The ACC tourney kicked off yesterday with the four lowest seeds battling it out. With that, here’s a quick team-by-team capsule of each team heading into the meat of the tournament tomorrow, courtesy of the Raleigh News & Observer.
No. 4 Louisville
Record: 24-7 overall, 12-6 ACC
Coach: Rick Pitino (0-0 ACC tournament)
Key player: Senior forward Wayne Blackshear (10.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Key question: Can Louisville score enough to stick around until Friday?
Plus: Louisville’s almost like Diet Virginia. Plenty of grit and determination on defense but deficiencies on offense. Louisville’s perimeter options aren’t as good as Virginia’s, either.
Wait, this is supposed to be the “plus” section. Junior forward Montrezl Harrell understands the postseason and has tasted the ultimate success with the Cardinals (he was a key reserve on their 2013 NCAA title team).
Minus: Some of those offensive-minded old Providence or New York Knicks teams of Pitino lore must look at this version of Louisville and wonder what happened to run-and-gun Ricky P. Even with guard Chris Jones, the Cards labored to find points. Without him, they’re a sandwich short of an ACC tournament picnic.
Bottom line: The win against Virginia in the regular-season finale Saturday gave the Cards an extra day off and put them on the right side of the draw, but Russ Smith and Peyton Siva aren’t walking through that door. Short of such an offensive transfusion, the Cards are not long for this March.