Cardinals vs Wildcats coverage
Raise your hand if you were worried about a Louisville Cardinals 3-point barrage as soon as John Saunders decided to let everyone know that the Villanova Wildcats led the BIG EAST in 3-point defense?
Yep, I was. No worries though. Despite Rick Pitino's men putting on a shooting clinic in the first half (8-15 from downtown), Jay Wright's men took a 42-41 lead into the locker room at the half before using some strong shooting of their own (8-13 from downtown for the game) to pull away and lock up their 2nd straight win over a Top-25 club. (box score)
This may have not always seemed easy, especially in the 1st half, but this team took total control after the break behind Corey Stokes (23 points), Corey Fisher (17 points, 5 assists & 8 rebounds), Maalik Wayns (15 points & 7 assists) and Mouphtaou Yarou (18 points, 11 rebounds - maybe the best game of his career).
It was an amazingly balanced display that consistently had me and atrask8 throwing our hands up at the bar after every made shot and every great defensive play. Can we get that performance every night?
Quick Sidebar - Duke lost too. Can we get that every night?
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from last night's win after The Jump.
Corey Stokes - Trask and I were talking about how Stokes is playing himself into a surefire NBA draft pick. He's finally showing that seemingly limitless range, is playing strong defense, and is drawing a ton of fouls going to the hoop (9-9 on the FT line last night). He's our best player at this stage.
The guards - FINALLY! Wayns and Fisher CAN co-exist! I feel like doing cartwheels. Exceptional games from both of them. When they are both clicking, this team is very, very, very hard to beat.
Big Mouph - That's what we've been waiting to see. Terrence Jennings is a big guy for Louisville. A handful really and we've struggled with him in recent years. Mouph turned the tables on him. He snared nearly every rebound in his vicinity and was a stunning 8-12 from the floor.
Putting the nail in the coffin - That's the first time I can remember in a while where the game was still within reach (about 8 points with 3 minutes left) and we took it into our own hands and finished it off. Steals and easy buckets and didn't give Louisville any second-chance opportunities. The sign of a team maturing? Let's hope so.
12 team fouls - For the game. Incredible defense. 'Nuff said.
Rebounding margin - 36-19 in our favor, or in other words, sheer domination. We know about Mouph but how about Isaiah Armwood with 7 rebounds in 10 minutes? Zeek has looked GREAT lately in limited action. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get a bump in minutes.
18 turnovers - That's two games in a row now we've been pretty careless with the ball. It's good we won both, but that's not a good trend to start as BIG EAST play kicks into gear.
Playing time - This is getting picky, and maybe it's because they were playing so well (and not fouling) - but every starter played over 30 minutes, Dominic Cheek played 20, and that was pretty much it. Zeek got 10 and James Bell got 4 minutes. I'd like to see us spread that out a bit more. As I said though, I'm being picky.
The Georgetown Hoyas - Always remember Villanova fans - it could be worse. You could be a Hoya.