If one struggles, another one is ready to take on the challenge. Louisville basketball has a unique luxury many teams do not have.
Louisville basketball is in the midst of a five-game winning streak after defeating Wake Forest on Wednesday night to move to 4-0 in ACC play.
The reason they are so dangerous and will likely not have many (if any) let down games this season can be attributed to one key factor.
Two dominant point guards.
Carlik Jones and David Johnson are two of the ACC’s best guards. They will both have a legitimate case to be on first-team All ACC together at the end of the season if all continues the way it has so far.
On Wednesday night, David Johnson struggled to find his groove for the first time in nearly a month. For many programs, that could spell doom when the most talented player is in foul trouble and cannot find their footing throughout a game.
Not for Louisville.
Johnson logged 26 minutes throughout the game, but four fouls sputtered his performance as he finished with 5 points on 2-for-8 shooting. He did have 9 assists on the day which was a career high for him. But, scoring wise, it just was not there.
Luckily, both of these players can activate takeover mode whenever it seems fitting for the team’s needs. Carlik Jones did exactly that to lead the charge.
Jones was getting to the rim with ease in the second half as he made one acrobatic layup after another to give his team the necessary surge to win the game. He was terrific and adding on to his scoring, he came down with 10 rebounds to give himself 23 points,10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists on the night.
He took over the game and it was at such a crucial moment for the team as Wake Forest went on an 11-0 run midway through the second half to cut the Louisville lead to just one point.
Keeping both Johnson and Jones healthy will be important.
While both players are awesome in their own spectacular ways, they are not gods. That is why having them together is such a unique luxury for the Cardinals. If one sputters, the likeliness that the other one is having just as bad of a performance is incredibly unlikely simply due to the shear talent of both of them.
David Johnson has proven to get in to some foul trouble at times because of his aggressiveness while Carlik Jones has struggled with his shot some this season. If Louisville lost one of these two to injury, this Louisville team would struggle mightily.
We saw that when Louisville was thrashed by Wisconsin. David Johnson did not play well and Carlik Jones being unavailable due to Covid reasons provided no secondary crutch for the Cardinals to lean on. They were crushed in that game because of it.
You saw in the Wake Forest game that things looked like they may turn sour for the Cardinals as Johnson struggled with fouls and Carlik Jones was forced to exit with cramps for a short period of time in the second half while the Deacs mounted their comeback.
Jones would not let them win.
Keeping these two healthy is as important as anything else for this team. If they can stay healthy, they can win any ball game no matter how poorly the rest of the team plays.
In a Covid season, that could prove to be even more difficult than usual.
Not a lot of teams in the country have what Louisville has at the guard spot. The two floor generals can compliment each other and takeover ball games at any time as they go toe-to-toe with the nation’s best.5
Johnson and Jones are America’s most dangerous backcourt.