Well, March Madness has finally arrived, and I just completed my Tournament Bracket. Little to my surprise, one conference in particular ruled my brackets, and that conference is none other than the Big East.
My Final Four includes: Louisville, UConn, Pitt, and Syracuse. Each of these teams are members of the extremely tough Big East Conference. I have Pittsburgh and Louisville playing for the National Title, and I have Louisville winning it all.
The main purpose of this article is to analyze why Louisville will win the National Title by answering two questions: a) How did Louisville get here?; and b) How will Louisville win it all?
Why did Louisville get here?
- Louisville recently won the Big East Tournament. They also were the regular season champs of the Big East. This of course gave the Cardinals the rights to a number one seed in the Eastern Region of the Tournament.
- Louisville is so well balanced in every aspect of the game. None of their offensive or defensive averages blow you away, but when you see how well they play on all sides of the ball it doesn't matter.
- Louisville is also balanced in the area of player skill. Earl Clark is the teams leading scorer, and he only gets 14 points per game. They don't necessarily have a "shining star" of the team, but that is okay because they play as a team, and they don't need a go-to guy.
- Terence Williams. This Senior Point Forward is the closest thing the Cardinals have to a "Star," but until I read an ESPN article about him, I had no idea how important he is to Louisville's success.
How will Louisville get there?
- I am a huge believer in strength of schedule. And in a conference like the Big East, every game is up in the air. The Cardinals boast a Strength of Schedule ranking of eleven. This fact will serve Louisville well in the postseason.
- They will be playing teams that they "know" when it comes down to the Final Four. The Cardinals will capitalize on the fact that they have already played the likes of UConn and Pittsburgh. The team knows that they can beat them and the confidence that Louisville is playing with right now will win games for them.
- Balance on both sides of the Ball (see above).
- Terence Williams. Williams is Louisville's second highest scorer with 12.3 points per game. Williams is second on the team with 8.5 rebounds per game. And in my opinion, his most important statistic is that he leads the team in assists. This tells me a lot about him as a player. He is a guy that the Cardinals can rally around. He is a guy that can get things going on the court, and while he isn't statically off the charts, his intangibles are what make him the key to a Louisville championship.
There you have it. These are the reasons that Louisville will be the next National Champions. Strength of Schedule, Team Balance, and Team Leadership are the most important ingredients to this team's success in the tournament, and if they can get things going, maybe a team of Cardinals WILL bring home a Championship in 2009.