Cards Advance to Sweet 16 With Win Over Northern Iowa

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Louisville Cardinals will be making their fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16 after beating Northern Iowa 66-53 on Sunday night in Seattle. Their opponent in Syracuse, New York will be NC State, who beat the Cards 74-65 at the KFC Yum! Center back on February 14 of this year.

Terry Rozier had himself a game, scoring 25 points on 8-13 shooting while going 8-9 from the free throw line. He also dished out 7 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds and carried the Cards in this victory. This was the “first round draft pick” version of Rozier that we have not seen in quite some time. If he wants to continue to play like this, I will approve.

Wayne Blackshear became the 67th player in UofL history to score 1,000 points in his career. The senior scored 10 points and had 6 rebounds. He also had quite possibly a game-saving block when Northern Iowa was making a run to get back into the game. He was all over the place, diving on the floor for loose balls, and did many things that you won’t find on the stat sheet. He really did play a good game. Oh, and he is also the only player in UofL history to play in four consecutive Sweet 16’s.

Wagner did it over a span of 5 seasons.

This game was back and forth early on, with Northern Iowa getting up 10-5. After that, it was all Louisville. The lead at halftime for the Cards was 9, and for most of the second half, it stayed in that 8-10 point range. The game never really felt in doubt until the Panthers cut the deficit to 6 with just over 4 minutes to play. With the score 55-49, Wayne Blackshear turned the ball over. Rather than take the ball up for a layup against Terry Rozier, 6’5 Jeremy Morgan thought it would be a good idea to throw a behind the back pass to 6’1 Wes Washpun. Little did he know, 6’5 Wayne Blackshear was trailing Washpun. Boom, block by Blackshear!

If Northern Iowa scores there, the lead is down to 4, and then fans probably decide it’s a good time to panic. What happens instead? Louisville runs a little half-court set, and it ends with Terry Rozier finding Montrezl Harrell for the alley-oop dunk. Just like that, it is back to an 8 point lead with 3:30 to play. Huge sequence there.

Louisville will now turn their attention to NC State, who they face this Friday at 7:37 pm ET. The winner of that will face the winner of Oklahoma-Michigan State for a trip to the Final Four. Pretty crazy, huh?

The opportunity is right there. Payback time.

Go Cards…Go Krogering! Beat NC State!

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