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Louisville Cardinals
RECORD: 25 - 7 REGION: East  SEED: 4
COACH: Rick Pitino CONFERENCE: AAC
RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | LOUISVILLE INSIDER

Road to the Final Four  ...................................................................................

PREVIOUS GAMES
OPPONENT ROUND RESULT
Austin Peay 1st Round W 86 - 64
Butler 2nd Round L 79 - 71


ESPN'S TAKE
 

with Jay Bilas

 

Marvin Stone is playing again, but will he be of any value after all of these distractions? If finally declared eligible, Stone may have to endure this kind of thing again if the NCAA hears that he received a lollipop when a toddler. Louisville has the ability to make the Sweet 16 or beyond if the Cardinals defend like they did early in the season. Louisville has players, like Reece Gaines, Taquan Dean, Kendall Dartez, and Francisco Garcia, but has lost some toughness and rebounding without Ellis Myles and Stone. Look for more pressing from Louisville and an early exit if the Cardinals don't make defense their calling card.

Player to Watch

Reece Gaines
If not for Gaines, the Cards' losses -- five of last eight regular season games -- would have been much worse down the stretch.

Team Statistics
 
Points Per Game 82.1
Rebounds Per Game 37.9
Assists Per Game 15.7
Steals Per Game 10.1
Blocks Per Game 4.6
Turnovers Per Game 10.3
Field Goal % .474
Free Throw % .659
3-Point % .371
3-Pointers Per Game 9.1
Scoring Margin 4.7

How They Got Here
For the school from the hometown of the Kentucky Derby, the horse-racing phrase that describes the regular-season stretch drive for these Cardinals would be "stopped badly."

As for the C-USA tournament, the comment switched to "return to form."

After an 18-1 start, the Cards wobbled into the postseason 21-6, which is why their seeding plummeted from a potential No. 1 a month ago to its current landing spot. But in the postseason, the Cardinals have already earned the school's first C-USA title with three nice wins in Freedom Hall.

The rally at home in the Conference USA tournament might have turned things around.

Nobody has had to deal with more late-season adversity than Rick Pitino, who lost heart-and-soul power forward Ellis Myles Feb. 27 to a season-ending knee injury and has endured a full month of eligibility heartburn with starting center Marvin Stone. (After holding him out of two games, Louisville has decided to play Stone and worry about NCAA fallout later.)

Despite all the upheaval, the Cards have had a return-to-prominence season that reiterated Pitino's mastery as a college coach. His decision to move Reece Gaines from off guard to point guard a few games into the season unlocked the offense and made Gaines an All-American candidate.

The highlight of the year was an 18-point pummeling of Kentucky in Freedom Hall, a payback game for the brutal treatment given Pitino in Rupp Arena the previous year. Louisville eventually lost the Conference USA regular-season title to Marquette, but not until after a pair of epic battles between the two teams provided the league's marquee games.

Now the question is whether Louisville can make a postseason statement that the program is back, and back large.

What We Like
The Cardinals return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2000 and have a great chance for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1997. With a senior leader at point guard in Gaines, a coach who knows how to win in March, a difficult style of play and two fearless freshmen in Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean, Louisville has a lot of intangibles that could make it a dangerous opponent. Favorable matchups could produce a serious tournament run.

What We Don't Like
The loss of Myles compounds this team's rebounding shortcomings and leaves it susceptible to inside power teams. Even with Stone back, he's been playing poorly. Talented as Gaines is, he sometimes struggles to keep his emotions in check and makes foolish mistakes when he gets upset. The bench that appeared bottomless in January has shortened up, with several key reserves no longer contributing much.

ROSTER
NO NAME HT WT YR  PPG RPG APG MPG FG% FT% 3PT%
  Reece Gaines 6-6  205 Sr 17.72.85.032.1.456.741.376
  Francisco Garcia 6-7  190 Jr 11.22.92.021.9.486.882.433
  Marvin Stone 6-10  240 Sr 10.77.31.427.0.519.611.333
  Taquan Dean 6-3  185 Sr 9.13.51.623.0.402.731.360
  Luke Whitehead 6-6  220 Sr 8.55.21.520.4.467.767.333
  Ellis Myles 6-7  245 Sr 7.87.91.824.8.588.563.000
  Erik Brown 6-5  210 Sr 6.92.20.918.7.465.833.418
  Kendall Dartez 6-10  225 Sr 4.53.00.614.1.510.614.125
  Bryant Northern 6-0  175 Sr 3.31.11.211.6.326.933.323
  Otis George F-C  6-8  225 Sr 3.01.90.48.4.556.640.222
  Larry O'Bannon G-F  6-4  200 Sr 2.81.10.79.0.380.667.243
  Simeon Naydenov 6-6  210 Sr 1.80.60.33.7.310.833.227
  Alhaji Mohammed 6-3  200 Sr 1.60.80.64.2.353.650.250
  Coric Riggs G-F  6-4  205 Sr 0.80.00.00.81.000.0001.000
  Joshua Tinch 6-4  215 Sr 0.41.20.03.2.500.000.000
  Prileu Davis 6-3  185 Sr 0.40.40.14.5.1671.000.000



LAST 5 GAMES LEADERS
OPPONENT RESULT POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS
CharlotteW, 100-59   
@ DePaulL, 79-76   
East CarolinaW, 82-76   
MarquetteL, 78-73   
@ CincinnatiL, 101-80   


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