All we heard all week was how Colorado State would dominate Louisville on the boards and Louisville would have to find a way to compensate for that. That ended up not being the case as the Cards won the battle of the boards with the Rams, 25-22. Louisville also controlled the game on the offensive and defensive end, ultimately leading them to a 82-56 victory.
Russ Smith was ON FIRE in the first half. So much so that even the best player in the world, LeBron James, took notice and dedicated a tweet to him. After a couple shaky possessions to start the game from Smith, he was lights out the rest of the time. Smith finished with 27 points (18 in the first half), 3 Rbs, 2 Ast and 2 Stls. Russ Smith is the early front runner for Midwest region MVP if the Cards are to advance.
Peyton Siva took a step out of his regular game on Saturday as he took 14 shots from the field. He finished with 10 points and 5 assist. Siva got into the lane with ease against an obviously slower and less athletic Colorado State bunch. It is also interesting to see how much of Siva’s game has run off into Kevin Ware’s game. Last year, Ware was just trying to be more athletic then everyone else. Now Ware is a great distributor and scorer that this team is going to need against a team like Oregon with good guard play.
Could we be seeing a change in roles between Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan? Both of them played even minutes but Harrell recorded much more impressive stats and the team looked much smoother with Harrell on the floor. It is amazing what a year can do to a mindset of a fan base on a player. It is only a matter of time before Behanan has another 30 point game and shuts all of the fans up. But right now, Harrell is playing with so much confidence that it is hard to justify keeping him off the court. These two’s running mate, Gorgui Dieng, once again played limited minutes due to this game being out of hand fairly early in the second half.
For someone who hasn’t shot much, when Wayne Blackshear has shot, he has been spot on in the tournament. Blackshear and Hancock split the minutes in half and both had similar numbers. There is no doubt that Blackshear brings more athleticism to the floor but Hancock’s IQ and shooting ability give him the edge. It will be interesting to see if Blackshear keeps up his recent play in the coming games.
Louisville will play a Friday/Sunday slate in Indianapolis next weekend. The Cards know that they will take on Oregon on Friday. Yes, Oregon who beat the Saint Louis team that Digger said was so much better than Louisville. Now the Cards can just focus on one thing…Survive and Advance.