The first true gut punch loss of the Chris Mack era arrived for Louisville fans Friday night. Despite seeming in control of the game for the vast majority of the evening, the Cardinals will leave New York without a victory after falling to old rival Marquette in overtime, 77-74.
There’s going to be a lot of talk about the Jordan Nwora three-pointer that was somehow ruled a two, there’s going to be a lot of talk about the missed layup at the end of regulation by V.J. King, and there’s going to be a lot of talk about the officiating in genera. All of the talk is warranted, but none of it is going to make this one sting any less.
Louisville is better and more capable of competing in the ACC than I thought they were gong to be three weeks ago. That’s the good news. The bad news is they were right there against the No. 5 team in the country deep in the second half on Wednesday and in total control of a likely NCAA tournament team two nights later, and lost both games.
It’s easy right now to talk about being competitive and the improvement that will come later in the season. Maybe it’s even the right thing to do. The problem is we did that so often during the first half of last season, and all those narrow losses that were labeled as “building blocks” wound up playing a large part in Louisville not hearing its name called on Selection Sunday. Maybe it’s the recency of that memory that makes this loss even more difficult to swallow than it would be ordinarily.
Another opportunity is coming next week when Sparty visits the Yum Center, but the after-burn from this one still has a little while to linger.
Here’s your final box score:
I am thankful for nothing.