Free Throw Shooting Fixable?
If you have watched any Louisville Men’s Basketball game this year you have noticed that the free throw shooting has been flat-out Terrible (Maybe even Charles Barkley Turrible). Even guys who were pretty much clutch last year like Russ Smith have struggled to convert from the charity line. Not much has been said about the free throw shooting besides a mention here and there since most games this year have been blow outs that was until last Saturday against Cincinnati. Mick Cronin employed a hack a Trez type of philosophy to whenever Montrezel Harrell touched the ball in scoring position, the result was Montrezl shooting 12 free throws but missing 7 of them. As a team the Cardinals were 11 of 22 from the line. That’s a stat that becomes more glaring in close game like Saturday when the final score is decided by 1 point. Rick Pitino was quoted as saying “That’s probably the last hurdle for us,” Pitino said. “I swear to God, we’re going to cure that problem.” Coach was also quoted saying “We’ve got a nice basketball team,” Pitino said. “If we make our free throws, we’ve got a hell of a basketball team.”
Every year around this time of the year we have a few hurdles that we have to overcome to make a deep run and be a team that nobody wants to play. To Coach Pitino’s credit the last few years we have cleared those hurdles and went to the final four and won a National Championship. If we can convert from the charity stripe then we can then become a team again, that nobody wants to draw in their bracket. Montrezl has become a force to be reckoned with in the post, providing us with what we have been missing to go with the great guard play that is plentiful on the roster. Until Montrezl can prove that he will make you pay for fouling him I look for more teams to employ the Hack a Trez strategy, especially late in games with the game on the line. Montrezl has shown that he can improve any weakness that people perceive in his game, proof being his new ability this year to knock down the 15 foot jump shot. This is just another step in the involvement of Mega Trez.