Tournament Notes

Cards Reach Eighth Final Four
U of L has reached its eighth NCAA Final Four and its first in 19 years -- since the Cardinals won the 1986 NCAA Championship. Louisville's eight Final Four appearances are tied for the seventh-most all-time.

Incredible Game Launches Cards to Final Four
Louisville overcame a 20-point deficit, an incredible shooting performance by its opponent, and foul trouble by its floor leader to outlast West Virginia 93-85 in overtime to win the championship of the Albuquerque Regional. Consider the following:

  • Taquan Dean, playing with a mid-foot sprain sustained two days prior in the Cards' regional semifinal game and with his legs cramping in the second half, scored 23 points and hit seven three-point goals, a U of L record for an NCAA Tournament game. Dean has hit 17 three-pointers during the NCAA Tournament.
  • The combined 29 three-point goals by the two teams (Louisville 11-of-28, West Virginia 18-of-27) was an NCAA Tournament record. The previous mark was 24 by Loyola Marymount and Nevada-Las Vegas on March 25, 1990, in the regional final.
  • Larry O'Bannon, the Most Outstanding Player of the region, scored all 24 of his points in the second half and overtime period. O'Bannon has averaged 17.8 points while shooting 53.8 percent from the field in his four NCAA Tournament games.
  • It was the fourth time this season the Cardinals had overcome a double-digit deficit, all of which came away from its home court.
  • Louisville scored on 19 of its final 25 possessions, tieing the game for the first time on its next-to-last possession in regulation.
  • U of L Coach Rick Pitino, whose Kentucky team once overcame a 35-point second-half deficit at LSU, called this group of Cardinals "the gutsiest, most phenominally tough group that I've ever been around."

    Three Cards on All-Region Team
    Three Cardinals and two West Virginia players were named to the all-regional team in Albuquerque. Larry O'Bannon was named the Most Outstanding Player in becoming the fifth Cardinal to earn top regional honors, an honor also bestowed upon Jim Price (1972), Phil Bond (1975), Darrell Griffith (1980) and Lancaster Gordon (1983). U of L juniors Taquan Dean and Francisco Garcia also made the all-region team along with West Virginia guard Patrick Beilein and center Kevin Pittsnogle.

    Pitino's Unique Accomplishment
    By leading the Cardinals to their first NCAA Final Four since 1986, U of L Coach Rick Pitino has become the first coach in NCAA history to guide three different schools to the NCAA Final Four. This is his fifth Final Four appearance, also taking Providence once (1987) and Kentucky three times (1993, 1996, 1997). Pitino has won 16 of his last 19 NCAA Tournament games, spanning his last five tournament appearances (1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005). Pitino has a 31-9 record in NCAA Tournament play (.778), ranking him third among active coaches in NCAA Tournament winning percentage.

    Cards Tie Most Victories In School History
    Louisville's 33-4 record ties the Cardinals' 1980 NCAA Championship team (33-3) for the most victories in school history. 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.
  • This U of L team is the fourth Louisville team ever to win 30 games. U of L Coach Rick Pitino has won at least 30 in a single-season on four occasions, three of which came while he was coaching at the University of Kentucky.

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