The scariest part of No. 1 seed Louisville’s 82-56 win over No. 8 seed Colorado State on Saturday afternoon has nothing to do with the 26 point margin.
It has nothing to do with the fact that Louisville scored 82 points on the Rams. It wasn’t that the Cardinals forced 19 turnovers against a team that ranked 18th in the country in turnover percentage, or that those 19 turnovers just so happened to be the number of field goals that Colorado State hit. It’s not the 24 points that the Cardinals scored off of those turnovers, or the 27 points that Russ Smith scored on 7-15 shooting from the floor, either.
No, the most terrifying part about Louisville on Saturday was that they did all of that on a night where Colorado State didn’t actually play all that poorly.
The Rams shot 46.3% from the floor, a number that was above 50% on the game until the final minutes and would look a lot better without Dorian Green’s 2-12 performance. When they got possession in the half court, they were able to execute and get fairly good looks at the rim. They made a lot of those fairly good looks, too.
The problem was that Colorado State simply could not get the ball into the front court.
They not only turned the ball over against Louisville, they gave-up live-ball turnovers; pick-sixes, if you will. The Cardinals would jump a passing lane or would pick a ball-handler’s pocket and it would be off to the races. It’s tough to mount a comeback against the best team in the country when you’re giving up uncontested layups on every other possession.
And that, at the end of the day, is really all you need to know.
Louisville thoroughly embarrassed a good basketball team on a night where that good basketball team didn’t play all that poorly.
That’s a bad sign for Oregon and St. Louis and Michigan State and everyone else that could end up standing in the way of the Cardinals.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.