Big East Basketball Tournament - Syracuse v Louisville

NCAA tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Louisville

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here

Conference: Big East

Coach: Rick Pitino

Record: 29-5

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 2
– RPI: 3
– AP/USA Today: 4/4

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Louisville as a No. 1 seed playing in Lexington in Saturday’s bracket projection. Man, that has gotta hurt in Big Blue Nation.

Names you need to know: Russ Smith (18.3 ppg, 2.0 spg), Peyton Siva (10.0 ppg, 5.8 apg, 2.2 spg), Gorgui Dieng (10.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg), Chane Behanan (10.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg)

Stats you need to know: 80.9 is the Cards’ adjusted defensive number. Per Kenpom, that makes them the nation’s top defensive team.

How’d they get here?: Louisville came back from a 35-22 halftime deficit against Syracuse in the Big East final, locating their offensive mojo when 6’8″, 235-lb. freshman Montrezl Harrell broke out for 20 points. The final tally was 78-61 in favor of Louisville. Formidable? I think so.

Outlook: Louisville has always had the requisite parts to win a title this season. It’s finally starting to look like those parts are meshing into the unit that can get it done.

How do I know you?: Luke Hancock, the designated gunner for offensively-challenged Louisville, is a transfer from mid-major darling George Mason.

Eric is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

 

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: