What were your realistic expectations for this years Louisville team prior to the start of the basketball season? NIT? NCAA? Sweet 16? Final Four? I looked at the season from every angle and decided that a trip to the NCAA tournament would be what I consider a good season. I felt that this team had the potential to make it to the second weekend of the tournament but it could also be a NIT team. So I settled in the middle with just making the big dance.
As the season has progressed, I have listened to many of you adjust your expectations. I have not wavered on mine. Making the NCAA tournament is still what I expect. I think its going to be close but I believe Louisville just gets in.
After Wednesday’s victory over Boston College, Louisville is sitting at 12-5 and 3-1 in ACC play. With victories over Michigan State and North Carolina under their belt, Louisville has those “signature wins” that the selection committee is looking for. However, the fate of the season could be lying in the future.
Lets take a look at the rest of the schedule…
- January 19th at Georgia Tech – Louisville has a 57.2% chance to win.
- January 24th vs (17) NC State – Louisville has a 59.2% chance to win.
- January 26th vs Pitt – Louisville has a 84.7% chance to win.
- January 30th at Wake Forest – Louisville has a 76.3% chance to win.
- February 2nd vs (13) North Carolina – Louisville has a 46.3% chance to win.
- February 4th at (9) Virginia Tech – Louisville has a 16.5% chance to win.
- February 9th at (11) Florida State – Louisville has a 34.9% chance to win.
- February 12th vs (1) Duke – Louisville has a 27.8% chance to win.
- February 16th vs Clemson – Louisville has a 75% chance to win.
- February 20th at Syracuse – Louisville has a 36.1% chance to win.
- February 23rd vs (4) Virginia – Louisville has a 21.7% chance to win.
- February 27th at Boston College – Louisville has a 67.5% chance to win.
- March 3rd vs Notre Dame – Louisville has a 83.8% chance to win.
- March 9th at (4) Virginia – Louisville has a 4.7% chance to win.
*** win % is according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
Of the 14 remaining games, Louisville is favored to win 7 of those games per the Power Index. If that in fact holds up, Louisville would finish 19-12 and 10-8 in ACC play. It is my belief that Louisville would easily be in the NCAA tournament. But, If Louisville slips up in any 2 of those games that they should win according to the ESPN power index, Louisville could find themselves in the first 4 out. The key games that could decide Louisville’s post season fate are the next two games against Georgia Tech and NC State. They are not “must wins” but it sure couldn’t hurt. It would also make things a little more comfortable if Louisville could pull off a victory over a team like Florida State or Syracuse. I believe those are the 2 most likely games Louisville could steal on the road.
Most fans look at the schedule in the month of February and say “WOW, we play 5 games against top 15 teams. That’s not great.” I look at it as a month of opportunities. Realistically, nobody expects them to win any of those games so if they get just one win out of those 5, they’ve improved their tournament resume.
I think coach Mack got through to them about always playing hard after the Pitt and UNC games, so I expect to see the Louisville team that beat UNC for the rest of the season. If I’m right (I usually am), then it’s going to be a fun finish to the regular season.
As Always, GO CARDS!