#153 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #12 R.P.I. Louisville:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball sojourns over to the bluegrass state to play one of the two bluegrass state hardwood factory type of schools. This on a rarefied Sunday night regional Atlantic Coast TeeVee looksee at 6 PM on the ACCNetwork (check: local listings).
The Hokies draw a Cardinal squad that is pretty well back intact from 2019-2020. Whereas most of our 2019-2020 Buzzketball club is pretty well gone. And that’s pretty much how you do the south of pretty maths here folks. As the Louisville Cardinals check-in at a downright shiny looking 23 up and 6 down (on: 14-4 inside the A.c.c. or in a two-way tie (with F.s.u.) for first place at .778 on the year). Or in other words, the last thing the Cardinal can afford is for the Hokiebird to clip their nesting wings with a highly upsetting L in this one. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is who is gonna win and by how much; right? So read on, to find… outs!
Louisville Head Coach: Christopher Lee Mack: age=5o, 41–18 (.695) overall,
256-115 (.690) at Louisville.
Baby Mack was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in North College Hill, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. He graduated in 1988 from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where he was named 1987–88 Cincinnati Post Metro Basketball Player of the Year.
Baller and 6′5″ Mack continued on to the University of Evansville, where he played basketball for two seasons. He then transferred to Xavier University in 1990, where he played his final two seasons of eligibility (after redshirting one for transfer rules) and graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in Communication Arts. 7.2 ppg at Evansville and not much after that at Xavier. Though still yet… that’s 7.3 ppg more than you and me (combined).
Coach Mack Mack started his coaching career as junior varsity head coach at McAuley High School, an all-girls high school in Cincinnati, in 1993. In 1995, Mack was named head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team at Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading, Ohio, where he received the 1996 Coach of the Year award from the Cincinnati Post.
Coach Mack then went back to Xavier and later to Wake Forest as an assistant coach. Then he landed the big-whistle job at his secondary alma matter of Xavier. Where he only went for this… Big East Coach of the Year (2018), Henry Iba Award (2016), Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (2011) and the very interesting Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award (2011). Dang. Impress much? Coach Mack has never had an L’ing season as a big whistle at any level. His bottom year was 17 wins and he went to the big dance 90% of the time at Xavier. And although he curiously only holds one conference crown to his credit, coach (big) Mack also holds: 1 final-4, one Elite-8, and not less than 4 Sweet-sixteens behind that. Or in other words… this is (apparently) a big-time post-season pressure-cooker-coach. Then last March Coach Mack inked a very fiscally lucrative seven-year deal at basketball factory Louisville that flirts with nearly $30 XL before it’s all said and won.
Coach Mack is known for his physically brash style, man-to-man D, rebounding, and offensive freedom (i.e. he doesn’t call as many sideline plays); in his signature ½-court O.
The Mack daddy is married to the former Christi Hester, a Louisville native and former University of Dayton and Holy Cross guard (1996–2000). They have three children and resided in Northern Kentucky before he took the Louisville position. In 2017, he earned an honorary degree from Arizona State after beating Arizona in the NCAA tournament.
UofL at a glance:
- 18th thriftiest in FG-percentage D allowed!
- 18th best in 3-point percentage O!
- 21st in Rebounding Margin!
(very tight (18th) in the Defensive-glass)
- 36th in 3-point percentage allowed!
- 314th in Steals. (stay in front of your man!)
- L’ville enjoys not less than a whopping 19 D-1 Team metrics ranked 98th or better (outta 31)! With only two metrics ranked 228th or worse! (i.e. this is a very educated looking club)
- (however, there are 3-injuries listed here… Coach God thrice bless!)
Cards Returning Starters=4
- VERY deep team gents… been pretty dang close to Very Blessed by Coach God with nearly very-good health all year long. (i.e. 7 of the Top-9 have played every single game and 2 others in the Top-9 have played virtually every single game… i.e.e. you won’t see too many teams this far along as gelling goes at this typically dinged/dented -if not debilitated- time of the year).
- Not to mention being the MOST experienced P5 team in all the land— per Chris Coleman’s quality find on the pay MB of TSL.com.
