What to expect: Louisville

  • 12/07/2017 9:54 am in

Indiana is back on the road Saturday afternoon as the Hoosiers travel south to the KFC Yum Center to take on Louisville. The Cardinals are 5-2 and are coming off of an 86-60 win over Siena on Wednesday night.

The game will be broadcast at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN with Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas on the call:

Plenty has changed with the Indiana and Louisville programs since last season’s New Year’s Eve tilt in Indianapolis.

Indiana fired Tom Crean last March after nine seasons and hired Archie Miller. But that shakeup seems minor compared to everything that has gone down in Louisville. So far, no program has been more impacted by the FBI scandal than the Cardinals.

As a result of alleged payments to five-star recruit Brian Bowen’s family originating from adidas, Louisville fired Rick Pitino earlier this fall and also dismissed Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair from the coaching staff. Longtime athletic director Tom Jurich was also removed from his post. With little time to search for a suitable replacement for Pitino and the potential for additional NCAA sanctions, Louisville stayed in-house and elevated David Padgett to acting head coach.

The 32-year old Padgett is the youngest head coach in Division I and has handled a nearly impossible situation admirably so far. The Cardinals are ultra-talented, but replacing a Hall of Fame coach with an assistant still cutting his teeth in the business was a landscape changing event. Louisville was a legitimate Final Four contender in the preseason with Bowen in the fold, but the Cardinals are already out of the top 25 just a few weeks into the season.

MEET THE CARDINALS

Louisville has struggled offensively through seven games as just one Cardinal, Deng Adel, is averaging in double figures.

The 6-foot-7 Adel is averaging 16 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field, but he’s just 4-of-20 on 3s. The strength of Adel’s game offensively through seven games has been transition scoring. According to Synergy Sports, Adel is scoring 1.17 points per possession in transition, which ranks in the 67th percentile nationally.

Starting alongside Adel in the backcourt are sophomore wing V.J. King and senior point guard Quentin Snider. Both players are currently struggling, but it’s also to important to note that Adel and Donovan Mitchell were in a rut entering the Indiana game last season. Adel went for 5-of-10 from the field for 17 points and Mitchell, now with the Utah Jazz, exploded for 25 points against the Hoosiers in an easy 77-62 win.

A former 5-star prospect, King has regressed offensively in his second season. He’s shooting a woeful 33.3 percent on 2s and has a turnover percentage of 21.4. King has really struggled to finish on the break as he ranks in the fifth percentile nationally in transition situations, according to Synergy Sports, with .57 points per possession.

Snider has also struggled as he’s just 9-of-35 on 3s and has been dreadful in pick and roll situations as the ball handler, per Synergy Sports. In 27 such possessions, Snider has generated just 10 points, which ranks in the bottom five percent nationally.

Freshman Darius Perry is the backup point guard and another freshman, Jordan Nwora, is the team’s best perimeter shooter. Perry has struggled to take care of the ball (24.4 turnover percentage) and is just 5-of-20 on 3s. Nwora, meanwhile, is 10-of-20 from distance and his efficiency numbers present a compelling case for more minutes. His effective field goal percentage – 66.7 – is the highest on the team.

Sophomore Dwayne Sutton is another option off the bench for Padgett. Sutton, who transferred from UNC Asheville, averages 4.1 points and four rebounds in 13.4 minutes.

Senior Anas Mahmoud is an elite shot blocking presence in the paint and is great at defending without fouling. Mahmoud is making 56.5 percent of his 2s and owns a block percentage of 16.2, which is seventh nationally.

Junior Ray Spalding is a high usage, low efficiency offensive player who can defend more than capably. The 6-foot-10 Spalding has just 12 points in 20 post-up possessions and is making just 46.4 percent of his 2s. However, he’s 28th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, 31st nationally in steal percentage and is in the top 100 in block percentage.

Freshman Malik Williams is 6-foot-11, but prefers to play on the perimeter. He’s taken 21 field goal attempts and 12 of them have come from behind the 3-point line. Williams is shooting just 25 percent on 3s and 33.3 percent from the field.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

As the numbers show, Louisville is still an elite defensive team without Pitino. The Cardinals are currently eighth nationally in effective field goal percentage defense, eleventh in adjusted defensive efficiency and third in block percentage. Opponents are shooting just 39.4 percent on 2s against Louisville.

Indiana has been slightly better than Louisville offensively and there are a few key areas where the Hoosiers need to excel to have a chance to prevail. Both teams have been poor on the defensive glass, but Indiana simply cannot afford to surrender second chance points in this game.

Indiana also needs to figure out a way to win the free throw battle. Louisville has not been effective at getting to the line despite being an excellent free throw shooting team (78.5). Getting to the line is a strength for IU’s offense, but converting has been a different story. Indiana’s free throw percentage of 65.2 is 297th in the country.

Turnovers also loom large as both teams (Purdue and Seton Hall) that have beaten the Cardinals have finished with 12 or fewer.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Louisville enters as a solid favorite as the KenPom line is the Cardinals by 11 with an 84 percent chance of victory. The Sagarin ratings also favor Louisville by 11.

Indiana has failed its first two road tests of the season with a 16-point loss at Seton Hall and more recently, a 14-point loss at Michigan.

“We basically had two clunkers on the road,” Archie Miller said on Monday following the win over Iowa. “We’re 0-for-2 right now on the road and we haven’t played well in either game, really.”

