(Or, sometimes the coaching is just picking his poison)
First off, I was very happy with the effort against Louisville - we defended pretty well and we fought very hard against a top ten team in their gym without two of our three centers. The game against Louisville was interesting because it marked a change in the rotations that CKS likes to use - instead of bringing several players off the bench, he limited the bench minutes to three players - Johnson, Parker and Odom and really only played Odom and Johnson more than token minutes. As a result, all five starters played over 40 minutes, which is unprecedented for the 13 years that CKS has been head coach.
There have been many who have been critical of CKS' attempts to develop his bench, which has led at times to us giving away leads. Unfortunately (contrary to the complainer's misconception), it isn't simply a matter of CKS being a poor coach, or "stubborn". As we could see at the end of the game, all five of our players were absolutely gassed. This led to turnovers that increased as the game went along, missed free throws, and defensive breakdowns. In addition, we go one game where our bench gets little to no experince in a game situation that we might face later in the year, and those players will have to face next season.
Personally, I believe that CKS devised a very good plan to attack Louisville's pressure and halfcourt defense, which is excellent. Louisville's strength is denying three point attempts and we were still able to get off 26 good looks from three, hitting them at a 38% clip. We were also able to work around our complete lack of an inside game by drawing fouls, which unfortunately we were unable to convert. Given the level of competition that we have faced over the last couple of games and the increased level of defense I have seen from the guards there is a lot of reasons to be optimistc about what is going on even in the wake of the disappoiting losses. To some extent, these losses seem similar, except we were losing this way with a power inside game and a premeire shot blocker and offensive rebounder who drew a ton of fouls. We are essentially at the level we were last season, but doing so without Ezeli.
Yes these losses are frustrating, but we are essentially asking our starters to play 90% of the available minutes in these games - given that we are not getting much from the bench we are going to be limited until somebody steps up. But it is clear to me that each of our starters are better players this season.