So remember how I said Kyle Kuric wouldn't play tonight for Louisville? Well, I was wrong. And unfortunately, having Kuric in the lineup was a big reason why Louisville beat the Panthers, sending Pitt to their 8th straight loss.
Kuric scored 21 points off the bench on seven of 12 shooting, including five of nine from three-point range. How Pitt still failed to continue to pick up Kuric on the perimeter was baffling. A few initial breakdowns can be excused, but after the first few shots, Pitt should have made adjustments on defense and they didn't.
The interior defense was just absolutely torched. Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan dominated Talib Zanna and Dante Taylor. The Cardinals also made it to the free throw line 20 times, as opposed to just six (of which, they made only one) for the Panthers. Peyton Siva seemingly was able to get inside at will, especially in the second half. In what has become a common theme, this team cannot defend in transition. A Louisville steal almost always resulted in a made basket for the Cardinals. This Pitt team cannot get back fast enough to defend transition offenses.
Offensively, Pitt just looked lost. They started out strong, leading by as many as six at one point in the first half, but things soon unraveled. Guys were not spacing out well or moving to get open for shots. Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman made a note of that often in the second half during the broadcast.
The return of Travon Woodall didn't stop the team from making the same mistakes we've seen throughout the entire season. Poor shot selection, sloppy ball handling, and turnovers (18 of them, to be exact) were the norm. And now, rebounding is even hurting the Panthers. Pitt failed to box out Dieng, who had nearly half of Louisville's rebounds, and the Panthers lost the rebounding battle, 30-27.
A bright spot, if you're looking for one, was the play of Lamar Patterson. Patterson has been criticized for his play recently and his offensive woes. But he shot six of nine from the field and, along with Ashton Gibbs, led Pitt in scoring with 14 points. He really started off strong and was solid handling the ball, recording seven assists against only one turnover. Gibbs had a decent night with those 14 points, but he shot only 5-13, including four of ten from behind the arc.
Providence comes to town on Wednesday. This is also the same Friars squad that put a beat down on Louisville last week, so there's that. Top it all off with the fact that Pitt struggles when they play Providence to begin with and...yeah, it could be a rough one.