The mantra of the NCAA Tournament is simple: survive and advance. It certainly was not pretty, but the defending champion Louisville Cardinals are moving onto the Sweet 16 once again. Jim Crews and his Saint Louis Billikens were the victims in this third round matchup, with the final score being 66-51.
Seemingly every player on the court was ice-cold in the first half. The Cardinals went into the locker room with a 25 to 16 lead. Although the offenses began to open up in the second half, it was still quite an ugly game overall. Despite the fact of not even managing to score 20 points until there was 17:21 left in the second half, the Billikens managed to hang tough. They took a 29 to 27 lead with 14 minutes left, but that is when the Cardinals began to put the pedal to the metal.
Leading the way in scoring for Louisville was Luke Hancock, who finished with 21 points by way of five three-pointers. Russ Smith only finished with 11 points, but he was the clear leader for the Cardinals on the floor with eight assists and even four rebounds. For Saint Louis, senior Dwayne Evans had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Rick Pitino will now have to scout the game between the Wichita State Shockers and the Kentucky Wildcats for the Sweet 16 matchup. If they draw Wichita State it will be a rematch of the Final Four game from a year ago. If they play Kentucky, it will be the rivalry match the entire Bluegrass State wants to see. Either way, the storylines will be plentiful.