Just by the skin of their teeth, the Louisville Cardinals survived to beat the Wichita State Shockers, 72-68, in the Final Four.
The Cardinals will now go on to play Monday night in the national title game. If Louisville plays like it did Saturday night, it's dead in the water. It decided to save one of its worst games of the season for the most inopportune time.
The first half was an uninspired showing from the team, and it was a furious second-half comeback that eventually saw the Cardinals overtake the Shockers.
It was all bad for Louisville, though, just mostly bad. Here is the good and bad from Saturday's first semifinal game.
Only once this season did Luke Hancock score 20 or more points in a game. That was against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish back in February, when Hancock had the benefit of five overtimes to try to get some shot opportunities.
He only needed 31 minutes with which to drop 20 on the Shockers. Making 6-of-9 field-goal attempts, Hancock was the second-leading scorer on Louisville.
A coach can game-plan for Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng. He can't, however, predict that Hancock will have that kind of game off the bench.
The junior won't be a surprise in the national title game. It's unrealistic to expect him to have this kind of game. Should Hancock get 10-15 points, that's a job well done.
The Cardinals have beaten much better teams than Wichita State by a much more comfortable margin. You'd think that Louisville wouldn't have looked past the Shockers considering their run to the Final Four, but that's exactly what looks to have happened.
You wouldn't have thought that focus would be a problem, considering both the stage and the inspiration stemming from Kevin Ware. Louisville, however, looked like a team completely out of it in the first half.
Now credit must go to Wichita State for how well they played and neutralized Louisville's key players. But the Cardinals just didn't look like themselves. They were turning the ball over and not hitting their shots.
Managing to come back in the second half was nice, but Louisville shouldn't have been in that position to begin with. Against what will be a better team in the national title game, it's unlikely Louisville will have the benefit of a similar fight back into the game.
Peyton Siva's Poor Play
This NCAA tournament has been disappointing for Siva. Offensively, he's had a difficult time knocking his shots down, while scoring itself has been an issue in a couple of games. Then there was the foul trouble that had him in and out of the win against the Oregon Ducks in the Sweet 16.
It looked like he might have turned a corner against Duke in the Elite Eight. The Blue Devils had a hard time stopping him as he went 6-of-10 from the floor for 16 points.
Then Siva turned right around and regressed back to his earlier form. It was certainly a night to forget for the senior point guard.
He made only one of his nine field-goal attempts, including missing all five of his shots from three-point range. Siva also turned the ball over twice to record just three assists.
While not a dynamic scorer, Siva needs to be much better on the offensive end of the floor on Monday night.
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