Louisville Cardinals Will Not Repeat as NCAA Basketball Champs
The No. 3 Louisville Cardinals fell to the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels on Sunday afternoon by the score of 93-84. Most importantly, this team misses the presence of Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva, who are now playing pro ball in the NBA. Unfortunately for them they don’t have anyone to replace the defensive force in Dieng and the speedy distributor in Siva.
Russ Smith did his best to rally the Cardinals, scoring 36 points in the loss. The star of the game, though, was North Carolina’s Marcus Paige who led the Tar Heels to victory while scoring 32 points on 9-of-12 shooting, hitting all 11 of his free throw attempts. Smith took 24 shots, including a preposterous 16 three-pointers in order to get to his 36 points.
This sole reliance on the three-ball is never a strong indication of a team that can go far in the NCAA Tournament. As a team the Cardinals chucked up 31 threes, hitting 11 of them. Compare that to North Carolina’s six attempted threes.
North Carolina scored 93 points while only making three of six three-pointers. What does that tell us? It tells us that there is a lack of an inside presence for Louisville. Dieng prided himself on staying in the middle of the paint, swatting everything that came around him last season. This year none of his replacements have lived up to his legacy.
Sophomore pro prospect Montrezl Harrell, who is averaging 14 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, got in foul trouble and was limited to five points in the loss.
Louisville’s next game is on Friday night when they take on the 6-0 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at the KFC Yum! Center.