Louisville NCAA Rewind: March 26th
With the 2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament cancelled, Louisville Report will go back in time to recap all of the University of Louisville men's basketball's NCAA Tournament games from each date in March and early April. Special thanks to Sports-Reference.com for boxscores and the Courier-Journal for newspaper archives.
Louisville's March 24th NCAA Tournament Record: 2-0
1983: Louisville defeats Kentucky 80-68 (OT)
Playing against each other for the first time in 24 years in what would ultimately be known as "The Dream Game", the top-seeded Cardinals used a second half comeback and blistering overtime period to dispatch the No. 3 seeded Wildcats to advance to their sixth Final Four in school history.
Kentucky got off to a fast start in the game, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half. Based on how Louisville was shooting that ball, it's not hard to see why the fell behind in the early goings, as they made just 4 of their first 21 shot attempts.
But then the Cardinals found their shooting rhythm, cut the deficit to just 7 at halftime, only to go up by 5 with 7:45 left in the game. Not only; did their shooting get them back in the game, but their full court pressure defense did as well, with the Cards forcing 18 turnovers when everything was said and done.
While the Wildcats made it competitive in the final minutes to force overtime, once the extra period started it was all Louisville. The Cards scored the first 14 points of OT, with UK only mustering six over the entire five minute span.
In the end, Louisville sunk 30 of their last 36 shots, led by a game high 24 points from Lancaster Gordon. Rodney McCray, Milt Wagner & Charles Jones all scored in double figures as well, with the team shooting 59.6% from the field.
2005: Louisville defeats West Virginia 93-85 (OT)
Overcoming a near-insurmountable deficit, the No. 4 seeded Cardinals mounted an unbelievable comeback against their seventh-seeded Mountaineer counterparts to clinch victory from the jaws of defeat and advance to finalize their eighth Final Four appearance in school history.
To say that West Virginia came out firing on all cylinders would be a gross understatement. The Mountaineers shot 10-14 from beyond the arc in the first half, pulling ahead by as much as 20 at one point. Even head coach Rick Pitino thought a comeback was impossible.
"I didn't believe it," he said.
However in the second half, the roles reverses and it was now Louisville who was shooting the lights out. Larry O'Bannon scored all 24 of hit points in the latter half of play, going 6-10 from the field and 10-11 at the free throw line, Taquan Dean even countered the three point shooting barrage of WVU with his own 7-17 performance from long range.
The uptick in shooting forced overtime, and like in the Dream Game, it was all Louisville. By the time the final horn sounded, Louisville had completed one of the most improbable comebacks in NCAA Tournament history.
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