Cardinals Fall Short in Upset Bid Against Indiana
For the second straight day, the Louisville men’s basketball team found themselves in a position to pull off an upset against a big-name opponent inside Madison Square Garden. However, for the second straight day, the Cardinals fell short.
Louisville had a seven-point lead over Indiana with less than eight minutes to play and a three-point lead heading into the game’s final segment. But the Hoosiers threw a zone defense at U of L, catching the Cardinals off guard and leaving them with no plan to attack. A series of disastrous offensive possessions later, and Indiana walked out of MSG with a 74-66 victory.
Kenny Payne, assistant coach for Louisville, admitted that they didn’t discuss the possibility of Indiana going to a zone defense. He never thought that Mike Woodson, Indiana’s head coach, would make that strategic move. “He tricked me,” Payne said.
— Seth Tow (@SethTow) November 21, 2023
Indiana ended the game on a 13-2 run, and Louisville’s only basket in the final 4:23 was a meaningless and uncontested layup by Skyy Clark with just 4 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, the final segment of the game undid much of the goodwill that the Louisville team had built throughout the match. They had looked like the superior team for most of the third-place game. JJ Traynor and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield fought valiantly against the Indiana frontcourt, and the Cardinal defense limited the Hoosiers to just one made three-pointer. Freshman guard Ty-Laur Johnson also had a remarkable stretch in the second half, completely taking over the game.
However, when the pressure was at its highest, the Louisville team wilted in a significant manner. It’s difficult in this moment to remember the good that preceded their collapse.
Despite the disappointment, there were positive steps taken by the Cardinals in New York. Now, it’s up to the players and coaches to make those steps mean something and learn from their mistakes.