Louisville Basketball’s the good, the bad, the ugly: Central Arkansas

LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 21: V.J. King #0 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball against the Boston College Eagles at KFC YUM! Center on January 21, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 21: V.J. King #0 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball against the Boston College Eagles at KFC YUM! Center on January 21, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Scottie Pippen was not walking through those doors last night for Central Arkansas and they really needed him. The Bears ran up against a Louisville Basketball team that was firing on all cylinders.

With this seasons murders row of a schedule for Louisville basketball it was hard to get excited for this Central Arkansas team coming to town on a cold Wednesday night. While no remaining questions about this UL team were being answered against Central Arkansas, there were plenty of highlights.

The Good: VJ King

I have been waiting for VJ to have a breakout game this season, as has the rest of Cardnation. Coming off the bench for this first time since his freshman season these past few games never did King seem to sulk on the bench. VJ is a captain of this team and he has made it clear he is going to do whatever is asked of him for the betterment of this squad.

Against Central Arkansas, King put up a season high 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and only 1 turnover in his 24 minutes on the floor. King’s points were racked up pretty quietly until he brought the house down with a monster put back dunk that was Sportscenter’s number 2 play of the day.

I am a huge VJ King guy. The high school all american has played under three different coaches in his three seasons at Louisville and has stayed through everything negative that surrounded the program. VJ could have left and got away from the rain cloud that seemed to set up shop over the basketball program the last few years but he did not and that alone for me is enough to celebrate VJ King. Games like the one against Central Arkansas is just icing on the cake.

The Cards also got 18 big minutes out of “The Enochness Monster” leading to his career high 16 points and 9 boards. Enoch set his dominance early reeling off Louisville’s first 10 points of the game. Dunks, back to the basket post moves, and pull up jumpers are all in Enoch’s skill set and will be called upon a lot this season.

Jordan Nwora also bounced back from his 9 point performance against Seton Hall with a 21 point night including going 4-4 from three and really sharpening up his shot selection.

The Bad: Too Many Second Chances 

While the Cards won the overall rebound battle pretty easily at 48 – 36 they did give up 11 offensive boards to an undersized Central Arkansas team. To my untrained eye, it seemed to be a lack of boxing out which luckily has not been an issue up until now and should easily be corrected going forward.

\You can give Central Arkansas 11 second chances and still win by 40 + but if you give a Duke or North Carolina 11 second opportunities it could escalate rather quickly.

The Ugly: Turnovers

I would have to really nitpick this showing from the Cards to come up with an ugly coming off a 45 point win where you won the rebounding battle, shot over 50% from the field, held your opponent to 25% shooting, emptied the bench, and had 11 players score. The only thing on the box score that could be perceived as a little troubling would be the 11 turnovers that lead to 10 Bears points.

While the ball movement was much tighter than it was against Seton Hall I still would like to have saw the turnovers in the single digits. Again, this is nitpicking on my part and even Coach Mack had a hard time finding negatives in this outing.

Overall this was a feel good game that no one in their right mind was worried about but over 14,000 still ventured out to YUM to watch their Cards. Not much can be taken away from such a blowout but you hope the confidence in VJ King carries over because if he gives Mack this stat line on a nearly nightly basis UL will continue to surprise the national media that picked them to finish 11th in the ACC.

Next. Cards dominate Central Arkansas. dark

Next up for Louisville is a scrappy Indiana team that is fueled by a phenom freshman we all around Louisville are very familiar with. IU is currently 7-2 on the year and yet to lose in Assembly Hall. I expect a great game and hoping we see Mack’s defensive stopper Khwan Fore shutting down Romeo.  Should be a knock down drag out with Hoosiers but as always Go Cards.