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Getting to Know the Cardinals

Here is a little Q&A with Mike from Card Chronicles. Sounds like the Louisville Cardinals are going to be deep, which could be a huge problem for the Cats.


1. Tell us about your offense. Who are your main threats and what tempo will you try to create against Arizona?

U of L is about as balanced a team as you'll find in the country. Earl Clark is really the only guy on the roster who can be relied upon to hit double figures night in and night out. the versatility of Terrence Williams has been pretty well documented in recent weeks. He'll lead his team to victory by scoring (as he did against Siena) or not scoring (as he did against Morehead State). Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles are legitimate outside threats, but there really isn't another Cardinal whose three-point shooting prowess could be characterized as anything other than "streaky."

One of the strangest things about Louisville is that they aren't going to try and dictate pace. Because they've faced so many different styles in the Big East, they're comfortable playing at whatever speed their opponent wants. That said, they do utilize constant pressure at both ends of the floor in an attempt to steal cheap points, a tactic that generally leads to an up-tempo game.

2. What weaknesses (Please tell me) did Louisville have in their first and second round games?

The biggest weakness the Cards exhibited last weekend was the same one that has plagued the group all season: the lack of a killer instinct.

They're a loose bunch, but that looseness seems to be taken to a dangerous level when they build a lead up to eight or nine points in the second half.

We've seen over the last couple of weeks that Louisville is a team capable of making key, debilitating runs, but they still haven't figured out where the throat is. In both the Syracuse and Villanova Big East Tournament games, U of L opened up the second half with monster runs that helped them build a lead of around eight points, and then the margin hovered right around that area for the rest of the game.

I've yet to see these guys go on a big run to build a respectable lead and then smell blood and put the game completely out of reach. That worries me.

3. Arizona's bench has been atrocious all year. How many guys does Louisville usually rotate in the game and are they productive or just filler?

Louisville's greatest asset is its depth. At least nine players will see the floor on Friday, and aside from Jared Swopshire - who will (hopefully) see the floor briefly during the one or two minutes Earl Clark spends on the bench - all are capable of producing big-time performances.

Reserve point guard Edgar Sosa has been a partial starter in all three of his seasons at U of L, and famously scored 31 points as a freshman in the second round of the '07 NCAA Tournament. Shooting guard Preston Knowles has made a name for himself as a defensive stopper, but he also came out of nowhere to lead the Big East in three-point shooting this season. Terrence Jennings was one of the top recruits in the country last season, and his offensive ability has really started to catch up to his remarkable shot-blocking ability during the second half of the season. Then you have Swopshire and Reginald Delk, who was a starter at Mississippi State two years ago, but who is now stuck playing behind Terrence Williams, a guy who leaves the floor about as often as Gus Johnson

4. Arizona has continued to press even though they are short handed with depth. Will Louisville be able to break it?

I would hope so. Andre McGee and Sosa are both capable press-breakers and Williams and Clark are both terrific ballhandlers for their size. Siena pressed Louisville for 40 minutes and forced 17 turnovers, although few took place on the Saints' end of the floor.  

Arizona might very well be able to generate a handful of points off of its press, but I wouldn't expect it to play a determining role in the game's outcome.

5. The game is being held in Indianapolis on Friday. There are a lot of Arizona alum over the country, but this is definitely closer to your area. Are your fans going to have a strong showing?

Yes. Louisville fans have a terrific reputation as far as traveling goes, and with the team playing its third and potentially fourth NCAA Tournament games just two hours away, it's a safe bet that a bevy of U of L red will be swarming Indy. The good news for 'Zona fans is that Lucas Oil Stadium is about as intimate as a group Skype, so I can't see the fans having any real bearing on the game.