Arizona Starting Lineup
G – Kyle Fogg (6.2 PPG)
G – Nic Wise (15.7 PPG, 4.5 APG)
F – Jamelle Horne (6.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG)
F – Chase Budinger (17.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG)
F – Jordan Hill (18.4 PPG, 11 RPG)
Who has the edge?
Starting Five – Arizona
The Wildcats have three players in their starting five who might are as much talent as anyone in college basketball in Nic Wise, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill. Their Starting five averages 65.1 points per-game and 27.3 rebounds per-game. The Arizona starting line-up has more stars than the Tennessee State Flag (which has three stars on it). Louisville’s starting five is certainly great, but if Arizona had a bench to support their guys, they’d be national champions.
Bench – Louisville
Obviously. Probably three players on Louisville bench would start on Arizona’s team (Knowles, Sosa/McGee, Terrence Jennings). Louisville can throw in rested players and wear down Arizona’s starting five, most of whom play for about 30 to 38 minutes a game. George Good and Jared Swopshire aren’t bad players to have in for a few minutes as well. Simply put, Arizona just doesn’t have a bench. If college basketball games were 20 minutes, Arizona might win this one, but since they’re 40 minutes, Louisville should have no problem running away with the game at the end.
Experience – Louisville
Louisville knows how to play under pressure and they know how to handle themselves against tough competition, they play in the Big East for Pete’s sake. With that said, Arizona’s tourney experience isn’t to be taken with a grain of salt, although, they haven’t made it past the second round the past two years. Louisville’s elite 8 run last year gave them the experience that they need to play the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Offense – Push
Louisville averages 74.1 points per-game while Arizona averages 72.5 points per game and on a neutral floor, that’s basically dead even. It could be argued that Louisville has put up those points against tougher defenses and overall physical competition in the Big East but it could also be argued that if Arizona’s big three are hot, then they could be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the country. Both of these teams have an offense that can put up some points against anyone in the country.
Defense – Louisville
Louisville’s defense is one of the best in the country. Period. They’ve averaged 61.7 points allowed per-game against some of the most potent offenses in the country throughout the Big East regular season. They run the country’s best press and run a very good 2-3 zone. They can put in well rested players and let their defense wear out other teams throughout the game. Since Arizona’s starting five plays for almost the entire game, this defense will start to take it’s toll on the Wildcats about midway through the second half.
Coaching – Louisville
If Arizona still had Lute Olsen on the sidelines, this category would be a push, maybe even a very slight advantage t0 Arizona but the bulk of Arizona’s problems this year have come from the coaching transition of Lute Olsen to interim coach Russ Pennell. Russ Pennell has done a fine job, especially in this tournament but in the end, he just doesn’t match up to Rick Pitino on any level. Rick Pitino is also 8-0 in sweet sixteen games. Rick Pitino knows how to coach in the tournament and quite simply has his teams playing their best basketball in March.
Homecourt – Louisville
Indianapolis is a quick 114 miles from Louisville. I’ve heard that Indianapolis has as many UofL fans as Louisville in it right now. Arizona is from a couple thousand miles away, in a desert. Not much more to say on this topic.
Predictions and Insights
– The game will be somewhat close up until the last ten minutes of the second half. At that point, Arizona’s fatigue will start to set in and the Cardinals will end up running away with this thing.
– Jordan Hill will have the upper hand on Samardo Samuels. Look for Louisville to rely on Terrence Williams and some outside shooting. T-Will should have as big of a game, statistic-wise, as he did against Sienna.
– Look for the Cardinals to pass the ball a lot, from the inside out and run a lot of half-court sets. This Arizona team is not one that Louisville is going to be able to beat on fast breaks. Louisville’s starting five need to control the pace of the game against Arizona’s starters. If they can do that, this game might be a blowout.
– If Arizona can get Louisville into foul trouble down low, look for this game to be a lot closer than previously predicted. Arizona shoots free throws very well.
– There will be a lot of RED in Lucas Oil Stadium tonight.
– The Halftime report will primarily revolve around the news of Kentucky firing Billy Gillispie.
– UK fans are so mad at us right now.
Final Score Prediction
No. I’m not doing it.