We take a look at three different concerns from the Louisville basketball’s win over Old Dominion in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
What a present it was to stay up past midnight, only to watch the Louisville basketball team squeak out a win over Old Dominion. It definitely wasn’t the cruise we thought it would be, but I guess we should have been used to it after the football team’s loss to Houston last week.
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Whatever it took, the Cardinals were able to sneak out of the first round with a victory and will move on to play Wichita State on Thanksgiving afternoon.
With that being said, here are the three biggest concerns after Louisville basketball’s win on Wednesday night:
Nov 23, 2016; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Louisville Cardinals forward Mangok Mathiang (12) and forward Jaylen Johnson (10) battle for the ball with Old Dominion Monarchs guard Jordan Baker (0) during the first half in the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
3. There were way too many quick shots, instead of passing the basketball
Oh man, I don’t even know where to begin. That was one of the worst shooting performances that I have ever seen, not to mention, Louisville has to play again on Thursday afternoon. They need to go back and relax before their poor shooting kills their chances of leaving the Battle 4 Atlantis as champions.
The Cardinals were 19-64 from the field on Wednesday night against the Monarchs. That type of shooting isn’t going to win you many games, but they were lucky that Old Dominion couldn’t hit a free throw throughout the game. They won’t be so lucky against any of the teams they have to play this week.
In my opinion, the Cards took too many quick shots, instead of passing the basketball. I love pushing the tempo and, in turn, putting pressure on the defense. However, that doesn’t mean taking bad shots is the solution to the problem.
Nov 23, 2016; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Louisville Cardinals forward Deng Adel (22) drives to the basket past Old Dominion Monarchs guard Jordan Baker (0) during the first half in the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2. What in the world was going on with Deng Adel?
I think it’s pretty clear that Louisville needs Deng Adel to be at his best for the Cards to be at their best. He couldn’t find his shot against Old Dominion and it made life very hard on the team. That doesn’t mean that everyone else didn’t struggle as well, but the Cardinals cannot afford for Adel to go silent like he did on Wednesday night.
Nov 23, 2016; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Old Dominion Monarchs forward Brandan Stith (25) grabs the ball as Louisville Cardinals forward Mangok Mathiang (12) defends during the first half in the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
1. Louisville got dominated on the boards by the Monarchs
This was, by far, the most disappointing thing that we all witnessed against Old Dominion. The Cards’ forwards were playing so well over the first three games, but they were almost non-existent against the Monarchs. Luckily, the Cardinals were able to get the win, despite getting dominated on the boards.
The Cardinals were out-rebounded by the Monarchs 50-48 on Wednesday night and that was almost enough for Old Dominion to beat the tenth ranked team in the nation.
Johnson, Mathiang, and Mahmoud need to get their stuff together before they play on Thursday. Getting dominated by a Conference USA team just does not cut it around here. If they want to rise up and be one of the better Louisville teams of recent history, these three players have to bring their “A-game” every single night.
With that being said, I have full confidence in Pitino’s ability to get his guys fired up before they face Wichita State.