Commentary

Rick Pitino going back to Final Four

Updated: March 24, 2012, 10:27 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Rick Pitino spun his magic once again. He should be in the Hall of Fame, and hopefully that will happen next week.

His Louisville Cardinals came back from a 58-47 deficit, ending the game on a 25-10 run to advance to New Orleans.

Do you think some people in Lexington, Ky., and Big Blue Nation are a little nervous about the Cardinals winning? First the Wildcats have to worry about Baylor. Some fans may remember when Kentucky looked like a national championship team until John Williams and LSU scored a shocker years ago. That ended a potential game against the Cardinals.

Louisville won despite Florida hitting 8 of 11 trifectas in the first half and leading by eight at intermission. The Gators did not hit a 3-pointer in the second half, missing all nine tries.

Russ Smith came through with 19 big points. The Cardinals also got solid play from diaper dandy Chane Behanan, going inside to him often in the second half. Behanan has really matured; he had 17 points and seven rebounds against Florida. Bradley Beal was the leader for Florida with 14 points and seven boards, but it was not enough as the Louisville defense contained him in the second half.

One other aspect that stood out was foul trouble. The Cardinals prevailed despite Peyton Siva fouling out with just under four minutes left. Behanan and Kyle Kuric were also saddled with four fouls for much of the second half.

Louisville is peaking at the right time, going to the Final Four on an eight-game win streak. Some will remember the run that Connecticut had last season, winning 11 in a row to capture the Big East title and then the national championship. Is this déjà vu, baby?

Pitino is going to the Final Four for the sixth time in his illustrious career. He certainly earned it against his pupil, Billy Donovan.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.