With an opportunity to firmly put themselves into this year’s NCAA tournament field, the Louisville Cardinals once again were unable to take advantage of a huge opportunity.
For the second time in a week, Louisville was defeated by the Virginia Cavaliers, the ACC’s No. 1 seed and the top ranked team in college basketball.
The Cards made a couple of runs throughout the game after digging themselves into a hole just a few minutes, but Virginia held on to win 75-58. Louisville went on an 11-2 run trimming the deficit to four with 8:55 left, but Virginia then went on a quick 6-0 run and had control of the game from then on.
“Well, we were hoping third time was a charm against these guys, but it obviously wasn’t the case,” David Padgett said following the loss.
“There’s a reason why they’re No. 1 in the country, and it was evident tonight. I said it all year long, I think their offense is very underrated. As good as their defense is, I think their offense is very underrated, and they shot the ball well tonight. They exploited us in a couple mismatch opportunities, and it seems like every time we got a little momentum, we just ball would drop out of our hands, they’d get it laid in, or they just would hit a tough shot at the end of the shot clock, those kinds of things. But that’s just the way the game goes sometimes. Really proud of our effort, and we’re looking forward to next week.”
Those who watched the game would agree that Louisville could’ve been better in all phases, but Virginia is just a better team. Had you told me Louisville would commit just one more turnover than Virginia and shoot a better three-point percentage than the Cavaliers, I would’ve assumed that meant Louisville was able to win. Instead, they lost by 17 points.
With the loss, Louisville will now have to wait and see if the NCAA Tournament selection committee thinks they’ve put together a resume worthy of an at large bid.
“Without a doubt,” Padgett said when asked if he feels his team was worthy of a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament.
“Unfortunately that’s not my decision, but if you look at our overall body of work, we haven’t done anything wrong. I think that’s getting lost a lot in the shuffle this year is people used to put a lot of emphasis and a lot of weight on these, quote-unquote, bad losses. Well, we don’t have any of those. We’ve played a top-20 schedule, we finished .500 in the toughest league in the country which, without a doubt, it’s the toughest league in the country, and we got 20 wins. We haven’t done anything wrong.”
Nick Coffey is the creator and lead publisher for TheCardinalConnect.com. Along with covering Louisville basketball, football and recruiting, Nick also hosts The Red Zone weekdays from noon – 3:00 PM on Cards Radio 790 KRD.