After Friday's game Coach Walz said DePaul would score 120 if the Cards played defense like they did against Central Arkansas. However, in the first few minutes of the game today it seemed like Louisville might be the ones to score 120. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead before DePaul called a timeout to regroup. Apparently whatever adjustments DePaul coach Doug Bruno made were effective because it felt like the Blue Demons scored that 120 to finish the half up 32-40 over the Cards.
In the second half Louisville kept cutting the lead but then DePaul would answer. Finally, with just under three minutes to play the Cards tied it up and it looked like maybe the momentum might carry them to victory. But alas, it was not to be. Louisville had their chances down the stretch but couldn't capitalize. The Card's came up one point short of the Sweet 16 and with a final score of 72-73 it is DePaul will be moving on to Dallas.
After the game Coach Walz congratulated DePaul and their staff. "It was a great ball game....they did what you have to do....it was a credit to them." He also said that DePaul's experience hurt Louisville and that his team "had a defensive breakdown because [we're] not mentally tough enough. We're not sitting there completely engaged in the process. If you cheat the process you're going to get beat....We had it close and we'd have a mental breakdown that would lead to a basket." Defensive breakdowns and missed opportunities doomed the Cards. There were other factors as well.
When asked about the future he said, "Losing sucks, and if you don't feel that way you're in the wrong business." He also praised his team saying how wonderful they are and how well they represent the city and the school. True enough. But he added "this loss has to hurt them as bad, if not worse, than it hurts me because come May if this loss doesn't still sting and hurt then they aren't going to become the player you need to be."
The future definitely looks bright for Louisville. They have the talent. All that remains to be seen is if losses like these burn long and hot enough to propel them to work toward greatness.