The Louisville Cardinals are firing on all cylinders -- and by all cylinders, I mean extending five deep into the bench -- and obliterating Arizona at halftime 49-28. Pitino is well on his way to going 9-0 in Sweet 16 games, and the Big East is well on its way to a fourth team in the regional finals.
Louisville has beaten Arizona every way possible -- with dunks inside, 3-pointers outside, in transition, with quick hands, with strong bodies, with crisp passes, with superior strategy. Heck, even at the foul line, a common trouble spot for this team. The Cards are 9-of-10 at the line.
Interim coach Russ Pennell is now 20 minutes away from the unemployment line, and it probably can't end soon enough for him.
The only Wildcat sustaining Arizona at all is Chase Budinger, who had 14 first-half points. Center Jordan Hill, considered a top NBA draft pick, has been punked inside by a pair of freshmen, Samardo Samuels and Terrence Jennings, with an assist from junior forward Earl Clark as well. Point guard Nic Wise has been neutralized by Louisville's nagging four-guard rotation and has not been able to finish drives against the Cardinals' interior length.
Hill had just four points and three fouls at halftime, and provided no defensive presence in the middle. Wise had seven points, two assists and three turnovers.
Pitino said Thursday that the two teams' zones and presses were almost identical, but he fibbed. Louisville's defense is about 100 times tougher.