- One #33, 6′7″ and 225 lbs. Jordan Nwora is a third-year baller that has (somehow) grown 2″ and found ~20 lbs. since he was a freshmenic baller. And yah; me neither on understanding that. However, I do understand that leading Louisville in scoring typically leads to $coring a pretty good life for one’s self more often than not. 17.9 ppg with a near team pacing 7.4 rpg and likewise first-best team-wide in swipes (.9 spg) almost surely codes for: Team M.V.P. Now mix in 40.8% long with 44.1% overall on 81.3% FTA’s and you’ve got a pretty good overall offensive weapon on your hands. Now mix in some chin-zen and a nearly Jersey Shore looking blowout ‘fro and you’ve got a very interesting peep on your hands. And Jordan was also a member of the 2018 All-A.c.c. Academic Team. So L’ville.edu props on that! This from a kid with sharpshooting and rebounding scholastic markers where he was only the no.54 ESPN baller who only won basically any and all New England and/or Manhattan accolades you can name. Foreshadowing intended indeed. With a state title as a high school Jr. to back dat up. He would most like to meet Beyoncé and he says his best basketball advice is: “to always work your hardest.” Well alrighty then… as Jordan has been a hot player of late mind yah. And daddy Nwora has been the head men’s basketball coach at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y. since 1999. Pops played basketball at Daemen College, where he is the career rebounding leader with 1,104 rebounds ranks sixth in career scoring with 1,514 points (1989-93). So, the “coaches son” family-tree sprouts hoops here indeed. And oh, by the way… Lindy’s only picked Jordan as their A.c.c. Player of the Year and their A.c.c. Most Versatile. That’s all…
- Virtually 7′, 255 lb. Steven Enoch is a true-C who honestly does not look it. Especially on the tipping the Toledo’s (weight) metric. As no wonder, Stevie cut right at a 10-lb. plate from last year. Nevertheless, this r-Sr. year Transfer Five from the University of Connecticut was the no.44 baller nationally per Scout and Enoch was the 2014-15 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Where he routinely tabbed high-teens in both scoring and rebounding alike. Right now he’s at 9.4 ppg with 5.4 rpg and a send back (block). This on 52.7% shooting from a kid with a wingspan (7′4″) who was a latecomer to roundball and said to be still developing. Tho’ his improving 32% 3-ball and now reasonable looking 74.1% from the charity-stripe makes you wonder what Enoch would be had he taken to the hardwood prior to high school itself? (tho’ the whispers say he has one helluva a Sports Jersey collection up in Norwalk, Conn.)
- Dwayne Sutton goes 6′5″ and 222 lbs. as an undersized r-Sr. year P/F-Wing. He of the double walk-on, once transferred (U.N.C.-Asheville) finally earned a U of L schollie last spring fame baller. Great on him as every team needs an overachieving worker-bee feel-good story such as Dwayne who relentlessly drones on and on and on. Sutton spearheads L’ville in caroms with a downright smart-looking 8.3 rpg, on 9.3 ppg and an acceptable 35% from beyond the arc. As he did average 13 ppg and 6 rpg as a walk-on rookie at U.N.C.-Asheville; where he did most of his damage close to the rim. And yes, he three is a Louisville homeboy. He’s also a sleeper Most Improved A.c.c. candidate and Sutton’s been setting career highs recently as well. In particular, when taken on a vertical inch-by-inch basis, D.Sut’ is getting a lot outta what Coach God gave him in vertical terms.
- 6′, 185 lb. r-Sr. Ryan McMahon -who looks a bit physically stronger this year- is a shooting specialist at off-G. 8.7 ppg off of a near eight-percent betterment from last year with 42.7% this season from beyond the arc is no bad thing. Ryan was the somewhat overlooked 2015 AAA Florida Player of the Year. With McMahon said to be a Baltic Avenue man’s Mark Price lyte. Ry’ has found about 10 lbs. of much needed right-mass since we saw him last. Although he’s suffered through a twice-broken left-rib in his collegiate career (may St.Adam bless). And McMahon does have a Paxon brother history of late-game long-distance heroic clutch makes. He also has a sporting family pedigree, what with his father (Dave) who played basketball at Valparaiso, his mother (Kim) played volleyball and his sister who also volleyed at Jacksonville. As try as we might, you still can’t coach Hite… or height yet again. And it should be noted that Ryan has improved basically his all-around game each and every year. Would that we could all say that. Ditto saying 92.8% or first best in the Atlantic Coast in FT-shooting! i.e. you don’t let this guy make one in a game of 21.
