The NCAA March Madness tournament is down to the Final Four, and each team is the best of their regions. Sports analysts are breaking down each team’s strengths and weaknesses, which fans and sports bettors are eager to analyze in preparation for the final games of the tournament this weekend.
The Louisville Cardinals are recognized as one of the strongest, well-rounded teams in the NCAA. The team is recognized as possessing one of the top defensive units in the league, and possesses some of the top shooters, including Russ Smith, who made dynamic three point shots throughout the tournament. However, the Cardinals are less effective at charging towards the basket, which could become a glaring weakness if their opponents shut Smith and other shooters down in the last two games of the tournament.
Louisville does possess the heart to win, which was more apparent than ever following a horrific tragedy in the game on March 31. Louisville guard Kevin Ware sustained what will surely be recognized as one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of basketball during this game. After landing awkwardly on his leg after attempting to block a three point shot, he sustained what surgeons described as “a rotational injury,” and resulted in a broken bone piercing the skin of Ware’s right leg. The rest of the team, along with players from opposing Duke University, looked on in horror at the unexpected injury, and many players struggled to regain their composure as Ware was taken off the court to the emergency room.
Louisville’s first test will be against the Wichita State Shockers, who defeated the number one seed early in the tournament followed by the remaining number 2 seed in the next round. One advantage for Louisville is that Wichita lacks a top scorer similar to Smith, and if Louisville utilizes their strong defensive skills, they could shut down the rest of the Shocker’s offensive drive.
The winner between Louisville and Wichita will face off against the winner between the Michigan Wolverines and the Syracuse Orange. The Wolverines and the Orange were both considered upsets throughout the tournament, and both teams struggle on the defensive end of the court, which could be exploited by offensively strong opponents.
In a tournament where players are proving themselves for the big league, a smart gamble is to bet on the team with heart.