The past 24 hours have been among the most difficult for Louisville fans. Tuesday night the Cards gave a spirited performance that came just short in the Belk Bowl. Wednesday night, UofL basketball faltered in its biggest test of the season, with an even bigger one coming in less than 72 hours.
Frustration is the common theme threading the two games. Frustration with anemic offenses. Frustration with underachieving defenses. Frustration with questionable officiating.
Louisville’s biggest trouble was on the glass. Rebounding had been a huge strength for the Cardinals all season, but UofL gave the Hoyas countless second and third chance possessions in both halves.
The Hoyas were also able to shoot a stunning 63% from behind the arc. Constantly quieting any encouragement from the KFC Yum! Center crowd.
Despite a powerful opening 12-3 run, the Louisville offense again struggled. The Cardinals continued to look unsure and slow on the ball. Recent catalyst Russ Smith provided play more deserving of a sigh than a salute.
Peyton Siva did have his best performance of the season with 15 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals. Siva time and time again showed his uncanny ability to drive to the basket, but Georgetown quickly shut down Louisville’s best mode of attack.
Rick Pitino received a crucial technical foul late in the second half. He later explained that referee Karl Hess was confused on whether Pitino was shouting at him or Louisville’s Kyle Kuric.
The loss justifies the “overrated” tag that has been floating around the Cardinals and their top five ranking. It also increases serious doubts on Louisville’s chances against Kentucky on Saturday.
The Cardinals will now regroup before the massive rivalry match-up. Pitino noted after the game, that the Cardinals will not try to push the tempo against the uber athletic Wildcats. Keeping the game in a half-court style in a very hostile Rupp Arena will be Louisville’s best plan for a victory.
Card Nation can only hope that a loss will make Louisville players take some pressure off of the team. Serious adjustments have to be made to give UofL a legitimate shot at knocking off UK. Without them, a rough 24 hours for Cardinal Athletics could turn into a very long week.