By Hannah Walker —

The University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program announced on March 14 that Louisville will not be playing in this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament. This comes after the Cards were denied a bid to play by the NCAA on Selection Sunday.

Kentucky and Duke also announced that they would not be playing in the tournament either. This will be the first time since 1976 that all three teams will not compete in March Madness.

After a hard season for Louisville basketball, head coach Chris Mack had to announce the ending of the season for his team March 14.

No one was prepared to not be extended an invite to the tournament this year, and the shock of the matter has everyone questioning on what they could do differently for the following season.

“We need to have a great off season in front of us. One that we needed last summer,” Mack said in a press interview on Monday, March 15. “When you welcome three new freshman, two grad transfers and you’re bringing back sophomores that didn’t play a year ago, you need an off season.”

Mack went on to speculate that if the team hadn’t been affected by so many positive COVID-19 cases, as well as injuries, things could have played out differently for them.

Still, Louisville basketball will have one last chance to play in the NCAA tournament, but only if another team drops out due to COVID.

Mack said that he does not see an incident like this occurring when the tournament is just around the corner. He also said that he would never wish for any team to be hit with new COVID cases, and that it wouldn’t feel as rewarding to know that they would be replacing a team that was supposed to be in the tournament.

Mack finally ended the conversation by speaking out on how he has been dealing with negativity surrounding his name as the head coach of Louisville’s men’s basketball program.

“The key is to have humility about any of these situations,” he said. He said he tries to be a supportive coach for his team and that they were dealt a bad deck of cards this season.

Nonetheless, his team is looking forward to improving their three-point shooting and defense in the following season in hopes of making it to the tournament next year.

Photo Courtesy of GoCards