Louisville thrives as the streakiest team in the country

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For 30 minutes of Saturday afternoon’s 74-69 loss to No. 16 Louisville, No. 12 Syracuse was the best team on the floor.

The Orange took a 26-19 lead with five minutes left in the first half, and for the final 15 minutes of the game, Syracuse outscored Louisville 32-16.

The problem?

Those middle ten minutes. Over the last five minutes of the first half, the Cardinals outscored Syracuse 21-4. Over the first five minutes of the second half, Louisville went on a 17-7 run. All told, the Cardinals outscored Syracuse 38-11 during that ten minute stretch.

And that is precisely why Louisville is such a dangerous team.

I said this on twitter during the game, but there is not a more “spurtable” team in the country than Louisville. They thrive on momentum, but there is more to it than that. Louisville is a pressing team, and a press is much more effective off of a made basket than off of a miss. When they score, they are a much better defensive team. Force a turnover, get an easy bucket, and all of a sudden the Cardinals are energized and their opponent is flustered.

Louisville is also a streaky team from beyond the arc. Their threes come in bunches. It seems like when one players can hit one or two, the entire team gets more confidence. It didn’t help matters that the Syracuse zone has proven to be utterly inept at defending the arc the past month.

The tendency of a team that is getting pressed is to rush, even when the press is broken and the ball gets over half court. Its takes quality point guard play to settle into an offensive possession, and the knock of Syracuse this season is that Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche are not great point guards.

Louisville is the kind of team that is never going to be out of a game. Between the multitude of three point shooters on their roster and the way this team buys into what Rick Pitino wants to do defensively, Louisville can overcome their lack of individual talent by playing as a team.

Imagine what will happen in the next couple of seasons when Pitino brings in some top level talent.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.