An impressive first half in which the University of Louisville basketball team couldn’t do anything wrong, followed by a second half of putting on the brakes, seemingly to allow Bellarmine to save face.
Mentor Rick Pitino going easy on former assistant Scott Davenport after seeing UofL race to a 49-17 lead at halftime? Or Davenport peeling the paint off the locker room, motivating his team to keep the score respectable in the second half of the 81-60 loss to UofL? We will never know for sure, but both were completely different teams the final 20 minutes.
Could it be that UofL may be back to where it was a couple of seasons ago, of having only a token presence at the center position? Former Cardinal Felton Spencer, now an assistant at Bellarmine, providing a reminder that big men often take longer to develop.
Mangok Mathiang and Anas Mahmoud towering guys, in the 7-foot range, looking all but lost, managing only 11 points and six rebounds between them. Matz Stockman never getting off the bench for some reason. All of the aforementioned playing in their junior and senior seasons.
Really too early to draw any conclusions, especially from an exhibition game. Pitino maybe not expecting his big men to provide any offensive punch at present, wanting them to focus on defense, expecting baskets to come from other areas?
Pitino’s offensive approach has always been pretty much an enigma but it always seems to work out, having already won six conference championships, made three Final Four appearances, and cut down one national championship net during his 15 seasons at Louisville.
Adding to that impressive list of accomplishments would be more likely to happen and definitely much more fun to watch with more contributions from the big men.