Next year, Louisville and Duke will become Atlantic Coast Conference rivals.
For now, however, the Cardinals and Blue Devils will battle for supremacy in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Regional.
Midwest Regional schedule
P First round
Tuesday, at Dayton, Ohio
» Liberty vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T, 4:40 p.m., truTV
» No. 11 Mid. Tennessee St. vs. Saint Mary’s, 7:10 p.m., truTV
Thursday, at Lexington, Ky.
» No. 1 Louisville vs. Liberty-North Carolina A&T winner, 4:50 p.m., TBS
» No. 8 Colo. St. vs. No. 9 Missouri, 30 min. following, TBS
Thursday, at Auburn Hills, Mich.
» No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 14 Valparaiso, 10:15 a.m., Ch. 2
» No. 6 Memphis vs. Middle Tennessee State-Saint Mary’s winner, 30 minutes following, Ch. 2
Thursday, at San Jose, Calif.
» No. 4 St. Louis vs. No. 13 New Mexico St., 12:10 p.m., TNT
» No. 5 Oklahoma State. vs. No. 12 Oregon, 30 minutes following, TNT
Friday, at Philadelphia
» No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Albany, 10:15 a.m., Ch. 2
» No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 10 Cincinnati, 30 minutes following, Ch. 2
Louisville was given the region’s No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday. Duke, perhaps surprisingly, was seeded second in a bracket that also includes Big Ten power Michigan State, Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon and coach Rick Majerus’ final team at Saint Louis.
The Midwest also has a local flavor, with Colorado State of Mountain West Conference gaining the No. 8 seed and Saint Mary’s of the WCC getting a berth in a Tuesday night play-in game against Middle Tennessee.
If any team other than Louisville or Duke advances to the Final Four, however, it will be an upset.
The Cardinals come off a 78-61 victory over Syracuse in the Big East Tournament championship game, while Duke hopes to rebound after losing to Maryland in the ACC semifinals. The defeat likely cost the Blue Devils a No. 1 seed, perhaps the one given to Gonzaga.
Against Syracuse, Louisville trailed by 16 with 15:50 remaining. But the Cardinals’ defense, which will key its chances in the NCAA Tournament, turned the game around.
Louisville outscored Syracuse 27-3 over a devastating eight-minute span to win the Big East and earn the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance.
"Our press is pretty much like controlled chaos," said Louisville’s Peyton Siva, the tournament MVP. "We’re going to press. We’re just going to run and trap, run and trap. ... For a minute there, we were running around the court with our head cut off and got a couple of steals."
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim agreed, calling the Cardinals "the best pressing team that I’ve seen this year."
If the regional seeding stands, No. 1 Louisville and No. 2 Duke will eventually meet in the Midwest finals.
The Blue Devils are led by one of the top power forwards in the country: Senior Mason Plumlee averages 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds.
No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T/Liberty
Records • Louisville 29-5; North Carolina A&T 19-16; Liberty 15-20.
Conferences • Louisville, Big East; North Carolina A&T, Mid-Eastern Athletic; Liberty, Big South.
Outlook • The Cardinals’ last loss was a five-overtime classic against Notre Dame. The North Carolina A&T-Liberty winner will be overmatched against a team that can struggle on offense but feeds off a suffocating defense. Louisville is led by Russ Smith, who averages 18.1 points per game.
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Albany
Records • Duke 27-5; Albany 24-10.Next Page >
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