There are a few things that are a near-certain when facing a Tony Bennet-coached Virginia team. The Cavaliers squad is one that displays constant patience, a strong defensive effort and a low-scoring outing for both teams.
For opposing teams, another factor often proves true, if you fall behind early, it can become frustrating, potentially ugly. No. 6 Louisville experienced each on Wednesday night at a sold-out KFC Yum! Center in a 61-53 loss to the 12th-ranked Cavaliers. The loss is the third consecutive to the ACC-created rival Virginia.
"Virginia seems to be our kyptonite," Pitino said. "We just don't play well against them. It takes two skills to play against Virginia, really good passing and we were careless, and it takes very good shooting. We didn't have either tonight."
The Cardinals struggled from the field from the tip and fell behind 16-4 before the second media timeout. Virginia put together an 8-0 run during the final two minutes of the opening half to build a 36-21 advantage at the break.
The offensive woes continued into the second half as the Cavaliers built a 21-point lead with 12:40 remaining in the contest and kept the margin above 20 until the nine minute mark. Finding a defensive spark and an improving offensive touch, U of L outscored UVA 18-5 for the remainder of the contest.
Louisville had zero assists at halftime and finished with just seven, a season low. The Cardinals also had season lows in points (53), field goal attempts (44), three-point field goals made (2) and three-point field goal percentage (14.3). The 19 made field goals and two blocks shots equal season lows. U of L was outrebounded by UVA 31-26, marking just the second time this season that the team has lost the battle of the boards.
Up next for Louisville (11-2) is a trip to Indianapolis to face Indiana on Saturday at 12:30pm.null