- Louisville’s pressure defense makes the Cardinals. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, after Sunday’s game, said they make teams have multiple decision-makers against the press. Eventually, the ball finds somebody who doesn’t make a good decision. The Shockers probably have more solid decision-makers than most teams in the backcourt. You feel reasonably good, to varying degrees, with the ball in the hands of Malcolm Armstead, Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Demetric Williams and Tekele Cotton. Can they make good decisions at the speed will Louisville will try to impose? Will the freshmen look like freshmen for the first time in the tournament? Those are Louisville’s goals.
- Ohio State, which is not a pressing team, got to WSU late in the game and fatigue played a role. WSU’s bench players are playing reduced minutes in the tournament – Williams, a senior, played 15 minutes against La Salle and seven against Ohio State. Louisville coach Rick Pitino will notice this. The long timeouts in the NCAA Tournament help fatigue, somewhat. But Louisville will try to exploit that by pressuring, whether that shows up in the first five minutes of the game or the last. Northern Iowa and Illinois State both committed 22 turnovers against Louisville.
- Louisville’s pressure is different from VCU’s. It’s similar enough for WSU to take heart in the fact it committed 13 turnovers at VCU. That, perhaps, is a good sign. Louisville is bigger than VCU, and equally quick. WSU can stay in the game with 13 turnovers, as long as they limit the “atomic bombs” that turn into layups and dunks.
- Louisville isn’t a great three-point shooting team (32.8 percent and 31.3 in Big East games). It needs baskets in the lane off penetration, turnovers and fast breaks. Louisville made 10 of 43 threes against UNI and Illinois State, suggesting MVC defense can stop them on the perimeter. Can the Shockers stop them inside the arc?