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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Louisville vs Syracuse Notes

Louisville won the final Big East Conference Tournament as we know it over Syracuse. Here are some notes from the game:

- A key point in the game that isn't talked about is Wayne Blackshear only played 11 minutes. In the first half  Blackshear was a non-factor. He stood in the corner on Cuse's 2-3 zone looking to capitalize on open 3-pt looks, but never made any cuts against the backline of the zone or towards the top of the key. Blackshear continues to define the word average - he's been relying on his hype and pedigree as an All-American since becoming a Cardinal. Once Hancock and Ware came in the game, the actively looked for ways to make plays and get involved on both ends of the court and really turned the game around. Blackshear has been on NBA radars forever, but has never done anything notable.

- Michael Carter-Williams had a great first half, but appeared to be worn down in the second half as Louisville squeezed the life out of the team. Louisville went on 46-13 run which just isn't something that should happen to a team that that was previously up by 16 points themselves. Michael Carter-Williams completely lost control of the game and was unable to control the pace even the slightest. The biggest responsibility of a point guard is to provide stability, but MCW is the most inconsistent player on the Orange. Carter-Williams' performance showed once again that while he is talented, he is not a point guard.

- It was Montrezl Harrell who ended up being Louisville's high point man as he finished with 20 points. It was an impressive performance by Harrell, who is very long, strong, explosive, and active. The combination of those skills and his reported 7'4'' wingspan gives him a great shot at becoming a first round pick down the line.

And while Harrell was impressive, Gorgui Dieng deserves a lot of the credit for his and the rest of the teams success. Dieng was the guy at the top of the key who picked apart the defense the same way Otto Porter had done in previous meetings. Dieng has a good enough jumper to make the 18 footer and has started taking it more often at the urging of Rick Pitino. More impressive was his passing skills. He threaded the ball through defenders and finished with 8 assists.

I've long thought Dieng is a more impressive center prospect than both Plumlee and Withey. Dieng is a lock to enter the draft as he is graduating early and I can't see him slipping out of the top 20 - much less the first round. 

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