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Sweet 16 Coverage: A Closer Look At Louisville

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The team that the Pack will face this Friday night in the Sweet 16 is different than the team they played in February. Flashback to that game where the Cards lost at home to NC State by 9 points the Cardinals had Chris Jones who has since been dismissed from the team. On that night Jones played well torching the Pack for 20 points and drawing a number of fouls. Since Jones’ dismissal Pitino has inserted freshman Quentin Snider (4 star 2014) into the starting lineup and he has gained confidence in his stroke the last few games. In the two games Louisville played last weekend, Snider was 4-7 from three point land and a big reason why the Cardinals avoided a first round upset as he scored 16 points versus UC Irvine.

Let’s recap Louisville’s season to get a clearer picture of what the Pack will face this coming Friday.

Recent Form: 

In the last 12 games Louisville has compiled a record of 8-4. The four losses have been to NC State, Syracuse, UNC, and Notre Dame. In this 12 game stretch the Cardinals have not beaten any team of promise besides Northern Iowa if you can call that a good win.

Who to Watch: 

Terry Rozier #0 6-1 190 lbs. SG: Rozier has been the go to man for the Cards all season as he leads their team in scoring at 17.2 per contest. Louisville depends on Rozier to shoulder the scoring load from the outside; however, Terry has proven to be an inefficient scorer. Thus far he is shooting  42 % from the field and an even worse clip from beyond the arc at 31%. The way Terry scores is by attacking the paint and finding his way to the free throw line where he’s 78 percent shooter.  One thing that Rozier excels at is in his effort. He goes 100 percent every time he steps onto the court and his rebounding numbers support this fact as he averages a shade over 5 per game, despite being one of the smaller guys on the court. Louisville becomes a top 10 team when Rozier is in the groove but struggles offensively when he is kept in check.

Montrezl Harrell #24 6-8 240 lbs. PF: The emotional leader of Rick Pitino’s squad is without question Montrezl Harrell as he plays with outstanding energy and effort. He is ultra athletic playing above the rim and using his combination of quickness and leaping ability to hunt the paint as well as the glass. Louisville loves to use Harrell in different spots to make the most of his versatility. Don’t be surprised to find Harrell catch the ball at the top of the key for an isolation play or see Harrell ignite the fast break by bringing the ball up the court himself. On the season he is averaging 15.4 PPG and 9.2 RPG. One of Harrell’s weakness is that he sometimes settles for long jump shots which is not his strength; however, when his does not settle and is locked in few if any in the college ranks are more difficult to stop at the rim.

Rick Pitino: We cannot underestimate the effects that a leader who has won multiple NCAA Championships can have on a game with a week to prepare. Pitino become the first coach to win two NCAA Championships with two different schools and has used his uptempo style of play to wreak havoc on opponents for the past 30 plus years. The man’s sweet 16 record is an astonishing 11-1!

Style of Play: 

Louisville will not hide their cards as they will play their brand of basketball which is uptempo and packed with pressure. The Cardinals believe in speeding up their opponents through full court pressure and using the turnovers forced to create quick buckets. However sometimes their press has the opposite effect which can be just as crippling in the way it can slow a team down. Many teams that have faced Louisville this season have been so cautious in guarding against turnovers that they don’t attack the press for easy baskets. This can wear a team down mentally as they are just getting into their offense as the shot clock is at 25 seconds.

The two man game is a big part of their offense as Pitino likes to match Rozier and Harrell up on the pick and roll. These two are both equipped to score the ball and can create lots of space as Harrell must be respected as not only rolling to the basket but spotting up for a jump shot. As Rozier and Harrell garner so much attention in the two man game others must keep track of Wayne Blackshear who is an adequate spot up shooter from three. This team doesn’t have any cool hand Luke’s anymore but the others must be respected.

Summary: 

This Louisville team is not as dominat of a squad as Pitino has had in recent years but nonetheless a capable group with talent. On the season the Cards have compiled a record of 26-8 in large part because of their defense. The defensive end is where the Cardinals hang their hats as they rank in the top 20 in a couple of defensive team stats including RPG (38.2), SPG (8.3), and BPG (5.5). Louisville is more than capable of losing when teams attack their pressure with good guard play and take care of the ball. If a team is loose with the basketball it only fuels the Cardinals press and allows them to hide their less than stellar half court offense. The reason State beat Louisville in February is because they protected the basketball and looked to score against the press. It will be critical that the Pack come out focused and survive the first 10 minutes of the game come Friday.

