Louisville Basketball: 5 Good & 5 Bad Takeaways From The Win Over Pitt
We take a look at five good and five bad takeaways from Louisville basketball’s win over the Pittsburgh Panthers on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Louisville basketball team was able to pick up their 14th win of the season and their second straight win in conference play on Wednesday night. The Cards had a huge lead, only to watch Pittsburgh run out of time after pulling within five.
With that being said, conference wins are tough to come by and you take whatever falls into the win column. Rick Pitino will have his team look at this game, get better, and be more disciplined against Duke on Saturday afternoon.
Take a look at our five good and five bad takeaways from the win over Pittsburgh:
Bad No. 5: Louisville’s Free Throw Shooting
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s getting pretty concerning with how bad Louisville has been at the free throw line this season. Not only are they 12th in the ACC in free throw percentage, but they followed that up with going 23-34 from the charity-stripe on Wednesday night.
Normally, even though the Cardinals struggle at the line, they are pretty good about focusing in the closing minutes of the basketball game. However, they gave Pittsburgh way too many opportunities at the end of the game because of missed free throws.
With that being said, if Louisville wants any shot of heading to the Final Four this season, or even the Elite Eight for that matter, they have to start shooting better at the line. It’s the easiest look they will see in every game and yet, they still continue to struggle.
Good No. 5: Another Solid Night For Ray Spalding
Ray Spalding has been in the starting lineup over the last few games and he is doing a great job. Not to mention, it seems like he is getting more confident and more aggressive every time he’s out on the floor.
However, what I would like to see from Spalding is for him to be more aggressive at the rim. He has shown flashes of this and I expect he will continue to do more of it whenever he gets more comfortable with the game.
All in all, we will definitely take a 11 point and 8 rebound night from him. Heck, we will take that from any one of the Cards’ forwards this season.
At least Spalding is stepping up whenever Mangok Mathiang and Jaylen Johnson are continuing to find themselves on the bench in key moments for the Cardinals.
Bad No. 4: Anas Mahmoud
Now, this is the first time in a while where I have been frustrated with Mahmoud’s performance during a game, but I don’t expect to see many games like this from him going forward. There were way too many close shots at the rim that he couldn’t finish.
For a player like Mahmoud, there’s absolutely no reason for a player of his caliber and experience to be missing those shots.
Mahmoud finished the night going 2-6 from the free throw line, 1-6 from the field, and fouled out. I garuntee you that Rick Pitino is not happy with Mahhoud’s performance against Pittsburgh.
With that being said, let’s take this with a grain of salt. Mahmoud has come into the starting lineup over the past few weeks and has done a fantastic job.
Expect Mahmoud to bounce back in a big way over Duke on Saturday afternoon.
Good No. 4: Louisville Dominated On The Glass
We’ve talked about how important it is for this Louisville basketball team to dominate in the areas which they are superior and they were able to do that again on Wednesday night. The good news is that they have been able to dominate the glass all season long, which is a large reason why they have won 14 of their 17 games this year.
Louisville out-rebounded the 45-30 on Wednesday night and thank goodness that they did, because Pittsburgh made it way too close at the end.
It truly was a group-rebounding effort against the Panthers, as there was only one Cardinals basketball player that didn’t register a rebound.
With that being said, I think we all can cut Ryan McMahon come slack for not pulling down a board against Pittsburgh.
Bad No. 3: Getting Outscored 54-38 in the Second Half At Home
As most of us were falling asleep while watching this second half, Pittsburgh and Jamel Artis were going off on the Cardinals. There were many reasons why they were able to cut the Cards’ lead to five, but every one of those reasons should have been thwarted by the Cardinals early.
It is kind of concerning because Louisville has had a bad habit of building a large lead, but not playing well for all 40 minutes.
If there is any good news in any of this point, it’s that Louisville was able to win this basketball game. However, if the basketball game was 42 minutes long, then who knows what the score would have been, especially with how poorly Louisville was shooting at the line.
Good No. 3: Louisville Passed The Basketball Pretty Well
There really isn’t doubt about it, if this basketball team wants to be a better shooting team, then they have to keep passing the ball like they have over the past few games. Louisville finished the game tied with Pittsburgh with 12 total assists.
Quentin Snider is the main reason why the Cards have been passing the basketball well as of late.
Snider’s highest assist games of the season have been as followed:
- 7 against Georgia Tech
- 6 against EKU
- 5 against Kentucky
- 5 against Pittsburgh
- 5 against Long Beach State
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Cardinals have won every single one of those basketball games where Snider has had at least five assists. Better passing leads to better shots and better shots lead to more points and more points lead to the Cards winning.
Bad No. 2: Louisville Turned The Basketball Over 18 Times
Louisville is currently averaging about 11 turnovers per game, but they blew that out of the water with 18 turnovers against a very bad defensive basketball team. Things just flat-out went south in the second half and honestly, the clock was Louisville’s best friend.
The most concerning thing about the Cards turnovers against Pittsburgh, was that it became a virus. Literally every player that saw the court had a turnover, except for Jaylen Johnson, Ryan McMahon, and David Levitch.
Point being, Louisville cannot continue this poor handling of the basketball against Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils will run the Cardinals out of their own arena if they give up the basketball 18 more times.
Good No. 2: Deng Adel Came Back From Injury And Played Fairly Well
As much as we have can be frustrated with Adel’s play this season, it was really nice to see him return from injury and play pretty well. I would say that he played really well, but he turned the ball over more times than anyone else on the team. For that reason alone, he wasn’t number one on our list.
Deng Adel finished the game against Pittsburgh with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and one assist.
While Adel didn’t have a good night from the perimeter, he did finish the game against the Panthers going 5-8 from the field. We will take that type of percentage from Adel on a consistent basis.
Hopefully he will be healthy enough to be the difference-maker in Louisville’s biggest ACC game, so far this season, on Saturday against Duke.
Bad No. 1: Giving Up 43 Points To Jamel Artis
We all knew that Artis was a senior coming in who has been extremely hot this season. However, what I didn’t think would happen is exactly what actually happened on Wednesday night. Jamel Artis put up a super-impressive 43 points on the road.
However, this isn’t his first huge game this year. Take a look at some of his other high-scoring games in ACC play:
- 43 against Louisville
- 25 against Notre Dame
- 24 against Virginia
- 23 against Syracuse
He almost doubled some of his best performances of the season against the Cards on Wednesday night. However, what I am more concerned about is that he hit seven threes against Louisville, even though the Cards have the best perimeter defense in the conference.
Good No. 1: Quentin Snider
Quentin Snider was the MVP for Louisville against Pittsburgh. He tied his season-high in points with 22 and also led the team in assists with five. However, what was even more impressive was that he finished the game going 3-4 from the perimeter.
If Snider can continue improving, then this team is going to have chance throughout March.
The Ballard High School product has been playing extremely well for Rick Pitino in his junior season and has the Cards back at .500 in conference play. Louisville will need Snider to have another performance like he did against Kentucky if they plan on taking down Duke on Saturday afternoon.
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