So, the University of Louisville Cardinals, coached by a guy who loves to win conference tourneys as meaningless as they generally are, remain ofer the ACC tourney.
U of L, the higher seeded slight favorite over everybody's favorite villain, succumbed to the Duke Blue Devils in a loss, the only significance of which might technically be to drop the Cardinals a seed line or two.
In terms of closing the deal, playing smart, rising to the occasion, and displaying dig in and git 'er done moxie in the post season, Cardinal fans can only hope the quarterfinal setback isn't a harbinger. Otherwise the Cards are in a heap o' heap.
U of L can play one more game.
U of L can play six more games.
I'd take the under.
* * * * *
U of L netted three more FGs than its conquerors.
U of L grabbed three more rebounds than the victors.
U of L had six blocks, doubling that of Duke.
U of L had 15 assists, six more than the BDs.
U of L dominated in the paint, 46-28.
U of L committed only 8 turnovers.
U of L led by a dozen with 13:07 to play, and were storming.
U of L lost 81-77.
* * * * *
There are any number of things upon which to blame the loss.
Failure to adapt when Coach K went zone.
Failure to check Luke Kennard as he was heating up beyond the arc.
Donovan Mitchell taking himself out of the game with several STUPID fouls. His fourth was so far from the hoop, it could have been whistled by one of the refs calling the Big East in the Garden across the Brooklyn Bridge. (He wasn't playing worth a damn anyway -- 3/14 from the field -- but you still want your best player in the game.)
Oh there are several other possible excuses that might be erroneously offered, but what's the point in listing them?
Because there is but one glaring culprit.
U of L was -7 at the FT line, making but 58% (15/28). While the Dukies were a steady 71% (22/31).
* * * * *
In terms of post season placement -- the ONLY thing that matters in March -- this loss might be of consequence, but it is relatively insignificant.
In terms of whether this edition of the Louisville Cardinals has the maturity and wherewithal for significant advancement in the Dance, this loss was anything but hope inducing.
-- Seedy K