Coming into the season, many felt whatever successes the Louisville Cardinals could have would be directly attributed to Peyton Siva. The theory rose from Siva’s amazing Big East Conference Tournament run of last year. It only seemed logical that he would continue his dominance in this season.
Siva’s season has not been as successful or consistent as many expected. For seemingly long stretches, Siva would score no points. He would even have very little impact with how much the Cardinals ended-up putting the ball in the basket. Instead, Louisville relied on another inconsistent star for their heavy lifting — Russ Smith.
For the year, Siva’s numbers don’t scream ‘difference-maker’. It is not often that scoring a shade under 10 points, dishing out six assists, while turning the ball over 2.7 times a game would result in as much acclaim as Siva has gotten. Except, at least for those who have watched Louisville play, the importance of Siva’s play to the success of the Cardinals isn’t on the stat sheet.
It was not by happenstance that he earned the reputation as Louisville’s leader. Rick Pitino has been quoted as saying that Siva is one of the best players he has ever coached. Considering Pitino’s track record, that is about the greatest compliment a player under his control can have.
No, Siva is not the most exciting player on the Cardinals, nor did he end up being as great as many figured he would.
What he is, however, is the most important part of this Louisville team. He is the literal extension of Pitino on the court. Whether it be trying to rein in Russdiculous when it gets out of hand or just the general leadership you would expect from a senior, Siva is doing his job well despite his lack of other-worldly numbers.
Louisville’s success or failure in the NCAA Tournament won’t be determined by numbers. It will be decided by a guard who only scored more than 20 once on the season, but always plays better when the season gets longer.
Ask a Louisville fan and they will tell you. Sometimes numbers do lie.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone