Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions For Louisville Report's Sam Draut
Falling 68-64 in their last outing against Louisville, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-13, 5-8 ACC) are primed for a rematch with #5 Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 6-1 ACC), this time at McCamish Pavilion. Tipoff is scheduled for tomorrow night at 8:00pm EST.
Ahead of tomorrow's conference matchup, All Yellow Jackets sat down with Louisville Report's Sam Draut to find out more about the Cardinals.
1. With a 10-game win streak, is Louisville finally opening at their full potential?
Louisville’s current winning streak is its longest ever in the Atlantic Coast Conference (six seasons) and longest conference win streak in 37 years. The Cardinals’ depth has carried the team in the past month, seemingly every player has contributed in a game or two. Despite its best start in the ACC in program history, Louisville still suffers from scoring droughts and fluctuations of energy that effect defensive intensity.
2. A key part of their run as of late has been the 3 pointer. How have they been able to take it to the next level?
Louisville is fourth in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 40.4 percent. The Cardinals have made nine or more 3-pointers in 15 games this season, including 10 of the last 14 games. Eleven different players have made shots from behind the arc this season for Louisville, so there are typically several perimeter threats on the floor at the same time. Jordan Nwora (44.1 percent) and Ryan McMahon (46.1 percent) have each made over 50 3-pointers while Darius Perry and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble have combined to make 40 shots from behind the arc as ball handlers.
3. Who has stepped up the most as the regular season winds down?
David Johnson has made the biggest difference for Louisville following the turn of the new year. The freshman is averaging 8.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field over his last eight games. Johnson has six or more assists in three of the last seven games. The 6-foot-5 point guard is 4 of 11 on 3-point attempts in 20 games.
4. What was the mood like after snapping their losing streak to Virginia?
Louisville ended a nine-game losing streak to Virginia Feb. 8. The Cardinals’ 44 points in the first half against Virginia were the most points allowed by Virginia in a first half since Washington scored 55 points in 2010. Beating Virginia might be more of a mental hurdle or proverbial “weight off your shoulders” considering several frustrating losses during the streak.
5. Does this team feel primed to make a run for the ACC Championship and Final Four?
Louisville, along with Duke and Florida State are established as the top tier of teams in the ACC. The Cardinals have depth and talent in place to compete for the ACC Championship and a potential run in the NCAA tournament, but finding consistency is the next step for the team.
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