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Louisville's November Woes Under Rick Pitino, And How They've Bounced Back

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

A lot has been made over the past couple of days of Louisville's tendency to drop an early game they weren't supposed to under Rick Pitino. Mostly, this phenomenon has been brought up to reinforce a belief that this year's team is going to be fine, as previous Cardinal squads have overcome their early bump in the road to have highly successful seasons.

There was a time, however, when Pitino's November struggles were a very hot-button issue around these parts. I suppose back-to-back Final Fours and a national title deserve a solid chunk of credit for the fan base's newfound holiday placidity.

But is this legend of the November loss even a real thing? And if it is, how have the Cards bounced back in past years?

Let's go back and look at all the Thanksgiving-time losses that U of L has taken under Coach P over the past 12 seasons (they're in parentheses), and see how the team has played in the game immediately following (those aren't in parentheses).


Beat Tennessee State 81-63 (lost to Oregon 90-63)


Beat South Alabama 90-79 (lost to Purdue 86-84)


Beat Western Kentucky 93-63 (lost to Iowa 70-69)


Beat Chaminade 93-63 (lost to Iowa 76-71)


Did not lose in November


Beat CS Sacramento 99-69 (lost to Dayton 68-64)


Beat Old Dominion 64-53 (lost to BYU 78-76)


Beat Indiana State 83-43 (lost to Western Kentucky 68-54)


Beat Stetson 80-48 (lost to UNLV 76-71)


Did not lose in November


Did not lose in November


Beat Illinois State 69-66 (lost to Duke 76-71)

Summary notes:

--In nine of the previous 12 seasons under Rick Pitino, Louisville has lost exactly one November game. This year's Cards currently have one November loss with one more game to play in the month.

--Louisville is 9-0 under Rick Pitino in games following a loss in November.

--Louisville has won those nine games by an average margin of 22.8 points. All but one of those victories (last year against Illinois State) have come by double-digits.

--Of the nine November games Louisville has lost under Pitino, three of them have come by a final score of 76-71. Also, three of the bounce-back victories have been won by exactly 30 points. Neither of those facts really mean anything, but don't act like you didn't notice the 76-71 thing, too.

--Rick Pitino's overall November record at Louisville (including this season) is 37-10, good for a winning percentage of just under 79 percent.

--In the three seasons Louisville hasn't lost in the first month, they've gone on to play in the NIT ('05-'06), lose in the round of 64 to Morehead State ('10-'11) and crash the Final Four ('11-'12).

So what's the major takeaway here? Outside of the fact that it seems likely the Cards will take care of business against Southern Miss on Friday, I guess there isn't one.

But I had fun. Did you guys have fun?

Also, did you know that in 2003-04, Louisville didn't even play its first game of the season until Nov. 29? That's crazy.

All right, I'll talk to you guys later.