LOUISVILLE (25-8, 14-4) vs. OKLAHOMA (23-11, 9-7)
Time: (Approximately) 5 p.m.
Site: Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex: Birmingham, AL
Favorite: Louisville by 7
All-Time Series: Oklahoma leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Oklahoma won 108-98 on 3/24/88
Probable Oklahoma Starting Lineup
G Austin Johnson....8.8 ppg
G Tony Crocker......11.4 ppg
C Longar Longar......11.7 ppg
F Taylor Griffin......6.4 ppg
F Blake Griffin........14.9 ppg
--Oklahoma is 22-2 when scoring 60 points are more, and just 1-9 when scoring less than 60 points.
--OU is shooting 48.1% from the field and 39.9% from three-point range in its wins, but just 37.1% and 25.9%, respectively, in its losses.
--Rick Pitino owns a 32-11 record in the NCAA Tournament, ranking him 11th all-time in winning percentage. Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel is 1-1 in the tournament.
--Louisville has a 7-3 record all-time as a three seed. The Cards advanced to the Final Four as a three in 1982.
--Rick Pitino's 1987 Final Four run with Providence began in Birmingham.
--Oklahoma is 13-4 when winning the opening tip, and just 10-7 when losing it.
--"I think we're ready for any style, but I think so is Oklahoma. Oklahoma plays in a very strong conference where they see every style as well. So I don't think it's an advantage for us or an advantage for them. I think when you play in conferences like we play in, you see every style." --Rick Pitino
--"Getting to the Sweet 16 is big-time for any program, but I think it would be magnified for this program. We're kind of coming back into our own after all the stuff that's happened the last few years. It would be huge against a good Louisville team, a team that is well-known and well-respected nationally. An opportunity to beat them, you can't ask for more." --Blake Griffin
--"It's exactly the type of win this program needs." --Taylor Griffin
--"We're interested to see if (Louisville double-teams Griffin). Watching the tapes on them, that's not something I've seem them do a lot. They play a lot of zone, which seems to negate that a little bit." --Jeff Capel
--""They've got good big guys down low, they're physical, and they get after you on defense. It's a lot of what we've seen all year long." --David Padgett
--"Hopefully, it's a lot more physical than the Boise State game. I just feel we have some of the best big men in the country, and I think we'll execute and we'll show that. Earl Clark, he's definitely one of the best out there. This is definitely a game to show it." --Derrick Caracter
--"I never really paid much attention to them (Louisville's program). I never really paid much attention to basketball like that. When I was smaller, I just wanted to go out and play." --Tony Crocker
--"The strength of our team has always been the big guys inside. We've got to come out and be aggressive and try to get (the Cardinals) to play at our tempo. They like to play fast and we want to pound them inside, so we're going to try to execute our game plan as best as possible." --David Godbold
--"If it gets down to a physical game, we're comfortable, and if it gets into a shooting game, we're comfortable, too. I think it's too late in the season to dictate how you're going to play. However the game is going to go, that's how you should play." --Terrence Williams
--"They're not gonna back off, even if you get some buckets. They're athletic and strong. You've got to be able to handle it for all 40 minutes." --David Godbold
CC Prediction: Louisville 71, Oklahoma 60
The Sooners certainly have the horses down low to bang with Louisville, and they have enough of an outside game to keep things close, but I just think the depth and the athleticism of the Cardinals will be grossly evident for stretches, and those stretches will be the difference.
Oklahoma can beat Louisville in a halfcourt game, but they need Johnson and Leary to play composed and handle the Cardinal press for two halves in order to have that opportunity. I think you will see Pitino double the post, which will leave open outside shots for guys like Godbold and Crocker. If one of them can get especially hot from deep, then the Sooners should be right there in the last five minutes.
I expect OU to hang with Louisville for the majority of the game, but I think it will be a handful of brief stretches where they turn the ball over and give up easy buckets in transition that will be their ultimate undoing.
As long as they come out just as focused and intense as they did on Friday, U of L should win this one relatively handily.