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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  • unclekerfuffle

    I will be curious to see if differences in coaching ability will impact the outcome of this game as much as the differences in player talent.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as being negative.

  • Lance76

    Does anyone know where Brian Bowen is? It defies logic for him to ask to play for Louisville this year. With Hartman back and team starting to gel, we can win this game.

  • adam

    i think hes a student at louisville

  • inLinE6

    Louisville announced that he won’t play for the school, but is still on scholarship. He is allowed to transfer if he wishes. But given the potential sanctions wherever he goes, it is difficult to transfer to another institution too. My feeling is we wont’ see him play in college. If he’s good enough, he may start from overseas or D-League next year.

  • inLinE6

    It’ll be a long while before we see another comparably decent Louisville team. There could be mass exodus after this season, and we may welcome a team full of walkons to Assembly Hall next year. All of sudden this series with Louisville is no longer interesting. I hope we schedule another marquee non-conf opponent next year.

  • iugradmark

    I am hoping that we finally play a game where a team or player is not known for shooting 3’s finally plays that way against IU. If that is true, we have a chance. Unfortunately, Louisville is good at stopping the thing we are half-way decent at…2 point shooting. Everyone needs to be strong and finish at the rim. No more greasy fingers, missed layups, one handed rebounding. Looks like another tough assignment for RoJo.

  • Ivan Renko

    I can’t remember whether this ever came up with Archie in the time since he has been hired… but I wonder what his thoughts are on resuming the pUKe series.

    I know any reasonable person would prefer a home-and-home series, but IMO a neutral-court series is better than no series.

    Maybe Cal will finally get caught up in the Fed’s investigation and a new pUKe coach will be willing to resume the home-and-home haha!

  • Donnie Vick

    Both are in favor of restarting the series in some capacity. Cal is close to Archie and his family.

  • Donnie Vick

    I might add with the new B1G schedule next year where we play 20 games, it will be more difficult to have series like this one though.

  • Ivan Renko

    good point…

    it would be great, though, if IU could lock in Arizona and UK every year. add on the crossroads classic with ND/Butler and the B1G/ACC challenge and we’re basically guaranteed 4 top 50 games in the non-conference each year. don’t need to do any additional non-conf scheduling besides that.

  • iugradmark

    I agree. With a 20 game Big schedule, ACC/Big 10 series, potential to play in other tournaments like Maui, you will see less of these games moving forward for Big schools. Archie mentioned that December games will be a highlight of the conference moving forward and the big guys don’t like to play too many tough games once the conference play begins.

  • inLinE6

    With the new 20-game B1G schedule, new Arizona series, B1G-ACC challenge, Gavitt tipoff, there’s just not much room for another Marquee home-and-home. If we drop Louisville, then maybe. We also want some less competitive games to adjust our lineup and give freshmen a little more time.

  • Mark Bando

    I think it is time to start CH. It is always important to play well in the first 5 minutes of each half, but even more important when on the road. Archie talked about how well CH and JM played together against Iowa. Lets start CH.

  • Arch Puddington

    Interesting. Even apart from the politics and power struggle behind it all, I have just never been interested in a neutral court series with Kentucky. The atmosphere of a home court for a big rivalry game is, for me, the best thing about college basketball. I’ve been to several IU-Kentucky games at Assembly Hall, and the electricity in the building is unlike anything else. The big “event” games between prominent programs are OK, but just not that compelling. Bring a good IU team to Lexington or a good UK team to Assembly Hall, and it’s like a rock concert. Send them to Indy or Louisville, and the whole demeanor changes.

    That’s just me, though. I expect most IU fans would take a neutral court series with Kentucky over no series.

  • TomJameson

    1) Stop their transition offense.
    2) Put it on King & Snider – no break-out games for them or anyone.
    3) Go right at Anas Mahmoud & get him in foul trouble early.
    4) Win the rebounding battle.
    5) HIT FREETHROWS AT A RESPECTABLE RATE.
    5) Then the “normal” stuff …. Hard nose defense, Get on the floor for the 50/50 balls, Pick up the pace offensively (don’t let their defense get set), Get off to a good start with high energy, focus, and intensity.

