Is a Crown in the Cards for Louisville?

The NCAA Tournament’s initial field of 68 is down to the last four, and in just four days, a new college basketball champion will be crowned in Atlanta. Last season, Kentucky strolled to the title, and though the Wildcats didn’t even make the tournament field this season, it’s a strong possibility that the hardware heads to the Bluegrass State for the second straight season. Overall top seed Louisville have looked like the team to beat all tournament, but Michigan, Syracuse, and this year’s Cinderella team, Wichita State, aren’t going to Atlanta just to see the sights.

Millions will be watching this weekend with great interest and anticipation, especially those who bet on March Madness. Futures bets are pretty popular this time of year, and while the best time to get in on the futures action in terms of odds is before the tournament, having fewer choices can make it a lot easier to decide who to cast your lots with. But to be frank, there’s really only one choice to make.

Heading into the tournament, Louisville and Indiana were the leading favorites for the title at 5/1, but while Indiana couldn’t live up to their billing, needing a late run to survive against Temple in the round of 32 only to fall to Syracuse by 11 in the Sweet 16, Louisville have been strong since the start.

Offensively, Russ Smith is their go-to guy, and while he can be erratic sometimes, he’s been on fire in the NCAA Tournament, hitting 54% from the field, 80% from the free throw line and averaging 26 points per game. It always helps to have a stud like that, but even if he’s misfiring, the Cardinals have several others who can get hot at any time, with seven players total averaging more than five points per game. When you’re rolling with that kind of quality depth, you’re going to be hard to stop.

As good as they can be offensively, they can also be stifling defensively, as shown in game-changing stretches in each of the last three wins. Colorado State hung with Louisville for a good part of the first half in their showdown in the round of 32, but it didn’t last. After taking a 16-14 lead eight minutes in, the Rams committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions and relinquished a lead that they would never see again. In the Sweet 16, Oregon trimmed an 18-point deficit to six with 5:13 left, then proceeded to miss their next seven shots. By the time they scored again, with 1:26 left, their hopes of an upset were dead and buried. In the Elite Eight, Duke met the same brick wall. After the Blue Devils tied the game at 42 with 16:20 left, they missed ten shots in a row, and Louisville went on a 20-4 run that put a Final Four berth well beyond Duke’s reach.

Michigan has arguably the best player in the country in point guard Trey Burke, Syracuse has allowed only 183 points in four tournament games, and Wichita State has a ton of confidence and a ton of shooters, but Louisville is the best team in the land, and they’ll have their crowning–and shining–moment on Monday night.

16 thoughts on “Is a Crown in the Cards for Louisville?

  1. The team that figures out how to not let Louisville dictate the pace of the game is the team that can beat them.

  2. Chris, you are expressing the sentiment of most everybody I talk to but I think Michigan has the best chance to get them. Lots of reasons but the primary one is Wolverine coach John Beilein (bee-line). He has walked the walk, while he may not have talked the talk. A coach’s coach, he works a game as well as anybody I’ve seen. BTW, Chris, love your work. Not for nothing are you the top blogger on the net.

  3. Chris

    Other than Trey Burke , I have yet to see a college player like Peyton Siva who can dictate the pace of a game as this duo have been able to be for their respective teams . I know what everyone has been enamored Ware and Louisville Cardinals have played .

    Dropped this piece that might pique your interest .

    They did what and why? And their explanation, was what again ?

    We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

    Tophatal …………..

  4. Al…

    Siva reminds me a lot of Juan Dixon off that 2001-2 Maryland team, an undersized guy who might not make it to the next level but absolutely controls the college game. We’ll see if Siva can have the same success by leading his team to a championship.

    I’m behind on my reading but I promise to catch up to my email subscriptions.

  5. Unless Louisville gets their heads out of their collective asses, Wichita State is gonna stomp on them hard tonight.

  6. Chris

    I think that Siva can make it in the NBA , his game is well rounded and the kid does have a basketball brain . Could the same be said about Juan Dixon ?

    Dixon may well have won the most outstanding player from the 2002 NCAA Tournament , but his career in the NBA has been languid and one of underachievement .

    For whom the bell tolls , it tolls for thee and it tolled thirteen times against the Rays in that a$s kicking delivered by the Indians .

    This Rays’ team is nowhere as good as advertized . Please tell me what and who is Longoria meant to be ? A leader or just some ” Pretty Boy wannabe” ? The excuses from this kid are as frigging disturbing , as they are asinine !

    Tophatal …………………..

  7. Al…

    Still early in the baseball season to determine whether the Rays are either boom or bust. I think they’ll be just fine.

    And someone will probably blow an early draft pick on Siva but isn’t he undersized for the big league and can he hang with the quality points that are already playing there?

  8. Chris

    You’re actually willing to hang your hat and place it in the Rays’ ring , with their being little run support for the pitching staff and Maddon and Evan Longoria making excuses for the woes of this team this early in the season ?

    Rays’ fans need to be more clued in , rather than throwing up all of this optimism and apathy the vast majority of the time and as well get their asses up , off the chair and going out to support the team at the Trop .

    What was it about that 13-0 shellacking they received at the hands of the I Indians that has you so optimistic ? There was not one iota of leadership from anyone on that staff whatsoever ! . Who and what is Longoria meant to be ? Answer me that if you can ? I hope he’s not being paid because he can drop trou’ and lay the wood to Jaime Edmondson , mother of his recently newborn child ? Because if he’s being paid to do that, then it’s OK , but if it’s to play baseball , then he’s giving the team a poor return on their investment .

    The Rays went into Arlington and the Rangers cleaned their clocks ” …. again .

    Now that Rick Pitino has become the first college coach to win two national titles with two different programs , as well as being the first coach NCAA history to have led four different programs into the Final Four . Which idiot out there is ready to be critical of his resume` ?

    Last night’s game was thrilling and you simply knew that the Cardinals were a team of destiny ! .

    Siva will do just fine in the NBA , all he has to do , is hone his game and not worry about those being critical of him . His college career speaks for itself. Because he’s too small doesn’t mean he can’t play ! I seem to remember isiah-l-thomas”> Isiah Thomas was said to be somewhat on the small side as well. And look at how his collegiate and NBA career turned out ? Hall of Famer and amongst the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in the game’s history . Come on man !

    It never rains , but it pours and then some

    Tophatal ……………….

  9. Chris

    What am I missing concerning the Rutgers’ story ? Rutgers’ President , Robert Barchi pays off Tim Fernetti (AD) and Mike Rice their disgraced coach , $1 million apiece , merely to go away. Yet Erick Murdock , a former assistant who reported the incident to Fernetti was fired and now the university is claiming that Murdock and his legal representatives used extortion in order to seek damages ?

    What the ##ck is going on in the tiny asinine minds of the university’s faculty ? As for Barchi’s explanation that he sought advice from the school’s legal counsel , what the ##ck was that about ? Was that alleged lawyer out of law school or a frigging clown school ? Either way , Barchi received pi$s poor advice as it concerns repeated incidents going back three years . Only a $$$king as##ole would seek to make excuses as Barchi has and look to apportion blame elsewhere . This is not unlike the idiocy with Applewhite and Kearney at U Texas , and that oaf an AD DeLoss Dodds ! These as$holes are either walking around with their heads in the clouds or stuck up someone’s a$s .

    The school (Rutgers) received a formal letter of complaint from Murdock and his lawyers seeking damages or they asked that the matter be settled legally in the courts, as the plaintiff was seeking a wrongful dismissal suit and monetary damages against Rutgers for wrongful termination .

    Tophatal ……………..

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