Miami v Louisville

No. 2 Louisville loses starting center Gorgui Dieng to a broken wrist

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To say the least it was not a good weekend for Louisville fans in regards to news about key players and wrist injuries.

On Saturday it was starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who broke his left wrist, and on Sunday night it was announced by the program that the basketball team will be without an important player for the foreseeable future.

Starting center Gorgui Dieng, who sat out the Cardinals’ loss to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game with the wrist injury, broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist taking a charge in Friday’s semifinal against Missouri.

According to the school release Dieng will see a hand specialist on Monday, and he’ll determine the timeframe of Dieng’s recovery.

Dieng, who was on the preseason lists for both the Wooden and Naismith awards, is averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest for the 5-1 Cardinals, who are off until Saturday when they host Illinois State.

Losing their best interior defender is a tough blow for the Cardinals, especially if Dieng were to be out until the start of Big East play. Louisville still has non-conference games against Memphis (December 15) and Kentucky (December 29), and that December 4 contest against College of Charleston shouldn’t be overlooked either.

But Rick Pitino isn’t lacking for depth. Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell and Stephen Van Treese all saw action in the Bahamas, and now they’ll be asked to do more. If they’re ready for more responsibility the Cardinals should be in good shape, especially when considering perimeter weapons such as Peyton Siva and Russ Smith.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.