Louisville's ‘body of work' strong

Rick Pitino said after Louisville's 69-66 loss to UConn in the Big East championship game Saturday night that he believed the Cardinals needed to win to secure a three-seed from the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Rick Pitino said after Louisville's 69-66 loss to UConn in the Big East championship game Saturday night that he believed the Cardinals needed to win to secure a three-seed from the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Now, Louisville, 25-9, has to wait until Sunday evening's Selection Show to see if Pitino's prediction of a four-seed for the Cardinals is accurate.

"They're going to take in [consideration] the full body of work and we've beaten Connecticut twice, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, we've beat West Virginia," Pitino said. "Even our losses, we beat Notre Dame [in the Big East semifinals], we had a loss at Notre Dame, at West Virginia at the buzzer, at Georgetown at the buzzer."

Louisville's overall "body of work" is impressive. At the top of the list for the Cardinals are wins over two teams in the running for No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeds – Big East regular season champion Pittsburgh and Notre Dame - in the last two weeks.

Louisville also had winning records against the Top 25, Top 50 and probable NCAA Tournament field. Against this week's AP Top 25, Louisville had a 7-6 record, with two more wins against teams also receiving votes – UNLV and Butler. Against the RPI Top 50, a key selection committee criteria, Louisville went a solid 9-6. Louisville went 11-7 against ESPN.com's projected NCAA Tournament field.

According to RealTimeRPI.com, Louisville enters Selection Sunday ranked No. 15 nationally in the Ratings Percentage Index, one of the top measuring sticks used by the NCAA selection committee, with the 14th-best strength of schedule. In a conference that expects to send a record 11 teams to the Big Dance, Louisville posted a 14-7 record, including the Big East Tournament.

ESPN.com Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently projects Louisville as a No. 4 seed in the Southwest playing an opening round game in Tucson, AZ against Bucknell. CBSSportsline.com also projects Louisville as a four-seed with a first round game against Princeton.

Another factor that could work in Louisville's favor on Selection Sunday: the Cardinals 7-3 record to finish out the season. Not only did Louisville finish third in the Big East, the Cardinals also advanced to the Big East championship game with wins over Marquette and Notre Dame – both projected NCAA Tourney teams. In the last ten games, Rick Pitino's team beat five Top 25 teams, with a two-point road loss at West Virginia and a three-point loss in the Big East finals against UConn, projected by ESPN.com as a three-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

The only ‘blemish' on UofL's resume: a 52-46 loss to Drexel Dec. 14, which finished the season 21-10 in the CAA, and a 72-67 loss at Providence Jan. 22. Other than those two lossed, Louisville was consistent from start to finish, despite constant injury-related problems. Louisville opened the season with an eight-game winning streak, and posted a four-game winning streak in late February-early March. The Cardinals never lost consecutive games this season.

Now, with the Big East championship game behind them, Louisville awaits it's NCAA Tournament fate. The Cardinals are in the field of 68. The only questions that remain on Selection Sunday for the Cardinals:

Seed? Will it be a three or four-seed for Rick Pitino's team?

Opponent? Who will the Cards play in the first round?

Destination? Where is Louisville headed for the tournament's first weekend?

The NCAA Tournament field will be released during CBS' Selection Sunday show at 6:00 p.m.


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