Unless you have been living in a cave you know this is obviously not a serious post....but just roll with it K?
The Gophers continued their late-season resurgence on Thursday, with an upset win of fifth-seeded Auburn, putting them into the Round of 32 for the second year in a row and in position to face the Louisville Cardinals once again in the NCAA Tournament.
Since the Gophers defeated the Cardinals last year the two teams have gone in slightly different trajectories. Louisville rode last year’s momentum into a tie for second in the ACC, and nearly won the regular season title. Minnesota, meanwhile, took a slight step backward and snuck into the tournament by the skin of their teeth.
All of that is out the window now that the NCAA Tournament is underway. The Cardinals stomped the Liberty flames by 16 points in their opening round matchup, while the Gophers won a hard-fought battle against Auburn two days after handling Texas. Both teams have now likely gotten over the initial tournament jitters and will be ready to throw down.
Remember, while the Gophers are a 12-seed, this isn’t some mid-major Cinderella that has found lightning in a bottle. This is a battle-tested Big Ten team that is finally figuring out how to play together. The sky might be the limit.
Louisville Cardinals (26-7)
Date and Time:
Sunday, March 22 @ 6:05 p.m. CT
Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)
Tell me more about the opponent.
On the surface it might look like Jordan Nwora is the beginning and end of the Louisville offense. After all, he’s the only player to average double figures (18 ppg) and was named to the All-ACC first team. He’s also been named a third-team All-American, putting him on the short list as one of the best players in the country.
But Louisville will sneak up on you with its depth. Five players average more than 8 points per game and four players average more than five rebounds per game. They are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country and do a fantastic job on the offensive and defensive glass. They’re a very complete team.
However, they can be susceptible to a team that is feeling good from deep, and the Gophers will need to continue the hot shooting they’ve happened upon late in the season if they want catch the Cardinals by surprise. They will also need to minimize second chances for Louisville, who makes a living on offensive rebounds and makes their opponents pay the price.
Nwora is streaky, and is just as likely to score 6 points as he is 25. Can Gabe Kalscheur shut him down?
Has the clock struck midnight for the Gophers? Something tells me they may have met their match against Louisville, who can run several players deep and kill Minnesota on both ends. There is a reason they are ranked 9th in KenPom. They do it all, and will be the best team Minnesota has faced outside of Michigan State in quite a while.
I gotta roll with the Cardinals by a few points in this one.