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Playbook: Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Louisville Cardinals

That went poorly

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I honestly having nothing to say about that game, so let me just throw some stats at you. Louisville finished the game shooting 52% from the field and scored 48 points in the first half. Wake Forest finished the game shooting 26.5% from the floor and finished the game with 54 points. Yes, that means if Louisville hadn’t scored in the entire 2nd half, we would have won the game by just 6 points. The Deacs also finished the game with just 3 assists, which is frankly not very good. Oh and here’s a fun one: our football team scored 56 points on the road against the Cards this season, 2 more points than the basketball team managed to muster last night. Here’s a recap if you missed the game:

Anyways, this is Playbook, so I guess we should look at some plays. We saw the Deacs go to a 1-2-2 zone earlier this year to upset NC State at home; in a shocking turn of events, it appears Louisville head coach Chris Mack also saw that, because the Cards had no trouble dismantling the zone and getting easy baskets against it.

A pretty simple rule of thumb for any zone is to not let the offense pass the ball right into the middle of said zone. Once the ball gets there, its extremely difficult to stop the offense from getting a good luck at the basket. Obviously, that means the offense is going to try and do just that. Louisville executes it flawlessly above. When Dwayne Sutton gets the ball at the high post, he has Jordan Nwora wide open in the corner for a 3 or a lob to Steven Enoch—he chooses the former.

Again, Louisville gets the ball to the high post, right in the middle of the 1-2-2. And again, the Cards have their choice of corner 3 or dunk. This time, they take the dunk. This was an effective strategy from Mack and the Cardinals to attack the weak point in the zone.

Another easy way to beat a zone is simply to swing the ball quickly, emphasis on quickly, from one side of the court to the other, forcing the zone to shift.

The Cards illustrate this to perfection above. If Sutton doesn’t shoot the 3, he can just swing it one more pass to McMahon in the corner and he’d have an open 3.

Louisville was obviously prepared for the zone, and it showed. This caused Wake Forest coach Danny Manning to go back to a man to man—I probably don’t need to tell you how that went.

At the end of the day, if you allow the opposition to shoot 52% and miss 50 shots on the offensive end, you are probably going to get blown out. And that’s all I have to say about that.