There are 32 games on Thursday and Friday, one of the most exciting 48-hour segments on the sports calendar.
We won’t be able to get individual previews up for every game, but we’ll cherry pick some of the more compelling matchups during the tournament’s “second” round.
In this post, we preview the 4-13 matchup in the West Region between Rick Pitino’s up-and-down-but-now-up-again Louisville Cardinals and former Tournament Cinderella Davidson.
Louisville-Davidson Game Info
- Seeds & Region: #4 Louisville v #13 Davidson in West Region
- Louisville-Davidson Date: Thursday, March 15th
- Louisville-Davidson Tip Time: 1:40 ET
- Louisville-Davidson Location: Portland
- Louisville-Davidson TV: TBS
- Louisville-Davidson Announcers: Brian Anderson and Dan Bonner
- Louisville-Davidson Point Spread: Louisville -7
- Tickets: Louisville-Davidson Tickets
- Tickets: All Portland Sessions
- Tickets: West Regional Tickets in Phoenix
Louisville-Davidson Analysis and Prediction
I think there are a couple possible upsets in the 4-13 games, and this is one of them.
Louisville thrives on turnovers, but the Wildcats have a strong backcourt and one of the lowest turnover rates in the country. Davidson is also strong on the offensive glass, and the Cardinals have struggled to clean the defensive glass at times this season. The Wildcats also hope big man Jake Cohen can pull Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng away from the basket due to his ability to hit three-pointers. That should open up more room for De’Mon Brooks to operate in the lane.
On the other end of the floor, Louisville has some putrid shooting percentages, particularly from three-point range. Their greatest strength is a high offensive rebounding percentage, but Davidson ranks inside of the Top 20 in defensive rebounding percentage, which should help to negate that part of the Cardinals’ game.
Predicted Winner: Davidson
Louisville Cardinals Team Capsule
- Conference: Big East
- Record: 26-9 (10-8 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 6-4
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 10-7
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Lamar, Long Beach State, Marquette, Memphis, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Kentucky
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Marquette, Syracuse (2)
- Player to Watch: Peyton Siva (5’11” G, Jr.) – 9.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.8 spg
Louisville Cardinals Bottoms Line:
The Cardinals battled injuries and shooting woes for most of the season but pulled it together for an impressive four-game run in the Big East Tournament. They rank in the Top 5 in defensive efficiency, thanks largely to a strong effective field goal percentage defense and their ability to force turnovers.
The offense numbers for the season are pretty ugly for the most part, with the exception of their high offensive rebounding percentage. For the year, the Cardinals shot just 31.1 percent from beyond the arc to go with a high turnover rate.
Six players score at least 9.0 points per game, led by Kyle Kuric with 13.1. Guard Russ Smith can get hot and score in bunches, but he is the definition of a volume shooter. Peyton Siva struggled for much of the season but played some of his best basketball in the Big East Tournament, while Chris Smith is the team’s best long-range shooter. Inside, Gorgui Dieng has really improved as a sophomore and shoots 54.9 percent from the field and grabs over nine rebounds per game. He’s joined up front by freshman Chane Behanan, who also boasts solid rebounding percentages on both ends.
Davidson Wildcats Team Capsule
- Conference: Southern
- Record: 25-7 (16-2 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 8-2
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 1-3
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Kansas
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Vanderbilt, Wichita State
- Player to Watch: De’Mon Brooks (6’7″ F, So.) – 16.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 53.7 FG%
Davidson Wildcats Bottoms Line:
The Wildcats won the regular season title in the SoCon, but they needed two overtimes to win the automatic bid against Western Carolina. They excel on the offensive end of the floor and rank in the Top 40 in overall efficiency, including an extremely low 17.2 turnover rate. Davidson makes 51.5 percent of its two-pointers, boasts a solid offensive rebounding percentage, and ranks eighth nationally in free throw shooting.
De’Mon Brooks is one of many Wildcats with an impressive offensive rating and excels on both the offensive and defensive glass while drawing a lot of fouls. Davidson has four other players who score in double figures, including Jake Cohen (14.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg). He gives the team a solid presence on the glass and in the lane, but he can also step out and knock down long-range shots. Nik Cochran (11.0 ppg, 3.7 apg) leads the team in assists and has a strong free throw rate, while J.P. Kuhlman (11.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg) gives the team another veteran guard.
Outside of a strong defensive rebounding percentage, the numbers aren’t great for Davidson’s defense. They rank outside of the Top 300 in turnover rate and aren’t much better in opponents’ free throw rate, so if the Wildcats hope to spring a first round upset, they will need to rely on outscoring their opponent.
Related: Jump to our West Region Bracket Breakdown.
See our other individual game previews and predictions:
- South Region: #4 Indiana v #13 New Mexico State
- South Region: #5 Wichita State v #12 VCU
- South Region: #6 UNLV v #11 Colorado
- South Region: #7 Notre Dame v #10 Xavier
- South Region: #8 Iowa State v #9 Connecticut
- West Region: #4 Louisville v #13 Davidson
- West Region: #5 New Mexico v #12 Long Beach State
- West Region: #6 Murray State v #11 Colorado State
- West Region: #7 Florida v #10 Virginia
- West Region: #8 Memphis v #9 Saint Louis
- East Region: #4 Wisconsin v #13 Montana
- East Region: #5 Vanderbilt v #12 Harvard
- East Region: #6 Cincinnati v #11 Texas
- East Region: #7 Gonzaga v #10 West Virginia
- East Region: #8 Kansas State v #9 Southern Miss
- Midwest Region: #3 Georgetown v #14 Belmont
- Midwest Region: #4 Michigan v #13 Ohio
- Midwest Region: #5 Temple v #12 Cal/USF
- Midwest Region: #6 San Diego State v #11 NC State
- Midwest Region: #7 St. Mary’s v #10 Purdue
- Midwest Region: #8 Creighton v #9 Alabama