First off, hello to all the subscribers to ACC Confidential. My name is Kevin Wright and I will be the new and second contributor to this blog representing the University of Louisville. With that said, I will get right to the point with my first blog entry……..
After attending the UofL/Duke tilt this past Saturday at the Yum Center, my biggest fears as a long-time die hard Cardinal fan became a reality: the Cards may have deficiencies this season that cannot be overcome by X’s and O’s or the good ole post game “players only” locker room meeting. The fact is, this UofL basketball team simply labors to put the ball in the basket. Back in December when UofL played in-state rival Kentucky, one was left to wonder if the Cardinal’s abysmal shooting performance that day was due to UK’s astounding length and defensive prowess. Not to take anything away from Kentucky, but after watching the Cards miss numerous well manufactured open mid-range jumpers and attempts from beyond the arc on Saturday (mind you against a make shift zone defense orchestrated by Duke and Coach K), the hard truth hit home.
Through the years Rick Pitino has built his offensive systems around multi-dimensional players who could score in all facets of the game. I don’t need to remind other UofL fans of the likes of former players such as Luke Hancock, Russ Smith, Kyle Kuric, Taquan Dean and so on……all reliable perimeter players who consistently made their teammates better by making open shots when they were afforded to them. This year’s Rick Pitino team, his 14th since coming back to The Bluegrass State, is unique in the fact that there are no real true shooters on the roster. One could argue that Terry Rozier is a good perimeter player, and while I could agree with such an assertion I would not list that as his biggest offensive strength. Other perimeter players on the Cardinal roster have proven to be unreliable, erratic and at times downright bad. The same can be said for Louisville’s lineup of frontcourt players which is hampered by a lack of offensive skill and playing experience.
Luckily for the Cards they have a some time to lick their wounds following a convincing loss to the hands of the Blue Devils. Upon return, however, will they be able to continue to win games while finding ways of off setting their lock of scoring by being meticulous in all other facets? March has been a kind and rewarding month for Louisville basketball teams in the past several years. Getting to the end of the regular season finish line this season may be more taxing and trivial for this current groups of players. The ACC needs UofL to thrive in the same vein that the Cards needs their conference mates to help maintain conference strength.
Hopefully UofL fans will see their Cards rising and flying high in the weeks to come.