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2012 Final Four: Previewing The Louisville Cardinals, Who Look To Pull Off A Massive Upset

Good stuff here. In 1996-97, Lute Olsen's Arizona Wildcats went just 11-7 in the Pac-10 and lost their last two games of the regular season. Last winter, Jim Calhoun's UConn Huskies, a one-man band on offense, lost seven of their final 11 regular season games and were potentially staring a 6- or 7-seed in the face before making a dramatic run to the Big East Tournament title. Perhaps it is good that the NCAA Tournament selection committee stopped looking at "Last 10-12 games" as a qualifier, as momentum is not always too predictive. This year's Louisville Cardinals certainly further this viewpoint a bit. In dealing with quite a few injuries throughout the regular season, they suffered not one, but two solid slumps after 2011 turned into 2012. After starting 12-0, they got their doors blown off at Providence (90-59) in the middle of a January stretch that saw them lose five of seven. They rebounded to win six in a row (though, granted, the winning streak coincided with a weak portion of the schedule), then finished the regular season by losing four of six; they lost to South Florida at home on February 29 (a loss that probably got USF into the Field of 68), and lost at Syracuse to finish the regular season just 22-9, with no marquee Big East wins of which to speak. (Their best conference wins according to Ken Pomeroy: UConn at home, West Virginia on the road, Seton Hall on the road.) Their resume in no way suggested that, four weeks later, they would be preparing for a Final Four matchup with the hated Kentucky Wildcats.

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