Louisville Trilogy: Final Act
Spooked Wahoo Fan is always searching for a reason to emerge. An ACC Tournament quarterfinals matchup against Louisville was just the opponent to bring them out of the woodwork. Although, a matchup with Florida State probably would have given reasons for Spooked Wahoo Fan to surface as well but I digress.
As it turned out, there was absolutely nothing to worry about against the desperate Cards who were begging for another shot at the Hoos. Or, to believe Louisville center Anas Mahmoud, the Hoos were scared to death of Round 3 versus Louisville. After the Hoos rolled to a seventeen point win, the program's seventh straight win over Louisville (nine if you believe in vacated wins), UVA would probably be ecstatic to get another game against the Cards this year.
The Cardinals were certainly the bigger team inside unlike on the scoreboard. Inside they feature the aforementioned Mahmoud, a seven footer that made the ACC All-Conference Defensive team with the second most votes behind The Zay. Mahmoud was also runner up for the ACC Defensive Player of the Year behind The Zay. Their frontcourt also boasts 6-10 Ray Spalding Jr., another long armed forward. Spalding made honorable mention All-ACC as well as the ACC All-Conference Defensive team here at HOOS Place. The advanced metrics love Spalding's contribution on defense too.
All of this is building to say that the story of today's game was UVA's offensive dominance of Louisville inside and on the boards.
If you only heard the score, you'd expect a seventeen point win over Louisville, and one where the Hoos scored 75, would feature an explosion from outside for UVA. On the contrary, the Hoos only made seven three point shots (six of seven from Kyle Guy and Devon Hall). They did, however, bludgeon the Cards inside for 42 points in the paint. That represents 56% of their points scored on the afternoon. Not bad for a team with a reputation for being a bunch of jump shooters. Louisville, on the other hand, could only muster 16 points in the paint despite their inherent size advantage.
The Hoos work on the boards deserves mentioning too because their effort of the glass was equally as important as their paint scoring. The Hoos won the battle on the boards today 34 to 25. On the offensive glass, the Hoos won that battle 10 to 7 as well. My favorite stat of the day is that Kyle Guy was the game's leading rebounder with seven. Despite surrendering ten inches in height to Mahmoud, Guy out rebounded him by three boards. Likewise, with Spalding, who Guy gives up eight inches in height to, Guy out rebounded him by one.
Now it's on to an ACC Tournament semifinals matchup with the Clemson Tigers. The Hoos look to continue a march towards the program's third ever tournament championship. The Tigers will likely have a bit of revenge on their minds, looking to avenge their twenty five point loss from January in which they only scored 36 points.
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