NCAA Tournament

Louisville vs. Wichita State: Complete Preview for 2013 Final Four Game

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 23: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals reacts with his team after a play in the second half against the Colorado State Rams during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena on March 23, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IApril 1, 2013

Wichita State takes its Cinderella run into the Final Four to take on the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, Louisville. 

The Shockers have lived up to their name with an impressive run in this tournament that includes convincing wins over Pittsburgh and La Salle and impressive wins over No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 seed Ohio State. 

Wichita State has pulled this off not by fluky plays or unsustainable hot shooting, but by quality team play that will make them a tough out even for a team as talented as Louisville. 

Meanwhile, Louisville has been even more impressive. The Cardinals have yet to be severely tested in this tournament. Their closest game was a seven-point victory over Oregon in the Sweet 16, and the Cardinals looked nearly unbeatable while taking down second-seeded Duke, 85-63, in the Elite Eight. 

This all sets up for a great matchup. Here is everything you need to catch the action: 

 

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

When: Saturday, April 6 at 6:09 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Live Stream: NCAA.com

Betting Line: Louisville -10 (via Vegas Insider on March 31)

 

Game Overview

While Louisville was supremely impressive in rolling past Duke, the victory did not come without a price. 

As CBS' Jeff Goodman explains, sophomore guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome leg injury in the first half that left his teammates visibly shaken and at least one in tears. 

Ware had been providing solid minutes for the Cardinals. In the three tourney games leading up to the Elite Eight, Ware was averaging 20 minutes and just under seven points per contest. 

The Cardinals will miss his contributions, but it is not something they can't overcome. Especially when you consider this next stat. 

Any game involving Louisville, the first thing I look at is its opponents ability to protect the rock.

The Cardinals bring an intense defensive pressure that resulted in them forcing the second-most turnovers per play in the nation.

Wichita State does not excel in taking care of the ball, but it is not terrible as the Shockers are 109th in turnovers per play. They will struggle against this defense, but not to the point that it will necessarily doom them. 

Not all of the stats are in Louisville's favor. The Shockers will be able to pound the offensive boards. The Cardinals are 177th in the nation in defensive-rebound percentage, while the Shockers check in at 14th in offensive-rebound percentage. 

Getting extra looks on the offensive end will allow the Shockers to keep this game close. 

 

Prediction: Louisville 72, Wichita State 65

Louisville is a talented team on a mission right now. While the loss of Ware hurts their depth, it also reinforces this team's drive to win and gives it an emotional rallying point. 

The Shockers have been excellent. They deserve this trip to the Final Four, but they don't have the ball handlers or fire power to overcome the Cardinals. 

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