Date: Friday, March 13
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Site: Madison Square Garden (19,786) in New York, NY
Series History: UofL leads 7-6 (2-1 in Louisville, 2-4 in Philadelphia, 3-1 neutral)
Last Meeting: UofL 61, Villanova 60 (Jan. 10, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA)
National Rankings: UL No. 5 AP, ESPN/USA Today, Villanova No. 10/13 (Mar. 9)
Before the Big East Tourney started, Villanova’s Dwayne Anderson had this to say about his coach: “If you ever listen to Barack Obama, he’s just a motivator. When he says something, you really believe it. I’m not saying coach (Jay) Wright is Barack Obama, but it’s the way he expresses his feelings in our meetings. We had a meeting last night. He’s giving us a speech, and by the end of the meeting you just want to play right then and there.”
Wright must have said something to Anderson before his last-second layup fell in as the buzzer sounded—his only field goal of the game—to give the fourth-seeded Wildcats of Villanova a 76-75 victory over fifth-seeded Marquette.
Nova’s reward? A rematch with the regular season champion Louisville Cardinals. Louisville won their only meeting this year 61-60, on a Terrence Williams drive and bucket with 7.4 seconds left back on Jan. 10.
Villanova is led by junior guard Scotty Reynolds and 6'8" senior center Dante Cunningham, who uses his quickness to beat stronger, bulkier opponents to the basket. Along with Reynolds (15.7) and Cunningham (16.4), the sixth man, sophomore guard Corey Fisher (10.8), is the only other Wildcat averaging double digits on the season.
Villanova’s four seniors have already become the winningest class in school history; now they look to take out the top-seed Cardinals and advance to the Big East Championship, a feat that will no doubt boost their NCAA Tourney seed.
Louisville, on the other hand, is hoping to get a win to push them one more victory from a sweep of the regular and postseason Big East Championships. Some believe just appearing in the Tourney final will be enough for Louisville to earn a one seed, but another trophy is all that is on these Cardinals’ minds at the moment.
Bobby E’s Gamebreaker: POINTS IN THE PAINT!!!
Both teams are extremely strong on the perimeter both offensively and defensively, so the Cardinals will need to pound it down low against the speedy Wildcats.
This will be another test for the Louisville guard corps of Edgar Sosa, Andre McGee, Jerry Smith, and Preston Knowles. Jay Wright will try to extend the defense to push the UofL offense away from the basket to neutralize the size advantage the Cards enjoy with SamSam, TJ, and Earl Clark in the frontcourt. The ball-handling and passing of Terrence Williams will also play a huge role in this one.
The game will be televised at 7:00pm on ESPN.