Sweet 16 News & Notes

Everything the basketball junkie needs (or not) to know about the Thursday night Sweet 16 Louisville - Washington matchup.

Common Opponents
Louisville faced one of the remaining Sweet 16 teams, falling to Kentucky 60-58. Washington holds a 4-1 record against this year's Sweet 16 qualifiers, defeating Utah (78-71), N.C. State (68-64) and Arizona twice, including a 81-72 victory in the PAC-10 Tournament Championship. The Huskies lone loss to a Sweet 16 team happened in late January at Arizona.

Cards Reach 15th NCAA Sweet 16
U of L has reached the final 16 teams of the NCAA Tournament for the 15th occasion since 1975 and its first since 1997. U of L is fourth in NCAA Sweet 16 appearances with 14 since 1975, the first year that all teams in the tournament would be required to win a least one game to advance to the Sweet 16. U of L was also among the final 16 NCAA Tournament teams on six occasions prior to 1975.

Most Appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16
The NCAA recognizes Sweet 16 records since 1975, the first year that all teams in the tournament would be required to win at least one game to advance to the Sweet 16.
20 North Carolina, 1975-2000
20 Kentucky, 1975-2003
18 Duke, 1978-2004
15 Louisville, 1975-1997
14 Indiana, 1975-2002
14 UCLA, 1975-2002
14 Kansas, 1981-2004
14 Syracuse, 1975-2004
Washington is participating in it's third Sweet 16, having also made the field in 1984 and 1998. The Huskies are participating in their 12th NCAA Tournament, while Louisville is making it's 32nd appearance, fifth most of all time.

NCAA Records
U of L has a 51-33 overall NCAA Tournament record, reaching the Final Four seven times. Washington has a 12-12 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play, reaching the Final Four once in 1953.

Best Records
Louisville's 31-4 record is its best 35-game record since 1982-83 when U of L capped a 32-4 season in the NCAA Final Four, falling to Houston in the national semifinals in Albuquerque. U of L's 31 wins are the fourth-most ever for the Cardinals. The Cardinals' 29 victories entering the NCAA Tournament are the most ever for a U of L team entering the tournament. Louisville's 14-2 Conference USA record was its best ever in the league.

Louisville has reached at least 20 wins for the third straight year under Coach Rick Pitino, who has won at least 20 in a season on 13 occasions. The Cardinals' 26 regular-season victories are tied for the second-most ever at U of L, in good company with two NCAA Final Four teams. U of L's 1982-83 team finished the regular season 27-3 before falling in the national semifinals while the Cards' 1979-80 NCAA Championship team posted a 26-3 regular season mark.

The Huskies' hope to win Thursday and reach the 30-win plateau for the first time in school history. UW's 29-win total matches the single-season schoolrecord established in 1938 (29-7).

Defense Wins?

Otis George plays a vital
role in the Cardinals stingy defense

U of L has limited its opponents to 37.9 percent shooting from the field, which ranks third nationally in field goal percentage defense. It is the best effort for a U of L team in 44 years (opponents shot 37.5 percent from the field in 1960-61). Only five opponents in U of L's last 98 games have shot 50 percent or better against the Cardinals. After Memphis became the only team to shoot better than 50 percent against the Cardinals this season (.510), U of L used an aggressive zone to hold the Tigers to a remarkable C-USA record 19.5 percent shooting for the game on Feb. 26 (11-of-56). U of L was second nationally in field goal percentage defense last season, limiting opponents to 38.2 percent accuracy. Twenty-one U of L foes have shot under 40 percent from the field, including five under 30 percent. Cardinal opponents have averaged 62.9 points this season, ranking U of L 44th best in scoring defense in the nation. The Cardinals are also among the nation's leaders in steals (32nd, 8.7 per game) and rebound margin (23rd, +5.9).

UW has a 26-1 record when holding its foes under 90 points. The five opponents that defeated the Huskies averaged 90.4 points, nearly 20 more than the 70.7 points the Huskies surrendered in their 29 wins. Washington has a 25-1 record when holding opponents to 50 percent or less shooting from the field. UW limited foes to 43.8 percent accuracy in wins, a figure that vaults to 53.1 percent in the five losses.

Basketball, volleyball or football - take your pick!
Louisville, Minnesota and Wisconsin are the only three schools to place each of their men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams in the NCAA Tournament, as well as their football team in a bowl game this season.

Comeback Cards
Louisville has come back from three double-digit deficits on the road to win each this season. Louisville's seven league road victories were two more than any C-USA team. The Cardinals won their last seven straight C-USA road games and have an overall 10-1 record in road games this season (4-1 neutral).

  • In the latest road recovery, the Cardinals fell behind by 11 points at Memphis, trailing 39-28 with 9:41 remaining in the game. A 12-0 run put the Cardinals back on top as U of L finished the game with a 25-5 run in winning 53-44 on Feb. 26.
  • Francisco Garcia buried a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds at Marquette on Feb. 17 to lift the Cards to a 64-61 victory. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half as U of L rallied from a 61-50 deficit with 5:53 remaining to score the game's final 14 points.
  • Louisville overcame a 17-point deficit in its first meeting against Cincinnati this season (1/15/05), the second-largest deficit overcome for U of L under Coach Rick Pitino (largest: 18 at Ohio State, 1/4/03). U of L trailed 25-8 in the first half at Cincinnati before recovering to win 69-66.

    No Place Like Home, or the Road, or Anywhere
    Both the 4th-ranked Cardinals and the 5th-ranked Huskies have not only dominated while playing on their home courts, the two programs also found success way from home.

    Pitino's Cardinals won 10 of 11 road games this season. Only Louisville, Illinois (8-1) and Pacific (13-1) lost only once on the road this season.

    Romar's Huskies went 8-0 at nuetral sites.

    'It's All About The O'
    U of L ranks among the top 30 nationally in eight statistical categories in NCAA Statistics through games of March 14. Individually, Francisco Garcia is 17th in the nation in free throw percentage (.874); Larry O'Bannon is 42nd in free throw percentage (.852); Ellis Myles is 24th in rebounding (9.2); and Taquan Dean is ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.456), and 11th in three point goals per game (3.2).

    Washington's offense scored 100 points a school-record five times this season to eclipse the four 100-point outings of the 1972 and 1975 teams. The Huskies amassed an unprecedented combined total of 224 in back-to-back games against Sacred Heart (Dec. 22) and Houston (Dec. 24). UW entered this week ranked second nationally, and scores at an 86.7-point clip. North Carolina opened the week leading the NCAA at 89.1 points per game.

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