The day after: Cards fall to Tar Heels

The University of Louisville basketball team saw its school-record 21-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday afternoon against North Carolina. The Cardinals fell 93-84. Cardinal Authority has a few points on the game:

1. You can't win them all: It had been 228 days since the last loss for the Louisville basketball team. You would love to win them all but it's not likely. And this will turn out to be a very good loss for the Cardinals. U of L coach Rick Pitino warned his guys they would get beat if they didn't start to play better defense. The team has yet to buy into the defensive scheme and that's a major problem right now. But it's an easy fix. It's not like the talent isn't there, so this is just a small hiccup. Don't fret.

2. Offense wasn't awful: Have heard and seen a lot of chatter about the offense, but after watching a replay there wasn't a ton wrong with the offense. Sure, there was just eight assists on 26 field goals. But the Cardinals were really watching Russ Smith do his thing for much of the game. He carried them for stretches. And that's not always a bad thing. I would say the offense needs some fine-tuning but it will be just fine. They'll score on anyone. The problem is the defense and it must be improved.

3. The post players: Well, it wasn't pretty. Stephan Van Treese two points and two rebounds, Mangok Mathiang didn't do much better and Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan couldn't do it alone. Plus, Harrell had several silly fouls. Mathiang has the most upside and it will be interesting to see moving forward if he starts getting more minutes. He wasn't good but he can improve and someone has to get better.

4. Missed layups: It's becoming all too familiar, a missed lay-up here and there for the Cardinals. There were plenty against Hartford, more against Fairfield and probably eight or nine at point-blank range on Sunday in the loss. Those shots will be the difference come March between winning a close game and losing. They must get better from close up.

5. A few leftovers: Wayne Blackshear was a huge disappointment in this game with 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists and 0 steals. He can't disappear for the Cards. . . . The Cardinals now get four days off until a Friday night game at home against Southern Mississippi. . . . The Cards did have 14 turnovers, but I wasn't too disappointed with that number. . . . Remember, it's early and they were going to lose one somewhere. Not a bad spot, against a good team.


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