Louisville Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Louisville Cardinals
Big East (29-5, 14-4)

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Louisville has had a great season with a few hiccups here and there.  Preseason Final Four favorites, the Cardinals have hit some lulls that leave some people questioning their ability to go the distance.  Then they come back and win a game in a big spot to restore confidence in a deep and talented squad.  Rick Pitino once again has Louisville in the mix for an appearance in the final weekend of the big dance.  This season they have been No. 1, lost multiple games in a row, and been without key players during certain stretches.  Needless to say, they have seen it all.  The payoff may be cutting down the nets in early April.

Big Wins: 12/15 at Memphis (87-78), 2/3 Marquette (70-51), 3/2 at Syracuse (58-53)
Bad Losses: 1/19 Syracuse (68-70), 1/22 at Villanova (64-73), 2/9 at Notre Dame (101-104)
Coach: Rick Pitino (11 seasons at Louisville)

Why They Can Surprise:
It would not be any sort of surprise for Louisville to make the Final Four.  Outside of Indiana, Louisville was considered another early favorite to make a run in March.  The Cardinals have one of the elite rosters in college basketball this season.  While there is no great team, you could do worse than Louisville’s lineup.  They score nearly 75 points per game, which is a strong number.  This team is predicated on defense though.  They hold opponents to 58 points per game.  They are second in the nation in steals and third in turnover margin.  Star point guard Peyton Siva has lived up to the hype as one of the best leaders in the country.  His assist to turnover ratio is just 2.2.  In the middle, Gorgui Dieng forces shooters to find shots elsewhere.  He is second in the Big East at nearly three blocks per game.  They really missed him when he was out with an injury earlier in the season.  The starting five has a lot of experience between them.  Better yet for Pitino, they are all young other than Siva.  They have been a threat for a few years running.  They are a threat again this season and beyond.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Where Louisville falters the most is their three point shooting.  They are in the bottom third nationally in three point field goals made and percentage overall.  Thirty-two percent is not going to get it done down the stretch.  If Dieng gets into foul trouble underneath, they do not really have a force to help alter shots.  Freshman Montrezl Harrell could develop into that guy, but he has not up to this point.  The lane opens up for penetrating shooters when Dieng is on the bench.  The same goes for Siva at the point.  When he fouls out, the team does not operate as smoothly as when he is in the lineup.  As a team, the Cardinals do have an issue with foul trouble (17.5 per game).  The Big East as a whole has an issue with fouling, so in conference play it has not hurt them too bad.  In a one-and-done scenario, they cannot afford to lose their key leaders.

Probable Starters:
Peyton Siva, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg, 5.9 apg, 2.2 spg
Russ Smith, Junior, Guard, 18.1 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 spg
Wayne Blackshear, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Chane Behanan, Sophomore, Forward, 9.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg
Gorgui Dieng, Junior, Center, 10.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Montrezl Harrell, Freshman, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Luke Hancock, Junior, Guard-Forward, 7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Kevin Ware, Sophomore, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Stephan Van Treese, Junior, Forward, 1.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.5 (46th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.0 (17, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (101, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (23, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (222, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (237, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.9 (120, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.1 (59, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (44, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (108, 6)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Davidson
2012    NCAA    Round of 32 win over New Mexico
2012    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Michigan State
2012    NCAA    Regional Final win over Florida
2012    NCAA    National Semifinal loss to Kentucky
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Morehead State
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to California
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Morehead State
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Siena
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Arizona
2009    NCAA    Regional final loss to Michigan State
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Boise State
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Oklahoma
2008    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Tennessee
2008    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Kansas

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules