Reaction from Louisville’s Sweet 16 Win from a National & NC State Perspective

Posted on Mar 28 2015 - 12:54am by Ethan Moore

Photo – Maddie Meier/Getty Images

Here’s a sampling of some national and NC State specific stories on Louisville’s win over the Wolfpack.

*Video: ESPN’s Andy Katz spoke to Coach P after the game.

*The AP recap on the Cards’ win.

Before the game, Pitino promised a surprise and Gill delivered in spades. Gill, who averaged 9.5 minutes and 2.4 points during the season, hit a runner and a 3 from the right corner in a span of a minute as Louisville regained the lead late in a seesaw game. He followed with a baseline drive for a 62-57 lead with 3:33 left.

Lacey missed and Rozier stormed back on a fast break, his off-balance shot caroming in off the back of the iron as Turner committed a foul. Rozier calmly made the free throw to complete a three-point play for a 65-57 lead with 3:05 left.

Harrell’s driving layup with 1:41 to go boosted the lead to 67-57 and that effectively put an end to the Wolfpack’s postseason run.

The teams met during the regular Atlantic Coast Conference season, with the Wolfpack winning 74-65 on the road on Valentine’s Day behind Barber’s 21 points.

The Cardinals are not the same team. Standout guard Chris Jones, an offensive catalyst and master of the steal, was dismissed from the team for off-the-court problems. Snider stepped in and has gained confidence, scoring 26 points and snaring nine rebounds in Louisville’s first two tournament wins.

*Pitino is the best coach in the Elite Eight.

The Cardinals have made the Final Four in two of the past three seasons and will have a chance to make it three-for-four this weekend. Louisville lost to Kentucky in the 2012 semis and then won it all one year later. And while Louisville gets plenty of fine recruits, Pitino is doing this with teams that have far less firepower than Krzyzewski’s McDonald’s All-American team and Calipari’s steady rotation of one-and-dones. Coaching is recruiting and Coach K and Calipari do better on that end, but once the rosters are set, Pitino is as good as they come.

*ESPN’s Dana O’Neil offers up her take on UofL’s win.

Louisville knew it wasn’t going to win this game from the arc. The Cardinals simply don’t have the shooters that the Wolfpack have, but they wisely made sure that wasn’t an issue. Louisville played a smart half-court game, slowing down the tempo to eliminate NC State’s chances at transition shots (and to slow down Cat Barber) and concentrating on getting inside either to Montrezl Harrell or with dribble penetration. The Cards finished with 40 points in the paint to NC State’s 22. That’s against a team that ate up Villanova with 34 paint points a game ago.

*CBS Sports chimes in.

And given all of the adversity the Cardinals have fought through this season, that’s quite an accomplishment. Think about it this way. The Cardinals lost their third-best player in Chris Jones to a dismissal following a myriad of problems late in the season. Their offense is currently sitting at 75th nationally according to KenPom. How Rick Pitino has this team sitting in the Elite Eight with a very real chance for a Final Four berth is incredible. Then again, I guess we shouldn’t doubt him, given that this will remarkably be his 11th Elite Eight in his past 20 seasons as a college coach.

The star tonight was Montrezl Harrell, who scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Terry Rozier also provided his typical support by scoring 17 and grabbing just a completely absurd 14 rebounds considering he’s only 6-foot-1. Quentin Snider was also extremely steady, as the freshman point guard who replaced Jones late in the year had 14 with three assists and only one turnover.

*Joe Giglio – one of our guests on the radio show Wednesday – discusses the end of NCSU’s season.

This successful NCAA trip was just as unexpected as the one in Gottfried’s first season in 2012. As Gottfried pointed, his team had to replace T.J. Warren, last year’s ACC player of the year, and was picked to finish 10th in the ACC.

The Wolfpack looked like it was on its way to its first Sweet 16 win since 1986 when junior guard Trevor Lacey (18 points) hit a 3-pointer with 7:12 left to put the Wolfpack up 54-53.

Then Gill, a little-used reserve guard from Raleigh, came off the bench and saved the Cardinals.

Gill, who was on the floor because senior wing Wayne Blackshear had four fouls, made a driving basket, then buried a 3-pointer over N.C. State’s zone. His driving hoop with 3:33 left staked Louisville to a lead, 62-57, which it didn’t give up.

Gill had only played two minutes in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament for Louisville. Those were his first points of the postseason.

“We didn’t expect Gill to come out and go on a 7-0 spurt like that but credit Rick Pitino and their guys for giving him confidence and letting him play,” Lacey said.

*Gill – a Raleigh, NC native – came back to bite the Wolfpack.

Fitting, given the circumstances. In an ACC game played on an ACC court, N.C. State was ushered out of the NCAA tournament by two players from the state of North Carolina.

Tarboro’s Montrezl Harrell was Louisville’s best player, dominating N.C. State inside, and Raleigh’s Anton Gill scored all seven of his points in the final seven minutes, essentially to put the game away, add ing up to a cruel twist of fate for the Wolfpack.

The ACC is moving on, but N.C. State is not after a 75-65 loss to Louisville.

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