TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Tournament Championship Weekend: #1 Louisville Vs. #9 Wichita State

#1 Louisville
#9 Wichita State
Duke v Louisville
Wichita State v Ohio State
Coaching
Winner Rick Pitino’s clearly still got it. Now in his second straight Final Four – and this time coaching the prohibitive favorite – Pitino has the matchups he needs to capture a second national title. And the way he stayed the night with Kevin Ware after the gruesome injury earns him extra points.
While Gregg Marshall’s accomplishments are pebbles compared the boulders Pitino has moved, Marshall has excelled about as well as any mid-major coach could, between successful stints at Winthrop and now at Wichita State. For getting the Shockers into the Final Four, he may be the top coach of this tournament.
Offense
Winner The Cardinals have been scorching defenses like an active volcano, with the amazing Russ Smith leading the charge. Just to put things in perspective, Smith scored 54 points just last weekend, and his team put up 50 points on Duke – in the second half!
Featuring a balanced attack led by Carl Hall, Malcolm Armstead and Cleanthony Early, the Shockers mount enough points on offense to stay competitive with the big boys. As the Ohio State game showed us, they can score when they have to on elite defenses.
Defense
Winner As superlative as the Cardinals are on offense, their defense has been almost as good during the season – and in the tourney. Holding Colorado State, Oregon and Duke to 56, 69 and 63 points, respectively, gave them room to win without breaking a sweat.
The Shockers are a fierce defensive squad, rebounding well, hacking when you drive and churning out nearly five blocks per game. Whether they can handle Louisville is a big question, but Pitt and La Salle struggled mightily to score against them.
Bench Depth
Winner With Kevin Ware out for good, Pitino will have to rely on the rest of his bench more than he intended. The way the Cardinals annihilated Duke – even without Ware – shows there is plenty of talent across the bench to propel Louisville forward.
Freshman guard Fred Van Vleet not only owns an awesome name – he’s also been the Shockers’ key man off the bench. Developing before our very eyes, he managed 12 points in 24 minutes vs. Ohio State.

The Winner Is

Duke v Louisville
Winner #1 Louisville
4 out of 4

Louisville has the edge in every category, so how can Wichita State possibly win? The same way the Shockers have gotten here – anything can happen in one game, and on a good day, Wichita State can put up a fight.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) (credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Will The Twins Be A Playoff Team?

    Minnesota Twins fans have been in a weird spot for most of the 2015 season. They are hesitant to jump on the bandwagon and believe in a team after four straight seasons with at least 90 losses. With a little more than a month to play in the regular season, they’re on the doorstep of a playoff spot.

  2. (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Who Will The Timberwolves Pick, Towns Or Okafor?

    The NBA Draft is Thursday night, where the dream of many young basketball players of becoming a professional athlete will become a reality for many. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a huge decision to make.

  3. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images) (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
    Who Plays For The Twins First: Buxton Or Sano?

    Not only are the Twins leading the American League Central Division, they’ve also got two of the most highly-regarded prospects in the minor leagues. Fans and media alike want to see Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano in Twins uniforms at Target Field. But they’re currently in Class AA and both missed most of last year with injuries.

See All Tales of the Tape