In their first game as part of the ACC, Louisville had no problem leaving their mark with a road win over Wake Forest, beating the Deamon Deacons 85-76.
The loss to Kentucky didn’t really change anything for the Cardinals. This is still a top 5 team (number five on the latest poll), built to go very deep in the NCAA tournament and obviously challenge for the title in the ACC. This is a lineup with just one freshmen, with experience, and size. It wasn’t enough against the rare monster from Lexington, but it should be better than almost anyone else they face, even in the ACC, excluding, probably, Duke.
Montrezl Harrell was close to unstoppable with a 25 points, 13 rebounds double double. Chris Jones finished with his first career double double, scoring 22 points to go with 10 assists. Out of Louisville’s 39 points in the second half, Jones scored 20 of them. Trent Rozier scored 18 points and was also very good whenever he was left open, and could have finished the game earlier had they been shooting better from the line.
Wake Forest were quite awful from the free throw line as well, making only 17 of 32 shots. Devin Thomas, scoring 31 points, became the first Wake Forest player to score more than 30 points since 2010 (J.T. Terrell). It’s not going to be a season they have a lot to celebrate in, considering they went 8-5 in nonconference play but are already 0-2 in the ACC.
The Cardinals have one more “easy” game, playing Clemson at home, before starting a more difficult road, including North Carolina away, Duke at home and Pitt on the road as three of their next four games. Syracuse made a splash last season when entering the ACC but only through home games. Louisville don’t want to suffer the same fate, and drop rapidly once the difficult games began.