The Louisville men’s basketball team dropped its first game back from their 19-day pause in blowout fashion, as the Cards lost 99-54 to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night in Chapel Hill. Louisville falls to 11-5 overall and 6-4 in the ACC. North Carolina improved to 14-7 and 7-6.
Carlik Jones was Louisville’s only player in double figures with 13 points. The Cards shot 32.8-percent from the field and hit just one of their 16 three-point attempts.
Five different players scored in double figures for North Carolina, led by Day’Ron Sharpe’s 21 point and 11 rebound performance. Kerwin Walton added 19 points and 4 assists. The Tar Heels shot 60.9 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from long range.
Similarly to December’s loss at Wisconsin, the rust was evident for the Cards on Saturday. They were able to keep up for the first quarter or so before UNC ran away with it. The sluggishness on both ends might be a bit concerning, but at this point we will have to wait and see. It’s obvious that a pause of nearly three weeks has had an effect that cannot be fixed in the first game back. You might worry that these COVID-19 issues have taken a mental toll on the group, but they have shown that they’re capable of putting a good product on the court when near full strength.
For what it’s worth, Louisville won five straight games after suffering that brutal loss at Wisconsin in December. Four games remain on the schedule as of now and three of those are going to be against quadrant-1 opponents. It would be foolish to hit the panic button, but it seems impossible to predict how the next few weeks are going to play out for this basketball team.
Louisville heads back home for a Tuesday night matchup with Notre Dame at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN.