2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Louisville
Big East (24-8, 14-4)
Big Wins: 2/4 at Marquette (71-57), 2/9 Georgetown (59-51), 2/28 Notre Dame (90-85)
Bad Losses: 12/8 Dayton (65-70), 1/1 Cincinnati (57-58), 1/19 at Seton Hall (82-92)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Second Round loss to Texas A&M
Coach: Rick Pitino (32-11 in 12 NCAA appearances)
Andre McGee, Junior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 1.8 apg
Jerry Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 2.0 apg, 3.7 rpg
Earl Clark, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 8.l rpg, 1.7 bpg
Terrence Williams, Junior, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.5 apg
David Padgett, Senior, Center, 11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Edgar Sosa, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 1.9 apg
Will Scott, Junior, Guard, 2.1 ppg
Juan Palacios, Senior, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Derrick Caracter, Sophomore, Forward, 8.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Why They Can Surprise:
It does not always look pretty, but Louisville gets the job done. The zone defense can be suffocating and the Cardinals have a tendency to create scoring droughts for the opposition. The zone also protects big man David Padgett from getting into foul trouble, and Louisville needs the 6-11 center on the floor. Padgett may only average 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest, but he is the heart of this team and a force under the basket on both sides of the court. When Juan Palacios and Derrick Caracter are healthy and on the floor, the Cardinals frontcourt can be dominating.
Add 6-8 wing Earl Clark into the mix and suddenly Louisville has a group that is more than adequate on the glass. Clark leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per contest and his lanky frame not only is great on the glass, but also a huge asset in the zone defense.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Louisville does not have a go-to-scorer. Terrence Williams averages 11.2 points and also adds 7.2 boards per contest. However, Williams can disappear for games at a time and has gone through his fair share of scoring woes during his collegiate career. His shooting has improved, but Williams can still go through spurts where he forces too many shots. He is not the only player with shooting issues as the team as a whole shoots just 45.3 percent from the floor. At the free-throw line Louisville only shoots 65.5 percent and that will cause them some problems sooner or later.
Who To Watch:
The perimeter group might not be as talented as the rest of the team, but they are still superb athletes who fit well in Coach Rick Pitino’s system. Jerry Smith is the most dangerous true guard on the team. Andre McGee is a better pure shooter and always a dangerous threat from long range, but it is Smith who will get to the basket as well as knocking down the long balls. Edgar Sosa usually comes in off the bench, but he has the ability to take over a game and score a lot more than his 7.8 point per game average.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.9 (114th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.3 (28, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (114, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.3 (6, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (87, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.2 (195, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.5 (279, 13)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (80, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (79, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (84, 7)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to North Carolina
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