Louisville basketball: Previewing the ACC tournament


The Louisville basketball season couldn’t have ended on a better note. Despite having lost one of their leading scorers a few weeks ago, along with an already struggling offense, the boys in red were able to pull off the upset over the one loss Virginia Cavaliers.

Now, the regular season is over with, and the Cards will need to use all the momentum they can to fight their way through what I believe is the toughest conference tournament this year.

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals /

Louisville Cardinals

While the Cardinals come into the ACC tourney with a #4 seed along with a double bye, their run to the championship will start out reasonably tough. The Cardinals will play the winner of #5 North Carolina (Loss at UNC 72-71/ OT win at home 78-68) and #12 Boston College (at BC win of 81-72). Of course most predictions will go in UNC’s favor to be the Cardinal’s opponent, giving the two teams a chance to win out the season series. This is one of those games that is truly close to call, but if I go with my gut feeling, as bad as I hate to say it, I think UNC would win in this game. While it is a neutral site game, per say, the tourney is in North Carolina, giving all of the NC schools a slight advantage.

However, if the Cardinals win, their next opponent in the semis would be the winner of #1 Virginia and #8 Clemson/#9 FSU. Once again, looking at quite the obvious, I would assume the winner will be the Cavaliers (Once again, it is March and anything can happen). But with the chance to even the season series, I truly think that the Cardinals have a higher chance to beat the Orange and Blue than they do against UNC in the quarter-finals. Why? The Cavaliers lost one of their higher scoring figures as well in Justin Anderson during the first match between UVA and UofL, meaning that it won’t take as much offense on the Cardinals part to beat the Cavaliers. Some may agree with that, some won’t, however I think that a healthy UNC squad will provide a tougher challenge. Meaning, that my prediction for Louisville is if they can squeak by the Tar Heelers, then they will win in the semi-finals.

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Moving to the Championship game which will provide all kinds of fun for whoever makes it there. The teams on the other side of the bracket include #2 Duke ( Jan. 17th lost at home 63-52), #3 Notre Dame (March 4th loss at home 71-59) and #7 NC State (Feb. 14th loss at home 74-65). Now, if the Cardinals make it to the championship game, then they need to be proud that they made it to the toughest conference’s final game, because they won’t be winning that game. That’s not a popular thing to say for Cards fans I know, but the three prominent teams that Louisville will meet in that game all beat the Cardinals in the KFC Yum! Center. Plus, I think that each of those teams are just better overall teams in the longer run (with the exception of NC State being equal to UofL).

Now that we have broken each set of potential games for the Cardinals, here comes my final prediction. I think that Louisville will lose in their first game against UNC. The Tar Heels are a better overall team, and will move on to play Virginia.

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Trust me Cards fans, I wish I didn’t have to say that, but the prediction must be made. However, this is March, and predictions normally are thrown out the window during this month. We will have to wait and see if I’m right. The Cardinals make their ACC tourney appearance on Thursday at 2 pm ET.

How do you think the Cardinals tournament will play out? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter @BlueGrassDom.

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