Coaches insisting the sudden change in the post-season outlook is not having an effect on this University of Louisville basketball team. Like that’s not possible.
Likewise, indicating the players aren’t intimidated by the boisterous atmosphere at Cameron Arena, one of the most cramped facilities in college basketball. A place where students are practically on top of the playing floor, within an outstretched arm’s reach, constantly in vertical motion.
If they say so, but Louisville appeared more than a little disconcerted in the first half and much of the second half in the 72-65 loss. Duke getting better at just the right time? But not that much better.
— Damion Lee throwing up contested shots all game long, making only three of 15 field goal attempts, none from behind the three-point line. This was where he wanted to be, living the dream, hitting three-point shots against Duke at Cameron Arena. Scratch that dream.
— Chinanu Onuaku still unable to avoid that moving pick that keeps getting him in foul trouble, keeps Rick Pitino shaking his head. Two points, three rebounds, three turnovers and four fouls. Taking two steps forward, slipping on painted lines, resembling himself a year ago. He may be back next season after all.
— Trey Lewis still not ready to take control of a game, much less his emotions. Pitino still wanting to slow him down, Lewis quick and in too big a hurry, not a good combination.
— Donovan Mitchell keeps UofL in games but he’s not in the game at the end of close ones for some reason. Team leading 17 points in this one.
— Raymond Spalding is always going to foul his man on a drive to the basket, especially if the game is close. Any of those projectiles that go in the basket are always a startling bonus.
— Anas Mahmoud is the best defensive weapon UofL has, those long arms of his resembling Spiderman stretchers at times, preventing Duke from putting the game out of reach at times. Still putting his game together, with three blocks, four rebounds but only two points.
— Quentin Snider suffering in comparison with quick point guards from Louisville’s past. Not making a lot of mistakes but not many assists or steals either — two of each against Duke. Did contribute 12 points.
— Jaylen Johnson didn’t get much playing time last season, still playing much like a freshman. Not stopping anybody but himself with his uncertainty around the basket on both ends of the court.
Plenty of time to get better before March rolls around next season.