Eye 3 Yellow 3d 2 new logo Philly_KYW_new Philly_94WIP_new CBS Sports Radio 610 Philly_WPHT_new

Tale of the tape

NCAA Tournament Championship Weekend: #1 Louisville Vs. #9 Wichita State

Duke v Louisville Wichita State v Ohio State

#1 Louisville

#9 Wichita State

Rick Pitino’s clearly still got it. Now in his second straight Final Four – and this time coaching the prohibitive favorite – Pitino has the matchups he needs to capture a second national title. And the way he stayed the night with Kevin Ware after the gruesome injury earns him extra points. Coaching While Gregg Marshall’s accomplishments are pebbles compared the boulders Pitino has moved, Marshall has excelled about as well as any mid-major coach could, between successful stints at Winthrop and now at Wichita State. For getting the Shockers into the Final Four, he may be the top coach of this tournament.
The Cardinals have been scorching defenses like an active volcano, with the amazing Russ Smith leading the charge. Just to put things in perspective, Smith scored 54 points just last weekend, and his team put up 50 points on Duke – in the second half! Offense Featuring a balanced attack led by Carl Hall, Malcolm Armstead and Cleanthony Early, the Shockers mount enough points on offense to stay competitive with the big boys. As the Ohio State game showed us, they can score when they have to on elite defenses.
As superlative as the Cardinals are on offense, their defense has been almost as good during the season – and in the tourney. Holding Colorado State, Oregon and Duke to 56, 69 and 63 points, respectively, gave them room to win without breaking a sweat. Defense The Shockers are a fierce defensive squad, rebounding well, hacking when you drive and churning out nearly five blocks per game. Whether they can handle Louisville is a big question, but Pitt and La Salle struggled mightily to score against them.
With Kevin Ware out for good, Pitino will have to rely on the rest of his bench more than he intended. The way the Cardinals annihilated Duke – even without Ware – shows there is plenty of talent across the bench to propel Louisville forward. Bench Depth Freshman guard Fred Van Vleet not only owns an awesome name – he’s also been the Shockers’ key man off the bench. Developing before our very eyes, he managed 12 points in 24 minutes vs. Ohio State.

The winner is

Duke v Louisville
#1 Louisville
4 out of 4

Louisville has the edge in every category, so how can Wichita State possibly win? The same way the Shockers have gotten here – anything can happen in one game, and on a good day, Wichita State can put up a fight.

More Tales of the tape

  1. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    National Championship Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #7 Connecticut

    No. 8-seeded Kentucky stunned No. 2-seeded Michigan in the Elite Eight and shut down Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and the Badgers offense in the Final Four.

  2. (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Semifinal Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #2 Wisconsin

    Wisconsin—who was overshadowed by other top Big Ten teams in the tournament in Michigan and Michigan State—is now the last man standing and hoping to win it all with the likes of big man, Frank Kaminsky.

  3. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images) (credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Semifinal Matchup: #7 Connecticut Vs. #1 Florida

    It was three years ago that Jim Calhoun led the UConn Huskies to the college basketball national championship. That Final Four included two of the teams in this year’s Final Four in UConn and Kentucky

See all Tales of the Tape