I hope you guys didn’t write off Louisville.
I hope that three-game losing streak back in January didn’t scare you off.
I hope that you the five-overtime loss and all of the ugly late-game possessions didn’t make you believe that all of the people that picked the Cardinals to make the Final Four back in October were crazy.
Because on Saturday afternoon, No. 8 Louisville exacted their revenge on No. 24 Notre Dame in dominating fashion, whipping the Irish 73-57. That came after Louisville did much the same thing to Cincinnati on the final Big Monday and a week after Louisville went into the Carrier Dome and knocked off Syracuse. All told, that five-overtime loss at Notre Dame was the only game that Rick Pitino’s club has lost since January 26th.
Their five losses? They came by a combined 21 points.
The Louisville defense? The best in the efficiency era, according to Kenpom.com.
And while their offense is a long way from being anywhere near that effective, Russ Smith is slowly but surely learning that there are such things as ‘shot-selection’ and ‘decision-making’. Throw in the fact that Luke Hancock has finally found his stroke, hitting 12-18 from three over the last five games for a team that is currently 249th in the country in three-point shooting, and Louisville is peaking at the right time.
The Cardinals are now tri-champions of the final season of the Big East as we know it. And if the win next week’s Big East tournament — hell, maybe even if they reach the finals — Louisville will be a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.