Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Saturday, April 6, 2013
Louisville's victory by the numbers

By ESPN Stats & Information

Louisville has made things difficult for its opponents all season. In Saturday's national semifinal, the Cardinals overcame a team that made things extremely difficult for them.

The Cardinals advanced to the national championship game for the first time since 1986 by rallying to beat a Cinderella team, Wichita State.

Let's run through the statistical highlights.

The history
Louisville entered the day with the worst record in national semifinals of any team that had played in at least six (2-7).

It advanced to the national championship game, in which it is 2-0 all-time, with victories in 1980 and 1986.

The Cardinals will try to become the eighth program to win at least three national titles and the third No. 1 overall seed to win the national title (joining 2007 Florida and 2012 Kentucky).

Rick Pitino becomes the fourth coach to take multiple teams to the national championship game, joining Larry Brown, Frank McGuire and Roy Williams (John Calipari’s championship appearance with Memphis was vacated by the NCAA).

Pitino will try to become the first coach to win a national title for a second school, having previously won at Kentucky in 1996.

Key to the game: Louisville’s bench
Louisville’s bench nearly outscored its starters, netting 34 of the team’s 72 points.

The Cardinals reserves were a combined 12-for-16 from the field, far better than a starting unit that was 10-for-33.

Luke Hancock was 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. His 20 points is a career high in a regulation game (he scored 22 points in a five-overtime game against Notre Dame on Feb. 9).


Hancock is the second player in the last 40 seasons to have a 20-point, turnover-free game off the bench in a Final Four game, joining Ron Mercer, who did so for Pitino and Kentucky in 1996.

Hancock was also a key factor in Lousville’s 37-21 run over the game's final 13 minutes, a stretch detailed in the chart at right.

Wichita State went 26:21 without turning the ball over, but once the turnovers returned, they became contagious, with the Shockers committing seven in the final 6:45.

Louisville outscored Wichita State by 20 points with Hancock on the court and was outscored by 16 points with him off it.

The Cardinals were more efficient with Hancock on the court, averaging 1.34 points per possession in the 31 minutes he played and 0.38 points per possession in the nine minutes he didn't.

Russ-diculous run continues
Russ Smith missed his first four free throws of the game, but made a few key ones late and finished with a team-high 21 points.

Smith became the first player to score 20 points in the first five games of an NCAA tournament and make the championship game since both Shane Battier and Jay Williams did so for Duke in 2001.