University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said he was "really, really played" with his team's first half performance on Sunday.
The Hall of Fame coach said the Cardinals looked "like an outstanding basketball team," in rolling over Bellarmine 82-57 before 20,432 fans at the KFC Yum! Center in the final exhibition game of the season.
"That was a great half of basketball in every phase," Pitino said.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 21-7 lead and looked sharp and ready for the regular-season. The Cardinals will take on Minnesota on Friday night in the opener.
Here are five takeaways from the exhibition game:
1. Starting five looks really good: Don't worry about depth for a moment and think about how sensational the starting five looks at this point. Mangok Mathiang didn't start this game but when he's in there with Terry Rozier, Chris Jones, Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear it's a scary lineup. All five of those guys can score the basketball, there are shooter and slashers and there's Harrell dunking everything. I don't know how many games the Cardinals are going to win this season but the starting five will end up being one of the best in the country. It's a matter of now developing depth.
2. Chris Jones when he's hitting: Jones can be so good when he's hitting and with his speed he can be so disruptive. He tried to miss the first shot - while Patrick McSweeney was in the game for Bellarmine - but it even went in. He was 5 of 8 from the field, including 2 of 3 on three-pointers. Jones finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four steals, four assists and he didn't force things. He let the game come to him and with the exception of a drive where he was called for a charge played under control.
3. Harrell and his improvement: No, I don't want to see Harrell away from the basket too much but he has improved that part of his game. Several times he handled the ball in the open court on Sunday and even hit a three-pointer to end the half. "It's confidence," Harrell says. And that's so true. He just looks so confident when he's playing now and handling the ball. It makes a big difference if he keeps doing the other things that made him so special last season.
4. Youngsters still need work: It's going to take time folks. But I think Quentin Snider is getting there and played much better this week, while Jaylen Johnson saw his first action and looked lost, but he was playing hard. Johnson is going to be a very good player. Chinanu Onuaku is battling an ankle injury but was fine. It's just going to take time folks. Don't expect a lot from any of those guys early on.
5. It's Minnesota week: Let the fun begin. Pitino and his staff have been working on Minnesota for a few days now and the focus will be there this week. It's not just any opener, but Rick Pitino opening against his son. The Cards' want this one bad says Terry Rozier: "We know coach wants to win this one in a bad way."