The Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the country, limiting opponents to 40 percent shooting from the field and just 23 percent shooting from three. Louisville forced its past five opponents to commit turnovers on 25 percent of their possessions, an astounding mark for any team, let alone one playing in the Big East.
But that defense took a bit hit when it lost sophomore Rakeem Buckles for the year with a torn ACL.
Buckles, a 6'7", 200-pound forward, was pulling down 6.1 boards a game and was one of the team's best outside shooters knocking down 42.3 percent of his three-point attempts. The offense runs through a quartet of guards (Preston Knowles, Peyton Siva, Chris Smith, Kyle Kuric), but having a big man who can stretch the floor and crash the glass was an invaluable asset.
The Cardinals still have some size with 6'9" Terrence Jennings and 6'10" Gorgui Deng, but neither is much of a shooter. In fact, neither has even attempted a three-point field goal this season and are averaging just 5.3 and 4.4 rebounds a game respectively.
A team with any kind of size should have no trouble pounding the ball down low, meaning the Cardinals are going to have to get sizzling hot from beyond the arc to keep pace. They have the bodies to do it, but how long will the three's keep going down? Two more games? Three? One off night and it's back to Kentucky.