 

 

 

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

Can’t believe the sweet 16 game is merely hours away. Our front court better be ready to step up. There were a lot of whistles in the Thursday games which has me a bit concerned. I think we’re going to need all 4 of our BIGs to step up for this game. Boxing out, rebounding, defending, scoring. My guess is that Anya will pick up some quick fouls which means that Abu and Freeman will have to play extended minutes with Kyle coming in for 8-10 minutes. It’s about time for Turner to shake off the poor 2 of 12… Read more »

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

We seem to have an interesting mix of recruits on this team: Cat – 4-5 star Lacey – 4-5 star Abu – 4 star Anya – 4 star Kyle – 4 star Caleb – 4 star Cody – 4 star Turner – 3-4 star Freeman – 3 star Dez – 2-3 star So for anyone thinking that we don’t have the talent/experience of other teams I beg to differ. We won’t match the recruiting power of Kentucky but our average is 4 star which has to be way above the last 30 year average. My hope for State was to… Read more »

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

2 teams playing their best backetball this season. It will be a fun matchup.

grggaertner07
grggaertner07
9 years ago

Interesting analysis.   As we all know, NCSU has not been static in its game either.   Since playing Lville, NCSU’s team has witnessed the emergence of a more well-rounded inside game.

On a side note, please edit the word ‘dominate’.    It should read ‘dominant’ in the context of the sentence.   thanks!

NC State Basketball

NC State & Kansas Will Play a Home-and-Home Series Over the Next 2 Seasons in Men’s Basketball

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According to Matt Norlander, NC State and Kansas have agreed to play in a home-and-home series over the next two seasons in Men’s Basketball.

The Wolfpack have played the Jayhawks 13 times in a series that date backs to 1958-59, with Kansas winning 12 of them. NC State’s lone victory over Kansas was in the first game ever played between the two on December 20th, 1958. The 4th ranked Wolfpack won 66-63 in the Dixie Classic in Reynolds Coliseum.

The last time the two teams faced one another was in 2022-23, when the #3 Jayhawks defeated the Wolfpack 80-74 in the Battle for Atlantis on November 23, 2022.

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NC State Basketball

NC State is Adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach

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According to reports, NC State is adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach.

Nelson was only at UMASS for 1 season under Frank Martin. Prior to that, Nelson was the Head Coach at Holy Cross for 4 seasons, posting a 27-84 record.

Prior to taking the Head Coaching mantle at Holy Cross, Nelson was at Marquette for 5 seasons, spending the first 3 as an Assistant Coach, and the final two as an Associate Head Coach. Prior to Marquette, Nelson also served as an Assistant Coach at Ball St., Drake, Arkansas and Marshall.

Before coaching basketball, Nelson played for the University of Florida from 1999-2003. He was All-SEC twice, and earned Third Team All-American honors. When he left Gainesville, he was the Gators’ all-time leader in three pointers made, and ranked 2nd in steals.

As a Senior in High School, Nelson was a McDonald’s All-American.

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross Announces He is Returning to NC State

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Power Forward Ernest Ross announced this morning that he is returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

 

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Last Friday, Ross committed to UTSA after entering the Transfer Portal on April 17th, but it looks like he had a change of heart over the past couple of days.

NC State has been in desperate need to add a Big out of the Portal. They have hosted ECU’s Ezra Ausar and Georgia’s Frank Anselem-Ibe, but neither of them have found a home yet. With the addition of Ross, NC State has added depth in the Frontcourt, and unless something changes, their roster is full with 13 scholarship players.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

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NC State Basketball

A Matchup Between NC State & Marquette Next Season Might be in the Works

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According to NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, a matchup between NC State and Marquette next season might be in the works.

This past year, the Wolfpack defeated the Golden Eagles 67-58 in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

NC State and Marquette have played one another 6 times overall, with the Wolfpack holding a 4-2 lead in the series, winning the past two matchups.

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