NCAA Tournament: ‘Cats, Cards Advance…Scratch a Seven-Year Itch [VIDEO]
Half of the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 is set. And the Bluegrass State will claim one-eighth of it. Kentucky and Louisville both won on Saturday evening and will head to the regionals, marking the first time in seven years the ‘Cats and the Cards have made a joint appearance in the Round of 16.
KENTUCKY 87, IOWA STATE 71
The Wildcats came out of the gates like a house on fire to open a 9-2 lead over the Cyclones and then stretched the margin to 12 at 23-11 with a barrage of threes and long twos. Perennial question mark Marquis Teague was on-fire from long and short range as UK took a 38-27 lead into the halftime locker room. But Iowa State was having none of it and opened the second half on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 42. John Calipari called a time-out to, no doubt, say a few things to his team I likely can’t repeat, and, in the blink of an eye, it was a 30-10 run for Kentucky, who were on their way to a 16-point second round win and a rematch with one of the only two teams to beat them this season–Indiana. Teague finished with a career high 24 points.
LOUISVILLE 59, NEW MEXICO 56
The score is exactly the kind I would have predicted for a Louisville win. The Cardinals dictated tempo from the start, despite playing a de facto road game. The ‘Ville and New Mexico were playing in Portland, Oregon which isn’t exactly in the Lobos’ backyard, but it’s almost not even in Louisville’s hemisphere. But this is the time of year that Rick Pitino relishes. He was built for the post-season. And Steve Alford’s Lobos aren’t built for the kind of physical play one expects night in and night out in a Big East game. In fact, New Mexico has never beaten a Big East team in the NCAA Tournament. And now the Cards move on…to Phoenix. Yep, the NCAA Tournament selection committee is gonna make Louisville fans earn those frequent flyer miles. The Cardinals will take on the winner of Michigan State/St. Louis in the regional semifinals.