Louisville defeated the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 58-43 on Tuesday at the KFC Yum! Center, improving to 8-0 on the campaign. The only knock on the Cardinals was the fact they had just one win over a power-conference opponent (Miami) to this point, but Jordan Nwora led the way in changing that in dramatic fashion.
He also helped his conference earn a high-profile win in the 2019 Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
As for the Wolverines, they have already built a notable resume at 7-1 with impressive victories over Creighton, Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga.
Jordan Nwora was sensational, Steven Enoch with a double-double and the Cardinals defense did a tremendous job tonight. Didn’t give Michigan’s shooters of Livers and Brooks open looks.
The Wolverines have already built a resume worthy of early No. 1 seed discussion with a Battle 4 Atlantis championship that included wins over Iowa State, No. 7 North Carolina and No. 9 Gonzaga, and Juwan Howard’s program appears ahead of schedule in his first season as head coach.
They went from unranked to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, which matched the largest jump in the 70-year history of the rankings, per Cassandra Negley of Yahoo Sports.
However, Michigan could be forgiven if fatigue started to set in entering its third game against a top-10 foe in six days. That it was against the swarming defense of Louisville didn’t make life any easier for the Big Ten squad.
Michigan’s offense currently shoved in a small closet. Zavier Simpson can’t breathe out there. Matters only getting worse as Louisville is starting to make shots and the building is starting cook.
Every look Michigan gets is contested. Nothing coming easy. A 1-for-7 start for a team that made damn-near everything for Atlantis. Good news for Michigan is its own defense is getting the job done, too.
It would seem, at least for now, that Michigan’s poll vault was premature.
Part of that is Louisville’s ability/focus on running Michigan off of the three-point line. But a lot of it has had to do with their ability to eliminate Michigan’s ball-screening, which is how they create a lot of those open threes.
The Cardinals contested nearly every shot, clogged traffic in the lane and sent additional defenders at big man Jon Teske when needed.