Colorado State got their first NCAA Tournament win since 1989 and look to get to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1969 as they take on the No.1 seeded Louisville Cardinals. Louisville is coming into this game riding a 10-game winning streak, that includes a Big East Tournament run, and looks to extend that streak to eleven and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the 2nd year in a row.
While the two programs differ massively in terms of history and prestige, both come into this game with an equal opportunity to win as anything can happen in March. Just as Harvard, La Salle, Florida Gulf Coast, etc. Will CSU be the next team to claim a victory over a higher seed?
When: Saturday, March 22, 5:15 PM ET
Where: Rupp Arena Lexington, Ky.
No injuries to report.
Strength: Offensive Variety
Louisville is a tough team to defend in that no matter where you guard them, they can hit. In the past five games, the Cardinals have taken about 48 percent of their shots inside the paint, where they've hit about 52%, and 52% of their shots outside the paint, where they've hit close to 40%. The Cardinals have hit exceptionally well form the three lately, hitting close to 37% in their last six games.
It may be a little odd to list "offensive variety" as a strength then list "scoring" as a weakness, but desptite the FG%, the Cardinals rarely will exceed 80, only 9 times have they done that. In fact, over their winning streak the highest scoring total has been 79. The Cardinals have only two players averaging over 10 points a game G Russ Smith (18.2-3.5 RPG-3.0 APG) and C Gorgui Dieng (10 PPG-9.8 RPG). The Cardinals make up for the slight lack of scoring by playing a deep rotation.
No injuries to report. However, there is Dorian Green, but he looked very healthy against Missouri.
Strength: Interior Offense
Much like their previous opponent Missouri, Colorado State likes to take the ball to the basket. In the Rams last five games, Colorado State has taken about 41 percent of their shots inside the paint where they have hit an outstanding 73 percent. F-C Colton Iverson (14.4 PPG-9.9 RPG) has been a imposing threat inside tall season, averaging 18.6 points in his last five games.
Weakness: Shot Selection
For some reason, despite the huge success they've had inside, the Rams are taking more shots outside the paint than inside. In the Rams last five games, Colorado State has taken 59 percent of their shots outside the paint where they have hit a lowly 27 percent. I know Colorado State hit 50 percent form three against Missouri, but believe me, that is an uncommon occurrence.
The Key for Louisville is to attack the basket as much as possible, as Colorado Sate has allowed their last five opponents to hit about 65 percent in the paint. The Key for Colorado State would to not fall in love with the mid-rang or three-point jumpers and instead go into the paint. Louisville isn't the biggest team in the nation and the Rams have the talent to get inside. Lastly Colorado State can't get siked out. Playing against a perennial program in a practical home advantage will be tough for Colorado State to overcome, though they are capable of doing so.