Not sure this happens with other teams but one is familiar with what sometimes happens against the next opponent, especially after playing near perfect basketball for 35 minutes on Sunday. The first five minutes were a little shaky, remember?

A 19-point win over a good Marquette team came as a surprise to many University of Louisville fans, accustomed to last second buzzer beaters in the series, silencing the critics, at least temporarily. The convincing win restoring hope that UofL could go pretty far in post-season play.

Packing the RAC
Packing the RAC

But next on the schedule is lowly Rutgers, a team with 12-8 record overall and 3-6 in the Big East, mired in a four-game losing streak. The best hope for salvaging any respect this season would be a win over 11th-ranked Louisville. The Scarlet Knights will be sky high for this one, nothing to lose, pumped on adrenalin.

As Rick Pitino pointed out Sunday, his team played well because it respected what Marquette has accomplished this season. The inference to be drawn is his guys just might not be too excited about Rutgers.

Rutgers, meanwhile, is pushing for a sellout of the 8,000-seat Louis Brown Athletic Center (better known as the RAC), discounting tickets by more than 50% in some sections. A new DJ will make his debut, supplementing the pre-game and in-game soundtracks. Students will have a chance win an I-Pad, two tickets to an Allesso concert, and a gift certificate to Brother Jimmy’s Barbecue. It will be loud and rowdy in Piscataway.

Rutgers held eight- and 10-point leads against Cincinnati and St. John’s, respectively, but wound up losing. The most impressive game was a 67-62 win Jan. 5 against Pittsburgh.

Not to be taken lightly.

Charlie Springer

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