Louisville's reign at No. 1 is likely over after one week.
The Cardinals' focus now is on reclaiming the top spot and holding on when it matters - through the season's end in April - after falling to No. 6 Syracuse 70-68 on Saturday.
"That doesn't bother me at all,'' Cardinals senior guard Peyton Siva said of the team's expected slip when the new poll is announced Monday.
"I'd rather have the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year. I really don't mind having the No. 1 ranking at all. We're going to work our way back up to that spot and hopefully get it at the end of the year.''
Doing so means overcoming mistakes in, including one by Siva, the Big East's preseason player of the year.
His cross-court pass was intercepted by Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams with 26 seconds left. Carter-Williams took the ball from the Cardinals' free throw line and slammed a contested dunk down 3 seconds later over Louisville center Gorgui Dieng for the go-ahead basket.
"I saw him at the last minute,'' Siva said. "It was just a stupid pass on my part.''
The Cardinals had a chance to win or tie on their last possession, but another pass from Siva to Dieng landed near his knees before being stripped and was stolen to seal Syracuse's win. It was the Orange's third straight win over the Cardinals.
Siva, who finished with three points going 1 of 9 from the field, was already dreading the film session to break down the loss.
"He's mature. I don't even worry about him,'' junior Russ Smith said of his backcourt mate. "At the end of the day, he worries about me. Peyton is Peyton. I expect him to just be Peyton on Tuesday (against Villanova).''
Smith led Louisville with 25 points, the only Cardinal in double figures. Chane Behanan had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Syracuse gutted out the road win in front of a school-record crowd of 22,814, but Orange coach Jim Boeheim felt the Cardinals were still the team to beat in the Big East as well as the nation.
"They will be there at the end of the year, and the team to beat,'' Boeheim said. "I think they will be the team to beat in the country when it all comes down to it in the end.''
Carter-Williams had 16 points, Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair both had 10 for the Orange (17-1, 5-0) who won their seventh straight.
When asked if he still thinks his team is the best in the country, Behanan responded, "We're one of them. We just got beat by one of them. There's a lot of good teams. All that matters is who is going to come to March and get the job done.''
Brandon Triche scored 23 points and Michael Carter-Williams scored 11 of the Orange's final 13 points as Syracuse won a showdown between two of the three Big East teams unbeaten in conference play.
It was the second straight Saturday No. 1 went down as Duke lost to then-No. 20 North Carolina State 84-76.
It was the Orange's third straight win over the Cardinals.
Carter-Williams' most important contributions were a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:28 remaining, followed by a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left as he scored nine of his team's final 11 points, including the last four.
He added a rebound and another steal at the end to cap a 16-point, seven-assist game that made it easy for Carter-Williams to forget a five-point first half and those two missed free throws.
Brandon Triche also played a big role in beating the Cardinals.
He was 9 of 13 from the field, including five of Syracuse's seven 3-pointers, to finish with 23 points as the Orange (17-1, 5-0 Big East) took control of the Big East Conference.
Louisville, which was ranked No. 1 for the second time in school history, had its 11-game winning streak stopped. The Cardinals shot 41 percent (24 of 59) including 29 percent in the second half.
After taking a 68-66 lead on Smith's two free throws with 1:58 remaining, Louisville missed two shots and committed two turnovers.
"That was a great college basketball game and they made some really terrific defensive plays down the stretch,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They made the plays, they made the shots when it counted and we didn't.''
Louisville's reign at No. 1 is likely over after one week.
'Twice as Nice'
When it comes to the 3A State Tournament and Oklahoma City, the Verdigris High School basketball teams are a household name.
Head coaches Randy Upshaw and Mike Buntin lead their programs back to the 'Capitol City' this week for a chance to hoist the coveted 3A state championship on Saturday night at the Big House.
Cards fly into 3A State Tournament
Verdigris junior guard Cade Upshaw lives for March Madness.
The 5-foot-10 sharp-shooter overcame a sluggish performance in a loss to Tahlequah Sequoyah to bounce back for a 20-point outing in the Cardinals’ 72-42 win over Antlers Saturday evening in the Class 3A Area Tournament at Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Vinita eliminates Inola
Vinita used an 18-point third quarter — highlighted by the sophomore leadership of Carsyn Spurgeon — and converted 21-of-34 free throws to notch a 61-55 win over the Inola Lady Longhorns Saturday night in the Class 4A Area Tournament.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
CLASS 4A AREA TOURNEY: Stilwell advances to State
A jam-packed, vocal crowd — aided by the control of several Claremore Police officers — witnessed Stilwell’s come-from-behind 57-51 win over Harrah Saturday night in the must-win game of the Class 4A Area Tournament at the Claremore High School Gymnasium.
SOFTBALL: Arkansas cruises past Miss. Valley State
The University of Arkansas softball team completed an undefeated run through the Razorback Invitational Sunday afternoon win with a 13-5 victory over Mississippi Valley State at Bogle Park.
AAC WOMEN'S BB TOURNEY: No. 1 UConn routs No. 3 Louisville for title
New league, same result. It's another championship for UConn.
Breanna Stewart scored 20 points and top-ranked Connecticut beat No. 3 Louisville 72-52 on Monday night to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament.
BIG 12 WOMEN'S BB TOURNEY: Sims leads Baylor to championship
Nothing was going to stop Odyssey Sims.
Not her early foul trouble, West Virginia's suffocating defense or the left ankle injury she suffered less than t wo minutes into the Big 12 championship game.
Sims, the Big 12 player of the year, bounced back and scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half to help No. 9 Baylor defeat No. 7 West Virginia 74-71 Monday night and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. It was Sims' fourth championship in four years.
BIG 12 WOMEN'S BB: Kansas State fires coach Deb Patterson
Kansas State has fired women's basketball coach Deb Patterson, announcing the move two days after an opening-round loss in the Big 12 tournament.
NCAA MEN'S BB: Florida, Wichita State stay 1-2 in AP poll
Florida, which finished an unbeaten season in the Southeastern Conference, and Wichita State, which completed an undefeated regular season, are the top two teams in the AP college basketball poll for the third straight week.
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