We knew Louisville was going to have to play a good game to win and they did, for a half. Unfortunately, most college basketball games require two complete halves of play and the Cards couldn’t come through. Yes, Villanova is more talented. Yes, Nova is physically stronger. Yes, their coach is better dressed. But none of those things matter.
This game was lost because Louisville got destroyed on the backboards.
Villanova doubled up the Cards on the glass 36-18. Preston Knowles led Louisville with 5 rebounds. Let me rephrase, a 6-1 guard with an odd looking receding hairline led the Cards on the glass with a whopping 5 boards. Louisville’s “bigs”, consisting of Gorgui Dieng, Terrence Jennings, and Stephan Van Treese, combined for 6 boards. Gorgui had the most with 3.
That’s pitiful, or maybe atrocious. Possibly embarrassing.
Whatever the most accurate description is, the point remains the same. If Louisville continues to get mauled on the glass, they will win no games of any real significance in Big East play.
Another issue during this game, in terms of several text messages I received, was the play of Peyton Siva. I received more than five messages along the lines of “Siva sucks” or “thought we had a point guard, guess not.” Personally, I’ve hit my limit for those comments.
First, let’s look at the numbers for the Villanova game. Peyton scored 14 points on 6-12 shooting, dished out 8 assists to only 4 turnovers, and grabbed 2 rebounds. He also had 2 steals. Also consider, Villanova had trouble all night keeping him out of the lane, with senior guards, and I would hardly call that a poor game.
Next, let’s remember Peyton is only a sophomore. As heralded as he was coming out of high school, Peyton only averaged 11.3 minutes per game last season and saw virtually no significant minutes. This season, Peyton is averaging more than double that at 24.7 minutes per game. He’s also averaging 11 points and nearly 5 assists per game. We may have different standards, but that does not seem bad to me.
My point is this, even though he played in a lot of games last year, going from spot duty to regular starter is not easy, especially in the Big East. There will be growing pains. I readily admit Peyton still has a lot to learn and is still prone to silly turnovers or defensive lapses. However, he’s not the problem and anyone who suggests he is is flat wrong.
Some quick thoughts on the game:
-Villanova killed Louisville with ball fakes, don’t remember one which the Cards didn’t go for.
-Elisha Justice saw his first action since playing briefly against Kentucky. He didn’t do much and neither did the Cards while he ran the show, but it was good to see him back on the floor.
-Still love Jay Wright.
-I was really starting to like John Saunders as a play-by-play man until he chose to get political with his calling out of NCAA football for not hiring more minority head coaches. Really John? You’re a play-by-play man, just call the game.
-I think a Louisville player just went for another ball fake.
-Not Louisville vs. Villanova related, but Georgetown is once again going through their annual worthless stretch. They got dominated at home by Pitt to fall to 1-5 in Big East play. Yet, they’re still ranked.
-Oh, and Tim Higgins officiated this game. Pretty sure I hate him.
The Cards have to forget about this game quick because they head home to face a tough Marquette team on Saturday at 11:00 am. We’ll have a preview of that one in a few days.