▪ Old Dominion committed 22 turnovers in Wednesday’s 68-62 overtime loss to Louisville and missed 17 of 32 foul shots.
This game will likely turn on Wichita State’s ability to handle Louisville’s man to man press. If the Shockers can beat it, and score, the Cardinals will back off. If the Shockers can beat it, they rob Louisville of offensive oxygen — layups and dunks after steals.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
ODU fell behind 7-0 and didn’t make its first basket until 7:40 elapsed. It turned the ball over five times in the first 4:30 and looked thoroughly rattled. Once the Monarchs regained their composure, they played evenly.
The Cardinals force turnovers on 23.4 percent of possessions, a rate that kenpom.com ranks No. 32 nationally.
Louisville shot 29.7 percent from the field against ODU and for the season is shooting 45.8 percent from two-point range, ranking No. 247 among 351 NCAA teams at kenpom.com.
Making the Cardinals play against an organized half-court defense is critical.
▪ The Shockers committed 11 turnovers in the 2013 Final Four loss to the Cardinals.
That was a more experienced team, run by senior guard Malcolm Armstead, who had seven assists and three turnovers. The Shockers know how to handle Louisville’s pressure. It’s been done before. Executing it with different players, however, is the issue for Thursday.
Ron Baker played 33 minutes in 2013 with one turnovers. Cleanthony Early played 37 minutes without a turnover. Fred VanVleet committed three in 23 minutes.
▪ The one concern coach Gregg Marshall mentioned after Wednesday’s rout of LSU — a few bad shots in the first half.
That can’t happen against Louisville. The Cardinals will turn those into layups and dunks.
▪ Louisville, because of its national name, got a bad draw.
The Shockers, of course, are duty-bound to exploit this circumstance.
AXS TV wanted the Cardinals for its prime-time broadcast. So the Cardinals finished their overtime game at 11 p.m. (Central) and will play at 1:30 p.m. WSU played at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
None of the Shockers played more than 23 minutes. Louisville’s Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell played 40 and Quentin Snider 39.
“We realize that we have a major disadvantage,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “We won’t have any preparation at all and we know that. They (WSU) are a great team with a great defensive philosophy; they come in 12 deep.”
While certainly both coaching staffs started scouting reports on possible opponents before the tournament, the Cardinals do face a time crunch in teaching and preparing for the Shockers (and their many set plays), in addition to weary legs and minds.
“We’re going to have to show great heart,” Pitino said. “We’re going to get to bed at 1:30 (a.m. Eastern) and we’ll be up early. These guys are in great shape and it’s not going to bother them.”
▪ Louisville sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell is the key guy. He took over Wednesday’s game late, scoring seven of his 15 points in overtime. He missed 11 of his first 12 shots and Pitino wasn’t pleased with his shot selection.
“He played great in the second half,” Pitino said. “In the first half, he was trying to win a game of HORSE. When he found it wasn’t HORSE, he played great.”
▪ You could have an interesting discussion on where this game ranks on WSU’s list of important non-conference games of recent vintage.
Playing a marquee opponent on ESPN is a rare treat. While there is competition from football, almost everybody who pays attention to college basketball will monitor this game. If the Shockers win, it’s a huge boost to their national standing.
No. 10 Louisville is WSU’s highest-ranked regular-season opponent since a 2015 game against No. 10 Northern Iowa. It is WSU’s highest-ranked regular-season non-conference opponent since playing No. 5 Michigan State in 2008.
The Shockers don’t get these opportunities often.
▪ WSU is playing at a faster tempo in these early games to take advantage of its depth and athletic ability. This game will be a test of that. Louisville wants to play fast. ODU helped itself when it made it a halfcourt game.
“Their pace, for starters, was not something we’re used to,” Mitchell said. “When they slow it down, it kind of threw us off a little bit. Not every team is going to want to play up and down.”
▪ A word about the box score.
There were three versions — the unofficial one, the first official one, and the final one that WSU’s Bryan Holmgren put together on Wednesday night by going through the play by play after the official box didn’t add up.
A computer crash caused problems for the stat crew early in the game. In these tournaments, it’s often inexperienced crews running things and entering stats in a computer for two unfamiliar teams can be confusing.
▪ Watching: ESPN, ESPN3.com
▪ Listening: KEYN, 103.7-FM, goshockers.com
WSU vs. No. 10 Louisville
- When: 1:30 p.m. Thursday
- Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas
- Records: WSU 5-0, UL 4-0
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- TV: ESPN
Battle 4 Atlantis
At Paradise Island, Bahamas
Wichita State 82, LSU 47
Baylor 71, VCU 63
Michigan State 73, St. John’s 62
Louisville 68, Old Dominion 62
Baylor vs. Michigan State, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Wichita State vs. Louisville, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)
VCU vs. St. John’s, 6 p.m. (AXS TV)
LSU vs. Old Dominion, 8:30 p.m. (AXS TV)
Third place, noon (ESPN/ESPN2)
Championship, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)
Fifth place, 6 p.m. (AXS TV)
Seventh place, 8:30 p.m. (AXS TV)
No. 10 Louisville vs. Wichita State
Lousiville (4-0): Louisville’s 29.7- percent shooting against Old Dominion was its worst in a win, beating a 30.2-percent performance against Memphis in 2005.… Louisville leads the series 20-5 and defeated WSU 72-68 in the 2013 Final Four. Russ Smith scored 21 points in that game and Luke Hancock added 20 for the Cardinals, who won the NCAA title two nights later. … The Cardinals defeated Long Beach State 88-56 on Nov. 17. They forced 19 turnovers and held the 49ers, a common opponent with WSU, to 29.5-percent shooting.
Wichita State (5-0): WSU trailed for 51 seconds in its first five games. … The Shockers are 12-12 against ranked teams under coach Gregg Marshall, 4-4 against the top 10. … The Shockers out-rebounded LSU by 19 on Wednesday, grabbing a season-high 55 rebounds. … WSU is 24 of 42 from three-point range (57.1 percent) from three-point range in its past two games and 41.1 percent for the season.