The third time was far from the charm for Louisville on Thursday. Virginia shot 52.5 percent from the field and limited the Cardinals to 36.7 percent shooting on its way to a 75-58 victory in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
For Louisville, the loss means an excruciating wait between now and Sunday when the Cardinals will discover their postseason fate.
After making four of its first five shots, U of L went cold from the field, allowing Virginia to seize control of the game early on. The Cavaliers led by as many as 17 points and carried an 11-point advantage with them into halftime. Still, the underdogs showed resolve coming out of the locker room.
With just under eight minutes to play, Louisville had cut the Virginia lead to four and appeared to be set to have a chance to make it a one possession game. But an easy rebound slipped out of Jordan Nwora’s hands, the type of mistake Virginia almost always makes opponents pay for. The Cavaliers promptly went on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach for good.
Five Virginia players scored in double figures, led by Kyle Guy’s 19 points. Ray Spalding led Louisville with 16 points.
There’s a lot of basketball to be played between now and Sunday, but I’m already not feeling overly optimistic about Louisville’s chances. The Cards have beaten only two teams that seem likely to be in the field of 68, are 0-11 against RPI top 50 teams, and 5-13 in Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 games. That seems like an easy justification for the committee. I really hope I’m wrong.
In the meantime, everyone root against Alabama, UCLA, Baylor, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, and every team that has no chance of making the Big Dance unless they win their conference tournament.
I will take playing the Warriors in Dayton. Just throw us a bone, committee. We’ve been through enough.