Posts tagged with “louisville ncaa champion odds”

The Committee Got it Right on Louisville

Monday, 17 March, 2014

The Committee Got it Right on Louisville


Seedings were released yesterday and atypical to every release there are heavy squawks of opinion regarding seeding and left-outs. Louisville hit home with just about everyone as a four seed. Pitino’s team did what they were supposed to do at the wrong time in my opinion. Before we become highly critical of the NCAA committee on this seeding lets look the AAC and Louisville in depth.

The AAC featured one of the worst top to bottom conferences in all of college basketball. Temple, South Florida, Houston, and Central Florida would all have had the hammer dropped on them consistently in any other conference.

If Louisville had struggled to the level of SMU in conference they may have found themselves on the bubble! There is no arguing their non-conference strength of schedule was as poor as any team seeded with a five seed or higher. Their top games featured wins against Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Losses to Kentucky and North Carolina hurt them significantly. All of it is exponential. The committee treated every team that did get a bid in the AAC the same. Memphis the lowest seeded in the conference to make the tournament defeated Louisville twice, and Cincinnati once (nearly twice if not for a buzzer beater by Russ Smith). The only other team from the AAC that Louisville defeated was UConn albeit three times.

Even the teams representing the AAC Louisville struggled to beat.

I love Rick Pitino’s demeanor and the way they finished the season but I’m afraid it’s going to end up being a mirage. Where it’s going to be shined upon are the factors that cost Louisville their five losses. For one the athleticism advantage they had over the inferior AAC will not be the same in the tournament. Inside with Stephen Van Treese and Mangok Mathiang is not enough against top 25 teams.

Montreze Harrell has shined tremendously finishing the season with his brute size. But no one in the AAC had a legitimate center besides UConn. Central Florida, Rutgers, Memphis, Temple, South Florida, Houston, etc. all played small ball. That allowed Louisville to gobble up offensive rebounds and control the paint from slashing forwards and guards.

The biggest hurdle for Louisville is going to be their lack of depth. Remember they lost Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng from a year ago. This season Kevin Ware had to sit out for a medical redshirt year and a key contributor in Chane Behanan was dismissed from the team.

A guy that was supposed to fill that void was Wayne Blackshear. Rick Pitino about a month ago moved him to the bench for the alleged reason that he was picking up fouls to early.

That was the media friendly quote. The truth is Blackshear has been a disappointment. At 6’5 he lacks the ability to knock down an open jump shot and is slow footed on the defensive end which causes his foul problems. It appears his injuries from a year ago have beset him from the caliber player he use to be as a freshman and sophomore.

While freshman guard Terry Rozier and JUCO transfer Chris Jones have played well, I just don’t believe solid guard play can carry this team beyond the sweet 16. That and Russ Smith’s absurd end of the season numbers are assuredly going to come down.

In the five losses Louisville has had Russ Smith shot below 50 percent. There is still time to readjust your brackets if you’ve jumped on the media’s bandwagon and have Louisville going far.