The No. 12 Louisville Cardinals suffered their 4th loss of the season today to No. 10 Florida State on the road by a score of 73-68.
In a game in which the Cardinals never led, Louisville squandered virtually every opportunity it had to take control of the game. Tony Hicks scored 16 points and while his last shot wasn’t a good one, fans desperately need to relax with their criticism of the grad-student’s play today. Hicks was the only consistent offense the Cards had all game, aside from Mangok Mathiang who added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
A loss by 5, on the road, to the No. 10 team with the longest home win streak in the ACC (17 games), without your starting point guard and the with 40 of the 68 points coming from the bench isn’t anything to write this team off over. They fought the entire game against AWFUL officiating, a racous crowd, and continually dug themselves out of hole after hole to keep the game within reach and for the taking. The loss is a tough one to swallow, but the fact is, this team is for real and it showed today.
Donovan Mitchell was a none factor (6 points on 2-10 shooting), Anas Mahmoud might as well have not flown to Florida (0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists), V.J. King didn’t play in the second half (0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists), and Ray Spalding also had a day to forget (2 points on 1-4 shooting). 4 key players, 3 of which started today, contributed a total of 8 points. This team competed with one of the best offenses in the nation on the road, with essentially no production from the guys who are the normally filling the stat sheet. Yes, the loss is difficult to take, especially with how many opportunities Louisville had to take the game and run. But, the Cards fought all game, this team has heart, you can’t deny that.
Louisville will be just fine. This loss will be talked about as a defining moment in the season when the Cards bounce back and win the ACC. The Cards travel to Pittsburgh next for a 7PM game on Tuesday the 24th, the game can be seen on ESPNU. The next 3 games for the Cards will hopefully give Quentin Snider ample time to heal, Pittsburgh, NC State, and Boston College is the easiest stretch of games Louisville has left, the Cards have to take advantage and I firmly believe they will.
The loss hurts, the fact that the game was up for grabs while our best players were having an off game makes it hurt even worse. But, this team is very much a contender and this loss does nothing but enforce the team’s resilience and heart. We have a special team in front of us, please stop with the completely unnecessary negativity and rally behind them instead of picking apart the flaws. Louisville will be fine, the Cards are a force to be reckoned with.