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NCAA Basketball Louisville Cardinals

Louisville Uses Superior Depth, Defense to Dominate Cornell

Jamie Rhodes – USA TODAY Sports

The fact that defending national champion Louisville would defeat Cornell was never really in question. Everyone pretty much knew that the Cardinals would topple the Big Red, but after Cornell gave Syracuse more of a game than they expected, people probably thought Rick Pitino‘s squad was in for more of a challenge than most previously believed.

As it turns out, most people were right, and the challenge was nonexistent.

Louisville absolutely crushed Cornell, putting five players in double figures and holding the Big Red to just 29.2 percent shooting, and forcing them into 19 turnovers. The final deficit did not even begin to tell the story of just how dominant Louisville was, either. The Cardinals sprinted out to a 39-point halftime lead, using their insanely dominant defense to hold Cornell to 14 points in the first half. The Big Red were absolutely dismal and overwhelmed, shooting just 16 percent in the first half.

At the end of the day, the discrepancy in talent and depth proved to be so staggering that, despite using 15 players in the first half, Cornell still could not find a way to effectively combat Pitino’s squad. Looking for a reason to determine why Louisville was able to top Cornell, a potential challenger to Harvard for the Ivy League crown, can be summed up by saying that, quite simply, Louisville is just really, really good.

And there’s no shame in being completely over-matched by Louisville, either, considering they will more than likely run away with the AAC this season. It’s hard to look down the roster of teams and come up with anyone who could put up much of a challenge, save for possibly Connecticut, though, even that seems like a bit of a stress at this point.

People have talked about how dominant Kentucky and Duke could wind up being this season, but at the end of the year it’s extremely likely that it’ll be Louisville, and not either one of those two schools, or even Michigan State or Kansas, which boasts the most impressive win-loss record of them all.

Jeff is an ACC basketball writer on RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @jekelish and like him on Facebook.