Mea Culpa, #CardNation – Whoa, boy, I was wrong about you, Louisville. #ACC

Southern Mississippi v Louisville

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Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans!!!

Hope you are enjoying March Madness!!

As our friend, @HereGoJayAgain, pointed out, this has already been a very lucrative NCAA tournament for the ACC.

And – good heavens, Louisville, I am sorry – please accept my Mea Culpa.  On our @AllSportsDACC ACC podcast, I doubted your chances to advance in the NCAA tournament.

I thought that Northern Iowa would be the end of the road for #CardNation.

Whoa boy, was I was I wrong (h/t @scacchoops).

Coming into the game, I knew that Louisville’s scoring defense would be outstanding (the Cards only allowed 59.2 points per game coming into this contest).

It would take an incredible defensive effort (which I knew the Cards were capable of) to defeat Northern Iowa, but I wasn’t sure Louisville’s offense (138th in the country in scoring offense  – pedestrian at 68.8 points per game) could keep up.  You see, Northern Iowa was no slouch on defense, either – the Panthers were ranked #4 in the country in scoring defense coming into this game giving up on 54.4 points per game.  In my mind, I’m thinking – there’s only gonna be 50 possessions for each team – and whoever makes them the most valuable wins this game.

Then March happened.

I know this Northern Iowa team and have watched a ton of their games over the last decade.  Ben Jacobson, the Panthers head men’s basketball coach, is my former next door neighbor from high school (we are still very good friends).  Northern Iowa runs a defense that is a modified version of the pack line.

Northern Iowa generally:

  • prevents dribble penetration;
  • prevents, backdoor cuts;
  • has tremendous scoring defense (as I mentioned earlier);
  • rebounds well; and
  • doesn’t allow easy buckets,

Northern Iowa didn’t do any of that – at all.

Somehow, Louisville shot 50% from the floor in the first half – had a ton of motion in its offense – and it was like I was seeing a different team on the court  (I’m thinking in my mind – maybe we should put a missing persons report out for the Cards offense as @TalkinACCSports nor I hadn’t seen this all year).  Louisville ran the court with aggression, drove the lane with ease, and was knocking down three-pointers.  Who is this team?

If we pour throw the stat sheet a bit (courtesy of @scacchoops above), you’ll see the Louisville shot at 45.5% clip from 3 point land – the Cards were 5 of 11. Overall, the Cards were 22 of 48 (45.8%) from the field – and were 17 of 21 from the free throw line good for about 81%. Northern Iowa, on the other hand, shot 6 of 19 (or 31.58%) from three-point land, 18 of 46 (or 39.13%) from the field, overall, and 11 of 13 from the free throw line. And those field goal attempts were not easy for Northern Iowa – the Panthers had to deal with a hand in their faces every time they shot the ball. Nothing came easy for the Panthers – they had to work hard to get those points.

And it was then that I figured it all out – Rick Pitino is March – forgive me, @Jeremy_CSZ? 😉

Good luck the rest of the way, #CardNation!

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