You could say Louisville is kryptonite for Syracuse after the Cardinals completed a season sweep of the No. 1-ranked Orange with a 78-68 victory this afternoon in the last game played at Freedom Hall. Or you could say the game meant a whole lot more to Louisville, which is trying to get into the NCAA tournament, than it did to Syracuse, which already clinched the Big East title.
However you look at it, the Orangemen (28-3, 15-3 Big East) joined a long line of teams that have reached the No. 1 spot this season only to lose rather quickly. The only other team beside the Cardinals (20-11, 11-7) to beat Syracuse this year is Pittsburgh, and this was the first road loss in 12 games for the Orange.
Kyle Kuric came off the bench to score all of his career-high 22 points in the second half on 9-of-11 shooting for Louisville. He was supported by Samardo Samuels with 12 points and nine rebounds and Jared Swopshire, who had 10 points. Scoop Jardine topped Syracuse with 20 points and six assists, and Wesley Johnson added 18 points, Arinze Onuaku had 14 and Rick Jackson had a pair of 10s in scoring and rebounding. Noticeable by his absence from the box score was guard Andy Rautins, who finished with only three points on 1-of-9 shooting.
No. 2 Kansas (29-2) bombed Missouri, 77-56, today, so, the Jayhawks probably can count on a return to the top spot heading into the conference tournament week. But Syracuse still enters the Big East tournament as the top seed and figures to be a No. 1 seed in one of the NCAA tournament regions even if it doesn't win the Big East tourney.