Louisville Basketball: Are the Cardinals Overrated After Losing to ND?

Robert PaceContributor IIIJanuary 7, 2012

No. 10/11 Louisville fell to 1-2 in Big East conference play with an upset loss to Notre Dame. Are the Cardinals overrated?
No. 10/11 Louisville fell to 1-2 in Big East conference play with an upset loss to Notre Dame. Are the Cardinals overrated?Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Louisville fell to unranked Big East opponent Notre Dame on Saturday, bringing the Cardinal's Big East conference record down to 1-2 on the year. 

Ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP Poll, Louisville now maintains a 13-3 record. So, it seems warranted that the Cardinals are in the Top 25, right?

According to Real Time RPI, Louisville is ranked No. 13 in schedule difficulty as measured on the basis of RPI. 

However, the Cardinals—who were once ranked No. 4 in the nation—have not been able to execute as they would have liked against Top 25 opponents. 

Louisville barely escaped with a win against No. 19 Vanderbilt in overtime (62-60), allowed No. 12 Georgetown to run away with a win (71-68), lost to No. 3 Kentucky (69-62) and got out-rebounded (49-28) and most recently suffered a double-overtime loss to Notre Dame after failing to close out a lead in the last three minutes of regulation. 

So, is Louisville overrated? It's not as though they are getting wiped out in their games against Top 25 opponents, however, the Cardinals have had trouble executing against those teams.

A team that was once ranked No. 4 in the nation should be able to execute against lesser opponents, especially against a team like Notre Dame who has struggled against Top 25 opponents. 

Although Louisville historically has a good program, the Cardinals haven't had the same kind of flare that they have had in past seasons. 

"We are very disappointed," coach Rick Pitino said after Louisville's lost to Notre Dame. "To lose two home games in the BIG EAST with the type of schedule we have is very destructive to say the least."

Louisville's major setback is their inability to close out games with single-digit leads. 

There's no doubt that we'll be talking about Louisville come March, but what will be the content of that discussion?

Will we be talking about how the Cardinals went out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year?

The Cardinals have still maintain the potential to win the Big East and be at top team in the NCAA, however, will that potential be realized?