Louisville fell to Rutgers 13-5 yesterday in its regular season finale, but a Seton Hall loss means that the Cardinals will still go into this week's Big East Tournament as the No. 4 seed.
Action in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament will begin in Clearwater, Fla. on Tuesday when the Cards take on the fifth-seeded Pirates at 10 a.m.
The schedule for the first day of play (rhyme time) looks like this:
|Tues., May 20|
4) Louisville (37-19, 16-11)
1) St. John's (41-12, 20-7)
2) Cincinnati (36-19, 19-8)
3) Notre Dame (33-19-1, 16-10)
Dan McDonnell will likely hand the ball to sophomore Justin Marks (7-1, 2.08 ERA) in game one. The reigning Big East Freshman Pitcher of the Year has picked up the win in five of his last six starts, and has allowed just seven runs over his last 41.2 innings of work.
Should the Cards taste victory on Tuesday, they would next take the field on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against the winner of the first round matchup between top seed St. John's and Villanova. If they lose in the first round, they would play the loser of that same game at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Louisville and Seton Hall did not meet in the regular season.
Obviously, the Cards are going to be gunning for the automatic bid this week in Florida, but should they fall short, they're probably going to need to have won three games to get to 40 overall wins to feel semi-comfortable about their chances of earning an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Having one of those wins come over nationally ranked St. John's would certainly be a big help.
The biggest thing Louisville has going for it - as far as its bubble status is concerned - is that it's played extremely well coming down the stretch, finishing the season with 13 wins in 16 games. The Cards will have to bank on that, as well as their postseason success of a year ago, getting them into the dance if they aren't the last team standing in Clearwater this week.