The two-win Louisville men’s basketball program has had a rough season, and they have lost in viral fashion plenty of times, finding pretty interesting ways to play the sport of basketball.
For example, Pitt had some fun against them like many teams have had all year long.
Louisville basketball pic.twitter.com/StrnIu9oQQ— Timmy Smith (@timmysmith26) January 19, 2023
Louisville basketball indeed.
Admittedly, it has been really, really weird to see a program which (in my 27-year-old life) is mostly just known for the Rick Pitino era to be this bad. I genuinely hope, and root, for Kenny Payne and co. to turn things around. College hoops is more fun when Louisville is decent, but hey, we get to laugh a bit.
After a few messages flew back and forth in the Mid-Major Madness Slack channel (shouts to Sam Federman), I just decided to name some mid-major teams that’s all!
*All of the KenPom rankings as of Jan. 27.
Everyone’s favorite dumping ground of a program is ACTUALLY not that bad this season. The Chicago State Cougars are No. 283 in year one as an independent since they were pretty much booted out of the WAC because of the football-focused expansion of a few years ago. The Cougs are thriving and have twice as many wins over Division-I teams as Louisville. (The Cards’ only two wins came over Western Kentucky and FAMU.)
To think, just days ago on Jan. 23, the two darlings of the rankings were so close together.
January 24, 2023
All of the Kentucky mid-major teams
The already mentioned Sam Federman gets credit for this one.
He pointed out so eloquently that all of the mid-major squads from the Bluegrass State are ranked higher in KenPom than their high-major sibling Louisville.
Don’t believe me?
The list: Murray State, 171; Western Kentucky (Louisville beat WKU to get its first win of the season), 183; Eastern Kentucky, 191; Northern Kentucky, 199; Bellarmine (beat Louisville off a wild, big-brain time waster), 259; Morehead State, 295.
Pretty much all the basketball in Kentucky has been dreadful this season, a trend that Sports Illustrated scribe Pat Forde noted in a recent column, and the Cards just happen to be at the bottom of the dread heap.
Remember Rick Pitino?
Pepperidge Farm remembers Rick Pitino.
The old man still has “it”, and that “it” is winning. Iona is the highest-rated team I have mentioned so in this blog posting as the Gaels are ranked in the top 100, sliding in at No. 77 and are a half game out of first in a mostly dreadful MAAC. I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least note the former Cards head coach in this here list.
High Point and Texas Southern are all higher in KenPom than Louisville. These schools may sound familiar as the 16-seeds that the Cards meet when they claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. As you’d guess by looking at the screenshot above, none of these programs are likely to see their names called on Selection Sunday this season unless magic happens in a conference tournament. Plus, spunky Denver and Tennessee Tech are there.
Needless to say, the Louisville Cardinals have taken a nosedive this season.
Maine: Shouts to Tristan Jung for this one. It is hard to not mention Maine, a program that hasn’t won more than single-digit games since 2012-13. The Black Bears of the tip of New England are 8-12, ranked No. 284.
UC San Diego: Garrett Lash (aka @NMTC_Hoops) gets the credit here. Third-year D-I darling UC San Diego lost its best player to the mythical portal over the offseason, and the results haven’t been amazing, But hey, they beat Cal!
All of the military schools: The Citadel (287), Army (230), Navy (210), Air Force (162) all boast higher KenPom rankings than Louisville. At least the Cards could stack up against the Coast Guard (4-14 in the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference in D-III).
Northern Arizona: Anyone who knows me personally knows my history with the Lumberjacks. I went there, covered them for the local paper and all that. I will always find a way to mention the Jacks. Northern Arizona has one Big Sky win, five total wins with only three D-I wins and are at No. 285 on KenPom. NAU, similar to Maine, has had single-digit win seasons in five of the past seven years with a sixth likely this year. Ouch.
New Mexico: The Pitino ties are all we need to say.