Cardinals Rule: Louisville Picked to Win NCAA Tournament

SportsLifer@sportsliferCorrespondent IIMarch 18, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20: Edgar Sosa #10 of the Louisville Cardinals handles the ball against Cecil Brown #2 of the Morehead State Eagles during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 20, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It says here, sometime around midnight on Monday night Apr. 6, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals will be celebrating a win over the Oklahoma Sooners and cutting down the nets in the Motor City.

Pitino is due to join a select group of coaches whose teams have won at least two NCAA championships. If Louisville wins, as forecasted, he’ll become the first coach to win championships with two different schools.

Pitino coached the 1996 Kentucky team that beat Syracuse to win the National title. He also led Providence to the Final Four in 1987.

UCLA’s legendary coach John Wooden is far and away the all-time leader with 10 championships (all between 1964 and 1975). The Baron, Adolph Rupp, won four titles with Kentucky. Also, Indiana’s Bob Knight and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski took three apiece.

Pitino would join a group of eight coaches with two championships, including Louisville’s Denny Crum, Florida’s Billy Donovan, and UConn’s Jim Calhoun.

Multiple Championship Coaches

Coach                        School                     Championships

John Wooden           UCLA                                10
Adolph Rupp             Kentucky                          4
Bob Knight                Indiana                             3
Mike Krzyzewski      Duke                                  3
Dean Smith               North Carolina                2
Billy Donovan           Florida                              2
Denny Crum              Louisville                         2
Ed Jucker                   Cincinnati                        2
Hery Iba                    Oklahoma State             2
Jim Calhoun              UConn                              2
Phil Woolpert            San Francisco                 2
Branch McCracken   Indiana                            2

The Cardinals will win because they have the most athletic team in this year’s tournament.  They’re deep, and they play 40 minutes of relentless defense.

Louisville won both the regular season and post-season tournaments in the Big East, generally regarded as college basketball’s toughest conference in years.

In addition to Louisville, the SportsLifer Final Four features top-seeded Pitt and second seeds Memphis and Oklahoma.

NCAA tournament pools are often decided in the early rounds, especially in pools where points are awarded for picking lower seeds.

Some sleepers to watch in the early rounds:

– 13th seed Mississippi State will beat both Washington and Purdue
– Western Kentucky will beat
Illinois in the annual 12-5 stunner
– 11th seeds VCU and
Utah State will eliminate UCLA and Marquette respectively
– 10th seeds
Maryland, USC, and Minnesota will all advance to the next round

Remember, when it all comes true, you read it here first.