The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals went blow for blow for the first 24 minutes of the game on the road against the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels. Sadly, college basketball games last 40 minutes and in order to beat a great team on the road, the Cardinals have to match the intensity they exhibited for the first 24 minutes for an entire game. Louisville fell to the Tar Heels 74-63.
Louisville tied the game up early in the second half at 43, after trailing by 3 at halftime. After that, it was like a team we hadn’t seen before. I know Virginia struggles are real, but I always saw 100% focus and intensity, tonight that was absent for the closing 16 minutes of the game. Louisville was led by Donovan Mitchell with 21 points. No other Louisville player scored double digits.
Up next, Louisville hosts Syracuse on Sunday at 2pm on CBS. The Orange defeated Duke tonight on a buzzer beater 3, which allows the Cards to remain in 2nd place with the tie breaker. It was a tough loss, but it’s one the team can learn from and use going forward. I’m still just as sold on this team as I was before tonight, one loss doesn’t diminish this team’s spotlight.
The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals travel to Chapel Hill for a top-10 ACC matchup with the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels tonight at 9pm on ESPN. The line currently stands at UNC-8, after it opened with UNC giving Louisville 5.5 points.
While the fact that both teams are in the top-10 makes for a good headline, there’s so much more to tonight’s game. The winner of tonight’s game will likely win the ACC regular season crown and a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament. Needless to say, there’s a lot on the line for both teams tonight, but the loser is in no way in bad shape either. A win in Chapel Hill will be difficult, but not impossible.
Today’s game didn’t go according to the script for Louisville. The Cards didn’t live up to their No. 3 national ranking and No. 1 ACC ranking for 3-point defense against the hot-shooting Hokies. But the Cards won in a shootout, of all games by a score of 94-90.
Virginia Tech shot 65% from 3-point range, scored 44 points in the 1st half (the most allowed at home since 2013), and seemed to make everything they threw at the basket; however, it wasn’t enough to beat the Cards. Louisville would extend its lead and seem like they’d run away with the game then the Hokies would answer, but VTech fell a few answers short as Louisville pulled away enough late to keep their ACC title hopes alive.
Florida State has been tabbed as the preseason favorites to win the ACC Baseball Championship, with 10 of 14 first place votes. Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina and NC State also nabbed one first place vote each for the overall conference title.
The Tar Heels were selected as the ACC Coastal Division preseason favorites, narrowly edging out Virginia and Miami (FL). Louisville finished second behind the Seminoles as the ACC Atlantic Division favorites.
The ACC as a whole continues its baseball dominance, with the most ranked teams (eight) across the D1baseball, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America polls. Louisville enters the 2017 season ranked 7th in the Baseball America Top 25, 11th on Collegiate Baseball and 12th on D1baseball.com.
The Cardinals open their season on February 17th-19th in Clearwater, FL against Alabama State, Maryland and Ball State. The Cardinals open their home slate against in-state foe Eastern Kentucky on February 22nd, with a home game at Louisville Slugger Field on April 26th against another in-state foe, Northern Kentucky. U of L hopes to rebound from another crushing defeat in the Super Regionals and make their third College World Series in the last five years.
By Justin Renck:
FINALLY!!! It is a celebration and also a sigh of relief! The sigh of relief is because of what we are getting out of, and the celebration is because of what we are getting into!
Now I am not going to get into too many facts like TV ratings, conference votes, and all of that stuff. Just going to give my opinion on the situation.