- 6′11″, 245 lbs., and fourth-leading scorer (8.8 ppg) Malik Williams is a P/F-C frontcourt combo’ for the Cards who are prolly holding a full house almost anywhere else. What with 6.3 rpg on a useful 50.3% shooting from the floor with a block, a steal and right at 30% from trifecta-land. Although right now he is holding onto his injured left-ankle (St.Phillip bless). This is a bad injury at a bad stretch run time. That went from an initial: ‘day-to-day’ to a “doubtful” to a likely to miss a significant amount of playing time. Which makes you wonder if anything else happened after the 2-minute mark last time out vs. F.s.u.? This from a sturdy physical looking big whose presence of his absence may show-out in more than just a little bit box-score wise. As Malik is one of those heavy-industry glue-guys who does all the little things just right for coach Mack. As who does not need a rebounding rim-protector who can also score when he wants it? (UPDATE: I’m not sure how to score this scoop… tho’ Malik himself now says that he: “…could be back any day now…”, time=tell either way…)
- “ahhhhhhhhhhh, errrrrrrrrrr, ahhhhhhhhhh”… not much. Seriously. This is a stfff looking team stem to stern. Viagra all over.
- Louisville departed 3-guys from last season, all G’s and yet their combined 16 ppg were the realm of a part-timer and two caddies. So, even if the backcourt seems a mite slender here everyone else would love to have Louisville’s One through Three foibles.
- Back-up Off-G Josh Nickelberry (.9 ppg, right-ankle-sprain (may St.Philip help)) and caddying P/F and Ireland imported Aidan Igiehon (6′1o″, 241 lbs., 1 ppg 1.1 rpg with a bum-shoulder (St.Christopher bless) are both said to be due back early-on in March.
- That’s about it, and ‘yes’ I did shop about a bit here trying to detect a credible point of attack.
Cardinals Bench: (depth=4 to 8 deeps!)
Basically a 4-Guard bench lives here, which is quite the contrast to the singular (only one true)-G Cardinal starting-5.
Darius Perry 6′2″ and 196 lb. back-up second-year One. Perry drops you 5.4 ppg in relief with a couple of rebounds and just south of three assists. Perry was merely the no.52 kid outta after his Wheeler High School win in the Georgian Class AAAAAA state championship run per ESPN. He did start off-n-on last year and the expectations are higher than the current productions are here. Although his 40% from downtown is none too low, and being on the All-A.c.c. Academic Team is never a bad thing. L.ville.edu props insert (______) here, check; for a lead-G who is said to be able to score inside and out.
6′5″ and 210 lb., rookie or nugget year David Johnson was No. 76 in the land according to ESPN this time last year. And he arrives with some pretty stacked-up expectations let me tell you. Accordingly, 6.4 ppg, with 2.7 rpg and 2.7 apg is neither really here nor there. Although his 22% from deep could use some off-season lengthening. This is a bit of a surprise, as David enjoyed a 3-point shooting rep’ and a tag’ of a player who takes a shine to the spotlight itself in bigger games while winning a State Title over in hometown, homegrown, homespun (Louisville) Kentucky last season. The rep’ here is that of a versatile guy who can slide over in either backcourt direction. From the One to the Two or from Shooting-G back to Pt.Guard just the same. Tho’ Johnson has had a few knee dings and dents along the way (may St.Nikhon bless), he is cut from a Professional family tree. Per F, Ray Spalding (his cousin), who played with the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.
Lamarr “fresh” Kimble is a 5′12″ and 185 lb., graduate transfer who was a three-time captain and two-year starter at Saint Joseph’s University. And he has the freshest handle on the team. Did I mention his nickname, yet? As you had better be pretty dang “fresh” if you wanna gloss that. Lamarr’s Keystone school (Neumann-Goretti High School) of Philly fame had won five, that’s (5) AAA state championships in six-seasons and Kimble only pocked two blings there. So, the kid is from a winning background and is no stranger to winning itself. And that’s a pretty shrewd g-Transfer to pine-squad pick-up. As virtually 16 ppg with 4 rpg and 3 apg last year @St.Joe’s does not suck. 5.1 ppg, with 1.6 rpg and 2.7 apg on 31% long right now @Louisville tells you just how thick this Cardinal deck is as one through ten talent(s) go. As this combo’-G who can score and create surely could and would be scoring more if he had a starting role basically anywhere else. (and all of this on 1.somethign good feets. As Lamarr missed basically a full season due to a foot ‘snap’ two years back, may St.Sebastian bless!)
6′7″ and 2oo lb debut year Samuell Williamson is an S/F by way of everything’s bigger Texas. Including his scholastic box scores with routinely read high 20-somethings for ppg and lowercase teens for rpg. As this is a highly athletic-looking Swingman who can get to the glass and put the biscuit in the basket even if a pure shooter he just ain’t; just yet. Still yet, 4.4 ppg and 3.5 rpg in a still-developing beyond his purest slashing elements is not the worst work in relief if you can get it. And most publications (easily) had Sam I am penciled in as the Cardinals 🂡 or Ace of Spades last year recruiting wise. So, let’s ask 2023 (if he is still in Louisville that is- how all of this tastes. As everyone says there is plenty of headroom and a pretty dang cathedral ceiling in play for this Cardinal). What with Mister Williamson only being ranked 15th nationally by 247Sports.com last season.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Cards who could shuffle @Tech=10, maybe even 11.
