Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. Northwestern Wildcats

The Cardinals and Wildcats are squaring off with a berth to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.
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(Photo of Dana Evans: Rachel Pincus via the Atlantic Coast Conference)

No. 2 Louisville Cardinals (24-3, 14-2 ACC) vs No. 7 Northwestern Wildcats (16-8, 11-7 Big Ten)

- Tipoff: Wednesday, March 24th at 5:00 p.m. EST
- Location: Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex.
- How To Watch: ESPN2
- How To Listen: WKRD 790-AM
- All-Time Series: Louisville leads 2-0
- Last Meeting: Louisville won 62-48 on Dec. 3, 1994 (Welsh-Ryan Arena - Evanston, Ill.)

Projected Starting Lineups

Louisville

  • G Dana Evans (5-6, Sr.)
  • G Hailey Van Lith (5-7, Fr.)
  • G Mykasa Robinson (5-7, Jr.)
  • G Kianna Smith (6-0, R-Jr.)
  • F Olivia Cochran (6-3, Fr.)

Northwestern

  • G Lindsey Pulliam (5-10, Sr.)
  • G Veronica Burton (5-9, Jr.)
  • G Jordan Hamilton (5-8, Sr.)
  • G/F Sydney Wood (5-11, Jr.)
  • F Paige Mott (6-1, Fr.)

Comparison

LouisvilleNorthwestern

Points Per Game

78.5

68.0

Opp. Points Per Game

61.8

61.1

Scoring Margin

+17.4

+6.9

FG Percentage

46.8%

40.4%

Opp. FG Percentage

37.6%

41.5%

3PT Percentage

35.1%

26.3%

Opp. 3PT Percentage

27.4%

31.2%

FT Percentage

79.4%

66.2%

Rebounds Per Game

39.4

34.5

Rebound Margin

+3.9

-3.2

Assists Per Game

15.3

16.0

Turnovers Per Game

12.1

11.4

Turnover Margin

+3.8

+9.5

Assist/Turnover Ratio

1.3

1.4

Steals Per Game

7.7

11.5

Blocks Per Game

5.0

4.0

Game Notes

Louisville

  • At 24-3 and No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the USA Today poll, Louisville is a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The Cardinals were a No. 1 seed in 2018 (Final Four) and 2019 (Elite Eight). Louisville has never faced a 15-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Louisville is making its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th in 13 tournaments under head coach Jeff Walz. The Cardinals are marking their 10th straight NCAA Tournament. Louisville is 34-22 all-time. They were 4-11 in their first 11 appearances and are 30-11 in their 11 appearances with Walz. They have moved on to the Sweet 16 nine times, the Elite Eight five times, Final Four three times (2009, 2013, 2018) and twice advanced to the title game. With three Final Fours in the last 11 years, UofL ranks fourth in the country behind UConn (11), Stanford (6) and Notre Dame (6).
  • UofL enters postseason play with two players that have tournament experience in a Cardinals uniform. Dana Evans came off the bench as a freshman for the 2018 team that reached the final four, averaging 6.2 points and 2.4 assists in 19.0 minutes. As a sophomore in 2019, she helped the Cards reach the Elite Eight, averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. In 2019, Mykasa Robinson played in four games, including one start, averaging 8.5 minutes. Kianna Smith played in the 2018 and 2019 NCAA Tournaments while at Cal, averaging 15.3 points and 4.3 assists, while shooting 6-14 from deep. As a freshman, she had 20 points and eight assists in the first round loss to Virginia. Ahlana Smith played two games in the 2019 tournament at UCLA, averaging 6.5 minutes.
  • Senior Dana Evans continues to rack up accolades as she has been named one of four finalists for the Naismith Women's Trophy, and an Associated Press, espnW and Sports Illustrated First Team All-American.
  • Evans was named ACC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Evans joins Asia Durr as the only players in program history to earn conference player of the year multiple times. She is the ninth player in ACC history to win the award in back-to-back years. Last season, she became the first player in league history to go from winning ACC Sixth Player of the Year to winning ACC Player of the Year the following season. It marks the fourth straight year that the conference’s top honor has come from the Cardinals program, as Louisville joins Duke as the only two programs with the ACC Player of the Year in four consecutive years. On Wednesday, Evans was named Kay Yow Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She joins Durr as the only Cardinals to win this prestigious award.
  • In addition to Evans being named the ACC Player of the Year, Mykasa Robinson was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team and Olivia Cochran and Hailey Van Lith were named to the All-ACC Freshman Team. Robinson is the first named to All-Defensive team since Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones did so last season, while Cochran and Van Lith are first on All-Freshman team since Evans did so in 2017-18. Liz Dixon, Evans, Robinson, Kianna Smith and Van Lith were named to the All-ACC Academic team. Evans, Kianna Smith and Van Lith were all named to the ACC All-Tournament team.
  • Following Monday’s win vs. Marist, Louisville is 1-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in Texas. In their first ever NCAA Tournament game on March 17, 1983, 7-seed Louisville fell 84-55 to 2-seed Texas in Austin, Texas.
  • After trailing 21-12 with 8:16 to go in the second, Louisville outscored Marist 62-22 the rest of the way. They used runs of 17-3 and 22-1 to pull away. The UofL defense limited the Red Foxes to just seven field goals combined in the second, third and fourth quarters, including one (1-12) in the third quarter.
  • Louisville is 9-2 all-time in the second round under Walz. They are 9-6 all-time in the second round and were 0-4 before Walz’s arrival.
  • Louisville is now 12-0 all-time in first round games under Coach Walz. They have been the higher seed in all 12 games. UofL’s scoring margin in first round games under Walz is +26.1. The Cardinals are 16-7 all-time in the first round and were 4-7 prior to Walz’s arrival.
  • Freshman guard Hailey Van Lith leads the Cards with 13.5 points per game in postseason play. She is shooting 11-22 from deep in the postseason, while averaging 5.0 rebounds. She has 13 assists to just four turnovers.
  • Norika Konno had six steals against Marist, marking a career high and the most by a Cardinal this season. It is also tied with Allison Bass (1998 vs. Utah) for the fifth most by a UofL Player in an NCAA Tournament game.
  • Louisville shot 30 3-point field goals against Marist, which tied the most attempts ever by the Cardinals in an NCAA Tournament game. They also shot 30 (12-30) in a 73-47 win over LSU in the 2014 Sweet 16. Their 10 makes are tied for third all-time.
  • The Cardinals’ eight blocks vs. Marist are the second most ever in an NCAA Tournament game, trailing the nine they had against Miami on March 23, 2008.

