INDIANAPOLIS – Michigan and Louisville put on a stellar show four years ago in the NCAA national championship game. The teams have a rematch on Sunday, this time with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.
The Wolverines and Cardinals will face each other at 12:10 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a second-round NCAA Tournament game. This will be the first time the teams have played since Louisville beat the Wolverines, 82-76, in Atlanta in 2013 to win the program’s third national title. Michigan advanced to Sunday’s game with a 92-91 win against No. 10 Oklahoma State on Friday, while Louisville beat No. 15 Jacksonville State, 78-63.
Michigan (25-11) has won 11 of its last 13 games, while Louisville (25-8) has split it last six games. The winner advances to the Midwest Regional tournament in Kansas City next Thursday.
Here’s a quick look at the Cardinals:
Head coach: Rick Pitino (32nd season overall, 770-270, 16th season at Louisville, 416-142)
Record: 25-8 overall, 12-6 conference (tied for second place)
Seed: No. 2
NCAA appearances: 42 (76-42)
National championships: 3 (1980, 1986, 2013)
2017 NCAA tournament: beat No. 15. Jacksonville State, 78-63
Offense: 77.5 ppg
Defense: 65.8 ppg
Leading scorer: G Donovan Mitchell, 15.5 ppg
Leading rebounder: F/C Mangok Mathiang, 6.1
Louisville is among the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament even though it hasn’t won consecutive games in a month. Michigan goes from facing the nation’s top offensive efficiency team (according to KenPom.com) in Oklahoma State to having to figure out a way to beat the No. 6 defensive efficiency team in Louisville.
Louisville is ranked 14th nationally in field goal percentage defense (39.9 percent), 19th in 3-point field goal percentage allowed (31.6 percent) and 10th in blocks per gam (5.5).
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino expressed concerns about facing Michigan despite his team’s defensive strengths. The Wolverines made 51.9 percent of the their field goals against Oklahoma State, including 16 of 29 (55.2 percent) of their 3-point attempts. Michigan was 11-of-15 on 3-pointers in the second half.
“We’re playing against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday,” Pitino quipped after the Jacksonville State game. “I watched the second half. I’ve never seen shooting like that since I’ve been a coach. It’s incredible the way they shoot the basketball.
“It looks like it’s going in the moment it leaves the hands, so it’s going to be a tough task for us.”
Louisville’s leading scorer is sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell, who averages 15.5 points per game. Junior point guard Quentin Snider finished third in the ACC with a 2.74 assist-to-turnover margin.
Senior forward/center Mangok Mathiang leads Louisville in rebounding (6.1 per game). Mathiang was redshirting during the 2013 season so, while he wasn’t on the Louisville roster, he was with the program during the 2013 national championship game.