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Louisville could break ground with one more win

Rick Pitino

Louisville coach Rick Pitino gestures toward the monitor as he disagrees with an official on a call during the first half of their NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game against Davidson in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 15, 2012. Louisville won 69-62.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)


Louisville’s offense has been an adventure all season. They’re terrible shooting the three. They don’t take care of the ball. In Big East play they were outscored on a per-possession basis by 12 teams. Seven times in Big East play they failed to reach 60 points.

Yet they’re advancing. They won four games in four nights to take home the Big East title. They won two games this weekend to move on to the Sweet 16. Next up is Michigan State.

Earlier today I looked at Florida and how their bombs-away approach fits in historically with Final Four teams. Now it’s Louisville’s turn. Though for them it’s not the number of 3-pointers they shoot, but rather the number of points they score.

Louisville is currently 116th in offensive efficiency. Luckily they have an elite defense or they wouldn’t be here. But how far can defense carry a team? Especially one as limited on offense as the Cardinals.

Twenty-one teams in the past ten tournaments have been a 12-seed or better and had an offense worse than 100th. (I used the 12-seed as a cutoff, as the 13-seeds and above are typically automatic qualifiers). I went back and looked at how many of those teams advanced past the first round (5). That’s not good. I looked at how many made it to the Sweet 16. One. Florida State. Last year. And they got bumped by Virginia Commonwealth. Again, not good.

This year, Alabama, Colorado, South Florida and Virginia can all be added to that list. All of them are gone.

That’s 26 teams in 11 years. Two of which have made the Sweet 16.

But the hard work is over. With one more win they’ll be the only team amongst those 26 to advance to the Elite 8.