The Louisville Cardinals are going to the Elite Eight. You knew that, but I just wanted to type out that sentence. Feel free to read it again if you wish. One thing about this run for the Louisville Cardinals — and I mean this run over the last few years — the team never quits. We have been very spoiled in the last few seasons with teams full of guys that are easy to root for. This season started a little differently, and there were a lot of times where I was ready for it to be over. Then the drama came, and the drama left, and I was excited about the team again. And here we are, going to the Elite Eight for the third time in four seasons. Absolutely amazing!
The unlikely hero in Louisville’s 75-65 win over NC State was sophomore Anton Gill. When Wayne Blackshear went to the bench with 4 fouls with 8:31 to play, Anton Gill entered the game. He pretty much came in to give Blackshear a few minutes on the bench until Pitino could put him back in. When that time came, Pitino couldn’t take Gill out!
His first bucket gave the Cards a 55-54 lead with 5:54 left to play. He then hit a 3 pointer to put Louisville up 58-54. By then, Gill had already made his presence known in the clutch moments of this game. He tacked on another layup to push the lead to 62-57. He scored all 7 points in 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Terry Rozier was phenomenal in this game. He scored 17 points but grabbed 14 rebounds. His previous career high was 11 rebounds against Cleveland State this season. He also dished out 4 assists and had 1 steal. He hit a couple of big jumpers in the second half and also got the ball out in transition and got to the basket late. One of those times could have been costly, as he was fouled and hit the backstop of the basket pretty hard. He clearly injured his back, and hopefully he gets plenty of rest and treatment in the next day or two.
Montrezl Harrell played like a beast, and I don’t think he ever came out of the game. I know that Jaylen Johnson did not come in for him, so I am almost certain he played the full 40 minutes. He led the Cards with 24 points and also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists. He was 6-7 from the free throw line. I can’t remember what game he hurt his back, but it forced him to shoot his free throws without bending his knees. It looks bad, but he has been much better from the line since then. If I had a research team, this is where they would look this stuff up for me.
I wrote today that Cat Barber could end up being the next villain for Louisville basketball. With 8 points on 3-14 shooting, he is going to have to bring it a little more than that next time. Villains are players we remember, not guys who disappear in the big moments. See ya next year Cat.
Enough with the stats. The Louisville Cardinals are heading to the Elite Eight, just one win away from the Final Four. At the moment, Michigan State and Oklahoma are playing, and I honestly couldn’t care less who we end up playing. Win one more game, and we head to Indy. I just have to keep saying it because it is hard to believe after all this team has gone through.
This has been one of my favorite UofL teams to watch and cheer for over the last 8 games. I hope it continues all the way into Lucas Oil Stadium. I am proud to be a Louisville Cardinal!
Go Cards…Go Krogering! Beat whoever is next!