donovan. In their head to head matchups Pitino is undefeated. Florida killed Louisville with three’s in the 1st half but Pitino made a great coaching adjustment and the Gators did not make a three in the second half. Florida really choked this game away. Louisville finished the game on an 18-3 run. The Cardinals played excellent defense and made the game winning plays.
- The Cardinals won this game because of two players Russ Smith and Chane Behanan. Behanan finished the game with 17 points and 7 rebounds. He shot 7 of 10 from the field. Behanan was clutch down the stretch as he made the go ahead shot with about a minute left in the game. Behanan is averaging 14 points in the NCAA tournament which is well above his regular season average.
- Russ Smith came off the bench and had a huge game again. He finished the game with 19 points, and 5 rebounds. He finished the game 6 of 7 from the free throw line, and many of those were pressure shots down the stretch. When Peyton Siva fouled out, Smith led the comeback. The only negative was the 4 turnovers.
- Point guard played a great game despite fouling out of the game. He finished with 9 points. More importantly he played like a true point guard with 8 assists and only 1 turnover.
- Gorgui Dieng did not have the blocks he had last game but he had another solid game. He finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds. He only blocked one shot he altered many other.
- Chris Smith had a solid game with 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field. Kyle Kuric finished with 8 points but his shooting struggles continued in this game. He was just 3 of 9 from the field. If they get Kuric going, watch out opposing teams.
- The Cardinals averaged 14 turnovers a game but in this game they really took care of the ball only committing 6 turnovers.
- Going forward Louisville still needs to rebound better. Against Florida they were minus 5 on the glass and the Gators are not a big team.