It couldn’t have come with out at least a little bit of drama, but in the end, Louisville got a win it absolutely had to have in order to keep its NCAA tournament hopes.
The Cardinals built a 26-point lead, saw that lead dwindle all the way down to six in the game’s final moments, but ultimately held on for an 82-74 win over Florida State in the second round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday. The win was U of L’s first in the event since joining the conference in 2014-15.
Quentin Snider played a brilliant game to lead the way for Louisville. The senior point guard scored 19 points, dished out six assists and committed zero turnovers. Ray Spalding (18 points), Deng Adel (15 points), and Dwayne Sutton (10 points) also scored in double figures.
Louisville surprised Florida State by coming out in a 2-3 zone on Wednesday. The move resulted in the Seminoles heading into halftime with just 22 points, their lowest first half total of the season. Leonard Hamilton’s team adjusted in the second half, shooting nearly 70 percent from the field to put the fear of God in all Cardinal fans for at least a few minutes.
The game featured a combined 21 blocks, a new ACC tournament record. The victory by Louisville also ensured that the Cardinals will win at least 20 games for the 16th straight season. Duke, Kansas and Gonzaga are the only other programs in the country who can make the same claim.
I’m not sure if this win alone gets Louisville into the NCAA tournament, but it at least gives them a chance. Beat Virginia tomorrow and we’re not just talking about seeding, we’re talking trying to win this whole tournament.
This still isn’t an ideal spot, but it sure as hell beats the alternative. There’s more meaningful Louisville basketball to be played, and life is always ok when that’s the case.
Here’s the final box score from Wednesday: