Posted November 21, 2012 on AP on Fox
Louisville has overpowered its first three opponents thanks in large part to suffocating defense. The Cardinals may face a tougher challenge in their next game as they take on an unbeaten opponent that's been strong at both ends of the floor. Second-ranked Louisville looks to keep rolling when it meets Northern Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas on Thursday night. The Cardinals (3-0) pounded Miami of Ohio 80-39 on Sunday in their latest lopsided victory. Louisville limited Miami, Samford and Manhattan to 34.8 percent shooting in winning those matchups by an average of 31.7 points. "We are a defensive team," said coach Rick Pitino, whose squad forced 19 turnovers in concluding a season-opening homestand. "We win with our defense. If we shoot like we did tonight, everything looks great. Shooting, without question, cures a multitude of sins. ... "That is not us. I am happy we shot it well. I am happy we moved the ball well, but we win because of defense." The Cardinals' 41-point victory margin over the RedHawks was their largest since a 106-65 win over Chattanooga two years ago. Louisville went 12 of 26 from 3-point range and eight of its first nine baskets were 3s. That was an encouraging development after the Cardinals struggled to a 15-for-61 mark (24.6 percent) from beyond the arc in the first two games. "People have been harping on our shooting the whole time," guard Luke Hancock said, "but when we're getting open looks and running the floor as a team, we can make shots." Junior guard Russ Smith continued his outstanding start with 23 points and went a career-best 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Smith has been the leading scorer in all three Cardinals victories and is averaging 21.3 points - 9.8 above his average of last season. While none of Louisville's first three opponents have winning records, the Cardinals' schedule is about to become considerably more formidable. The Battle 4 Atlantis field includes No. 5 Duke, No. 13 Missouri and No. 19 Memphis, while Minnesota received the most votes (93) for a team not in the poll this week. Northern Iowa could prove to be a difficult opponent as well. The Panthers (3-0) return four starters from last season's 20-14 squad and have looked good offensively and defensively so far. Northern Iowa is shooting 51.5 percent from the field and like Louisville also relies on the 3-point shot, going a considerably better 28 of 65 (43.1 percent). The Panthers have averaged 86.3 points in their three contests. Sophomore guard Deon Mitchell leads the Panthers with 17.7 points per game. Three Northern Iowa players are averaging in double figures and nine are averaging at least 4.7. "We do have some versatility to our team ... and that's going to be a big part of what we do," coach Ben Jacobson said. The Panthers limited North Dakota to 32.7 percent from the field in a 72-47 home win Saturday. Now Northern Iowa will try to carry the momentum from its fast start into a much tougher stretch of games. "It's gonna get harder, there's no question about that," Jacobson said. Louisville and Northern Iowa will be meeting for the first time. The winner faces Missouri or Stanford in the semifinals Friday.

Cardinals already embracing defensive stature

Rick Pitino demands 110% on the defensive end of the floor at all times, no matter if it’s half-court, three-quarters court, or full-court.  The Louisville Cardinals have gotten off to a predictable 3-0 start with wins over Manhattan, Samford, and Miami-Ohio, but take a look beyond the names of the teams.  Don’t say, “They should be 3-0 and playing at a high level because...

Kyle Kuric Is Living The Good Life In Madrid

Six games into his professional career, former Louisville swing-man Kyle Kuric is fitting nicely with Asefa Estudian in Madrid, Spain. Estudian is currently 5-3 on the season and in fourth place Spain’s ACB league. Kuric is playing 19.3 minutes per game, averaging 10 points and shooting 44% from behind the 3-PT line. Judging from this picture, it looks like Kuric has helped jump...

Louisville Sneaks Past Northern Iowa 51-46

There aren’t a lot of positive things to talk about from tonight’s performance. Particularly on the offensive end. Louisville was fortunate enough to squeeze out a 51-46 win over Northern Iowa. The keyword there was fortunate. This was easily Louisville’s worse performance of the young season. I had hoped that this year’s team was good enough to where it wouldn’t take Russ...

Lets Not Pay Much Attention To Charlie Strong’s Name Being Mentioned For Open Jobs

I’ve said many times over the past two years that Louisville fans need to develop tough skin in regards to Charlie Strong’s name being mentioned for available coaching positions. Each year that Strong has been here at Louisville, he’s been mentioned as a potential candidate for many jobs. In fact, last year Texas A&M asked to speak with Strong about their open position...

Coach Pitino Shares His Strong Opinion On Conference Realignment

Rick Pitino met with the media this afternoon to preview the Battle 4 Atlantis, but as you can expect the conversation quickly shifted to the conference realignment news that has dominated the headlines in the past 48 hours. As you can expect, Coach Pitino didn’t shy away from sharing his opinion on the whole thing. Here is a video of Coach Pitino’s comments courtesy of Courier...

No. 2 Cards survive pesky Panthers

Russ Smith scored 16 points and No. 2 Louisville overcame a terrible offensive effort for a 51-46 victory over Northern Iowa on Thursday night in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

ESPN Insider John Gasaway Isn’t Impressed With Louisville Basketball

John Gasaway, a college basketball insider for ESPN isn’t impressed with Rick Pitino’s squad. Each week ESPN releases their college basketball power rankings. This ranking system is compiled by votes from 18 different ESPN writers, analyst, bloggers and researchers. 17 of the 18 voting ballots had the Louisville Cardinals at either number one or number two. John Gasaway decided...

Missouri and Louisville square off in Atlantis

(AP) -- Two of the marquee point guards in the country are set to square off and Louisville coach Rick Pitino is counting on his to bounce back from a rough effort. Peyton Siva and the No. 2 Cardinals meet Phil Pressey and No. 13 Missouri on Friday night in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. These 4-0 teams are led by guards known for their playmaking ability...

Missouri-Louisville Preview

Two of the marquee point guards in the country are set to square off and Louisville coach Rick Pitino is counting on his to bounce back from a rough effort. Peyton Siva and the No. 2 Cardinals meet Phil Pressey and No. 13 Missouri on Friday night in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. These 4-0 teams are led by guards known for their playmaking ability....
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