Cards have beginning of an offensive juggernaut

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- This has to be bad news for the Louisville basketball team’s future opponents..

The No. 4 Cardinals (3-0) are making shots and being more productive offensively than almost any other team in the nation, and yet coach Chris Mack thinks the best is yet to come.

U of L shot 58.5 percent from the field in Wednesday's 91-62 rout of Indiana State, the second straight game the Cards have used a hot start to take control early. They hit nine of their first 10 shots, a similar start from their opening blitz in a 78-55 win over Youngstown State a few days early.

Nevertheless, Mack isn't enthralled with his team's offensive accomplishments, an attitude that in part can be attributed to a coach's insistence that there is always room for improvement.

“We can get so much better offensively,” Mack said. “Good offense isn’t when shots go in, it’s what shots are you creating. I don't want our team to think everything is fine on the offensive end. I think we have to share the ball a little bit more and be a little bit more patient.”

Still, any coach would be thrilled to have the offensive numbers Louisville has put up so are, even though the competition hasn't been exactly first-rate.

U of L has five players in double figures scoring, led by Jordan Nwora's 21.7 points per game. Ryan McMahon is averaging 13.7 ppg, Samuell Williamson 11.3 and Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enouch 10.7 each.

The Cards are shooting 54.1 percent, which leads the ACC and is in 12th nationally. They are also first in 3-point shooting at 43.1 percent in the ACC and second in free throw percentage (778).

Four of Louisville's starters and one of its top reserves -- Williamson -- are shooting over 54.0 percent. Ryan is shooting 58.3 percent overall and 61.1 (11-18) from 3-point range, which is No. 1 against ACC players who have taken 18 or more 3-pointers.

Overall, the Cards are second nationally in adjusted offensive efficienty according to Ken Pomeroy. Nevertheless, Mack isn't about to let his players get too enaamored with their offensive ability.

"We still have a long way to go," he said. "Sometimes you fall in love with jump shots. Jump shots aren't a bad thing. We have a very good shooting team. But we have to create really good shots in order for me to feel good about being the kind of offense I want to see the entire year.

"It doesn't matter the shots are going in, it's the type that are being created. We have to be wise enough and objective enough to say in this context, is it a good shot or could be have gotten a better one?

"You're never going to be perfect. I think our guys play together and they try to play the game the right way. But sometimes we're a little bit too confident, and we have to make sure are offense is producing these shots and not individual play."

Probably a significant portion of Louisville's offensive success can be attributed to its lack of credible competition, especially in the last two games. And it isn't going to change for awhile.

Look for more of the same when U of L hosts North Carolina Central (1-1) at 5 p.m. Sunday in the KFC Yum! Center. UNCC is ranked No. 328 by Kenpom.com and UofL is 11-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams.

The Cards' offense won't be challenged defensively until they play Western Kentucky on Nov. 29 in Nashville.

Never mind. "They are good, they are the real deal, no question," said Indiana State coach Greg Lansing.

UofL SIGNS ANOTHER ELITE CLASS

Two high school prospects and the top junior college player in the nation, have signed national letters-of-intent with UofL, ranking the recruiting class among the nation's top ten for the second year in a row.

The trio of consists of D'Andre Davis, a 6-5 guard/forward from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind.; Jay Scrubb, a 6-9 swingman from Louisville who is a sophomore at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill.; and JJ Traynor, a 6-8, forward from Bardstown (Ky.) High School.

Louisville's class is ranked ninth by 247sports.com and 16th by Rivals.com.

Davis averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game as a junior at Lawrence Central, which posted a 22-4 record.
As a freshman last season at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill., Scrubb averaged 20.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots. He shot 54.9 percent from the field, including 46.4 percent from three-point range (51-of-110). He also had 48 blocks, 46 assists and 34 steals.

Scrubb, who turned 19 in September, played with current Cardinal freshman David Johnson at Trinity High School in Louisville. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds a game as a senior.

Traynor, who has a 7-2 wingspan, averaged 11.2 points and 8.6 rebounds last season for Bardstown. He is the No. 14-rated power forward in the nation in the 247Sports composite rankings and is the only Kentuckian ranked among the nation's top 100 players.




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