It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.
Louisville (24-8, 12-6/ACC)–This is one of the longest, most athletic teams in the nation, and as you’d expect from a Rick Pitnio squad, one of the stingiest defensive teams as well. The Cardinals give up just 65.8 points per game, and crash the glass hard, racking up 39.7 rebounds per (which ranks 18th in the country).
6-3 senior Donovan Mitchell leads the way, averaging 15.7 points and 2.6 steals per game. He and 6-2 junior Quentin Snider (12.7 ppg, 4.1 apg) are a handful in the backcourt, and Deng Adel (6-7), Jaylen Johnson (6-9) and Mangok Mathiang (6-10) add plenty of length in the frontcourt.
Louisville doesn’t have a ton of household names, and only Mitchell is getting consideration as a first-round draft pick in next year’s NBA Draft. But this team is still legit, and it’d be a surprise to see them fall before the second weekend.
How far will the Cardinals advance?
We’ve got them pegged for the Elite Eight. We think the loss of Chris Boucher will doom Oregon against the Cards, but Kansas just has too much talent and experience to overcome.