In this 1 seed vs. 8 seed matchup you have an intriguing matchup between two very successful coaches. Louisville coach Rick Pitino is one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history and has the top team in the tournament. They certainly played like it in their first round beat down of North Carolina A&T winning by a score of 79-48. Senior star Russ Smith scored 23 points and had 8 of Louisville’s NCAA tournament record 20 steals. What’s even more impressive is that Louisville deflected and incredible 67 passes during the victory. Peyton Siva displayed his all around talents with 6 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals.
Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy has been very successful at every school he has coached. While his decisions off the court have forced him to have a Larry Brown like career, none of this matters when it comes to tournament time when the only thing that matters is winning and that is what his Colorado State team did in an 84-72 2nd round victory that was not nearly as close as the score indicates. Dorian Green had a dominating performance in which he finished with 26 points (17 in the second half). Senior star Colton Iverson dominated the boards with 13 rebounds while Joe Ocetus chipped in with 12 points. They were the more aggressive team for 40 minutes and it showed in their production.
This sets up a very intriguing matchup as both teams showed their dominance by being more aggressive than their opponent. It will be very interesting to see how the two teams approach the game. It is a virtual certainty that Louisville will continue to play the full court relentless style that they have al season long. The question lies with Colorado State. Will they attempt to use the same pressure they applied to Missouri against Louisville? Or will they decide to slow the game down a little bit in an effort to keep Louisville in front of them? Coach Eustachy and his staff will have a decision to make as to either “go with what got you there” or to make a change in order to match their opponent.
One area in which Colorado State has an advantage is on the boards. They led the nation this season with a rebound margin of 12.1 per game. Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson lead an aggressive group of rebounders who are aggressive and box out every time they a shot goes in the air. If they can manage to outrebound Louisville it is likely they will keep the game close and if it is close down the stretch anything can happen.
Louisville is the best team in the country and showed it in the 2nd round. Colorado State was very impressive in their win and showed that they are no slouches. It should be a closer game than the spread would indicate.
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