Duke basketball: Louisville preps for revenge entering Cameron Indoor

Louisville coach Chris Mack, Duke basketball opponent on Saturday night (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Louisville coach Chris Mack, Duke basketball opponent on Saturday night (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Louisville Cardinals will be out for revenge against the Duke Basketball team as the Cardinals enter Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday evening.

No. 3 Duke and No. 11 Louisville will meet on Saturday evening, and the team at Ball Durham got a chance to catch up with Big Red Louie, the FanSided Louisville page, for some insights on the game.

Site expert Jacob Lane was so kind to take the time out for a quick Q&A to explain how things have been for the Cards this season.

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Q: Has there been anything noticeable with Louisville this year, in terms of significant player development or a team statistic? 

A: You can look at a few small things that collectively add up to be a big deal, such as Jordan Nwora’s uptick in scoring, Dwayne Sutton’s rebounding, Louisville’s shooting, Ryan McMahon’s defense and even Louisville’s improvement with the pack line defense in year two. In terms of very noticeable changes, I think that might be one of the biggest issues that the Cards are trying to work through. So far in 2019-20, I don’t think you can really look at Louisville and say they are that much better than last year. They have a different rotation that features more depth, but in terms of taking the next step as a team, I think we’re still waiting on that.

Q: How has Chris Mack fared in his second season at Louisville? 

A: Louisville’s been really good this season, there’s no denying that considering that they’ve been ranked no. 1 this season and now sit at no. 11 after a few losses. Mack has done a great job of developing players like Steven Enoch, Ryan McMahon, Dwayne Sutton, and Jordan Nwora through the offseason while integrating several new players out of their top 12 recruiting class and dealing with injuries. There have been issues with holding onto leads (who would have thought?) in both games against good teams and against bad teams, as well as playing hard and consistent basketball half-by-half and game-by-game. I want to see a big win or two during ACC play (like Louisville vs. Duke) before I am sold on Louisville being Final Four good, but I think Mack has them in a good spot to be dangerous. 

Q: Has Jordan Nwora lived up to his preseason expectations this year?

A: I think so, but it just depends on what Jordan Nwora shows up to play. When you can step onto the court and drop 30 on any given night, sometimes it’s easy to be lulled to sleep and take things easy when you think you have a significant advantage over your opponent. There have been games when we’ve seen a special National Player of the Year caliber performance and others when shots aren’t falling and other areas are affected because of it. He’s every bit as good as advertised and honestly I think he can be even better than we’ve seen. 

Q: Who is an under the radar player that could make a big splash in this game?

A; I would watch for David Johnson. He’s a 6’5 freshman guard from Louisville, who has a very unique game. He’s a crafty pass-first point guard who has elite vision but is still rounding into form. He played a season-high in minutes against Pittsburgh and rewarded Louisville with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. To me, he’s the x-factor to limiting the impact of Tre Jones. 

Q: How do you see this one shaking out, will Louisville get an impressive road win? 

A: I have a great feeling about this game. More than half of Louisville’s team played a big role in last season’s second-half debacle that resulted in a 23 point comeback from Duke and I think they want to prove they’ve grown from that. Louisville has the size and length to bother Vernon Carey with Steven Enoch and Malik Williams. They have an elite scorer in Nwora. And they have the motivation to finish a game and make a statement. I’m going Louisville 81, Duke 79 in Overtime.

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Duke and Louisville will tipoff at 6:00pm EST on ESPN.