For the first time in school history, the University of Louisville men’s basketball program is ranked #1 in the nation in the regular season. Both the ESPN and USA Today polls were released a little while ago and Louisville claimed the top spot in both. The only other time the program has held a #1 ranking was following the Big East run of 2009 when they were named the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now, a couple of thoughts before moving on:
1. This is a nice accomplishment. And it should be enjoyed and it certainly looks good for recruiting and branding of the program. People take notice and it puts the team squarely on top of the college basketball world.
2 HOWEVER…….In all reality, it doesn’t mean much of anything. Unless of course we’re a fan base that celebrates moral victories in January. Truth is, this Louisville team should be here. They were picked to win the Big East and they were a top 3 team coming into the season. If they came out of nowhere and pulled this off, then we’d really have a great story. But this is right where they should be. In my mind, the only #1 ranking that matters at this point is the one that gets released after somebody cuts down the nets in April.
3. Say what you want, and people can argue this point all day, but it definitely puts a target on your back. I think this Louisville team is mature enough to handle it, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think they’re going to get every team’s absolute, 100% best shot from here on out. Just the slight threat of opposing fans being able to rush the court and say they beat #1 will be a tall task to handle. And as good as this Louisville team is, they’re going to lose a few more games. That’s just life in the rough and tumble Big East where there are no nights off.