For a change, the Louisville basketball team got down in Tampa almost 2 days early and it ended up working out for them. The Cardinals steam-rolled USF to the tune of an 18 point victory.
Peyton Siva got hot at the end of last year and he is starting to get into that form once again. Even though Siva’s 2 points don’t seem all to to impressive, his 7 assist and 6 rebounds do. Siva seems to have found a new switch in his game over the last week and has been a great hustler. His defense has stepped up and his court vision has been impeccable.
Russ Smith played what Pitino referred to as his best game in a long time. Even though Russ didn’t score his normal 20+ points, he did do things that made the team exponentially better. He was even heard telling Kevin Ware “sorry” after not making a pass on a fast break. Is this the sign of a new Russ? Smith really thrived in this game because the Bulls literally couldn’t keep the ball on offense. It seemed every time that South Florida was on offense, they turned over the ball or just had a ridiculously bad possession. Smith finished the game with 15 Pts, 6 Rbs, 4 Ast, and 1 Stl.
Luke Hancock got into foul trouble early and never really got a chance to get in a rhythm. He did come in at the end of the game and knocked down a three, but that was really all. His foul trouble allowed Wayne Blackshear to get the majority of the minutes and he played really well. Blackshear was aggressive and went hard to the basket, which is a great sign because the last time we saw him, he was on the floor screaming in pain. Blackshear took the most shots on the team (yes…he took more than Russ) and finished with 12 Pts, 3 Rbs, and 3 Stls.
Chane Behanan did not play to much during the game but still finished with 12 Pts and 4 Rbs. I think Pitino is trying to give his big men somewhat of a resting period without really taking them out of rhythm. Montrezl Harrell played just about as much as Behanan and finished with 2 Pts and 2 Rbs.
Pitino said earlier in the week that he was going to give Gorgui Dieng more rest, and this would have been the game to do it. But Dieng ended up playing 32 minutes, which ended up being the most on the team. Dieng pulled down 10 boards and had 5 blocked shots. He made it almost impossible for the bigs of South Florida to get their shots off.
Kevin Ware has been a major surprise over the last week or so. Ware has played like the player that everyone expected to be. Pitino says that he moved Ware over to point guard and he now feels more comfortable on the floor. I hope that this is true because with his athletic ability and the impact that he can have on a game, he could be vital in the Cards National Championship hopes. Ware played 21 minutes and had 7 Pts, 3 Rbs, and 1 Stl.
Louisville’s next game will be almost a week from now against Seton Hall. This will give the team time to rest which is much needed in such a long season. The Cards will be at the KFC Yum Center on Saturday at noon.