LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville fans, fresh off a night of revelry after the men’s basketball team won its third national title, were more subdued Tuesday night as the women’s team took on Connecticut and suffered a lopsided loss in the NCAA title game in New Orleans.
Cardinal Boulevard was quiet compared to Monday night, when 7,000 people hit the streets.
City and campus police planned to deploy 120 officers to keep the peace, but the streets were quiet within a half-hour after the Huskies beat Louisville for an eighth national championship.
Several police officers joked about actually being able to get some sleep for the first time in more than a week.
Some trickled out of Cluckers bar on the edge of campus as the Cardinals’ deficit widened to 30 points.
“If the guys were down this much, would people have left?” asked junior Gina Vito. “I don’t think they would have.”
Midway through the first half, though, the lively crowd inside Cluckers erupted when Louisville 6-foot-10 center Gorgui Dieng strolled in, hours after arriving home from Atlanta.
“I just wanted to support the team,” Dieng said. “It’s what I usually do. I would’ve loved to be there, but I like being with friends. I think they can pull it out.”
The Louisville women lost 93-60 but the men’s win seemed to cushion the blow of the loss.
“It’s pretty upsetting,” said Jelicia Thomas, a senior. “But Louisville tried hard. We made it all the way to the national championship. We’re better than 99 percent of the nation. So, that’s awesome.”
High spirits remained on campus.
“You can walk anywhere and feel that everyone is so excited,” sophomore Lauren Nonos said Tuesday evening. “I just love the atmosphere.”
Broken glass from Monday’s celebration had been cleared off the street. The only sign of the crowds was a small broken tree that people had tried to climb.
Cassie Martin, a senior on the college track team, said earlier Tuesday that people would flood the street next to the campus, win or lose, to celebrate the teams’ overall success.
“People will still be out there,” she said. “Everyone’s just so excited about U of L.”
Martin added that the underdog women’s team has been especially inspirational to students and fans.
Shortly before the women’s game started, the downtown entertainment area Fourth Street Live was quiet, with just a handful of patrons dressed in red.
As he walked there, Jeff Rhoades said he thought Louisville fans were opting to watch the women’s game at home after a late night watching the men’s title game.
“I’m a pretty big fan, so I had to come out, even if there’s work tomorrow,” said Rhoades, 39.