The takeaway here is… Lindy’s pre-season magazine only tabbed the Cardinals as their A.c.c. alpha bird of prey in men’s hoops for 2019-2020.
That’s all, no biggie whatsoever.
That, and do be fully awares that the Cardinals close out the regular season month of March with just three games in basically their final three weeks of running-ball. Or in other words there (likely) will not be an A.c.c. men’s hoops squadron with fresher legs come Atlantic Coast Championship time.
Beyond that, and beyond the glaring experience mismatch, the glaring systemic mismatch and a possible let-down trap after such a ValianT rally only to fall short at the end vs. revenue sport 2019-2020 sweeping uva?
This one should be a really good one, right up until it tips-off.
Tho’ what the hey, let’s run the number anyway…
Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a… never ever seen before summative +229-point Lousiville VomiTorium on Sunday night! As the Cardinals went total Vatican and dealt from more than the bottom of the deck and dealt with common opponents on common Home/Away terms in nothing sort of brutal fashion. Seriously, Louisville went season-1-1. As in V.Tech only beat one team by more than Louisville did and one margin mutual victory was a push. When taken on a per capita basis the Fourm Guide is calling for a more sanitary looking 17-point game of 52-cards worth of O&M pick-up. wowow! Most severe disparity I’ve ever graded this side of us vs. the N.b.a.
The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… Louisville us up a nice looking +6% in shooting percentage margin (pretty much evenly O vs. D split); with Louisville up +4% in 3-point percentage margin (again, pretty much evenly O vs. D split), and L’ville is up just south of +10 boards in rebounding margin on the glass for the duration.
The most recent 5-game metrics say that… insanely enough -though this is WHY you run the numbers- insanely enough… the Hokies are actually up +2% in shooting percentage margin (with the Cards really softening up on D of late); the Fighting Gobblers are also up a surprising +4% in 3-point percentage margin (tho’ defensing worse that L’ville, L’ville is a downright icy cold 27% from deep recently), and yet the Cardinals remain a rather commanding +11 in rebounding margin in Windex work for the last fortnight of misses.
Louisville is up +2% at the charity stripe for the season.
The Card’s are up +3 in R&R for this one since o2.19.
L’ville is a .941 host; whereas V.Tech is a .38 guest.
- Sourcing says that the Card’s best defender is Williams and he is out for a spell; (Godspeed).
- This is Senior Night for not less than six departing Cards.
- Our beloved Hokies have been nearly loveless in the win column with just one that’s (1) VicTory in the last 39-days.
- Virginia Tech leads the nation in fewest turnovers per game (9.6) and is 15th in 3-point field goals made (9.8).
- Louisville has five players averaging eight or more points, led by Jordan Nwora, who is second in the A.c.c. in scoring (17.9 points), eighth in rebounding (7.4) and fourth in 3-point goals (2.4).
- Keep an eye on: Dwayne Sutton and David Johnson of Louisville. Who have both been playing some very efficacious roundball of late.
- Louisville had skunked VeeTee in this series since it moved to the A.c.c. 6-nil if you are keeping All Coaching Conference score @home.
No.85 Net Ranking Virginia Tech @ no. 10 Net Ranking Louisville:
Well, -and “aye”, Eye already know… well is for water- and yes, I already R.A.T.T. know as well, our Duck Pond odds to win here prolly do runneth dry.
Nevertheless, I also know that if you give a man a fish he eats for a day.
Yet if you teach a man to fish?
He eats for a lifetime.
Now what the hell any of that has to do with any of this I have no idea?
I do however know that I’ll eat these very words -again- if Virginia Tech upsets the potential 2019-2020 A.c.c. Titleist on Sunday night. After our 384-miles Manifest Destiney or virtually 270° or pretty close to due west come ~10 PM Sunday night.
At least Eye was gonna be bound by all ^that^ harangue…
…right up until I ran the recent 5-game metrics. Whereby we all saw that Louisville is not a team on the (British) proverbial “come” of late. They have redacted more than a little bit in terms of recent play. This leaves a very modest sliver of a crack ajar in their upsetting door.
It is a slim opening indeed… granted.
Tho’ slim is still >>> none.
♤ ♡ ♢ ♧
(74% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=53, Louisville=69