Louisville finally got off the schneid with a 93-84 win versus Western Kentucky on Wednesday night, but the Cardinals men's hoops program remains in a historically low place.
Last season was already Louisville’s first sub .500 year since 2000-01 (Denny Crum’s final season as head coach), and at 1-9 to start this year the Cardinals appear headed towards their first consecutive losing seasons since 1940-41 and 1941-42.
To determine how many wins the Cardinals may finish with in 2022-23, BetKentucky.com combined metrics from KenPom.com with historic ACC standings data and created odds from there.
Here is the outlook on the remainder of Louisville’s season.
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Odds of Games Won by Louisville In ‘22-23
Time to Strike Is Now
As non-conference play winds down, the Cardinals’ opportunities to stack wins look few and far between.
KenPom projects Louisville as favorites in just two of their remaining 21 games, however, those two games are up next on the calendar.
The Cardinals’ Saturday opponent, 2-6 Florida A&M, ranks as the sixth worst team in D-1 by adjusted efficiency margin, by far the worst mark of any team on the schedule.
Despite rating as the second worst high major squad behind only 0-11 Cal (the only winless program left after Louisville’s triumph over the Hilltoppers), the Cardinals hold a 93% chance of defeating the Rattlers per KenPom.
Following that contest, Louisville is set to take on 7-4 Lipscomb on Tuesday. The Bisons actually place slightly ahead of the Cardinals on KenPom (200 vs. 228), but the system gives Louisville a win probability of 58% here due to home court advantage.
The cumulative probability of a Cardinals win against both Florida A&M and Lipscomb sits at 53.9%, but if Louisville fails to capture victories in these next two games the forecast for their winter looks even bleaker.
Two days after the game versus Lipscomb, the Cardinals travel to Raleigh for a conference matchup with NC State. From there, Louisville will have nine days between games before facing Kentucky at Rupp Arena on New Year's Eve and then they will be put through the grind of 17 straight ACC games to close the regular season.
Let's just say hypothetical Kentucky betting apps wouldn't think much of the Cardinals entering that stretch.
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Conference Play Will Present Brutal Test
In these 19 remaining matchups against power conference opposition, the Cardinals' highest projected win probability for a singular game is 44% when Florida State comes to the Yum! Center on Feb. 4. That is only one of two non-Florida A&M/Lipscomb games Louisville receives even a 40% chance of winning.
The Cardinals drew the unfortunate luck of only having one game against the second lowest rated team in the conference, Boston College, and it comes on the road where they have just a 30% likelihood of victory. It is their highest projected win probability in a road game by 10 percentage points.
In fact, Louisville will play as many games in conference play where they have less than a 10% chance to win as they do games with at least a 30% chance (five apiece), plus KenPom only gives the Cardinals 1% odds at Kentucky.
As of now, cumulative probability places Louisville’s most likely final regular season record at 6-25 with a 3-17 record in conference play, but were every game to hold to form they would finish just 3-28 with zero ACC wins.
Were this to happen, the Cardinals would be just the eighth team in the 70-year history of the ACC to go winless in conference play and the first since the schedule expanded to 20 conference games (though Pittsburgh and Boston College have each had an 0-18 ACC season in the past decade).
Three wins would also be the fewest by any ACC team since Virginia went 3-23 in 1960-61.
Just 11 ACC teams have won five or fewer games in a season since the conference was founded, only two of which were in the last 50 years (one was 2020-21 Boston College, who only played a 20-game season due to COVID issues).
Louisville has some real talent on its roster, but the pieces have not fit together at all. The offense has looked stagnant and broken most of the year, with stunningly low levels of efficiency, yet this group managed to hang 1.32 points per possession on a Western Kentucky team that was 8-1 and favored by 7.5 points at every major sportsbook.
The Cardinals will need to find ways to emulate that performance in order to salvage this season from the depths of futility.