Friday, March 29, 2013
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Oregon vs. Louisville
As impressive as Oregon was in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the 12th-seeded Ducks will need to be even better when they face No. 1 seed Louisville in the Midwest Region semifinal Friday in Indianapolis. Oregon advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007 by defeating No. 5 seed Oklahoma State and No. 4 Saint Louis last weekend in San Jose, but the Ducks committed a total of 36 turnovers in the wins.
While the Ducks were able to overcome their miscues in the first two rounds, Louisville might not be so forgiving. The Cardinals, who routed 16th-seeded North Carolina A&T and No. 8 Colorado State, use a tenacious defense to force an average of 19 turnovers. Louisville is peaking at the right time with 12 straight wins, including a dominant 78-61 victory over Syracuse in the Big East tournament title game March 16.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (31-5): The Cardinals are second in the nation in turnover margin (plus-6.3) and steals (11), and they're facing an Oregon team that led the Pac-12 with 14.2 turnovers per game. Coach Rick Pitino compared Oregon's up-tempo offense to Missouri, which lost 84-61 to the Cardinals on Nov. 23. The Cardinals' backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva ranks among the best in the country, and Smith averaged 25 points and five steals in two games last weekend. Center Gorgui Dieng could play a key role in neutralizing Oregon senior forward Arsalan Kazemi.
ABOUT OREGON (28-8): The Ducks have won five straight, including a win over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament title game. If they can limit their turnovers, the Ducks have the firepower to make things interesting. Kazemi is averaging 16.5 rebounds in the tournament, and Oregon dominated the boards in its first two tournament games. Freshman guard Damyean Dotson averaged 20 points last weekend as the Ducks made 16-of-33 shots from 3-point range. The Ducks feature a balanced offense, with six players averaging at least eight points.
1. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only one No. 12 seed _ Missouri in 2002 _ has advanced to the Elite Eight.
2. Pitino is 44-16 in the NCAA Tournament.
3. The winner advances to the Elite Eight on Sunday against second-seeded Duke or No. 3 Michigan State.
PREDICTION: Louisville 86, Oregon 73