Notre Dame toys with Louisville’s defense

Never once did one get the feeling that the University of Louisville basketball team was going to beat Notre Dame in the 77-70 loss to the Irish at South Bend. The Irish owned this game from the beginning.

UofL was a team still learning, going through the motions on defense, still struggling with the fundamentals, allowing Notre Dame to get to the basket time after time. 

“Because of the inexperience and the lack of understanding defense with this team, they can’t confuse people so it’s got to be defensive talent, and that’s where we’re lacking right now,” said Pitino afterward.

The Notre Dame offense was quite predictable, sending player after player down the lane, looking for layups or fouls. The man-to-man defense unable to stop them, abandoning the zone traps for another day.

The Cardinals were unable to find the shooters, and the people taking shots were unable to find the basket.

The best the Cardinals could do was keep the game close, with the front line true to form, again unable to make the close-in shots. Totally different story on the opposite end of the court. When the Irish weren’t hitting layups, they were making 22 of 25 free throw attempts. 

Somehow Louisville was able to finally tie the game up at 68-68 at the two minute mark. The Cardinals were unable to find the shooters, and the people taking shots were unable to find the basket. 

The game was essentially over when Ray Spalding’s pass to Anas Mahmoud went awry on the next offensive trip. That would have given UofL a major boost and its first lead in the second half. Didn’t happen, with Notre Dame scoring seven of its last nine points on free throws.

The UofL defense still figuring it out and may get there, but the Cardinals are 0-2 in the ACC for now.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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