    That’s pretty much it. Pretty simple. lol

  • TomJameson

    If we can rebound well, our own transition offense can be effective by not letting their defense get set. Picking up the pace can do the same thing as well, but still must retain control to limit turnovers.

  • Fivelefts

    Mahmoud outplayed TB last year, I’m hoping DD will do a better job.. I’m thinking JM or CH will probably have to check him. DD will need to finish strong in the paint! Any of those weak, put backs will get rejected! I’m sure coach is preparing him for that..

  • TomJameson

    They’ll still be quality competition. They’re probably on the hunt for a new coach right now, but if the new guy does well, then the point is moot. I think they’ll still be good competition down the road.

  • Arch Puddington

    I’ve thought since before he came back that he would/should return to the starting lineup. Having said that, he has played exactly 20 minutes for each of the last two games, so he seems to have a hard limit on minutes for now. As Archie noted earlier in the year, who starts the game is less important than who finishes, so I suspect CH will be kept out of the starting lineup until his minutes can be expanded.

  • TomJameson

    That right there is probably why that series will not happen. I think the series with Arizona will come before the UK one. Personally, I don’t care about the UK series anyway. I say, in a heartfelt way, Kuck Fentucky!

  • Tommy Morrsion

    I agree. The game is just as much for the fans as it is to prepare the teams for their conference schedule. IU/UK is good for college basketball. Shame on Cal for being unwilling to compromise and only negotiating for a neutral court match up.

    Whether it’s the increased revenue by getting more attendance at a Lucas Oil (which UK doesn’t need) or if he wants his team to have more NCAA tournament-like game experience (which they receive in the Champions Tournament and other early season tournaments) both reasons are garbage. I wish UK fans wanted this match up as much as IU fans…

  • Ivan Renko

    I personally agree with you 100%. the atmosphere cannot be matched

    in short response: I would prefer a neutral court game with UK than I would a home game with a sub-200 KenPom team.

  • iugradmark

    I think you are right on Collin’s minutes. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough quality bigs right now which is another reason to use Collin off the bench. DD is about a 20 minute guy. As much as I like Freddy’s enthusiasm, he is 6’6″ and has a very limited offensive game. I was hoping Justin would be farther along by now but, he is playing like a 1st year player and his minutes have come down. Long way of saying that Archie is trying to figure out how to manage front line minutes right now when he only has 3 reliable bigs and two of those are probably 20 minute guys.

  • Mark Bando

    Good point on the minutes. Im hoping with 4 days off in between games, we can up CH’s minutes on Saturday.

  • Arch Puddington

    Not negative! Things are what they are. They have a bigger, more athletic team. We have a more proven head coach. Outside the confines of Assembly Hall, though, hard to predict a win for us.

  • Ivan Renko

    I agree. I doubt he ever plays in college. Too much baggage now… I feel for the kid, I don’t know his background. But being that young, he’s kind of along for the ride — especially if his parents were more-or-less complicit in accepting money from the Lville/adidas brokered deal.

    But that is another and much larger debate. NCAA amateurism either needs to go away or be reinforced.

  • TomEke

    Maybe I am remembering this wrong off the top of my head, but after IU’s Kelvin Sampson scandal the team was basically gutted (aside from Eric Gordon and DJ White expectedly going pro) — Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis, Jordan Crawford, DeAndre Thomas, hell even Eli Holman, let alone losing out a couple of commits in Tu Holloway and Devin Ebanks (and probably others I’m forgetting). It’s debatable how far “impermissible phone calls” set the program back.

    Regardless, as a fan, it is frustrating to watch IU play against teams basically at full strength (let alone watching those teams win National Championships) after they have committed acts, which IMO are significantly more egregious than Sampson’s — UNC (last year) and their classes scandal, Louisville (last year) and their stripper scandal, and, again, Louisville (this year) and their paid players scandal. I mean this is real stuff

    It’s ironic to me that IU is working to schedule games with Arizona now that they are included in the FBI investigation.

