Poor guys just couldn’t get excited about playing Georgia Tech and it may have cost them dearly.

Four days after the University of Louisville basketball team turned in one of its best performances in a decade, the Cardinals sank to a new low against Wednesday  in Atlanta, losing to Georgia Tech 64-58.

The lack of concern, the restrained exertion, finally caught up with them against Georgia Tech.

Georgia who? The worst thing a team on a 10-game winning streak can do is not respect an opponent. Louisville had won the last nine games against Georgia Tech, not having lost to the Yellow Jackets since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

Lowly Georgia Tech is No. 74 in the Sagarin Ratings, No. 81 in the NET rankings, No. 91 in ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 81 by Ken Pomeroy. A team sucking tail in every important barometer.

What reason would fifth-ranked Louisville have had to take Georgia Tech seriously?  Well, for one thing, the Cardinals barely defeated the Yellow Jackets by four points at home a couple of weeks ago.  UofL was lucky to win that one, and Josh Pastner’s troops were propelled by adrenaline, playing way above their heads and talent level.

In its two games against Louisville, Tech held the lead for 64:59 of the 80 minutes. The Jackets never trailed on Wednesday.

What this UofL team has proven, time after time, is that it will play up or down to the level of the competition. That, in fact, is the only consistent thing one can expect from them. Get excited, play tough against the traditional toughies, i.e., Duke and Virginia. Take it easy, survive against teams like Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.

The lack of concern, the restrained exertion, finally caught up with them against Georgia Tech. The loss may well have cost them UofL’s first regular season ACC championship, as well as shots as No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

That should have been enough to motivate most teams to get excited about playing Georgia Tech. But not this one, and the odds of a conference title and a top seed are fairly remote for now.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.