NCAA Tournament 2013: Why Louisville Won't Win the Title

Remember when Columbia beat Villanova in basketball this season? It was November 20, and the Lions from Columbia not only beat the Wildcats of Villanova, they destroyed them: 75-57. This is the same Villanova team that went on to handle Louisville 73-64 on January 22 while Columbia failed to produce a winning record in the Ivy League. That's the kind of college basketball season it's been this year. One that makes no sense. 

But now, everyone is handing the title to Louisville, coronating them as the overwhelming favorite in this NCAA season that saw the No.1 ranked team lose what seemed like every week. However, with a big second half comeback win against Syracuse in the Big East Championship Game, college basketball fans seem to have forgotten how crazy this college season was and decided that Louisville was by far the best team in the country. Louisville is a fantastic team, but in a season that has been anything but predictable, beware that the Cardinals may not be the safe bet to cut down the nets in Atlanta on April 8.  

Since their triple overtime loss at Notre Dame on February 9, Louisville has rattled off 10 straight wins. A closer look, however, reveals that this streak isn't as spectacular as one would think. The most impressive win in that span came at 12th ranked Syracuse, a team that was in the midst of losing four of five games, including a 61-39 drubbing at the hands of Georgetown.

Louisville's win over Syracuse in the Big East Championship was head-turning, but taking stock of how good Syracuse actually is is important. This is a team that has sputtered horribly during the last third of the season. They are 8-8 in their last 16 games, with their biggest win coming against Georgetown in the Big East Tournament (a team that had dominated them their previous two meetings).

This Louisville team also had a three-game losing streak against Syracuse, Villanova, and Georgetown. This was right after they received a No. 1 ranking in both the AP and coach's poll. Their loss to Duke is rendered moot not only because Duke is very good, but because Gorgui Deng was injured. (it should also be noted that Duke has only lost one game with Ryan Kelly in the line-up, yet the so called "experts" have written Duke off after their loss to Maryland).

Louisville is a very strong team. The 16 minutes they played to end the Big East Championship was probably the best 16 minutes played by any college basketball team this season. Beating a struggling Syracuse team, even when being down by double digits, and playing 20 minutes of great basketball shouldn't be a reason to give the title to Louisville. 

Last year, Kentucky was the dominant team in college basketball the entire season. This year's Louisville team is no Kentucky. They are a great basketball team that could very well win the NCAA Tournament, but making them the overwhelming favorite is a mistake.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam is a culture writing intern at PolicyMic. His work has appeared in "Running Times" and other running publications. He is also a professional middle-distance runner for the New Jersey-New York Track Club. After graduating from Columbia University with his bachelor's degree, he earned a Master's of Professional Studies in Journalism from Georgetown University. Originally from Bath, Mich, he spends his time watching TV, reading longform journalism, and thinking about who is going to be in the NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four.

MORE FROM

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.

RuPaul is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

RuPaul is among the latest Walk of Fame honorees.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.

RuPaul is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

RuPaul is among the latest Walk of Fame honorees.