March 22, 2009
Louisville's moving on to play Arizona on Friday night, and they'll likely advance there and play either Kansas or Michigan State to get to the Final Four.
Anyone who would suggest that Louisville's going to struggle in those games because "they didn't look very good" against Siena would be wrong, and they would be slapping Siena in the face. I'm not predicting that Louisville will walk into the Final Four by any means, but using the Siena game to lower your opinion of Louisville would be a mistake. It took a hell of an effort to beat Siena.
After leading in the first half by as many as 11, Louisville trailed at one point in the second half by six. They needed every bit of their height and athleticism advantage to make the run that was necessarily to retake control of the game.
Siena's a capable group. We're talking about a 27-win team here that had an RPI in the top 20. They calmly and deftly handled Louisville's defensive pressure, only turned the ball over nine times, and executed their offensive against the Cardinals.
A little more luck from behind the three-point line, and who knows? They finished just 7-of-24 from three-point land, and Louisville shot 9-of-20. If either team was closer to their season average, we could've had a different outcome.
But that's not how it went down, and Louisville shot the ball better because they're better than Siena at shooting the ball. That's my point. Louisville won because they're a better team, and not because they played poorly or because Siena had some magic miracle Cinderella dust. Louisville played well and they beat a team that played well against them.