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Louisville vs. Davidson
2nd Round March Madness Pick With Analysis
Rick Pitino will go down as one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball. His legacy features a NCAA Tournament Championship in 1997 as well as five trips to the Final Four. His most recent venture to the Final Four came in 2005.
Now, in 2012, he has the Louisville Cardinals (26-9, RPI: 14) in the Big Dance as a four seed in the West Region. The Cardinals entering the NCAA Tournament after taking the Big East Tournament crown for the first time. They were a four seed last year when Morehead State sent them home early. Thirteen seed Davidson (25-7, RPI: 65) will try to do the same after winning the Southern Conference Tournament. The Cardinals are a seven point favorite for this game that will be played in Portland, OR.
Davidson isn't a team to be trifled with. They went to Kansas and pulled a huge upset on December 19, taking out the Jayhawks 80-74. They lost by just four points to a strong Vanderbilt squad. In conference play they were 16-2 with wins over a better-than-you-might think Wofford team. The same can be said for their win over Pennsylvania.
The Wildcats rely on strong play in the paint. They will rely heavily on leading scorer De'Mon Brooks who gets 16 PPG to go with 6.3 RPG. Jake Cohen is also pivotal with 14 PPG and 6 RPG. Davidson really comes to life when their guards play well. Canadian Nik Cochran ripped Kansas for 21 points which is 10 points better than his average for the year. JP Kuhlman is also important. The junior loves to shoot the three ball and can be dangerous if he gets hot.
Louisville has a number of strong victories. Among them are Long Beach State, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Marquette, Notre Dame and Cincinnati. They lost to Kentucky on the road by a measly seven points. The only bad loss for the Cardinals was an inexplicable 31 point drubbing at the hands of Providence on January 10.
This game is in the hands of senior swingman Kyle Kuric. Typically, a very good three point shooter, he has struggled late in the year. If he has confidence in his jumper and can make shots, it will go a very long way for Louisville. Kuric averages 13.1 PPG to go with 4.4 RPG. Junior G Peyton Siva has been very good for Louisville late in the year. He had 18 in a win over Marquette as well as 13 against Notre Dame and 10 against Cincinnati. He averages 9.1 PPG and 5.5 APG.
Four seeds are 85-23 against 13 seeds, but the underdog has done well in recent history. Since 2005, thirteen seeds have pulled an upset on seven occasions. Louisville knows this from experience and they will not take Davidson lightly. You can bank on that.
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