TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Tournament Round Of 16: #1 Louisville Vs. #12 Oregon

#1 Louisville
#12 Oregon
(credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner Rick Pitino’s long and storied career is well documented, and if Louisville’s trip to the Final Four last year is any indication, the guy has still got it. In this business, there’s scarcely anyone better.
Dana Altman was an artisan at getting the most out of his players at Creighton, and nobody can doubt the job he just did, guiding the Ducks over favored Oklahoma St. and St. Louis. Still, he has a long way to go before reaching Pitino’s level.
Offense
Winner Russ Smith has been a one-man wrecking crew, leading a ferocious offensive attack that posted 161 points against North Carolina A&T and a solid Ohio State squad.
When people think offense at Oregon, they think the spread attack in football, but the Ducks are pretty potent in basketball, too, as evidenced by their 71.7 points per game throughout the season.
Defense
Winner Punishing, aggressive defense has been Louisville’s forte, holding opponents to just 57.6 points per game throughout the season while capturing 11 steals. Smith grabbed eight steals all by himself against North Carolina A&T on Thursday.
Though not in Louisville’s league, Oregon has been one of the better defensive squads this year. Holding an explosive Saint Louis crew to 37.7 percent shooting Saturday showed how impressive they can be.
Bench Depth
The Cardinals bench has gotten plenty of burn, but not always for traditional reasons – Louisville has been blowing other teams out so much, the scrubs get lots of opportunities. Plus, when you have players like freshman Montrezl Harrell, you’re always in good shape.
Winner Bench is key for the Ducks, who relied heavily on Carlos Emory and Johnathan Lloyd (more than 50 minutes per game combined between them) in both of their tournament wins.

The Winner Is

(credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Winner #1 Louisville
3 out of 4

Oregon’s ride from unheralded No. 12 seed to Sweet 16 crasher has been fun to watch, but Louisville is playing in another stratosphere right now and has to be considered heavy favorites.
-Adam Spunberg, 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