There are at least three teams lunging for a No. 1 seed while others are struggling to just slip in the tournament.
The Louisville Cardinals are one team that is on the bubble.
Following the loss to Marquette, the Louisville Cardinals are not out of their spot in the NCAA Tournament although another win could seal the deal. Seeing that the Cardinals own their opportunity to be a lock in the NCAA Tournament before selection Sunday, the likely hood of them sweeping the season series of the No. 1 team in the Big East and Nation are pretty narrow.
In my eyes this feat is not absurd at all; in fact I believe the Cardinals get it done in the last game in Freedom Hall.
To burst the bubble, the Cardinals need to listen to Bob Knight’s breakdown on how to beat the tough Syracuse zone or simply refer to the film of the previous match-up.
Not only did the Cardinals upset the No. 3 team in the nation, but they did it on the road to a pretty good Syracuse team. This is a Syracuse team that has one of the deadliest zones in the country.
In the preceding match-up, the Cardinals executed almost everything right to secure the victory.
When asked how you attack the zone Pitino replied, “You have to attack it in the middle.” The first time around the Cardinals did a good job of passing the ball around, getting in the creases of the defense and making good shots as well as driving to the basket and finishing at the rim.
What many may fail to discover is that the Cardinals played tough defense all game. Syracuse leading scorer Wesley Johnson shot 25 percent from the field on 5 of 20 shooting. Not to mention the Cardinals held the Orange to 26 percent from downtown.
“We got some good opportunities and we got some good shots. We just didn’t convert. I thought we got a little bit frustrated with their defense. They played tremendous match-up. I just didn't think we were aggressive until the end," said Jim Boehim.
To sweep the season series of the Syracuse Orange the Cardinals need to execute just this:
Make the extra pass:
I am positive any basketball coach will bash you for not being aggressive. Though here, when you are in the giving mood it is always beneficial to pass the ball.
This Louisville team prefers to pass the ball around the arc, and work for the favorable shot.
That is the mentality you should embrace if you anticipate to defeat Syracuse. You have a shot, but look to develop a better shot for your teammate as you did in the first upset.
Convert on the free-throw line:
Although the Cardinals did not capitalize on the charity stripe they were able to come out with the win. As the conference season ends, free-throws are showing more importance. Before knocking down key free-throws at the end the Cardinals shot poorly from the line.
To shoot a free-throw you must get to the line first. The Cardinals are going to need to be aggressive with the zone, attack and get to the free-throw line.
Last time around the Cardinals was very stingy on defense. The held them to 60 points, one shy of their season low.
The Cardinals were active on defense, keeping a hand in the face of the Orange, showcasing their great footwork without fouling and made everything complicated for Syracuse. This is a Syracuse team that normally shoots 51 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep. The Cardinals held them both well under their season average.
This would be a big win for Louisville. Not only will they be leaving Freedom Hall with a bang but securing a tournament spot on a Senior Night.
Look for Edgar Sosa to set the tone early in the game. With his senior leadership, and play making ability he can create some match-up problem for himself or other teammates. This game should be highly contested throughout, with a slim chance of any kind of blow-out.
The Cardinals are looking to push their win streak to six over the Syracuse Orange on March 6, 2010. The game is set to be aired ESPN at 2:00 PM.
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