Louisville is in the Sweet 16 for the 4th straight year and 21st time overall. Here’s what the national and Northern Iowa media are saying:
*The AP story on the Cards’ win (with highlight video)
Early exit or Final Four — Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he wouldn’t be surprised by either this season.
Well, how `bout another Sweet 16 for the Cardinals, a team the coach doesn’t compare with his best but refuses to give up on, either.
“Tonight, we played our best game of the season,” Pitino said.
The fifth-seeded Panthers (31-4) were a popular pick in this one, trying to recreate their 2010 victory over a different blueblood (Kansas) and make another trip to the second weekend.
But Pitino’s harassing defense that morphed from the 2-3 zone to man-to-man and back again made life rough on UNI’s best player, Seth Tuttle, holding him to seven shots and 14 hard-earned points.
*ESPN’s Myron Medcalf’s take on UofL’s victory
Star of the first weekend: Rozier will be a pro soon. And throughout the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, it was clear he possesses next-level skills that most defenders can’t neutralize. He was solid in Louisville’s victory against UC-Irvine (12 points, 5-for-10, five assists, three rebounds, one steal and four turnovers), but he stole the show on Sunday against Northern Iowa.
Northern Iowa’s Wes Washpun and Deon Mitchell are both speedy guards, but they couldn’t stay in front of Rozier. Once he found room, Northern Iowa’s bigs didn’t have a chance. He finished with 25 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two turnovers. The combo guard logged 39 minutes against the Panthers, yet he was still scrapping deep into the second half.
*CBS Sports’ Highlights
*The Seattle Times recaps the Cards’ big ‘W’
Seconds before Montrezl Harrell pointed to the rim, Terry Rozier lofted a pass toward the basket.
The Louisville big man sprang off the KeyArena floor and rose over Northern Iowa forward Nate Buss to flush an alley-oop dunk that pushed the Cardinals’ lead to double digits and snuffed out the Panthers’ late comeback bid.
The highlight play was the defining moment in Louisville’s 66-53 win in the NCAA tournament round-of-32 game that sent the Cardinals back to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight time, which is the longest streak in the storied history of the program.
“They carried the team on their back that had many problems,” coach Rick Pitino said. “Tonight we played our best game of the season. Defensively we did a lot of good things switching from zone to man, back to zone and back to man.
*UNI’s hometown newspaper discusses the end of their historic season
For better or worse, it wasn’t a sudden death to the University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team’s epic season.
There wasn’t a buzzer beater and UNI didn’t let go of a lead. Instead, Louisville had the size, the talent and the plan to stop the Panthers in their tracks in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.
Still hard to stomach for those hoping UNI’s dream extended to the Sweet 16? Oh, yeah. But Louisville earned its 66-53 victory Sunday at KeyArena to be one of four teams still alive in the East Regional.
“Boy, we battled hard to grab ahold of the momentum tonight and we just couldn’t do it,” said UNI head coach Ben Jacobson. “A lot to do — or all to do — with Louisville and the way in which they went about their business and the game tonight.”
After the Cardinals (26-8) put together a 12-3 run to take control in the first half, they never quite let go.