NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: 5 Reasons Louisville is Destined for a Title
The Louisville basketball team is not done.
After a heartbreaking loss to UCONN in the Big East Championship yesterday, the Cardinals now look towards larger dreams: an NCAA Championship.
The sour taste in their mouths right now could prove to be the underlying factor in Louisville taking a trip to the Final Four.
Louisville has the pieces in place to make a deep run and represent the Big East in the tournament.
Here are five reasons to look for Louisville to reach the Final Four and perhaps a championship.
5. Team Defense
Louisville was one of the best defensive teams in the Big East this year.
They gave up an average of 64 points per game.
Their field goal percentage (FG) and three-point percentage defense was one of the best in the country. Both of them were in the top 20 in all Division I.
They are ranked in the top 10 in steals per game, due in large part to Peyton Siva's two per game.
Terrence Jennings is a key player under the basket and makes all comers think twice about entering the lane.
4. Team Unselfishness
If you watch Louisville play basketball, you will see that they are one of the most unselfish teams in the country.
They are always willing to drive, kick and get a teammate an open shot.
Rarely do the Cardinals force shots. Peyton Siva leads this team in assists with over five per game.
They are third in the country in assists per game as a team.
The reason why they are willing to pass the ball is because they have a balanced squad.
They have five players averaging over nine points a game.
3. Shooting from Beyond the Arc
Louisville is a great shooting team. They live and die most times by the three-pointer.
They ranked seventh in all Division I with 285 three-pointers made during the season.
One reason they missed out on the Big East Championship was because they had an off-night shooting.
They were only 28 percent from three in the final game against UCONN.
If Louisville has a bad shooting game like the previous one, it could cost them an early exit. However, their three-point game could also get them to the Final Four.
Rick Pitino is one of the best coaches in the country.
In this year's preseason Big East poll, Louisville was picked to finish eighth.
They ended up finishing tied for third at 12-6 in conference play.
Pitino knows how to get the best out of his players. He has turned Preston Knowles and Peyton Silva into stars.
For Preston Knowles, being the only senior on the team, Louisville is very experienced and has great leadership.
Along with Knowles, junior Terrence Jennings anchors the defense, while young sophomore Peyton Siva conducts the offense.
When Louisville needs a basket or a stop, one of these three always comes up large for the Cardinals.
Siva will turn into one of the best players in the Big East and in the country by the time he is a senior.