The college basketball season is well into the conference portion of the schedule. We are only seven weeks away from the bracket reveal on Selection Sunday. Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll be updating you every Tuesday on where the Louisville men’s basketball team stands across the various bracket predictions online. Not every major site has started with its bracketology coverage yet. You can expect the coverage to ramp up within the next two weeks following the Super Bowl.
Before we dive into the different projections, let’s take a look at Louisville’s overall tournament resume through 20 games.
Overall Record: 17-3
ACC: 8-1 (1st)
AP Poll: 6th
NCAA NET Rankings: 11th
Good Wins: Duke (Road)
Bad Losses: None
Losses: Texas Tech (Neutral), Kentucky (Road), Florida State (Home)
Quadrant 1 Record: 2-3
Quadrant 2: 4-0
Quadrant 3: 6-0
Quadrant 4: 5-0
One thing Louisville has going for itself is that it has not taken a bad loss this season. Given the year that we’ve seen so far, that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. The Cards have not had many chances to pick up solid victories, though. Michigan is currently 35th in the NET which means that victory is no longer considered a quad 1 win. Only the wins over Duke and Notre Dame on the road are Quad 1 as of now.
Louisville only has three quad 1 games remaining (at NC State, at Virginia, at Florida State). Those opportunities can change as future opponents move up or down the NET rankings. Pittsburgh is currently 76th in the NET. If they move into the top 75, the road win earlier this month will become a quad 1 win. Nonetheless, there are fewer opportunities for big wins than there have been in years for this Louisville program. Unless they completely run the table, the lack of schedule strength could hold them back from competing for a number one seed. As you’ll see, most sites project them in the 2-3 range for now. All Louisville can do is avoid bad losses, steal a game or two on the road, and hope that quadrant 1 opportunities present themselves at the ACC tournament.
Louisville Bracket Projections as of 1/28 (Links included)
ESPN: 2 seed in the South playing UC Irvine
CBS: 2 seed in the East playing Little Rock
SB Nation: 3 seed in the East playing UC Irvine
TeamRankings: 3 seed
Bracket Matrix Aggregator: 3 seed
The ACC finds itself in a period of relative decline. Currently, only two teams from the conference are considered top-15 national championship contenders: Duke (+1000) and Louisville (+1200). Florida State is given an outside shot at +3300 and is the only other team in the conference that rates in the top 45 at KenPom. The odds according to this list of sites are a direct response on how betting sites react to the on-court performance from the bottom 12 teams in the league. Outside of Duke, Louisville, and FSU, only one other ACC team (NC State) is currently on track to crack the March Madness field per Joe Lunardi’s latest projections. It’s extremely hard to win a tournament you aren’t playing in.