I’m going to put my trust in Pitino. His record in this tournament when he’s had several days to prep goes beyond impressive ( I’m too lazy to do the Thesaurus thing, so let’s just leave it at “beyond impressive”).
Pitino doesn’t lose these Sweet Sixteen matchups – or more accurately, he rarely goes down to defeat, boasting an 11-1 mark in this round the 12 times he’s guided one of his teams here.
Clearly it’s not all about Pitino and prep, as he’s often arrived for those games with the better team and an expectation of winning. Which is what he does.
NC State tripped up Villanova in the round of 32. I know everyone is talking about the job the Wolfpack did defensively, holding ‘Nova to a putrid 31% from the field. Fair enough. But I watched that game and spent most it shaking my head at how a #1 seed could panic that easily, playing right into the hands of their less-talented opponent.
The Wildcats were making dumb decisions all over the court. Once the upset was in play, every time Villanova got the ball it was like Greg Norman with a Sunday lead at Augusta. I can still hear the coughing.
This isn’t a great Louisville team, make no mistake, but they caught a break getting to face the Wolfpack in this round. I don’t see them squandering it.
Yes, I have some anxiety around freshman guard Quentin Snider holding up under the pressure (both the mental pressure and the actual pressure from NC State). He’s had to step in after Chris Jones’ off-court activities proved to be too much for even a big program like Louisville to hide.
But the kid played like a champ vs. Northern Iowa, turning the ball over but once. I don’t care if he doesn’t score. If he hangs on to the ball and makes smart plays, the Cardinals should be headed for the Elite Eight.
Check all of the updated NCAA Basketball odds
NC State vs. Louisville
NCAA Picks: Take Louisville -2.5