Louisville basketball faces new, unfamiliar position

Carlik Jones #1 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Carlik Jones #1 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

After their second straight loss, Louisville men’s basketball finds themselves in unfamiliar territory this season. They have their very first losing streak and are no longer apart of the AP Top 25.

The first loss came on Saturday, Jan. 16 where the team dropped a very winnable game to Miami. It was a game they most certainly should have won. The Cardinals had scored just 21 at halftime and put themselves in a 12 point hole after one half.

Louisville put up 51 in the second half and looked more like the team they should look like despite heroic efforts from Carlik Jones and Jae’Lyn Withers while David Johnson and Sam Williamson struggled with just five and four points respectively in the performance.

There is incredible inconsistency within individuals on the team

Then, Louisville played Florida State who seems to consistently boast some of the biggest and best athletes in the country on Leonard Hamilton-led squads. Chris Mack has also not beaten Leonard Hamilton in his career.

Once again, Louisville got off to an incredibly slow start against the Seminoles as the Cardinals quickly fell behind 40-16 in the first half. Any kind of comeback after that point would have been insurmountable.

While they outscored FSU the remainder of the game, a slow start and a nightmare game from the bench put a fork in the team. The bench shot just 2-for-11 against the Seminoles while there were four starters in double figures. Samuell Williamson and David Johnson had a much better performance. But it wasn’t enough with the bench playing so poorly.

Right now, the team has a serious issue with consistency. Players like Sam Williamson and David Johnson have been very up-and-down the past handful of games while Dre Davis did not score against Florida State.

Not only that, but the defense has been atrocious as well giving up over 49 percent field goal percentage in the past two games. That alone will not win the Cardinals many games.

How to get back on the right track

Anytime that both Carlik Jones and David Johnson have good performances, Louisville is going to win more times than not. The team’s two leading scorers stepped up against Florida State, but it still was not enough.

One thing that was apparent upon watching the game is that the Cardinals are jumping at shooters on the perimeter and taking themselves out of the play. That allowed the Seminoles to drive right by the defenders closing out.

Louisville needs to regain confidence and shore up their defense before Saturday’s game against Duke to avoid slumping to a three game losing streak.

ACC play is relentless. The Cardinals better be ready.

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