Game is at 9:45 PM EST/6:45 PM PST. Can't ask for anything better timewise.
If Cal were to somehow pull it out, our second round opponent would be Duke. The Cardinals will be a tough first round opponent though, and probably should be one of the most competitive games this upcoming week. Some quick notes:
Brief look at Louisville's kenpom stats
Like Cal they have an efficient offense (#20) and an iffy defense (#77). On offense they’re good at offensive rebounding. On defense they’re good at forcing turnovers. Conversely, they’re bad at preventing offensive rebounds and they foul too much. Also, their offense turns the ball over too much.
The reason why I am scared of them is because the team has proven that they can beat the best team in the country not once but twice. They beat Syracuse twice. They are definitely tested. They played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Edgar Sosa is as dangerous as it gets if you ask me. If he’s on, it’s over. Rick Pitino is a fantastic head coach and even more so in the tournament. Samardo Samuels can be a load inside. Reginald Delk can really shoot it. Their biggest flaw is probably just inconsistency, but they are definitely capable of beating anyone.
Louisville plays up tempo and they pressure the ball. Christopher and Theo are not great ball handlers. There is only one Randle, and he can make some turnover mistakes when going mach 10. In the past, Pitino has had a lot of depth, and in a fast game, depth matters, because they just keep running fresh legs at you. Eventually you wear down and die at the end of the game.
Further, Louisville comes from the Big East, the best basketball conference by a long shot. The Big East is known for its big size and physical play. Meanwhile, Cal is undersized and prone to getting beat up inside.
Lastly, Pitino is a well experienced coach.
Those are 3 reasons to fear.
That said, Louisville’s tempo might play to our advantage. If our shooters are able to get into a groove, they can shoot till the cows come home. Lots of shots allow you to get into a groove. Few shots (Oregon State) makes it hard.
I don’t know Louisville’s current squad, but just knowing what they usually put out there, it would be a good program win.
I think Duke does not have the bruisers they have had in the past, and that’s our biggest weakness. Teams that can roll size and more size at us are the biggest concern.
ESPN2 Bracketology Show Just Talked About Cal vs. Louisville
It’s a roundtable format with several analysts. The highlights of the discussion:
This is a tough draw for Louisville because Rick Pitino has had to play “mostly zone” because he “knows his team can’t play man to man.” And it’s a bad combination with Cal, because Fraschilla says Cal has the shooters to beat the zone. (He mentioned Randle, Christopher, and Robertson specifically.)
Impressed by the fact that Louisville beat Syracuse twice. Even though Louisville has trouble playing man to man, he’s seen Louisville switch up from zone and man to man, then go back to zone. The multiple defenses have confused some teams during the season. Thinks Pitino might come up with some “wrinkles” to compensate for his team’s shortcomings in man to man defense.
Mentioned that he did the Cal game vs. Murray State last November when “Murray State was one possession away from tying the game.” He likes the fact that Cal has 4 seniors and acknolwedged that Cal has great shooters. But he also said we have a glaring weakness on the inside: we have no consistent post presence to get baskets down low. Might be a problem for us.
Not sure who said these things, but one of the analysts called us “a poor man’s Villanova.”
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Big thanks to norcalnick and Ohio Bear for these tips, Rated-R Superstar and concordtom for their thoughts. Substantive preview coming tomorrow.