First of all, Eric Crawford of WDRB agrees with me that UK’s feel-good win Saturday over visiting LSU raised some red flags.
But Crawford also points out a dark cloud hovering over Louisville, even after the Cards’ 58-57 win at American Athletic Conference leader Cincinnati on Saturday.
In a weekend column, he points out that the Cards made just 11 of 22 free throws, just six of 11 in the second half.
The Cardinals have won six straight games. But in those six games, they’ve shot just 60.2 percent from the line (85 of 141). Heading into Saturday’s win, they ranked No. 288 out of 345 NCAA Division I teams in free throw percentage. Look below them on that list, and you don’t see many likely NCAA Tournament teams (ACC leader Virginia being a major exception).
One night like Saturday in the Big Dance and it’s lights out, no matter how well the Cards play in those other areas. And Pitino knows it.
“That’s probably the last hurdle for us,” Pitino said. “We’re going to cure it, though. We’re going to cure it.”
The Cards need to cure it quickly. As Crawford states, Louisville was 288th out of 345 Division-I teams in free throw percentage heading into Saturday. Montrezl Harrell is shooting 46.5 percent from the line for the season. Russ Smith is at just 69.9 percent. Smith has taken 143 free throws, the most of any Card. Harrell has taken 101, third on the club.
The Cards host Temple at 9 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2.