For an athlete, there may be nothing more satisfying than getting a win in a hostile, packed house on the road, especially when that win is against a quality opponent. The hush of a defeated home crowd is priceless.
Such was the case with Louisville's 76-64 win Saturday night in Gampel Pavilion on Connecticut's campus. A standing-room-only home crowd was hushed by an 11-0 second half run and, after a controversial ejection of coach Kevin Ollie riled the crowd to a frenzy, hushed again as Louisville's Luke Hancock dunked in the final minutes to ice the game.
ESPN reiterated throughout the game that Louisville didn't have a win against a Top 25 foe this season. UofL still didn't get a ranked win at UConn, but they DID get a quality win on the road.
The win was Louisville's first win over a Top 25 RPI team this season, and the Cardinals third over an RPI Top 50 team (SMU is 37th and Southern Miss is 46th).
As UofLHouse pointed out on the Collision Course premium board, Louisville's win over Connecticut caused a huge shift in the RPI numbers for both teams.
Prior to the game, Connecticut's RPI was 18 and Louisville's was 42. After UofL's win, Connecticut's RPI was 29 and Louisville's was 27. Louisville's much-maligned strength of schedule also jumped from 105th toughest to 73rd.
In the Ken Pomeroy rankings, Louisville jumped from No. 12 to No. 7 after Saturday night's big win. The Cardinals are the top rated team in the American Athletic Conference with Cincinnati at 22, SMU at 27, Memphis at 36 and UConn at 37.
After Saturday's win, Louisville is up to No. 13 in the Sagarin ratings while Connecticut fell from 28 to 39.
The game was just as big in the American Athletic Conference standings where Louisville was in a tough spot after dropping a home game to Memphis earlier this month. Because each team plays each other team twice, Louisville has a big advantage on UConn having won the game in Connecticut.
Cincinnati still leads the league standings at 6-0, but Louisville is right behind at 5-1. Memphis and SMu are both 3-2, Houston and Rutgers are 2-2, UConn is 2-3, UCF and USF are both 1-4 and Temple is 0-5.