Northwestern

  • The Wildcats earned their first NCAA Tournament win since 1993 with a 62-51 victory over No. 10 seed UCF on Monday. Northwestern shot 51% from the field against the No. 1 scoring defense in the country.
  • Against the best scoring defense in the country, Northwestern scored the fourth-most points the Knights have allowed all season, and became the only team to shoot over 50% from the field against UCF (51.2%). The Wildcats scored 21 points off of turnovers, 28 points in the paint, and 15 points from the charity stripe on 21 attempts.
  • Senior guard Lindsey Pulliam turned in one of the best performances of her career, scoring 25 points on 9-16 shooting with a 6-6 clip from the FT line. She added three rebounds and three assists.
  • Her fourth point of the game gave her 2,000 for her career. She is the third Wildcat in program history to score 2,000 and the 34th Big Ten player. She ranks fifth on the active NCAA career points leaderboard.
  • Junior Courtney Shaw was a game high +21 against the Knights in 19 minutes with 12 points off the bench. Lauryn Satterwhite added a key six points off the bench and closed down the stretch after Burton fouled out.
  • Head Coach Joe McKeown improved to 15-4 in his career in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. McKeown made four Sweet 16s at George Washington (‘95, ‘97, ‘07, ‘08) including twice as a seed underdog (‘07, ‘08).
  • Veronica Burton was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Burton becomes the fifth player in conference history to have won the honor twice, along with fellow Wildcat Ashley Deary in 2016 and 2017. She was additionally named one of four finalists for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.
  • Veronica Burton turned in the latest masterpiece of her junior season with 25 points on 7-14 shooting against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament along with a game-high 13 rebounds and six assists. Only two other players in Div. I have matched those outputs this season and Burton added three steals as well.
  • Sydney Wood was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team by the coaches and was an honorable mention AllBig Ten selection by the media. She ranks second in the conference in steals per game and is averaging a career-best 11.1 points per game on 51.2% shooting from the field, the fourth best mark in the conference.
  • Joe McKeown’s patented Blizzard defense has wreaked havoc on opposing backcourts this season. The ‘Cats rank 12th in the country in turnovers forced per game (20.9) and are using their defensive activity to jumpstart their offense, where they are averaging 22.4 points off of turnovers.

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