Last night, the NCAA Tournament brought along upsets, expectations, and a lot of questions. The biggest surprise and question for me came to me late last night: Did we overrate Louisville?
Louisville came into the Tournament with high expectations. They had just won the AAC Championship, they are the defending Champions, and were expected to be a 2 or 3 seed. However, when the seeds came out, Louisville was ranked a 4. Everyone was extremely surprised, and I, and many others, started calling Louisville underrated.
How could they not be underrated? Louisville is in the top 15 in scoring and defense, they have a great record of 30 wins and only 5 losses, and they won the AAC (Not a great conference, but still a Championship). No way they could have been overrated the entire year? Right?
Well last night, I saw something way different than an expected 2 seed. Louisville went in facing the 13 seeded, Manhattan Jaspers, and came one Luke Hancock away from losing in the first round.
Manhattan hung with Louisville the entire game, and the game was tied 7 times (5 times in the second half)! Louisville was even down by 2 with two minutes and 30 seconds remaining! Manhattan's offense seemed to be unstoppable and with Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell both with 4 fouls, it seemed that Louisville was going to fall in the first round!
However, Russ Smith and Luke Hancock picked up their game on offense and led Louisville to a 71-64 win. They finished the game and got the win, but there are still a ton of questions. How could Louisville almost be upset by Manhattan!?
Well, for starters, there is a reasonable explanation for Louisville's offense. Manhattan's coach is a former assistant coach behind Rick Pitino.
Throughout the game, I saw Manhattans coach, Steve Masiello seem to know the plays and inform his team. Of course, that was only a couple of plays, but the effect still showed. As Rick Pitino put it, "We don't play well against ourselves."
Second, Masiello performed a great coaching performance as he forced Louisville to defend with 4 guards. With Louisville having to play with their weaknesses on defense, Manhattan was able to score with ease.
With Manhattan being able to uncover their weaknesses, it gives a lot of questions for what the great teams in the tournament will be able to do.
Next round, Louisville has to play St. Louis, who like to play small. This can give Louisville fits on defense, and might possibly knock Louisville out of the tournament.
So what do you think? Is Louisville overrated? Will they lose to St. Louis next round? For now, all we can do is wait.