    I hope IU can beat Louisville come Saturday. Then, and sorry if this seems like sour grapes, I hope the NCAA “throws the book at them” (to take an ironic phrase that Kelvin Sampson said after these allegations against Louisville came out) at the end of the year because they deserve it. And finally, I hope IU keeps these guys on our schedule so we can keep on beating them while they are down. Why? Because I’m sick of hearing how great Louisville is from members of my wife’s family (my wife is an IU fan) and cause this helps us with recruiting Indiana kids that Louisville has stolen from us over the years (“You don’t want to be a part of that rebuild in Bloomington”).

    End Rant.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I’m hopeful that our shooting as a team will “blossom” within the next few games; the guys have had about enough game experience to be acclimated to Archie’s system… Am I wrong?

  • VOXAC30

    Epic RANT!

  • Vernon Aldrich

    In Archie’s defense, scheduling Arizona was in the works before anything came out about this recruiting scandal… Love the rant!

  • Ivan Renko

    I agree with you for the most part that it seems absurd with what has happened with relatively zero consequence (outside L’ville).

    but for each and every one of these scandals, we need to ask ourselves “what’s best for the players and student athletes?” (i know you can put asterisks around the student in many cases…but you get what I’m trying to say)

    it seems the NCAA has made a habit of punishing the players instead of the coaches/staff (maybe a slap on the wrist or a show cause now and then), and they leave the punishing of the coaches to the individual programs.

    that’s why it has escalated to the Federal Gov’t stepping in.

    NCAA is a mess

  • Kwang

    Maybe the team should wag their fingers at UL.

  • Ole Man

    Lot of supposition in that opinion.
    Nothing has been said about punishment for the program and I’m beginning to wonder since that took down slick Rick if the NCAA doesn’t let it go at that.

  • TomEke

    I believe Brian Bowen (player cited as taking $100K from Louisville) is actually “in the clear” now with the FBI. I’m not sure if he is going back to Louisville or not — maybe he wants to show everyone “it wasn’t about the money”, though it will be interesting to see how fans, players, and coaches receive a guy who they could argue “got their beloved Pitino in trouble”.

    But I agree with you that the players aren’t the ones in the wrong here. Especially when you start talking about players transferring and having to sit out for a year before being able to play again (maybe not in Bowen’s case) but in players’ like Jordan Crawford/Armon Basset who had to sit out a year when they transferred to Xavier/Ohio — man I wish those guys had been at IU longer.

  • TomEke

    Agreed. I realize IU isn’t going out of their way to schedule games against teams implicated in scandals, I was just making a lame joke about it working out that way (the other joke I can’t help but make here is that IU stopped playing Kentucky because they no longer have scandals. . . but I digress). If you look at the list of schools involved, there is a pretty good list of places I need an excuse to go to with my wife in November/December (Arizona, South Carolina, Miami, and USC — not so much on Auburn, Oklahoma State and Louisville, ).

    Someone on here might know, but I can’t remember Indiana and Arizona playing in my lifetime. So without any historical rivalry between the two schools, it’s pretty obvious the driving factor there was the sibling rivalry instead.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    I agree with your first #5. Archie has mentioned the Law of Averages. If that’s the case, we should have a few games coming up where FTs are above 90%!

    And I agree that counting to 6 can be hard sometimes. I too get confused when I have to start using the other hand to count on lol Sometimes its just easier to take off my shoes and use the piggies!

  • Adam 01

    Agreed!

  • jaywiz

    While I agree that Basset was an absolute stud while in Bloomington, the guy was always stoned (he was trying to bone one of my GF’s roomates and would pass out on the couch cuddling a teddy bear). He had legal issues for the rest of his career. He did have one good run with Ohio in tourney, but my point is, it was a good thing that guys like he, Ellis, Holman, and McGee where all shown the door. It sucked, and shoot, still sucks to have that no longer impermissible black mark, but the program was a mess under Sampson anyway.

