Williams leads Louisville to 4-0 start

David Cassilo




Terrence Williams showed this past week why he is considered by many to be the most versatile player in the country.  The senior forward contributed in almost every way possible for the Louisville Cardinals as they knocked off then No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 1 Pittsburgh.  Against the Fighting Irish, Williams nearly notched a triple-double as he finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists.  For an encore, Williams was one of the main reasons for the win over Pittsburgh, totaling 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. 

Williams’ ability to fill up the stat sheet has many calling him the college version of LeBron James. He leads Louisville in rebounds, assists and steals.  While only ranking third on the team in scoring average, Williams has stepped up his play against ranked opponents, against whom he is averaging 18 points per game.  The Seattle-native was named to the preseason All-Big East first team and his play thus far is justifying the honor, as he is averaging career-highs in almost every major statistical category. With a year like this under his belt, the NBA may be his next stop.

More importantly, Williams’ stellar play over the past few games has sparked his team’s ascent up the national rankings. The team jumped from No. 20 to 9 this past week. If he continues to play at this level, Louisville will once again be considered one of the elite teams in both the conference and the nation.



With the majority of their roster returning, great things were expected from Louisville this season after reaching the Elite Eight last season.  However, when play began this season, the Cardinals struggled to justify their preseason No. 3 ranking.  Early losses to Western Kentucky, Minnesota and UNLV had many around the country wondering why this team received so much hype in the beginning of the season.  With three straight wins over ranked opponents and a 4-0 Big East record, the team is starting to play up to its lofty expectations.

After a thrilling win over Villanova, the Cardinals had a quick turnaround as they went home to take on No. 12 Notre Dame just two days later.  Even though Louisville faced tough opposition from the Fighting Irish and reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody, the Cardinals were able to come away victorious, winning 87-73 in overtime.  Louisville dominated overtime as they outscored Notre Dame 16-2.

The weekend brought a bigger task as Louisville had a date with undefeated and No. 1 ranked Pittsburgh.  Despite trailing for most of the game, its tough full court press eventually wore down the Panthers as they handed them their first loss, 69-63.  The string of marquee victories has silenced the skeptics while making talk of a title even louder.



With both the 2008 Player of the Year (Harangody) and Coach of the Year (Mike Brey) returning to South Bend, Notre Dame was supposed to be one of the teams vying for the Big East Championship.  With back-to-back losses against Louisville and Syracuse this past week, the Fighting Irish now find themselves eighth in the conference with a 3-3 Big East record.

Especially troubling was the way the Irish defense looked in a 93-74 drubbing at the hands of Syracuse.  It was the seventh time this season Notre Dame allowed over 75 points and the third time it lost by double-digits. 

Also concerning is the lack of depth on the roster.  While Harangody and senior guard Kyle McAlarney average 41.9 points per game, the rest of the team combines for just 39.3 points per game.  More players must step up from the squad, particularly the bench, where Notre Dame is getting just 10.5 points per game.

The Fighting Irish will have a chance to rebound following their tough week as they take on UConn at home this Saturday.  The road does not get any easier after that as contests against Marquette and Pittsburgh follow.  By the end of that stretch, Notre Dame should have a clearer vision of the level of talent on its roster.



Known as the “Backyard Brawl” the Pittsburgh-West Virginia rivarly has been going on since the teams were both members of the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference in 1933. The rivalry has only gotten more heated since the two teams became co-members of the Big East in 1996.

This year’s matchup will have even more spice with Pittsburgh considered one of the elite teams in the nation. The Panthers rebounded well after their loss to Louisville by defeating Syracuse at home on Monday.

For West Virginia, the game presents the oppurtunity for the Mountaineers to discover just how talented they are. Bob Huggins’s squad has been in-and- out of the rankings all season and have failed to add any marquee wins to their tournament resume.

For Pittsbrugh to win, their sensational sophomore forward DeJuan Blair must avoid the foul trouble that doomed his team against Louisville. When he is playing, he combines with fellow forward Sam Young and guard Levance Fields to make up arguably the most dynamic threesome in college basketball.

West Virginia has a lot of talent of their own, but in order to knock of their rivals, both senior guard Alex Ruoff and junior forward De’Sean Butler must dominate offensively. They must also use the home crowd’s enthusiasm to fuel their own emotion.The game will tip off at 4 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 25 at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.


West Virginia is 19-3 at home under Head Coach Bob Huggins … Notre Dame senior guard Kyle McAlarney is shooting 61.54 percent over his last three games … Connecticut junior center has had at least 17 rebounds in four games this season … Seton Hall last lost five games in a row in four of the last five seasons.