LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With all eyes on the new top seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Cardinals fans look to the University of Louisville women's basketball team as just what the doctor ordered.
"If it wasn't for this team, I don't know that I'd be supporting other parts of UofL right now," Cards fan Julie Sullivan said.
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Sullivan was among select fans and media attending a viewing party Monday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, where the Cards faithful enjoyed a rare moment of celebration in a season filled with turmoil for UofL Athletics.
But if fans are hoping that a deep-tournament run by the women's basketball team will turn around the athletic program's tainted national image, experts suggest caution.
"If the fans are expecting that from the women's team, then I think they're having unrealistic expectations," sports psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman said.
Chapman is the team psychologist for Louisville City FC.
"I think it's going to take some long-term integrity, long-term honesty, some long-term stability with a coach to come into the program with a proven track record," he said.
A successful tournament run for the women's team will obviously lift spirits of the loyal fans, but experts said the impact would be temporary and limited.
When it comes to rehabilitating the UofL image, sports marketing expert Jonathan Jensen at the University of North Carolina said any success of the women's team will fall short.
"I just don't think on a national level that anything pertaining to the women's basketball program is really going to have much of an impact on the national perceptions of the Louisville brand right now," Jensen said.
Regardless, fans intend to enjoy the moment and respect what the women's basketball team has accomplished.
"To stay as humble as they are, with no drama around them, the program's even better," Cards' fan Stanley Perkins said. "They're doing good."
The Cards will tip off the tournament in the KFC Yum! Center on Friday against #16 seed Boise State.