Louisville basketball blowout loss was perfect storm

Head coach Chris Mack of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Mack of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It was not in the cards for Louisville basketball on Saturday when they were blown out by Wisconsin.

Well, it could not have been worse than that. Louisville basketball ran into a buzzsaw that was Wisconsin on the way to a huge loss against the No. 12 team in the country on the road.

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The Cardinals were completely up against it in this game. Almost everything that could have went wrong did. They showed you exactly how the No. 23 team in the country can get beat by 37 points.

Wisconsin starts five seniors on their squad that was clearly ready to come out and shoot the lights out of Kohl Center. The Badgers shot 16-for-25 from three point range on the day and they made ball movement look simple against the Cardinals defense.

From tip to the very end, Wisconsin looked like the superior basketball team.

Of course, Louisville was attempting to win with eight scholarship players that are all sophomores or younger in this game against a group of seniors that have been playing together for multiple years.

Carlik Jones was not available for the game due to Covid reasons even though he did travel with the team. That is encouraging for his status for a game Tuesday against Pitt.

The ball just was not moving the ways you would like to see and the movement on defense was slow to process. Wisconsin made them pay on both ends.

It had been 18 days since Louisville last played and that really showed in this game on Saturday.

A loss was expected, but a loss in this fashion is not acceptable.

The team has been practicing since Dec. 10. How many players were practicing and when is really not known. But, what fans got to see on Saturday in anticipation of a game after an 18 day break was about as underwhelming as it gets.

David Johnson and Sam Williamson, who were tasked with leading the charge on Saturday, just came out incredibly flat in the first half. When Johnson started to get in a groove in the second half, it was already too late.

Louisville went on a 9-minute scoring drought from the 17:55 mark until the 8:45 mark in the first half. In that span, Wisconsin went on a 16-0 run and the game felt completely over with almost three-quarters of the game still to play.

Johnson’s seven turnovers in this game were completely unacceptable and lackadaisical. He is too good of a player to be committing just silly turnovers to give Wisconsin more opportunities than they could ever need.

A loss was totally fine in this kind of game setting. But, still, the way that they lost is means to be frustrated and concerned about the team moving forward.

Clearly, Louisville head coach Chris Mack agrees with the sentiments of many.

That is some pretty damning stuff and a clear challenge by Mack to two of his young players to be better. Johnson and Williamson have so much ability and the expectation should be that they can lead the team to be at least serviceable at this point in their careers. That did not happen on Saturday afternoon.

Carlik Jones cannot be a crutch for this team. Johnson and Williamson were the clear most talented players on the floor for Louisville but they just played lousy, lackadaisical basketball when the team needed them the most.

Louisville will get a chance to bounce back against Pitt on Tuesday. We will see quickly if Mack’s message gets through to the two sophomores.

On Saturday, it made all of the sense in the world for Louisville to lose. But losing by 37 cannot happen for a team with this kind of talent infused into it.