Louisville does not beat Virginia.
If not literally, figuratively.
Coming in, five Ws against 20 setbacks all-time. One of those victories in ‘47. Not even halfway through last century.
Since joining the ACC, we’re looking at 2-15.
The Mango Mathiang game in ‘15. And Jordan Nwora-led victory in the COVID year.
Other than that, nuthin’.
Rick Pitino, as heralded in game prep as he is reputed to be, couldn’t figure it out. David Padgett’s Cards fell in a game that with seconds to play was mathematically impossible to lose. Mack beat ‘em that once.
The word I’ve used time and again after the continuum of losses is “schooled.”
Tony Bennett’s teams just stay steady. It’s eery, frankly. They never get rattled even though they run the shot clock down on the majority of their offensive possessions. Their pack line D is legendary, though it’s a bit different this year.
They average less than ten turnovers a tilt. 9.1 per game to be exact.
The Cavaliers had less than that Wednesday night. Six. All in the 2d.
But Louisville, which came oh so very close, could only generate five points off of them. While surrendering 13 points on its 10 giveaways (considerably under their norm).
The difference. Easily.
UVa prevailed by three, 61-58, after the Cards, passing up a couple decent looks from beyond the arc, fell when Kamari Lands was forced to shoot one off balance at the clock.
* * * * *
The Cardinals were motivated and focused.
Louisville’s last FG of the 1st was a JJ Traynor layup with 5:55 before halftime.
Louisville’s last tally of the opening stanza was a Mike James FT at 5:18 to again push ahead by 9, 26-17.
Then U of L dried up worse than the increasingly Not So Great Salt Lake.
The Wahoos ran off a dozen in a row to end the 1st, for 29-26 lead.
U of L gave it away on the first possession after the break. Virginia scored, and took control, keeping the Cards measured. For awhile.
Louisville kept coming.
They rolled 7 in a row to knot it at 39 with 11:47 left.
UVa immediately answered.
The Cardinals drew even again at 44 with 9:29 to play.
UVa immediately answered again, then surged ahead by 10 at 5:16, 55-45.
The Cardinals, as they do, did not quit. They outscored Virginia 13-6 down the stretch.
With no timeouts to call on the last possession, they didn’t take a decent shot — a couple were presented — falling to the #7 outfit in the land.
* * * * *
When U of L plays Virginia, I tend to write in the aftermath way more about Tony Bennett’s teams than any other Cardinal foe.
They are fascinating to observe at both ends of the court.
They do little things that no other teams do that can make a difference of several points a game. Like rebounders tapping the ball out toward midcourt, when they can’t quite secure a board. Ask Purdue how that ploy worked back in the ‘19 Elite Eight on the same court.
* * * * *
U of L doesn’t beat UVa.
Figuratively if not literally.
This woeful but game Cardinal squad came closer than many.
— c d kaplan