During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: In the second part of a four-part series, The Juice Online will take a look at each team in the Final Four, and make the case for that team winning the national championship. Today’s team is the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament, the Louisville Cardinals.
The Louisville Cardinals have accomplished everything this season that would make them the odds-on favorite to win a National Title. The overall No. 1 seed in the tournament has dispatched its first four opponents, including previously No. 1 ranked Duke, by an average of 20 points. The Cardinals finished the season 17-1 in their last 18 games, including a second-half blowout against fellow Final Four team Syracuse in the Big East Tournament Finals.
Peyton Siva and Russ Smith have been playing at another level since the tournament started, and Gorgui Dieng has been there at the rim to knock opponents’ shots into the third row of seats every time they dare to drive to the basket.
The stats back this up. Louisville is allowing opponents to shoot just 43 percent from 2-point land and 31.5 percent from downtown. They’re also second in the nation with 10.7 steals per game, and forced 19 turnovers in the Big East Title game. If you look at advanced statistics, they’re first in AdjD (81.6), and held Duke to .92 points per possession, Duke’s second lowest total of the season.
But statistics isn’t the reason why the Cardinals will win the national title. They will win because of destiny.
In the first half of the Elite 8 game against Duke, Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered one the most horrific injuries ever to take place on an NCAA court.
Teammates cringed and fell to the floor in complete shock after witnessing the injury. But somehow, after a motivational speech from their fallen teammate, the Cardinals dispatched second-seeded Blue Devils. As senior guard Peyton Siva said after the game, “Kevin Ware really was the reason why we pulled this game out.”
Kevin Ware will be the reason why Louisville will win the National Championship.
Sorry guys, you just can’t mess with destiny.