In the final Big East Championship before the conference will transform beyond recognition, two Conference USA transplants will battle in the final.
The Cardinals secured their place in their third championship game in four years with a 64-50 victory over the 23rd ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The win brings them to Saturday’s final against the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cards lost to the Bearcats early this year by four points.
Louisville continued to show its reinvigorated spirit with a passionate performance Friday night. The Cards continued to wow the fans with another huge in the first half, springing a 21-2 stretch in the latter part of the first half.
Gorgui Dieng was literally perfect, shooting eight for eight from the field. Dieng was dominant, executing every post move with NBA-caliber excellence. Although he was muscled on the boards by Irish center Jack Cooley, Dieng played the best offensive game of his career.
Dieng has matured before our eyes. His performance Friday night is what Louisville fans have been waiting for: Dieng proving himself as a top-tier center.
The Cards’ Big East Tourney performance has been simply magical, and it has all started with Junior Peyton Siva. The point guard nearly recorded a triple-double with his 13 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds. Siva is finally playing with the skill and precision that Card Nation has been hearing about ever since he committed to Louisville.
Even former President Bill Clinton believes Peyton Siva is “amazing.”
Louisville will face the Bearcats in a battle between two extremely hot teams. Cinci held off 2nd ranked Syracuse, winning 71-68. Beating the Bearcats will take another exemplary performance from the Cards. However, a victory could give Louisville a chance at playing their first games on their home floor or in nearby Nashville.
The good news is that the Cards will be sporting the InfraRed Adidas unis that have overseen UofL’s revival.
Win or loss Saturday night, the Cards are a completely different team from the one who lost four of their last six games. It’s always a hope that you’re team steps up its play in March, and hopefully this new reinvigorated squad is the one that continues taking the court.