The top overall seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament has advanced, as Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals routed North Carolina A&T in Lexington by a final of 79-48.
Instead of going the route of fellow number one seed Gonzaga, the Cardinals jumped out early and never looked back in the 31-point victory.
North Carolina A&T simply couldn’t handle the pressure defense of Louisville, committing 25 turnovers on the evening. The Aggies managed to shoot 42% from the field, but only put up 41 shots due to the massive amount of turnovers.
Meanwhile, Louisville was able to shoot 56% from the field, but will need to shoot better from the free throw line from here on out after going 13-for-22 tonight.
Pitino’s squad got production from everywhere but it was Russ Smith who led the charge in scoring by putting up 23 points. Wayne Blackshear added 11, and three other Cardinals (Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell) finished with eight points a piece.
A&T got 12 points from Bruce Beckford.
The defense is what has fueled this team over the past few months and is what will lead them all the way to the Final Four if they continue to turn people over and make them pay for their mistakes.
Now Louisville will await the winner of the 8/9 game between Colorado State and Missouri. I’m not sure it matters who wins that game if Louisville continues to play at such a high level.
This team is the top seed in the tournament for a reason, and either the Rams or Tigers will be in for a big challenge in Lexington on Saturday.