  • TomEke

    For Bassett, and I think Ellis, both players were ultimately removed for missing a meeting held by interim coach Dan Dakich, but I’m not wanting to go down that road.

    IMO there are significantly worse things a player could be doing off the court than “always being stoned”, some of which happened after we had “cleansed” the program notably (but not limited to) driving a car after drinking and hitting another one of our players.

    For Bassett, once he left IU he was arrested for Assaulting a doorman and for possession/dealing Marijuana. It’s a balancing act for these coaches trying to determine the amount of leeway to give to players for mistakes they make and when to let them go. It’s easy to look back after his arrests and say “see, IU made the right decision”, but the other side of that you have to consider is “maybe IU (specifically Tom Crean at that time) could have helped this kid to not go down that path while being better prepared for the inevitability of life after basketball”.

    I always enjoy hearing the “college stories” people have about IU players who were students at the same time they were (I have a video of Victor Oladipo dunking over me at a party in college — he was sober; I also once played a game of FIFA against Hanner Perea at Kilroys while doing Open to Close — he was sober and yes we did take our Xbox 360 to Kilroys for the day). I think sometimes we forget that the players are first and foremost college students, which means both that they are going to classes and that they are going to do, some of, the things that other college students do when classes are out — and sometimes college students do dumb things after class.

    A quote included in a Michael Lewis (the author not the former IU point guard) book that makes me laugh every time I hear it from Sean Williams after he was asked about finally starting to pass drug tests at Boston College: “They stopped testing me. And if you’re not going to test me, I’m gonna smoke!”

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Humor’s not as much fun when you have to explain it. My apologies. I didn’t give enough attention to the word “ironic”. 😉

  • TomJameson

    LOL — I edited that second “5” to the “6” it should have been. Couldn’t stand it left alone. Hahaha

  • HoosierOne

    This should be a great game. Louisville lost to Seton Hall at home and to Purdue on the road. I’m hoping the Michigan game opened their eyes to what it takes to win on the road. I think we can pull this one off and this will be the catalyst for a new mindset with the hoosier players!

  • JethroTroll

    For IU to any shot at an at-large bid [it’s a long shot but it’s early December and the opportunity is still there], they must win one of these next 2 games against Louisville and Notre Dame. Without a win against one of those 2, their non-con profile will be pretty bad. And i don’t see this team doing enough damage in conference to earn a bid. For IU, it’s getting late early this year.

  • it’s pretty much been my position forever that this could be the best team not to make the tournament, just because of early losses vs on-going improvement. The ISU loss was the biggest dagger, of course, and you’re right: winning one of the two of UL and ND would be huge. I’m also hopeful that we’ll win some games in the B1G that maybe we wouldn’t have expected, just because already we’re seeing some B1G teams being vulnerable. But regardless, I’m enjoying watching Archie coach and the team respond, so making the tournament won’t be the key to my enjoying this season.

  • You didn’t mention how the game is called… It’ll be great if we try to exploit players who are prone to foul and the refs call a fair game, but I’ll end up breaking something if they’re ignoring some of the kinds of things they ignored in the Duke game (travels and over-the-backs being prime examples).

  • I think the key is: just how much did the dirtiness improve their recruiting, and how much will it be impacted going forward? I can imagine a few scenarios in which they’re not terribly successful getting the kind of talent they got in the past. Unfortunately, I can also envision some scenarios where’ they’re just as successful.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    The length of UL is my biggest concern along with our poor FT shooting. going to have to hit some 3’s to win saturday. GO HOOSIERS!!

  • TomJameson

    That certainly is a good point, but I just don’t see it being very impactful in the long run. What, if any, sanctions laid on by the NCAA would be more of an impact on recruiting. If banned from post-season play, or limit on # of recruits, or something fairly severe and not just a slap on the wrist (aside from the coaching departures).

    Not really sure what I’d call “long run”, but probably 5 years or more. But they could come right out of the gate with a good coach, and some good recruits, and not miss a beat.

  • 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.