No. 5 Louisville Stunned by Unranked Clemson Following Georgia Tech Upset

Blake SchusterContributor IIIFebruary 15, 2020

Clemson's Clyde Trapp, center, dribbles after a steal during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Clemson's roller coaster of a season reached another high Saturday as the Tigers knocked off No. 5 Louisville 77-62 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The 13-win Clemson team now adds the Cardinals to a list of victories over No. 3 Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Even more stunning, Louisville has now dropped back-to-back games to unranked opponents after falling at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. 

It's the Cards' second two-game slide this season and the first time they've lost two in a row to unranked opponents since the 2017-18 season. The loss to Clemson comes just a few weeks after Louisville defeated the Tigers 80-62 at home. 

Things got ugly from the start on Saturday as Clemson used a 14-0 run to take a 31-14 halftime lead. The Cardinals offense was at their worst in the first frame, shooting just 5-of-32 from the floor (3-of-16 from three). 

Clemson guard John Newman III set a new career high with 23 points, while Tevin Mack added another 14. Louisville forward Dwayne Sutton led the Cardinals with 18 points and seven rebounds in the loss. 

Louisville entered Saturday as the No. 2 seed in the West Regional in ESPN's latest Bracketology standings. That's certainly to take a massive hit moving forward. The loss also drops the Cardinals to a half game back of No. 7 Duke for first place in the ACC. 

At 21-5 on the year, Louisville still has a strong resume—especially thanks to wins over No. 4 Michigan, No. 3 Duke, Virginia and a sweep of Pitt. Even still, it'll be hard to look past losses to Texas Tech, No. 19 Kentucky, No. 18 Florida State, Georgia Tech and now Clemson. 

In a season where few teams have established themselves as the best in college basketball, the case for Louisville has taken too many hits to consider it in that conversation. Fortunately, there's still time to flip that narrative. The Cards still have games left against Syracuse, UNC, No. 8 Florida State, Virginia Tech and Virginia. Winning out—along with a strong showing in the ACC tournament—drastically changes things heading into the NCAA tournament. 

Regardless, a top seed is far from guaranteed for Louisville after this latest disaster. 

 

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