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What is the worst team in Louisville men’s basketball history?

You may be looking at it.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The start of the Kenny Payne era at Louisville has been a disaster.

The Cardinals were crushed by a struggling Florida State team in a 75-53 loss on Saturday, dropping them to 0-9 for the year. With the setback, UL has now claimed the dubious honor of having the worst start in the entire history of the ACC. This may very well end up being the worst team in Louisville men’s basketball history and you have to go back to before the United States’ entry into World War II to find a Cardinals team this hapless.

The last time Louisville was this uncompetitive was during the Lawrence Apitz era in the late 1930’s and early ‘40’s. Taking over the program in 1936, Apitz debuted with a 4-8 mark in his first season. A 4-11 record the following year gave way to the two worst seasons in program history, a 1-15 mark during the 1938-39 season and a miserable 1-18 mark during the 1939-40 seasons.

These years coincided with the creation of the NCAA Tournament in 1939 and those UL teams were certainly a far ways away from being considered for the then eight-team field. Apitz’s successors in John C. Heldman Jr., Harold Church, and Walter Casey fared only marginally better and it was Bernard Hickman’s arrival in 1944 that kickstarted what is considered modern Louisville basketball.

Per KenPom, this year’s UL team is favored in just two games for the rest of the season. That means a 2-29 season is on the table according to the advance stats and one would imagine Payne being long gone before the final horn of the season goes off.