(Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Louisville is no longer the 4-28 team it was a season ago.
The Cardinals have shown a lot of promise through the first four games of the 2023-24 campaign, and they will look to keep taking steps in the right direction on Monday when they face Indiana in the third-place game of the Empire Classic in New York.
After winning two of three games to start the season, Louisville (2-2) faced its toughest challenge yet, meeting No. 19 Texas on Sunday in the opening round of the Empire Classic.
It looked like the Cardinals were going to escape with a win when they led by one in the final seconds, but the Longhorns' Max Abmas sank a jumper at the buzzer to tag Louisville with a heartbreaking 81-80 loss.
Still, Cardinals coach Kenny Payne likes the direction his team is headed in.
"That's the team I want to show up every night," Payne said. "We're not perfect, we've got a long way to go, but we have the components to cause people problems."
The Hoosiers (3-1) had been causing problems until running into No. 5 UConn on Sunday. The Huskies cruised to a 77-57 victory to snap Indiana's season-opening three-game winning streak, and unlike Payne, Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson was anything but pleased with the effort his team showed.
"This was a wake-up call," Woodson said during a postgame radio show. "I've got a lot of work to do with this team."
A good portion of Indiana's struggles came on the glass, where the Hoosiers were outrebounded 44-22.
"Rebounding has been a big concern since we started this journey with two exhibition games and then three regular-season games," Woodson said. "Rebounding was the difference in the game."
Kel'el Ware, Indiana's leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, was held to 11 on 2-of-10 shooting against UConn. Malik Reneau led the Hoosiers with 18 points on Sunday.
Tre White and Mike James have headlined Louisville's offense, averaging 14.5 and 14.0 points, respectively. White scored 20 points against Texas, but James was held to two.
Monday marks the 21st all-time meeting between the teams. Indiana is 11-9 against the Cardinals.
--Field Level Media