The Louisville Cardinals aren’t being given much of a shot against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four of the 2012 NCAA Tournament this weekend.
No one believes that the No. 4-seeded, Big East-winning Cardinals can get the job done against their in-state rivals, who only lost two games in 2011-12 prior to the tourney.
However, if Rick Pitino’s squad can get these three things done, they have a much better chance of pulling off the upset.
Step Up Three-Point Shooting
The Cardinals aren’t exactly what you would call a team full of snipers.
During the 2011-12 campaign, this group shot an average of 19 three-pointers per game and sunk a paltry 5.9 of them. That means out of 663 attempts that were launched, just 206 made it through the hoop—or 31.1 percent.
That simply can’t happen in the tournament if David wants to upset Goliath. Louisville should be bombing away from deep all week long at practice and hope they start falling in the game.
Force Anthony Davis into Foul Trouble
No one is going to be able to get near the basket if Davis is on the floor for extended periods of time and getting into a rhythm.
Forcing an opposing superstar into foul trouble is perhaps the most important strategy an underdog can employ and making this freshman a non-impact one is tantamount to Louisville’s success.
Effectively Press or Abandon
Rick Pitino loves pressing and will do so for 40 minutes if the situation calls for it. However, he can’t stick with it for long if the Kentucky ball handlers are tearing it to shreds.
Unless the press is picture perfect, it’s going to get ugly.
If Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb or any other guard is trying to bring it up, they will use their hyper-athleticism to blow past their defender and find an open cutter or shooter.
The Cardinals should attempt their press, but know when to give up.