BOZICH | Louisville basketball schedule: The Good & Not So Good
By Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You can never air ball writing about basketball in this town, especially on the day the University of Louisville released dates, times and locations for the Atlantic Coast Conference portion of the Cards’ schedule.
There is good: Two games with Pittsburgh. That’s scheduling gold. GOLD!
There difficult: Two games with North Carolina. That’s scheduling rusty water.
There is same old dilemma: Two of the final four games with Virginia, including the season finale. Bring your own Prilosec.
I was not the only one who noticed. I found this quote-tweet of something that I tweeted Thursday.
I looked at the schedule. Then I looked at the ACC projections from Athlon’s 2018 College Basketball yearbook.
Here is the good and the not-so-good from the Cards’ ACC schedule:
The Good: The Cards’ home opener against Miami is absolutely winnable.
Athlon picked Chris Mack’s team to finish 11th in the 15-team league. The Hurricanes were picked 10th.
Louisville lost Ray Spalding, Deng Adel, Quentin Snider and Anas Mahmoud. Miami lost more: two guys taken in the 2018 NBA Draft. San Antonio selected Lonnie Walker in the first round while Bruce Brown was picked by Detroit in round two.
Playing Miami early in the KFC Yum! Center, while the Hurricanes are still trying to figure out their backcourt, is a plus.
The Not-So-Good: North Carolina and Virginia are two of Louisville’s double plays in the league. The Tar Heels and Cavaliers are both likely to be Top-15 teams this season. One game would be plenty.
As helpful as it will be to play Pittsburgh and Boston College twice, it will be difficult to split with North Carolina and Virginia.
The Good: The early road schedule sets up for the Cards to win three of their first four away from Second and Main. Look past that Jan. 12 trip to North Carolina.
Three of Louisville’s first four road games are certainly winnable. There’s no better place to start on the road than Pittsburgh, where Louisville will play at 8 p.m. Jan. 9. Louisville has won its last two games at Pitt by 55 and 34. Jeff Capel replaced Kevin Stallings as the head coach, but the Pitt roster is mid-major caliber.
After visiting UNC, Louisville’s next two road games will be Georgia Tech (Jan. 19) and Wake Forest (Jan. 30). Athlon has the Yellow Jackets 14th in the league and Wake 13th. Toss in a Feb. 27 visit to Boston College, and Louisville will play Athlon’s bottom four teams in the ACC on the road (without going to top-ranked Duke).
The Not-So-Good: Virginia. Twice. In 15 days.
Maybe the Cavaliers will not be the Kryptonite to Chris Mack that they were to Rick Pitino and David Padgett. They weren’t Kryptonite to UMBC. But next to Duke vs Carolina, the ACC league office likes U of L vs. UVa.
The Good: Notre Dame for Senior Day. CBS likes the idea. They’re going to carry that one on Sunday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. Nobody has to be sold on a Louisville/Notre Dame game. Dollar for dollar, basket for basket and overtime for overtime, Notre Dame/Louisville is the most entertaining moment on the schedule.
The Not-So-Good: The early favorable stretch on the schedule is wiped out beginning in February. Beginning with a Feb. 4 trip to Virginia Tech, Louisville plays five of Athlon’s top six ACC teams in its final road games. Buckle up.
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