Louisville basketball might’ve dropped from polls, but things are going to be just fine


The feeling around the Louisville basketball program over the last 14 days or so has been trending towards the negative. True, the last few years have traumatized us all, but I’m here to tell you why CardNation needs a chill pill.

Call me crazy, but what if I told you that things are actually going better than expected? Surely a four game stretch of less-than-inspired Louisville basketball hasn’t caused you to forget where this team was supposed to be this year?

Picked 11th in the conference, “maybe” a tournament team at best, let’s just get through the rebuild – all this and more was said prior to this season tipping off for Team 105. The expectations were sorely different from the reality that is our 18-10 record overall, 9-6 in the ACC, and squarely in the NCAA tournament Louisville Cardinals.

Chris Mack changed the culture almost immediately. He brought back a feeling of happiness and fun that had been missing for a long time around here. I’m not here to defend the man, and I don’t feel like I have to. His body of work speaks for itself. My guy DJ wrote a killer piece about it though, and you should definitely read it to give yourself some perspective.

But Louisville basketball as a whole? We had Michigan State in a packed YUM in a game that we had absolutely no business winning. No one picked us to win; even if we put up a good fight, that game was solidly in the L column as far as game predictions were concerned. Even die hard fans around the city were all but certain we weren’t going to experience that winning feeling. Do you remember that winning feeling? Because I do.

With success, though, comes higher expectations. We beat Michigan State, so why doesn’t that team just show up every game? If only there was a clear answer to that question.

The reality is, Louisville is a good team. But they’re also a young team. An inexperienced team. A team with brand new coaches and a brand new system and all the ups and downs that come with what was essentially a program overhaul. Before the season, we knew all of these things.

So we are actually ahead of schedule.

I know this has been run into the ground, but forgive me for bringing up the Duke game one last time. Why did that hurt so bad? If Duke would have just came in and thumped us by 20, like they were “supposed” to… are we anywhere near as upset? Mad? Frustrated?

In many ways that game serves as a parallel to the entire season. We weren’t supposed to be beating Duke. But once we were, pretty handily at that, expectations changed. That fast.

Expectations change, reactions change right along with it. What was supposed to be the “well Duke is the best team in the country I’m just glad we didn’t lose by 30” becomes “how on earth did we lose that game?” I’m not here to break it down or talk about execution, or handling pressure. No fancy stats or analytics needed.

We can’t help it, we’re human and we love our Cards. Being starved for success coupled with how much fun we’ve been having this year makes for a pretty temperamental fan base. Trust me, I get it. But when you look at where we are now and where we were projected to be? There’s really no comparison.

Speaking of where we are now.

Virginia. That monkey is still on our back, along with the “not able to hold a lead” monkey that has been there for what seems like forever. (Even though it’s been less than a month). It’s hard to stomach a loss – no matter if it’s to a top 5 team in the country, or to an unranked one. The fact is, even after yet another loss, Louisville is still solidly in the tournament. They’ve played the 3rd toughest schedule in the nation for goodness sake.

The Cards have already accomplished more than anyone thought they would this season. We as fans have so much to be proud of. The success of our coach and this squad cannot be understated. I can’t predict the future, but I do know that now is not the time to be overreacting.

It’s time to stand behind our coach and our team. Even if the final results of this season don’t fall in line with our newfound expectations, don’t forget where we started. And even then, yes I’m gonna say it: next year is gonna be a movie. *eyeball emoji*

Next. ACC Power Rankings V. 1. dark

The sky is not falling in Louisville, CardNation. Who’s to say that team that beat Michigan State and crushed Carolina doesn’t show up in the ACC tournament? A couple wins in Charlotte could boost an already glowing NCAA tournament resume. Don’t count them out just yet, there’s no better time than the present to bounce back. Go Cards.