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Louisville came in ranked #5 in the country and winners of 9 straight games. Virginia came in riding a 9-game winning streak vs the Cardinals.  Something had to give.

 

Virginia73
Louisville 80

 

 

Negative

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Virginia gets blown out of the first half, claws back in the second half, and even takes the lead late in the game. Of course Virginia goes on to lose in the waning minutes.

Positive

These guys never give up. Louisville came out blazing, connecting on 6 of their first 7 three-point attempts and scorching Virginia’s pack line for 44 first half points. For comparison purposes, remember that the Cavaliers have seven times held the opposition to 44 or fewer points for the entire game. ESPN analyst Dan Dakich said Louisville’s first half was the probably the best half of basketball in the NCAA this season. And it was hard to disagree with that sentiment.

Negative

Louisville refs.  We didn’t get jobbed like UNC in the Duke game, but the 20 – 11 free throw discrepancy is illustrative. Kody Stattmann was on the wrong end of two incorrect hooking calls and the refs decided it was open season on Jay Huff who was elbowed, hooked, and climbed, yet he was the one who drew four fouls.

Positive

3 – point shooting.  Wait, what?  Five games removed from making a 3-point shot, Kihei Clark went 4 – 6. A game after going 1 – 6 from deep, Tomas Woldetensae did his best to make the Virginia faithful forget Kyle Guy by going 7 – 10 and hunting his shot all game long. Twice in the last four games, Woldetensae has erupted for seven made threes. He’s firmly staked his claim to the starting 2 spot. The Hoos would go on to actually out-shoot the Cardinals from 3, going 11 – 22, easily our best 3-point of the year.  After starting 6 – 7, Louisville went 3 – 15 the rest of the way, doing their best Virginia impression.

Negative

Rebounding.  The Cavs were bullied on the boards, and although this was abetted by the refs, Louisville was hungrier.  Jay Huff’s positioning was poor and Braxton Key succumbed to the Inverted Texas Two-Step that has so plagued this team this season.  After leading the way versus Clemson, Key was relatively anonymous this game, grabbing only four boards and he was punished on two of Louisville’s six early threes.

Negative

Bench play.  Virginia’s bench played 16 minutes and scored two points.  Lousiville’s second unit logged 61 minutes and contributed 29 points.

Positive

Huff’s hedging.  Jay is getting better on a per game basis. In a game when the refs were eager to call him for the foul (can you sense my bitterness yet), Jay hedged farther than I’ve seen any Virginia big man I’ve seen and he wasn’t called once.

Positive

March 7th. That’s when we get our fair ups:  Louisville is coming to the JPJ for the season finale.  While this has been in many ways a sucky season, the Cavs have proven that they can hang with anyone. We may only make March Madness by performing well in the ACC tournament, but if we do make the big dance, I guarantee you we will be the double-digit seed that no one will want to face.