Nunnsense | Louisville Needs To Beat Syracuse To Earn A Top 4 Seed

Enoch-Duke

My heart is still hurting a little on this Valentines Day. If yours is not then you must not be a Louisville basketball fan. It’s OK to be hurt but don’t be heartbroken – it’s just 1 game. Blowing a 23 point lead to Duke was probably the toughest loss I have ever witnessed. The loss to Virginia last year was painful but a 2 point lead, and possession of the ball, with 0.9 on the clock, only to lose by a 3 pointer that was banked in, was like being shanked. Watching a 23 point lead evaporate over 9+ minutes, was like a slow motion free fall off a cliff to your death – Definitely worse than the Virginia loss.

But, if you told me that Louisville would lose to Duke (who is the best team in college basketball despite the rankings) by 2 points, I would say, “I’m OK with that.” No shame in losing to the best team. 1 game doesn’t make or break your season. However, knocking off the best team sure could have given Louisville an enormous boost of confidence and a very big emotional wave to ride in on towards the post season.

Taking a step back and  looking at the big picture, I (and many others) predicted Louisville to win 17 or 18 games. I felt they would finish 8th or 9th in the ACC and probably be one of the “last four in” for the NCAA tournament. Sitting at 17 wins with 6 games to be played, top 4 in the ACC and definitely in the NCAA tournament, is pretty impressive. It doesn’t totally take away the sting of blowing a 23 point lead to Duke but that perspective helps us move forward.

Oh well, chalk it up to a missed opportunity and take care of the rest of your business.

Now, let’s all say a quick prayer or offer an apology to Clemson for what is about to happen to them at noon on Feb 16th.

MBB-Duke

Looking ahead to the remaining schedule, the most important game that Louisville needs to win if they want a top 4 NCAA seed is on Feb 20th against Syracuse.  Keeping with the theory that 1 games doesn’t make or break a season, if Louisville loses to Syracuse, they will still be in the NCAA tournament but will potentially be looking at a 6 seed (assuming the remaining games go as expected). The path of a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament is a bit easier so hopefully the Cards can squeeze the Orange.

Syracuse is currently 17- 8 also and 8-4 in conference yet they are not ranked. The stat with them that is most eye-catching is that they average 8.1 steals per game while only giving up 64 points per game. Due to our recent problems with turnovers, this game has me a bit concerned and it’s one the Cards really need. Luckily, Louisville has fared really well on the road this season.

On January 17th, I posted the remaining schedule with win %. Here is what that looked like on that date..

  • 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.

On February 14th, here is the updated win %. The Syracuse game is the most interesting change to me.

  • February 16th vs Clemson – Louisville has a 82.9% chance to win.
  • February 20th at Syracuse – Louisville has a 50% chance to win.
  • February 23rd vs (4) Virginia – Louisville has a 27.1% chance to win.
  • February 27th at Boston College – Louisville has a 78.8% chance to win.
  • March 3rd vs Notre Dame – Louisville has a 91.4% chance to win.
  • March 9th at (4) Virginia – Louisville has a 6.3% chance to win.

*** win % is according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.

As Always, GO CARDS!

Nunnsense

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