Friday, January 25, 2013
Louisville's defensive woes
By Matt Giles
If one was to take a gander at Louisville's defensive efficiency rate in Big East play, they would assume the Cardinals are among the top stingiest squads in the conference. Using 405 defensive possessions, Rick Pitino's squad is limiting opponents to .88 points per possession, a rate fueled by their ability to control the interior and fluster teams into hurried shots or turnovers. However, during the past two games -- losses to both Syracuse and Villanova -- that rate has ballooned to 1.04 PPP. In those two contests, both teams excelled from the three-point stripe (46.6 percent), which isn't a good judge of Louisville's defense but is still noteworthy; those shots might not fall in other games, but the near 50 percent perimeter shooting implies the Cardinals struggled to force teams to their waiting shotblockers in the paint. Pitino recently addressed his squad's defensive problems and the takeaway was interesting.
Per Jody Demling of Scout, the Cardinals' defense has proved challenging for this season's squad to master and has room to improve. It's clear the squad has not evolved to the point Pitino would like to see at the end of January, and when asked what type of team he believes Louisville should be, his answer is not surprising: "What we have to become is an awesome defensive team that takes high percentage shots.