Rapid Reaction: Louisville 84, Marquette 71
March, 8, 2012
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Overview: Louisville has crashed the party and joined the Big East Final Four.
The No. 7-seeded Cardinals upset No. 2 seed Marquette on Thursday night, advancing to the Big East tournament semifinals.
The Golden Eagles (25-7), who finished 14-4 in the Big East during the regular season -- their most-ever wins in the conference -- leave New York without a single victory. It's the first time since 2006 -- its inaugural season in the Big East -- that Marquette did not win a game in the tournament.
Turning point: Louisville looked like an entirely different team in the early going than the one that defeated Seton Hall Wednesday night. After scoring 23 in the first 20 minutes against the Pirates, the Cardinals erupted for 50 tonight, leading 50-40 at the break.
Marquette had cut it to 54-50 with 13:29 remaining in the game, when a key sequence occurred. First, Jae Crowder -- the Big East Player of the Year -- picked up his fourth foul with 12:39 left, and exited the game. Soon after, a Peyton Siva offensive rebound led to a Kyle Kuric 3-point attempt, which he buried to make it 57-50. The momentum seemed to have swung back Louisville's way again at that point, and Marquette never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Key player: For the second night in a row, Siva seemed to be everywhere, and in the middle of everything. The 6-foot junior point guard finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals -- a tremendous performance.
Kuric had a team-high 20 points for Louisville. Darius Johnson-Odom had 23 points to lead Marquette.
Key stat: Twenty-six -- that's how many turnovers Marquette committed tonight. Louisville's pressure defense is tough, but the Golden Eagles have some pretty good ball-handlers. Hard to win a game against anybody with that many TO's.
Miscellaneous: Hope you enjoyed those neon orange Louisville uniforms, because you'll be seeing them again on Friday, since the Cardinals are guaranteed to be the lower seed.
What's next: Louisville will play the winner of No. 3 seed Notre Dame versus No. 6 seed South Floria, Friday at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET.
Marquette heads back to Wisconsin to regroup -- the Golden Eagles should still receive a pretty high seed in the Big Dance.