For roughly the last 50 years, Louisville has usually been anywhere from good to great to national championship level.
That’s why its 0-9 start this season seems almost incomprehensible, even with a new coach and a talent level nowhere near what it has been. And the Cardinals seem to be climbing uphill to keep it from being 0-10 when they host Western Kentucky on Wednesday night.
Louisville’s major problem has been an utter lack of offense. Of 363 Division I teams, they rank 360th in scoring (56.9 points per game) and field-goal percentage (37.2). They turn the ball over more than twice as much as they assist (17 giveaways, eight assists per game), giving the Cardinals the third-worst assist-turnover ratio in Division I.
Per Kenpom.com, the Cardinals’ turnover rate of 24.4 per 100 possessions ranks 357th in Division I. And their effective field-goal percentage of 42.4 percent is 348th.
None of those ratings were improved Saturday by a 75-53 loss at Florida State, a one-win team entering the day.
Louisville trailed by as many as 24 in the second half and has lost its last six games by an average of 25.2 points per game.
“Each and every player (has) got to look at theirself in the mirror to see what they can do better and go out there in practice and try and change it and bring it over to the game,” said guard Mike James.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers (8-1) are coming off a 64-60 home win Saturday night against Wright State. Dayvion McKnight pumped in a game-high 32 points along with four steals in helping Western Kentucky overcome 3-for-18 shooting from 3-point range.
“They were setting me up in the right position and I felt like I just executed well tonight,” McKnight said.
McKnight averages team highs of 14.3 points and 5.3 assists for the balanced Hilltoppers, who score 76.9 points per game and limit opponents to 39 percent shooting. Part of the reason is 7-foot-5 center Jamarion Sharp, who leads Division I in blocked shots at 4.8 per game.
Western Kentucky’s only loss was a 72-53 decision to Akron last month in the Cayman Islands Classic.
–Field Level Media