Big East Hoops

Marquette 74, Louisville 65

January 16, 2007 1:19 pm by donald

Marquette outscored Louisville in the second half 41-35 to break upon a three point lead at the half (see the ESPN recap). Dominic James played a great game, hitting tough threes and runners, as well as setting up teammates for open shots. On the other hand, Louisvlle’s star player — Terence Williams — went 4-16 from the field and scored 10 points.  A few thoughts from the game:

  • Pitino didn’t prepare his troops enough defensively. The first half was a defensive hodge-podge as they tried a combination of a 2-3 zone and a weak full-court press. It didn’t work, so they switched to man-to-man, which also didn’t work. The man-to-man defense didn’t work for a fundamental reason (see below), while the 2-3 zone didn’t work because Louisville executed horribly. There were several times Dominic James got to the rim on a dribble drive, something that shouldn’t happen often against a 2-3 zone. It seemed to me that Pitino realized a 2-3 zone would be effective and threw it in the mix a few practices before the game.
  • It’s extremely difficult to play man defense against Marquette. Their three guards (James, McNeal, and Matthews) can easily get by a man defense on the dribble causing havoc as the defense tries to rotate. Despite their relatively strong three-point shooting, I’d rather play Marquette in a 2-3 zone than have their players pick apart a man defense.
  • Despite the loss on their home floor, there were plenty of silver linings for Louisville. Despite playing horribly on defense, they were down only 7 with 2 minutes left. Edgar Sosa, their starting freshman point guard, is coming along very nicely. Derrick Caracter, their star freshman, is finally playing after a bad start to the season. And playing against a tough Marquette defense, they only had 8 turnovers. This was my first good look at Louisville and I came away pleasantly surprised. If Sosa and Caracter, their two star freshmen, can grow and develop a bit more throughout the season, Louisville could slip into the tournament.

More on the game from the guys over at Card Chronicle and Cracked Sidewalks.

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