Louisville hopes rust is gone when Notre Dame visits

NCAA Men's Basketball

After a rusty performance during a lopsided road loss to North Carolina over the weekend, Louisville hopes a return to the rhythm of a normal schedule and a return to their home arena provide a boost Tuesday night as they host Atlanta Coast Conference-rival Notre Dame.

Louisville (11-5, 6-4 ACC) allowed North Carolina to enjoy its best offensive game of the season in a 99-54 rout in the Cardinals’ first action in 19 days due to COVID-19 concerns within the program.

“I don’t want to make excuses … credit to them,” said Samuell Williamson, who had nine points and 10 rebounds, “but it is tough without playing for 2 1/2 weeks.”

Louisville was outrebounded by 11 and outscored by 26 in the paint. The Cardinals also had eight shots blocked and boasted only one double-figure scorer in Carlik Jones, who had 13 points.

All are elements they hope to improve against Notre Dame.

“We’ve got to play with an edge on the defensive end, and then offensively, we’ve got to get the ball to the guys that we want to get it to, and they’ve got to be able to convert those opportunities,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We’ve got to get second-chance points. … We’ve got to get a lot back.”

Notre Dame counterpart Mike Brey bemoaned many of the same things Saturday after the Fighting Irish (9-11, 6-8) squandered a 20-point second-half lead in a 75-67 loss at Syracuse.

Up 55-35 with 16:49 to go, the Fighting Irish managed just 12 points the rest of the way. Notre Dame committed eight of its 10 turnovers after halftime as it was unable to secure its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Trey Wertz scored 17 points while drilling 5-of-8 3-pointers to lead four Notre Dame players in double figures.

Noting that “I’m not pointing fingers” and “I always accept responsibility,” Brey nonetheless challenged players as they prepare for the middle game of a three-game road trip.

“It’s on their (butts) to figure out how to bounce back and play in Louisville,” Brey said. “We’ll try to get our guys in better spots against the press. Either you’re tough enough to attack it or you’re not. Either you’re going to get over the hump, or you’re not.”

Louisville holds a 25-15 edge in the all-time series while winning five straight.

–Field Level Media

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