Louisville Head Coach Chris Mack announced junior C Malik Williams is questionable for Saturday’s game against Clemson today. According to Coach Mack, Williams suffered a bruised knee in the first half of Wednesday’s win over Georgia Tech.
This will be a significant blow for the Cardinals heading into this Clemson matchup if he can’t play. Williams is clearly the best defensive C on the team and he has become more of a scoring threat in recent games. He is also a leader on the floor when he is in the game. Lately, Williams has become the closer at the C position, playing the majority of the late minutes in the last few games.
His defensive skill would be sorely missed against Clemson. The Tigers starting F Aamir Simms is arguably their best player. Simms has averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists this season. He’s shot 47% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. If Louisville could neutralize him, it would make the task of defeating Clemson much easier. This becomes harder if Williams can’t go. The Cards would be losing their best and most versatile post defender. Williams can be disruptive at the rim and he can guard on the perimeter.
If Williams can’t play, Mack said freshman C Aidan Igiehon could play or he may go with a small lineup when Steven Enoch needs a breather or is in foul trouble.
While Williams wasn’t ruled out, the demeanor and language Coach Mack used hinted that he is more likely not to play. If that’s the case, the rest of the team will need to step up and bring the energy and defense that Malik Williams has brought in these last few games. At least the injury is minor and shouldn’t keep him out too long.