It will be interesting to see if Indiana can utilize a larger window to prepare to produce a better performance. The Hoosiers had just two days between games entering their first two road trips, but have four days to get ready for this test. This is the fourth game of a brutal five-game stretch for the Hoosiers that will conclude next Saturday with Notre Dame at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

With no top 100 wins currently on the resume, this game is basically a must-have for Louisville. The Cardinals will have plenty of chances to build a NCAA tournament worthy resume in league play, but its chances in non-conference play are beginning to run out.

(Photo credit: Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

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  • Ivan Renko

    spot on.

    every single B1G team besides MSU has shown to be vulnerable (and even Rutgers pushed them to the edge).

    It’s going to be a wildly unpredictable conference race after MSU

  • I just hope we hit that tipping point in this becoming Archie’s team sooner rather than later. We’re really close, I think. Just need to stop those minutes of regression and we could be better than people expected in the B1G.

  • For me, the question is also: how much of their recruiting was dirty, and so how can they recruit going forward if they’re not playing dirty? And no matter the sanctions, you have to imagine _somebody_ is going to be watching like a hawk and so they won’t be able to get away with much.

    But you’re right, it’s entirely possible that with the right coach and the “wrong” set of sanctions they could be right back in the saddle.

  • TomJameson

    Absolutely, should have mentioned the officials. They can actually break a teams momentum by NOT making calls like the ones you mentioned. Really though, most of the time it’s not the call that are made that are bad (some of course), but it’s the ones NOT made that can turn a team around.

    I think officiating in CBB is the worse it’s ever been. And it’s not the rules, it’s the officials making the calls. They are not all bad or on the take, but I refuse to believe that there is no corruption in that area. If I had millions of dollars (hit the lottery), I’d hire an army of PI’s to investigate a few specific officials. Follow the money!

    **edit — Yes, one of my pet peeves.

  • I lost any illusions I might have had about refs being 100% fair and objective when Teddy V. stole the national championship from IU in the 1992 Final Four game. That was a complete travesty, and since then the officials have been one of my pet peeves as well.

    Maybe in our game they’ll be sure to be at least objective because it’s Louisville we’re playing, after all.

  • TomJameson

    We can only hope that with the big “Richard” gone, the calls may not be so biased.

  • I don’t want to win because the refs are biased in our favor, but you have to think they have the scandals in the back of their minds. Maybe they’ll mete out a little of their own justice. (that would be purple in the premium forum)

  • TomJameson

    I’m just not convinced that the “normal” dirty won’t still be going on. There are things that are legal, that are dirty. Negative recruiting being one. They may stay squeaky clean for a while, but this is one area in which I refuse to be very optimistic. lol

  • TomJameson

    I think a fairly called game would be to our advantage. So, logically, a fairly called game would mean the refs are biased in our favor. lol

  • Makes perfect sense to me. 🙂

  • Yeah, you’re probably right.

  • TomJameson

    Dang, glad I was sitting down. LOL

  • Hah!

  • bball at nick’s

    We’ll lose to Louisville and beat ND.

  • SCHoosier

    The Card’s team length is bad enuff..their defense is focused on turning over the other team.. Individually Adel and King are pure ballers who can slash and shoot. Maybe the power will go out just before tip off. Other than that…..

  • Logical Lurker

    As much as I hate to admit it, Cal is probably clean. He’s been burned before, but at this point he’s got a killer sales pitch at pUKe.

    “Don’t worry about class, we’ll do the minimum and you’ll get to play with the best in front of all the NBA scouts that exist. Just look at all the kids I put in the NBA! Why do something silly like take $100k from someone now when you’ll make millions later if you play for me?!” … at least that would be my pitch if I was him.

    I’d still love to see the guy get nabbed though!

  • Jonathan

    He is not playing this year. He is going directly to the NBA. He is projected as a top 20 pick

  • Parker Gabhart

    IU by 6.
    JM will end with 25 and 12!
    My bold predictions 🙂

  • IdahoHoosier

    UL doesn’t score a lot but they force turnovers and play tough D. Unless IU starts hitting 3s (Rojo come on!) I don’t think IU will be able to score enough to overcome TOs, and missing free throws keeps them out of the game. UL by at least 10. I hope IU shows up for UL like they did for Duke, hits free throws, and wins a close one down the stretch.

  • dwdkc

    I enjoy the stories about the players too. I’m much older than you guys, and didn’t go to IU but spent a lot of time there as a Wabash guy–was playing a pickup game in the HPER with Ray Tolbert, on a fast break Ray tries to set up my 6’1″ brother with an alley oop–of course no chance and Ray just started laughing. He was an awesome dude and I think he was probably the most popular guy in B-town

  • mharv2631

    This game is winnable as is the ND game. By the way Vanderbilt has already lost 6 games.

  • bball at nick’s

    Did you make a stop in Greencastle? Were people gracious? LOL.

  • Koko

    In my opinion coaching will have a lot to do with this game. Coach Miller is a better coach than Padgett. I think we win this game.

  • bball at nick’s

    Yeah but Padgett inherited a winning system that’s already in place and with which he is intimately familiar. I don’t see us winning this game, but always hoping of course.

  • Corey Dunigan

    Dilly Dilly

  • Dan

    Did you go to DePauw? I have a son that graduated from there (currently a trustee), a daughter-in-law that graduated, a granddaughter that just graduated and a grandson that is a sophomore.

  • sd chuck

    Absolutely, must come mentally prepared, must hit free throws, must play great defense, must stay engaged the whole 40 minutes, must stay out of foul trouble, guards must knock down some outside shots, and play well! This would be a statement win and maybe more important build some self confidence!