One defensive struggle after another these days, each team knowing what the opposition is attempting every trip down court.
Four and a half minutes into the game the University of Louisville basketball team is scoreless, the Peyton Siva drives being turned back time after time. A block here, a travel there, U of L struggling mightily to get on the board.
Until Siva finally finds an open Kyle Kuric. No time to think. Nothing but net, his three-point shooting slump a one-game aberration. Still in sleep walk mode, however, U of L behind 10-8 at the 10:42 mark. Time for Russ Smith to check in, quickly responding with a layup, the game is on. Finally.
Somewhere along the way, the quickness and speed associated with Louisville basketball has given way to a snail’s pace. Rick Pitino admitting after the game that U of L is not pushing the ball, not getting into its offense quickly enough, becoming too predictable. Remember the idea of getting the ball past half court in less than three seconds? Hasn’t been happening. Pitino ball a distant memory.
Pitino coming close to apologizing after the game for Wayne Blackshear not knowing the offense, unaware what his team is trying to accomplish offensively. One wonders, however, if the offense plan isn’t a little too predictable. Makes one wonder whether Blackshear could create more opportunities doing what comes naturally.
Russ Smith has been fingered as another player who doesn’t quite get it. Only with his unpredictability does the Pitino offensive set work for him, often on broken plays. Something to be said for free lancing when nothing else is working.
Giving Blackshear more playing time might be a good start, giving him the freedom to make mistakes, learning from them, maybe obtaining a comfort level. Those quick trips back and forth to the bench bewildering. Allowing him to stagnate is not an option.
Take the 57-54 win and the credit, coach. But the offense needs a lift.