Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Louisville at Rutgers

by Ray Floriani

PISCATAWAY NJ - Sometimes things like this happen. You prepare, have good , productive practices and are ready mentally and physically. And you literally lay an egg. That was the case as Louisville defeated Rutgers 55-37 at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Pre-game warmups at the RAC

The efficiencies:


The all important first four minutes do not always send a portend of what might transpire. Tonight, the first four was on the money. The game’s complexion was dictated very early in that juncture before the first media time out.

At the 16 to go mark, Louisville had a 5-0 lead. The Cardinals had 7 possessions, two ending in turnovers but did knock down a two and three pointer and had a 71 offensive efficiency. On the other side, Rutgers came up totally empty. The result of their 6 possessions:

1. Turnover
2. Turnover
3. Turnover
4. Missed FGA
5. Missed FGA
6. 0 for 2 from the line.

Even a trip to the charity stripe yielded nothing. A bad sign for Mike Rice & co. Rutgers did not get on the scoreboard until Gilvydas Biruta scored in close with 5:11 gone in the game.

The Four Factors:


The First Four Revisited
The opening four minutes of the second half, Rutgers fared better with 6 points on 6 possessions (100 efficiency). The Cardinals had four points on their first five possessions (80 efficiency). Rutgers only trimmed two points off the Louisville lead. On the other hand a better start the second half gave added optimism. Trailing by 19 with three minutes left the opening half, the Scarlet Knights had gotten the deficit to a manageable dozen with 16 minutes remaining.

Self Destruction
Whenever the Scarlet Knights looked to make a run the final half, an open shot would not fall or another unforced turnover would rear its ugly head. Rutgers had a 30% TO rate. Credit Louisville defense, but a number of those 18 turnovers were Rutgers own undoing.

The Second Half Was Better
But not by much. The efficiencies in Rutgers case were consistently poor on the offensive end. The aspect allowing them to get within striking distance was defense. The defensive efficiency imposed on Louisville the second twenty minutes allowed Rutgers to keep Rick Pitino pacing the sidelines. But that offense…


opening tip from the press box vantage point.
A great view.

Louisville had the distinction of finishing the game with a better percentage from three than two point range. The Cardinals were 11 of 29 (38%) beyond the arc and 7 of 22 (32%) inside from two point range.

Preston Knowles paced the Louisville attack with 14 points (4 of 9 from three). Kyle kuric added 11 points on 3 of 7 from downtown. Terrence Jennings had a respectable 8 point 4 rebound showing inside.

Knowles and Kuric were both ‘crowd silencers’ for Louisville. Just when it appeared Rutgers might be headed for a run, one of the two would knock down a trey and silence the Scarlet Knight faithful and increase the Cardinal lead.

Rutgers was led by Gilvydas Birutas with 12 points 6 rebounds. The hard working freshman forward was a bright spot on an evening when nothing seemed to click for the Scarlet Knights.

Louisville is 21-7 and 10-5 in the Big East. Cards have won 20 games now for nine straight seasons. Rutgers falls to 13-14 (4-11). Louisville hosts Pitt on Sunday while Rutgers hosts west Virginia the same afternoon. Attendance was 5,633. Among the attendees was Howard ‘Garf” Garfinkel of Five Star Camp fame.

"If we beat ourselves (18 turnovers)
there is no way we wan beat a team like Louisville
or any team in the Big East for that matter" - Rutgers coach Mike Rice

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