Louisville Basketball Hasn’t Done This in 82 Years
Let's start with the disclaimer. I am both a UK basketball fan and a Louisville basketball fan. There's no point in telling me it can't be done because here I sit. I'm like those "house divided" bumper stickers or flags, only it's all just me.
And if you've been following UK and Louisville hoops this season, you could probably guess that I might not be the happiest camper in the whole world right about now. On the one hand--the UK hand--I'm perplexed at what I've been seeing from an extraordinarily talented team and its Hall of Fame coach. Two losses before December 1st? With THIS group?
LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL ON THE ROPES
On the other hand--the Louisville hand--I just kind of regard the season, to this point, with a sigh and a sad look on my face. It's the look of someone who didn't really expect an NCAA Tournament out this team, but it's also the look of someone who didn't think it would be THIS bad.
The Cardinals' season began with an October 30th exhibition game loss to Lenoir-Rhyne, 57-47. They followed with a 7-point exhibition win over Chaminade.
But Louisville's next three games--all against Division I competition--were all one-point losses to Bellarmine, Wright State, and Appalachian State. Those are crushing losses because the Cards could easily be 3-1 right now, instead of 0-4. And by the way, that fourth loss was an ugly 80-54 blowout at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first round of the Maui Invitational.
Thankfully, exhibition games don't count toward a school's record, so that's why the record isn't 1-5.
LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL -- ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY
But 0-4? I really had to screw my thinking cap on tight to remember the last time that happened to Louisville. It didn't work because the LAST time the Cardinals were 0-4, it was the 1940-41 season. For some perspective, my parents--who would be 90 and 89, respectively, if they were still living--were in elementary school. Also, that was BEFORE the United States entered World War II.
And then there's this interesting little factotum--two of those losses 82 years ago were to Kentucky Wesleyan and Evansville.
IT DOESN'T LIKE IT WILL GET MUCH BETTER FOR LOUISVILLE HOOPS THIS SEASON
To be painfully honest, it doesn't look like it's going to get much better for the Cards. They just got wiped out by Texas Tech 70-38 in the second round of the loser's bracket at the Maui event. And the remaining teams they could face in Hawaii--Ohio State and Cincinnati--could also present Louisville with huge problems. By the time they're finished in Maui, the Cardinals could be looking at an 0-7 record.
These are historic times in Louisville with regard to the Cardinals, and not the good kind of history. The program has been through so much the last decade, and new head coach Kenny Payne certainly has his work cut out for him.
But national powerhouse programs like Louisville don't stay on the mat too long. I look for a rebound in 2023-2024. Unfortunately, they have to get through THIS season first.