Louisville basketball: Cards put together another perfect week in the ACC

LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 26: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals dunks against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half of the game at KFC YUM! Center on January 26, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville won 66-51. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 26: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals dunks against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half of the game at KFC YUM! Center on January 26, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville won 66-51. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball had two more ACC matchups this week, one against #21 ranked NC State and the other a revenge game against the Cards only ACC defeat, Pittsburgh.

When the #21 ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack rolled into town on Thursday night, it was the first time Louisville basketball had been ranked and were playing a ranked team at home in a little over two and a half years.  The Cards were coming off three straight double digit wins but were in a for a dog fight with the Wolf Pack.

The difference maker in this one was the amazing fan support in the KFC Yum! Center and our favorite student section, the Ville’ns. The arena was rocking all night long and the team made a point to make sure they noticed via interviews and social media posts.

Going into this game I was afraid we would not see much of Ryan McMahon due to NC State playing a more “in your face” physical pressing defense but as usual I was incorrect and Ryan was a key to victory down the stretch knocking down game securing free throws and taking a huge charge.

After taking care of the Wolfpack, Louisville got their rematch against the Pittsburgh Panthers, who were the last team to beat Louisville.

The big difference in this one was in the first meeting Louisville switched on every screen leaving Enoch stranded on the wing guarding a guard that could drive right around or shoot over. In every game since then this has changed when Enoch was in the game and he falls back to the post. This isn’t needed as much when Malik Williams is in the game as he can guard nearly every position on the court.

The Good Times from the past week:

  • The Cards moved into the top 25 for the first time in 411 days. Our guy Presley recapped everything that’s happened since the Cards cracked the top 25.
  • Louisville picked up their fourth and fifth straight ACC wins. I have said this season every conference game is important to this team. Picked to finish 11th in the ACC preseason, no one expected to see Louisville atop of the conference with a 6-1 record and wins over UNC at the Dean Dome and NC State. The ACC is beating itself up nearly every night so to see Louisville overachieving from what the talking heads were saying in year one of Coach Chris Mack is a real good time.
  • Louisville’s got another McDonald’s All-American. Remember the who’s who of college basketball said Chris Mack was going to need years to turn things around. Louisville has a top 5 recruiting class in year one, is ranked, and sits atop the ACC standings. Experts?
  • The team won a few games in a row where Jordan Nwora had off nights. The offense while runs through Nwora has been very balanced over the last 5 games. Dwayne Sutton, Christen Cunningham, Malik Williams, Steven Enoch, and Khawn Fore have all been instrumental in the Cards success this season.
  • Khwan Fore has really turned it on for the Cards and has taken on more of an offensive role in the last week. I’m a fan.
  • Speaking of Enoch, the Enochness Monster is really coming along. 10 points against NC State and 12 points and 11 rebounds against Pitt Enoch is really finding his groove in the offense.
  • How could I forget about the best dunk in the KFC Yum! Center since Donovan Mitchell’s throw down against FSU in 2016. The pass was crisp, the call for the oop was ballsy, and all together it was magical.

The Not So Good Times:

  • With 15 against NC State and 12 against Pitt turnovers still plague the Cards. Every possession counts so I would love to see UL get it below double digits in the turnover margin.
  • For the first time in a long time Louisville lost the rebounding battle on NC State and barely edged out Pitt 39-36. So, why I do not thing this is a glaring gap or anything I hope to see them placing some more separation against teams coming up.
  • Where is Darius Perry? While I am aware of the recent struggles with Perry and turnovers as of late I am really hoping to see Darius get more of a shot at playing through it and getting back on track. Imagine how deep this team would be if we could get more than 5-10 minutes a game.

It gets hard to find negatives in a 5 game winning streak. Louisville is really bought into Coach Mack and staff’s game plans and the team is doing a great job of bringing the energy night in and night out on the court. CC has been a blessing to this Cards team with his ability to control the flow of the game and coming up with big baskets in clutch spots. This week was also the most bought in I recall the YUM crowd being in some time. Maybe it is the team cracking the top 25 that got more people in the seats and the student section so full and hype these past two games but I hope this is a trend that continues throughout the season and help lift the Cards to more big wins.

Coming up for our Cards this week is first a road trip to Wake Forest on Wednesday night. The Demon Decons have not been very good this season and while I say all games are big games, I fully expect the Cards to take care of Danny Manning an company.

Next. Who is Chris Mack and Louisville basketball targeting in 2020?. dark

Then on Saturday the KFC Yum! Center will really need to be full and rocking when UNC comes looking for revenge for the daggum blowout the Cards served them a few backs. North Carolina has improved drastically since that game, blowing out #10 ranked Virginia Tech and picking up wins against Notre Dame and Miami. Expect more from freshman Nasir Little who is finally beginning to look the top 5 pick many expect him to be come June.

Until next week CardFam L’s Up and Go Cards!