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ATLANTA – Louisville already had the bigger names, the better team and some unfinished business after coming up short in last year’s Final Four. All Wichita State had was the cute-and-cuddly underdog angle. Now the Shockers don’t even have that.
Kevin Ware is already up and walking, and he’s got a nice souvenir to keep him company until he’s cleared to return to Louisville. Cardinals men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino brought the Midwest Regional championship trophy when he visited Ware, who remains hospitalized after surgery to repair a gruesome fracture in his right leg.
From the opening tip of the season, there was only one question in women’s college basketball: How do you stop Brittney Griner? Louisville found the answer Sunday night, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.
INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Pitino are finally doing an encore. For the first time since their teams played perhaps the greatest game in the history of the NCAA tournament, Krzyzewski and Pitino will meet in the tournament today when top-seeded Louisville faces Duke. In the regional finals, no less.
INDIANAPOLIS – Even a nasty cold can’t stop Russ Smith. With his teammates struggling with the virus he gave them and top-seeded Louisville facing its toughest test of the postseason, Smith put on his best show yet. He matched his career high of 31 points and the Cardinals proved they can win close games, too, beating Oregon 77-69 on Friday night.
On Sunday, they rested. Well, later on Sunday, anyway. It was well beyond midnight when Notre Dame players shuffled across the Purcell Pavilion floor to head up a ramp and out to the parking lots, the same floor that a short while earlier flooded with frenzied bodies too delirious to process what they just saw.
After Louisville’s third straight loss, a 53-51 defeat at Georgetown on Saturday, coach Rick Pitino declared the next game a “must game.” Louisville (16-4, 4-3 Big East) has its longest losing streak since January 2010. No. 1 in the country a week ago, the Cardinals have fallen to Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown and have Pittsburgh at home tonight ( 4 p.m., ESPN). “We have to get this win. It’s a must game for us,” Pitino said. “Because four (in a row), now you’re on the verge of getting a sub-.500 record in the league, and you don’t want to mess with that.” Pittsburgh (17-4, 5-3), which blew out visiting DePaul 93-55 on Saturday, has won four straight. – AP
Angel Nunez liked everything about the Gonzaga men’s basketball program, on and off the court. Nunez committed to the Bulldogs following Friday’s 94-87 win over Baylor. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound guard/forward left Louisville’s program earlier this month. He spent a few days visiting Gonzaga before flying home to New York on Saturday on his 21st birthday.
NEW ORLEANS – Kentucky owns the Bluegrass State. Now it can concentrate on the rest of the country Anthony Davis and top-seeded Kentucky will play for the national title Monday night after finally putting away pesky Louisville 69-61 in the men’s basketball Final Four on Saturday night.
They are Elite. The magical season for the Gonzaga women’s basketball team continued Saturday night – to the delight of 10,717 fans at the Spokane Arena – as the Bulldogs earned a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament with a hard-fought 76-69 win over Louisville.
The Gonzaga women’s basketball survived a frenetic Louisville second-half rally, and the Bulldogs are headed to their first Elite Eight.
Louisville has been through the Big East wars and just produced what is probably the biggest upset of the opening weekend of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The Cardinals believe that is just what they needed for the task at hand, which is slow down high-octane Gonzaga before a hostile crowd in their Sweet 16 matchup tonight in the Arena.
Like the pitcher in baseball and the quarterback in football, everything starts with the point guard in basketball. That’s why the Arena is the place to be tonight for the Sweet 16 round in the Spokane Regional of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.