Found April 06, 2013 on
Fox Sports South:
Here are three observations from Louisville's 72-68 win during the first of two national semifinals at the Final Four in Atlanta:
1. As Louisville's stars struggled to find consistency on the offensive end, Cardinals forward Luke Hancock stepped in to save the day
Though the NCAA tournament's and team's leading scorer, Russ Smith, finished with 21 points, it was clear he never really found his comfort zone in the semifinal. He shot just 6-of-17, including missing seven free throws something that had never happened in any game his entire career. Louisville's second-leading scorer Gorgui Dieng finished with zero points on just one shot.
Not only did he deliver a memorable second-half performance, but he also knocked down the free throw to make it a three-point game with 12 seconds remaining, then missed the second shot only to tie up Wichita State's Ron Baker to force a jump ball. The possession arrow, of course, was aimed at Louisville. Game over.
Hancock finished with 20 points, 14 coming in the second period. He also came up with four rebounds and two critical steals as Louisville made its comeback from a 12-point second-half deficit.
The win gave the Cardinals a school-record 34th win and a spot in its third-ever NCAA title game.
2. Wichita State earned every bit of recognition and praise they received from Rick Pitino during the game's build-up
The upset was not to be.
However, the Shockers nearly lived up to their nickname and delivered the best offensive performance any team has against the No. 1 overall seed Cardinals.
The No. 9 seed from the Missouri Valley Conference nearly became the first seed that low to make it to the NCAA tournament finals. And, for a while, it looked like they were about to pull it off. They led by one point at the half, but extended that lead to 12 midway through the second half.
The Shockers were protecting the ball. They were controlling the pace.
But after Hancock and walk-on Tim Henderson started hitting some shots, Louisville settled into their high-pressure, full-court defense and began to rattle Wichita State. The lead disappeared quickly and there were no miracle chances a la Butler's Gordon Heyward to come.
That being said: No team over the past six weeks has played Louisville closer. The Cardinals have looked like a juggernaut at times this tournament. Wichita State "played angry" and made them look mortal, at least for the majority of Saturday's game.
3. College basketball needs to address the rulebook in the offseason
Anytime Karl Hess, one of the most maligned referees in college basketball, takes the court, complaining is imminent. However, regardless of the touch fouls that plagued the Louisville-Wichita State game in particular, the NCAA needs to take a long, hard look at significant changes to encourage a faster-paced, more offensively-friendly game.
Call it the Bo Ryan Effect in college basketball; the game could use an artificially accelerated pace and more points on the scoreboard.
Numerous ideas have been bounced around in recent times changing the shot clock from 35 seconds to the NBA's 24, utilizing a defensive three-second violation to create better spacing around the basket (also used in the pros), re-evaluating charge-block calls and at least one of them needs to gain considerable consideration as soon as "One Shining Moment" finishes its annual serenading on Monday.
Louisville and Wichita State, both competing at the highest level of college basketball in 2013, scored a combined 51 points in the first half.
The overall field goal percentage for the game was 43 percent.
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ATLANTA – Junior Luke Hancock was the player of the game for the University of Louisville on Saturday night in the national semifinals. Hancock had 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Cardinals rallied to beat Wichita State 72-68 in the NCAA Tournament semifinals in the Georgia Dome.
The first of today’s Final Four games led to some serious excitement. Leading 70-68 with eight seconds left to play, Louisville’s Luke Hancock was headed to the line for two free throws — a chance to make it a two-possession game.
Hancock calmly sank the first three throw, but his second attempt hit the back iron. Wichita State’s Ron Baker grabbed the rebound and turned to...
Luke Hancock was at the free-throw line with 8.8 seconds remaining and a three-point lead, meaning a make would've almost certainly secured a trip to the national title game for Louisville. But he didn't make it.
Here's a video of the questionable jump ball call between Louisville's Luke Hancock and Wichita State's Ron Barker in the Final Four.
ATLANTA, April 6 –The Wichita State Shockers had victory in the palm of their hands and they let the Louisville Cardinals off-the-hook.
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ATLANTA (AP) Luke Hancock came off the bench to score 20 points, walk-on Tim Henderson sparked a second-half rally with a pair of monster 3s and Louisville advanced to the NCAA title game Saturday night, escaping with a 72-68 victory over Wichita State.
As the final buzzer sounded, a Louisville player tossed the ball high into the air and injured Kevin Ware stood up, thrusting his...
Saturday featured two great semi-final games with both of them coming down to the wire, but sadly there will be some talk of some questionable calls made by the officials. Both games went down to the wire, with both of the calls in question came in the final minute.
First Louisville beat Wichita State 72-68, but the Shockers could have had a chance to tie it. With 8.8 seconds left...
Score: No. 1 Louisville 72, No. 9 Wichita State 68
Star(s): Louisville: Luke Hancock 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast.
Story: Let’s all be honest. When Gorgui Dieng said that this was going to be an ugly game in the press conference before the tip-off, many people thought he was playing up Wichita State’s talent, something Rick Pitino has been known to do.
But when WSU came on the court...
Louisville's ugliest win was its biggest one yet.
Luke Hancock came off the bench to score 20 points, walk-on Tim Henderson sparked a second-half rally with a pair of monster 3s and Louisville advanced to the NCAA title game Saturday night, escaping with a 72-68 victory over Wichita State.
''I just kept telling the guys ... `We're going to make a run. It's about...
Heading into this year’s NCAA tournament, the Louisville Cardinals appeared to have the deepest bench of any team in the big dance. Considering how well Kevin Ware, Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell and Stephan Van Treese were playing at the end of the regular season, Louisville’s depth was just one of the many reasons why they were projected as the overall favorite.
After a ferocious comeback that saw Louisville capitalize off of costly turnovers by Wichita State late in the game, the Cardinals are headed to the NCAA tournament championship game for the first time since 1986.
For most of Friday night’s matchup, the No. 9 seed Shockers were in control and looked poised to come away with yet another upset. Leading by double digits with 13 minutes...
Sorry for the delayed post-game response. I’ve been doing everything I can to try and find a way down to Atlanta on Monday night.
Saturday night’s national semifinal game is just more evidence that this year’s Louisville team is destined for a national championship. The first half may have been one of if not the worst halves of the season for the Cardinals.
By Jesse Kramer
The last Cinderella of the 2013 NCAA Tournament was eliminated in Saturday’s first Final Four game. In the first national semifinal in Atlanta, No. 1 seed Louisville knocked off No. 9 seed Wichita State, 72-68. The Shockers, who were overshadowed in this year’s tournament by Florida Gulf Coast, which became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16, knocked...