Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions For Louisville Maven's Sam Draut
After playing their last two games down at McCamish Pavilion, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-10, 3-5 ACC) are back on the road for a matchup with the #6 Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 6-1 ACC) tomorrow night at 7:00pm EST.
Ahead of tomorrow's conference matchup, SI's Jackets Maven sat down with SI's Louisville Maven's Sam Draut to find out more about the Cardinals.
1. How has the point guard play improved since Fresh Kimble was inserted into the starting lineup?
Chris Mack changed the backcourt rotation after Louisville's overtime loss to Kentucky because he wanted freshman David Johnson to get more minutes earlier in the game. Johnson and Ryan McMahon, who started the first 13 games of the season, usually sub in following the first media timeout. Johnson was named ACC Freshman of the Week after an impressive performance against Duke, when he finished with 19 points and 7 assists. Kimble has been a steady presence as the team's point guard, which allows Darius Perry to play his more natural position as an off-ball guard. Kimble's assist-turnover ratio (2.20) ranks sixth in the ACC, and though he has struggled shooting (35.6 percent from the field), the graduate transfer has several big baskets late against Kentucky, Pitt and Duke.
2. Is Jordan Nwora as good as advertised?
Jordan Nwora has struggled in Louisville's two biggest "high-profile" games, going 2 of 10 from the field against Kentucky for eight points and 3 of 12 from the field for six points against Duke, but beyond those two performances, it's hard to deny his scoring ability. The junior has scored 20 or more points in 10 games this season and leads the ACC in scoring (19.6 points per game). He is shooting 42.7 percent from beyond the arc and his 353 points through 18 games is the second-most by a Louisville player through over the last 20 years. Mack stresses the importance of the 6-foot-8 forward being more than just a scorer, and Nwora has done so this season. He averages 7.4 rebounds and has improved defensively from a year ago.
3. What is the overall vibe of the team after going 3-0 on their last road trip and winning at Duke?
Louisville is certainly in a much different place after the three-game road trip compared to when it started. After consecutive losses to Kentucky and Florida State, the Cardinals had an uninspiring victory over Miami before starting the slate of road games. Louisville's win against Duke is undoubtedly the best win of the season thus far, if not Mack's best win in his two seasons at Louisville.
4. As complete as this team is, what is their main weakness?
Louisville still has plenty left to figure out. Scoring droughts have plagued the Cardinals and allowed opponents to get back into games. Louisville doesn't exactly have an offensive identity, Nwora is a great perimeter scorer while Johnson flashed his potential against Duke, but Louisville sporadically utilizes Steven Enoch's low-post scoring ability.
5. What is head coach Chris Mack's assessment of this team halfway through the season?
Mack has emphasized toughness and consistency as qualities his team still needs to develop, which starts with defensive effort and rebounding.
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