As the month of January comes to an end, Rick Pitino and the Louisville men’s basketball team find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. With just ten regular season games remaining, the Cards don’t have a win over a top 25 opponent. Thursday’s 66-69 loss to No. 13 ranked Cincinnati leaves Louisville 0-4 against ranked teams and 0-2 in close games.
The season certainly isn’t over and this is still a team that can compete with anyone, however there is still a lot to be learned. As of right now, they’ve not proven they can close out down the stretch. Louisville’s two home losses in conference play are almost identical.
Maybe it’s just me, but it always stings a little more when you find back from a large deficit to take the lead, but end up losing. The Cards quickly erased a 17-point Cincinnati lead and fought back to take a three point lead with under four minute left. Unfortunately, they never made another field goal after that.
With all that said, Cincinnati deserves credit for the win. I’m not sure this is a Final Four team, but this ins’t your typical Mick Cronin Cincinnati team if you catch my drift. Jackson, Kilpatrick and Rubles are three experienced seniors and there is no reason to believe that the Bearcats won’t win the American Athletic Conference.
Heading into the game, I didn’t think the eight day layoff would really have much of an impact. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong about that. The first half of play may have been the worst that we’ve seen this season. There was absolutely zero rhythm offensively and Cincinnati owned the backboard.
As terrible as it sounds, we now just have to wait until Feb. 22 too find out if this team will learn from the two close losses. That is when they have their rematch with the Bearcats in Cincinnati. Louisville’s next five games are against opponents who are outside of the RPI Top 150.
The Cards are back in action on Saturday night at 9 PM as they host Central Florida.