TALE OF THE TAPE

Battle On The Frontier: #11 Louisville At #25 Notre Dame

#11 Louisville
#25 Notre Dame
Marquette v Louisville
Notre Dame v Syracuse
Coaching
Winner ck Pitino has more than 600 wins as a college head coach, has been to six Final Fours, and won a national championship. His current Louisville squad is capable of returning to the Final Four for the second straight year.
Mike Brey has had great success in the regular season—Notre Dame finished third in the Big East last season and second the year before—but has struggled in the NCAA Tournament. He is great at adapting to his personnel.
Offense
Winner The Cardinals have an explosive backcourt with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, an All-American candidate. Sophomore Chane Benhanan is as athletic a forward as there is in the country.
Don’t let Notre Dame’s extremely slow pace fool you—Brey may favor the “burn” offense but this year’s Irish squad is 11th in the country at 1.16 points per possession. Jack Cooley, a 6’9” center, leads the Irish with 14.8 points per game.
Defense
Winner Louisville’s aggressive defense style has been extremely disruptive this season; the Cards rank second in the country in efficiency. Smith hounds opposing guards and 6’11” Gorgui Dieng is an elite rim protector, averaging 2.5 blocks per game.
The Irish don’t play defense as well as they have the last couple of years. Their offense can help out their defense on Saturday—they can’t turn it over and give Louisville easy baskets in transition.
Bench Depth
Winner Nine guys play at least 12 minutes per game; sophomore Wayne Blackshear gets starters minutes and averages 9.1 points per game. He led all scorers with 19 in Louisville’s win over Rutgers on Wednesday.
Only a handful of teams rely on their starters more than Notre Dame, whose depth took a hit when Scott Martin got hurt.

The Winner Is

Marquette v Louisville
Winner #11 Louisville
4 out of 4

The Irish are great at home, though they’ve already dropped two in South Bend this season, to Connecticut and Georgetown. After losing three straight, Louisville comes in on a three-game win streak. Despite the categorical sweep, this figures to be a tight, low-scoring game.

-Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape