Louisville basketball: Cardinals open tournament against UC Irvine


If you’re like the nearly 11.57 million people who filled out an online bracket, it’s probably better served as a coaster or napkin than a bracket now. However, if you’re one of the 273 perfect brackets left after just the first day, congrats! And good luck here in the second day.

Someone else who will need some luck is the Louisville basketball team, who is the last #4 seed to play in the #4/#13 game, after a first round in which UAB and Georgia State both won as 13 seeds. Only Georgetown escaped their matchup, pulling away in the second half against Eastern Washington.

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals /

Louisville Cardinals

And, regardless of the Cardinals not winning an ACC tournament game, they still find themselves with a four-seed, and will tip their hopeful title run today against the Anteaters of UC Irvine. The bad news for Cards fans is that, when the bracket was announced on Sunday, not only did the CBS crew talk about how tough of a matchup they thought UCI would be for Louisville, they also, in more or less words, questioned the seed the Cards got. Maybe not “this is outrageous!” but there was definitely a hint of “Louisville might not be the


fourth seed in the field.”

Regardless, the Cards are in for a tough assignment today. While the Anteaters don’t score a lot of points (166th in the nation at 67.9 points per game), they are efficient when shooting the rock, coming in shooting 46.1% on the season from the floor (compared to the Cards 211th FG% at 42.9%). Also, the Anteaters thrive on sharing the basketball, ranking 65th in the nation with 14.2 per.

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UCI is lead by Will Davis II, who leads the Anteaters in both points (12.9 ppg) and rebounds (seven per game), and Luke Nelson and Mamadou Ndiaye are also names you’ll need to know as they’re the other two double-figure scorers on average; Nelson averages 10.5 points while Ndiaye averages 10.4.

If there’s one main advantage Louisville has today, its on the glass. The Cardinals are the 22nd best rebounding team in the country while the Anteaters come in at 118, and if the Cards can find a way to take smarter shots and limit the opportunities UCI have, it’ll be a good day.

Another piece of good news for the Cardinals is that, of the three tournament teams UC Irvine has played, the Anteaters haven’t one (losses to Arizona, Oregon and New Mexico State).

Don’t let the seed numbers fool you, especially after the Blazers and Panthers victories yesterday. I think we’ll be in for a great ball game, and remember, it’s March, so anything goes. The game will tip at 4:10 on TBS.

Next: The Women's Tournament Starts Today, and the Lady Toppers Look for Their First Tourney Win Since 2000