Slightly over a month ago, in late January, Mike wrote an article on the 'blog' titled 'Louisville's road to ten conference victories.' It was written while we were 3-1 in conference, 14-3 overall, and ranked #15 in the nation. Here we are, nearly 5 weeks later...and the results are impressive. We're ranked #16 after a whole heap of injuries, and are seemingly playing our best basketball of the season against the big name opponents we face, which could spell out very good things for the Cards come tourney time...but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Mike broke down the remaining games into three categories: "Must Wins", "Toss-Ups", and "A Win is a Steal." Care to see how we've fared in his predictions with just 3 games left in the regular season? Let's!
Let's run through his first category:
vs. St. John's (1/19)
AT Providence (1/22)
vs. DePaul (2/5) AT Rutgers (2/22)
vs. Providence (3/2)
We're 3 of 4 so far in this category, with Providence at home on a surely atmospheric Senior Night in the Crum! Center. This isn't too bad, considering how tough St. John's turned out to be, as they currently sit in the top 25 for the first time since 2000. What's funny about this category are the statements Mike made in that article regarding the Providence game, which incidentally enough was played just 3 days after he wrote his post. I'll now deem it necessary to paste it here, in jest:
"Louisville absolutely cannot lose to DePaul or drop either of their games with Providence. If it takes an L in one of those three games, we're in big trouble."
While the loss to Providence was shocking at the time, it didn't prove to be too bad of a loss. Providence kicked it in gear, seemingly motivated after their win against the Cardinals. Marshon Brooks is a true force. With all that said, we aren't in big trouble by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't fault Mike for that--that's a credit to what Louisville's accomplished over the past month. Let's move on to the next segment.
vs. Marquette (1/15)
vs. No. 21 West Virginia (1/26)
AT No. 23 Georgetown (1/31)
AT No. 25 Cincinnati (2/16)
AT No. 21 West Virginia (3/5)
This was by far our worst category, but 2-2 in the first 4 isn't awful--WVU is a lock for the tourney, and Georgetown played arguably their best basketball in late January. The Cincy game was a head scratcher, but the sting didn't last too long; Cincinnati needed that game more than ever, and Louisville responded extremely well with a huge win over UCONN just a few days later. While the game at Morgantown will no doubt be a hellacious environment, we have played decently well there in the past few years, and we all know what happens when WVU schedules Senior Night against the Cards. On to the next one...
A Win is a Steal
AT No. 8 Connecticut (1/29)
AT No. 16 Notre Dame (2/9)
vs. No. 3 Syracuse (2/12) vs. No. 8 Connecticut (2/18)
vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh (2/27)
The fact that we are 3 for 4 in the segment thus far is absolutely incredible. Syracuse was 3rd in the country at the time of Mike's writing, and while they certainly aren't that highly ranked now, I still think the game belonged in this category. The UCONN games speak for themselves, as UCONN has consistently been one of the stronger teams in the conference, and in the nation as a whole--they're currently slotted at #15. Pitt, coming to town this Sunday, is no slouch--they're a top 5 team and they've played better than anyone in the Big East all season. I like our chances, but it certainly would be a 'steal' if Louisville pulls off the victory.
All in all, it's been an impressive run. We notched our tenth Big East win tonight, so Mike's road obviously paved the way for our success. We still have 3 games to go, one of which is a very winnable game against Providence, and two more that should be amazing environments to be a part of. We've essentially "won" the toughest category already, with the looming chance to dominate it.
Can't wait for the White Out.