Game Time: 7:00 PM
Head Coach: Kenny Payne (1st Season)
Current Record: 2-16 (0-7 in ACC)
Last Game: 59-80 L vs UNC
Top Player: G El Ellis (17.7 ppg)
By all accounts, Louisville has been one of the worst teams in college basketball this season. The Chris Mack era, which started very promising with a tournament appearance in his first year followed by a number one ranking early in the next, was derailed by COVID, and never recovered. Enter long-time assistant Kenny Payne, a member of the 1986 national champion Louisville squad. Payne had previous stops with Oregon in the mid 2000s, Kentucky under Calipari, and most recently with the Knicks. After incredible coaching stability for nearly 50 years between Denny Crum and Rick Pitino, Payne is now the fourth coach (2nd permanent) to lead the Cardinals in the last 6 seasons.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
- Take care of business - The Cardinals are a reeling program. As long as Pitt plays an average game they should come out of here with another win.
- Don’t let Ellis beat them - El Ellis is basically Louisville’s only ball handler. He’s the only one on the team averaging more than 1 assist per game. Because of such high usage, he is prone to a lot of turnovers.
- Create separation - What Louisville lacks in guard play, they make up for in length. They have seven players who are 6’8” or taller. And while none of them are really skilled shot-blockers, you still want to be prepared to shoot over their length. I’m looking for Nelly Cummings to have a big night with his mid-range step-backs.
Pitt is going to win and hopefully it is by a lot.