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Jeff Eisenberg

Louisville still needs another win or two -- and it won't be easy

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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If the final minutes of Louisville's loss to Georgetown had a soundtrack, some dark, forboding organ music might have been appropriate.

There's no denying the Cardinals would still be solidly in the NCAA tournament if the season ended today. There's also no denying that their at-large hopes also suddenly seem precarious as a result of their remaining schedule.

By squandering a six-point halftime lead in a 70-60 home loss to enigmatic Georgetown on Tuesday night, Louisville has put itself in a position where it will probably need to spring at least one mini-upset in the next two weeks. The Cardinals (18-10, 9-6) close the season at Connecticut, at Marquette and home against Syracuse, as unenviable a finishing kick as any bubble team in the country except perhaps Illinois.

Since Louisville has beaten Syracuse and Connecticut and probably boasts a more talented roster than Marquette, the Cardinals didn't leave Freedom Hall quaking with fear on Tuesday night. Still Marquette has won six of seven, Connecticut is in the midst of a sudden late-season revival and Syracuse is undefeated on the road and hardly the opponent you want to face in a must-win season finale.

If the Cardinals are going to win any of those three games, it will take a far better performance than the one they delivered in the second half on Tuesday night. Louisville suddenly went cold from the floor, couldn't generate any transition offense and got outscored 24-3 to start the half, 18 of Georgetown's points coming from guard Austin Freeman alone.

Louisville had won five of six prior to Tuesday night to rally back from a lackluster first half of the season. If the Cards don't recapture that momentum, the soundtrack to their season finale may be a funeral march.

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