Fast turnaround for No. 10 Louisville vs. Wichita State
Despite its 68-62 overtime win over Old Dominion ending after midnight early Thursday, No. 10 Louisville won't get any extra time to prepare for a showdown against Wichita State at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday (ESPN) in the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The Cardinals (4-0) will need to fit in showers, sleep, breakfast, team meetings and lunch before they return to the court 13 hours later vs. the feisty Shockers.
“We won't make any excuses,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “We'll just have to adjust on the fly and see what happens. But we have no prep time.”
The Shockers (5-0) advanced to Round 2 with a dominant 82-47 win over an outclassed LSU team Wednesday afternoon at Imperial Arena. Wichita State handed the Tigers their biggest loss since 1997 and their worst nonconference defeat since 1994.
“The first challenge of playing against competition of that caliber, we passed, and that's all I'll say,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said.
The Shockers scored the first nine points, never trailed and held LSU to 28 percent shooting for the game. Wichita State led by 27 at halftime and had a 10-0 run early in the second half.
“They did a great job of punching first,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said, “and we didn't do a great job of responding there in the first half.”
After resting their starters in the second half during a game that was played earlier in the day, Wichita State certainly has an advantage over the Cardinals. The Shockers' pressure defense could spell trouble for a Louisville team that shot 29.7 percent from the field against Old Dominion on Wednesday night.
Louisville star sophomore Donovan Mitchell said he and his teammates were hunting shots in the first half.
“That's not really what you want to do, especially coming out here and playing in your first real tournament like this,” Mitchell said. “You just have to settle down and let the game come to you.”
Shot selection could be a key for Louisville on Thursday. The good news for the Cardinals? They have studied the Shockers since the bracket was announced.
“We're familiar with them, and we watched a lot of video of them to get ready for this tournament,” Louisville assistant coach Kenny Johnson said. “Hopefully we'll have some tricks up our sleeve for them.”
Wichita State is off to a perfect start despite losing a pair of All-Americans, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, from a team that was 26-9 last season. The Shockers returned only wing Zach Brown and power forward Shaquille Morris from last season's starting lineup.
Louisville is unbeaten despite losing three starters from last season, all three of whom were among the team's top four scorers. Power forward Jaylen Johnson is averaging a team-best 13 points, and Mitchell is contributing 11.8 points per game. Point guard Quentin Snider scored a team-high 18 points against the Monarchs.
The Cardinals and Shockers met in the Final Four in Atlanta in 2013. Wichita State led in the second half before a late barrage lifted Louisville into the title game, and the Cardinals went on to beat Michigan for the championship.