Starting off slow, the Cardinals looked a little rusty. After watching the Cards turn the ball over 3 times early in the game, it seemed as though it would look like another Southern U vs. Gonzaga game, with the number one seed struggling to find the win. However, Rick Pitino’s team got hot quick and never took their foot off the gas pedal. Eventually going on a 16-4 run to start the game, Louisville pressed early and often against the Aggies, giving them seldom room to advance the ball up-court. Forcing 12 turnovers and limiting NC A&T to 0 field goals over a 10 minute period, the Cards looked like the number one overall team everybody had expected. Russ Smith finished the first half with 9 points and 2 assists, and Gorgui Dieng finished with 6 points, 1 assist, and 5 rebounds as Louisville went into the half with a 47-31 lead.
The second half was no different result than the first. Louisville building off momentum and NC A&T struggling to get back into the game. Brandon Beckford was most noticeably the more dominant player for the Aggies, ending the game with 12 points, 4 and rebounds. The Cards began to run away with the game towards the halfway point of the second half, securing a 30 point lead at one point, which resulted in the coaching staff of Louisville called off the dogs early. Firing on all cylinders, this Cardinal team looked impressive, to say the least.
Rick Pitino seemed pleased with his team’s performance. The bench got some solid playing and game experience. With the win, Louisville advances to the third round of the NCAA tournament, while the Aggies of NC A&T are sent home packing. The Cardinals will take Friday off and play the winner of the Missouri/ Colorado State game on Saturday.