Louisville Basketball: Five Things We Learned in Cardinals' Win over Miami (OH)
Louisville dominated the Miami (OH) RedHawks in all fazes of the basketball game Sunday, as was expected. But there is a lot Louisville fans can learn about their team after watching this game.
The Cardinals beat the RedHawks 80-39, although it didn't even feel that close.
All 13 of Louisville's available players got quality minutes, Angel Nunez and Michael Baffour were both out with injuries.
"That's the best we've played between the Red-White scrimmages, exhibition games," Rick Pitino said after the game via GoCards.com. "Obviously, you look good when the ball goes in. We played tremendous defense."
Pitino added, "I tried playing everybody except the assistant coaches. I really tried to; we took off our pressure. You never want to scale, but you want to stop pressing."
The Cardinals head to the Battle of Atlantis tournament next. Their first game will be against Northern Iowa Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Before they head to the Bahamas, let's take a look at five things we can take away from Louisville's win over Miami (OH).
Louisville's Defense Is Impressive
There isn't much a team can do when Louisville is playing their full-court pressure defense.
With their quickness, athleticism and their length, teams have a hard time even getting the ball up the court.
Louisville forced the RedHawks to turn the ball over 18 times, including 10 steals.The Cards were able to convert 24 points off turnovers.
Senior point guard Peyton Siva led the team with four steals.
The Cardinals also out rebounded their opponent 42-22.
"We played tremendous defense," Rick Pitino said after the game via CardsandCats.com. "Everybody really played very well to the defensive end, rebounded well, very active."
Gorgui Dieng Has Become a Complete Basketball Player
When Dieng came to Louisville he weighed about 190 pounds and had issues playing against stronger centers.
Now Gorgui is around 50 pounds heavier and looks like a gladiator underneath the rim.
Against Miami he had 11 points, nine rebounds and one block. Although his numbers were not impressive, he had some very nice assists from the top of the key and altered several shots on the defensive end of the floor.
I would have expected him to have a lot more stats if he would have played more, but Rick Pitino had Dieng on the bench most of the second half.
He also had a monster dunk over a Miami defender that will make several highlight videos.
With Dieng becoming a more complete basketball player, Louisville may have the best frontcourt in the country.
Luke Hancock Is Still in a Shooting Slump
Hancock just can not seem to get a three-point shot to go in.
Not sure if his shoulder still isn't completely healed or if maybe he just isn't as good of a three-point shooter as Louisville fans hope he is.
Hancock missed all three of his shots from outside, even though he was wide open on each attempt.
On the season, Hancock is 3-19 with a 14 percent three-point percentage.
The good thing is Hancock seems to be getting better at the other parts of his game.
He had four rebounds and four assists off the bench for Louisville against Miami. He made smart decisions with the basketball and did a great job playing on-the-ball defense.
If Hancock isn't going to be Louisville outside threat, there is still hope that he can be a great contributor for the Cardinals as the season goes along.
Peyton Siva Does the Little Things
Peyton Siva is the leader on and off the court for the Louisville Cardinals.
He is an example for his teammate in a game, in practice and in the classroom.
If you asked Rick Pitino about his senior point guard, he would say he is the best point guard in the country.
Although Siva only scored six points against the RedHawks, the 6'0" speedster controlled the offense and made his teammates look like superstars.
Siva had 10 assists in the game for the second time this year. He also used his tenacious defense to get four steals, creating fast-break opportunities.
Louisville will go as far as Peyton Siva will take them this season.
The Cardinals Can Be an Outside Shooting Team
There was a lot of questions heading into the season about how good of a three-point shooting team Louisville would be.
The Cardinals are a very deep and talented team at every position, but when it comes to skilled shooters most people (media) believe Louisville is lacking.
Because of this reputation of an inability to connect from outside, teams like the Miami RedHawks place most of their players underneath which allows for open looks from behind the arc.
Louisville took advantage of this defensive strategy Sunday making 12 of their 26 three-point shots, including nine in the first half.
Junior guard Russ Smith, who isn't known for being a terrific three-point shooter, was 5-of-7 from threes.
Sophomore Wayne Blackshear added four more threes.
This new development changes how teams play Louisville for now on. Instead of double-teaming Gorgui Dieng underneath they must play man-to-man.
I expect Louisville's ability to make threes will become more of a threat as Luke Hancock continues to heal and as he gets confidence in his shot.