Wed, 18 May 2022

Up-and-down Virginia hosts fading Louisville squad

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2022, 04:40 GMT+10

Coming off deflating losses Saturday, Louisville and Virginia won't have much time to shake off the residual effects when they meet Monday night in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Charlottesville, Va.

On a day designed to celebrate the program's rich history by retiring the jersey of Russ Smith, Louisville (11-8, 5-4 ACC) lost for the fourth time in five games, 82-70, to Notre Dame. Afterward, the Cardinals left the floor to boos.

Meanwhile defensive-minded Virginia (11-8, 5-4) lost in uncharacteristic fashion as it allowed host North Carolina State to shoot 60 percent from the field and 54.5 percent (12 of 22) from 3-point range in a 77-63 defeat.

The losses prompted questions for both teams. At Louisville, when he was asked if the Cardinals had tuned out the coaching staff, senior forward Malik Williams' non-answer spoke volumes.

"I don't think I have a comment for that," Williams said.

After winning the Bahamas Championship and starting 4-0 in the ACC, Louisville looked set for a run at the regular season title. But two of its last four losses have come to middling conference teams, Pittsburgh and NC State, that it beat earlier in the year.

During the fade, coach Chris Mack has questioned the effort of his players.

"There's a standard here and we're not living up to that right now," senior guard Jarrod West said.

The problem for Virginia has been its inability to sustain success. The Cavaliers have followed six of their last seven wins with losses.

With less talent on hand, coach Tony Bennett has acknowledged his team's thin margin of error this season.

"In order to be successful, it's all got to be, not perfect, but it's got to be quality," Bennett said after losing to the Wolfpack for the first time in eight trips to Raleigh, N.C.

Virginia won't be the only team looking to shore up its defense Monday. In the Notre Dame loss, Louisville yielded 63.3 percent shooting from the floor and 65.2 percent (15 of 23) from beyond the arc.

--Field Level Media

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