1. Defense needs to get better: Honestly, you can't tell a ton from these games because of the lack of competition. But one thing that is very evident - the defense needs to improve. The Cardinals are acting like they are scared to foul and are letting guys go right by them and they're not getting blocked shots. It's a process that is taking time and I think the added practice time over the Christmas break will help, but this team has a long way to go on defense. I know the new rules have become a factor but honestly with the depth they have on this team, no one should worry about fouling.
2. Is Russ with 11 assists a good thing?: Yes and no. Russ Smith said himself that it's "about time, I've only been here for four years," to get 11 assists. But right now Smith is hunting assists. He hasn't scored in the first half in two games and that's not a good thing. He can't sacrifice his aggressiveness for assists. But right now he is doing that and it's a good thing the opponents are not as strong. Russ needs to be Russ.
3. Where is Kevin Ware?: Never thought I would type the words: David Levitch logged more time than Kevin Ware. But it happened. Levitch saw six minutes and Ware just four - all in the first half. Ware doesn't look like he's ready for a ton of action. He looks tentative and rusty. The injury was bad and it's great that he's back, it's just going to take time before we see the Kevin Ware he was before the injury.
4. The post position: Another disappointing effort for the post players. Mangok Mathiang is "still a work in process," according to Pitino and had seven points but just two rebounds. Stephen Van Treese had five rebounds but didn't score and fouled out in 13 minutes. They just need to improve on both ends.
1. A few leftovers: Chane Behanan's eight offensive rebounds are a great sign. He's being really aggressive. . . . Akoy Agau showed some nice signs with two points, five rebounds and a block in nine minutes. . . . Russ Smith's double-double was the second of his career. . . . Smith had three steals and moved into the No. 8 spot on the school's all-time list with 194. . . . Rick Pitino is now 34-9 against former assistant coaches.