Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/31/13
Here are three observations from Louisville's impressive 85-63 Elite Eight win against Duke Sunday to earn its second-consecutive Final Four berth: 1. Through the first four (or five) games of the NCAA tournament, Louisville looks every bit the part of the No. 1 overall seed and more than earned its trip to Atlanta. In short, the Cardinals look athletic, locked in and dominant. After blitzing past North Carolina A&T and Colorado State, Louisville held a lead against Oregon from start to finish before reaching another level against No. 2 seed Duke in Indianapolis. Playing in front of a red-clad contingent which made the short trip from the Bluegrass State to Lucas Oil Stadium, Louisville rode a 20-4 run to the win. The average margin of victory in the tourney? 21.8 points per game. With the win some will call it revenge for Louisville coach Rick Pitino, as it was his first meeting with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski since the famed Christian Laettner shot in 1992 the Big East tournament and Midwest regional champs draw upstart Wichita State, a mid-major who scratched and clawed its way to Atlanta. On paper, it should not be a contest. Louisville is the better team, has been all season. Cinderella made it to the ball this time around but glass slippers won't help against Louisville's press. The Shockers are truly going to have to live up to their names for Louisville not to reach the national title game. 2. Duke could not defend Louisville's pick-and-roll, and it proved to be the undoing of Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils. Louisville guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith had their way with Duke's defense, utilizing high pick-and-roll situations to penetrate into the lane and wreak havoc. At one point in the second half, the score was actually tied, 42-42. Then, not only did the vaunted Cardinals' defense stifle prevent the Blue Devils from hitting a single shot from the field for over eight minutes, but Siva and Smith took over. Siva, in particular, has had a quiet tournament to date, but exploded for 16 points (6-of-10 shooting) and four assists. With the game hanging in the balance with 15 minutes remaining, it was Siva, the senior point guard, who scored or assisted on eight-consecutive Cardinal points that blew the game wide open. Smith, who has fulfilled his reputation as one of the most dangerous offensive guards in the country this tournament, continued his scoring streak by running up 23 points, many in thrilling fashion. Russdiculous has totaled 104 points so far this tournament and that's with two possible games remaining on the docket. By getting Duke big men Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly out in space on the perimeter Kelly, though a "stretch four" and versatile, still does not look up to speed following his foot injury earlier in the season the two Cardinals upperclassmen were able to put their superior speed to good use. No answer ever came. No team has shutdown Pitino's athletic backcourt yet in the NCAAs. When Siva and Smith are executing at the level they were against Duke, what's to say Wichita State, Syracuse or Michigan can be the first? 3. Kevin Ware's injury offered a gruesome glimpse into the lowest of moments in sports. First things first: No player or person should ever have to go through what Ware, a sophomore guard for the Cardinals, went through Sunday a gruesome leg injury that TV networks and journalism outlets elected not to re-air or replay for its sheer graphic nature. After the game, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said the leg was severely broken in two places. It will take a year of rehabilitation before Ware, an Atlanta native, can return to game action, according to Pitino. The injury offered a jolting (and sad) dose reality that underscores college basketball in 2013: an enthralling national sporting event which garners hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the NCAA continues to be perpetuated by "amateur" athletes like Ware, who to this day are under-compensated for their considerable talents. Ware deserves nothing but the best of wishes in his recovery. His teammates' emotional reaction to his fall underscored not only the fact that they will be playing for him at the Final Four, in his hometown, but that there is a considerable resilience to this Cardinals team. Pitino's squad lost one of its better players Sunday and turned in a smothering performance against one of the nation's better teams. Don't expect an emotional letdown from Louisville next weekend.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Bird's sudden exit adds to uncertainty surrounding Paul George, Pacers

Nationals Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas talks trash about Bulls on court during Game 6

Jets WR Devin Smith to miss all of 2017 with torn ACL

WATCH: Seahawks use scuba diver to announce 2017 NFL Draft pick

Marshawn Lynch takes out full-page ad in newspaper to thank Seahawks fans

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker