Four reasons why Louisville basketball will advance to the Sweet 16

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 21: Chris Mack the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team against the Robert Morris Colonials at KFC YUM! Center on December 21, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 21: Chris Mack the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team against the Robert Morris Colonials at KFC YUM! Center on December 21, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Louisville basketball now knows their draw for the 2019 NCAA Tournament and we’ve got four reasons why we believe the Cards are Sweet 16 bound.

Louisville basketball entered the season humbled with tempered expectations, but a hope for the future. For many fans, the mindset was, “Just get to the tournament”. While that should never be the goal for an elite program like Louisville, we all know that the circumstances have been different.

Now, here we are, after a season of many surprises, ups and downs – we’re in the tournament once again. Your Louisville Cardinals are a 7 seed, and that’s something to be happy about considering the slim chances the Cardinals were given in the off season.

Now the question is, how far can we go? Anything can happen in March Madness right?

Here’s 4 reasons why I think the Cardinals get to the second weekend:

Louisville is more battle tested than any other team in the country

Just looking at the one and two seeds is pretty astonishing.

1 seeds: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Gonzaga

2 seeds: Tennessee, Michigan State, Michigan, Kentucky

Louisville has played almost every single one of those teams, and competitively. Not to mention, Louisville just went through an absolutely brutal February, playing against either a bubble team or ranked team almost every single game.

Being in the ACC, there’s not a tougher conference to play in. For months, Louisville has battled against the best coaches and the most talented teams in the country, and did well.

Splitting the regular season series with UNC was impressive. Especially in the fashion that Louisville won, beating the Tar Heels by 20+ points in their own house.

We all know what happened in that Duke heart-breaker, nonetheless, Louisville came ready to play and pretty much dominated the best team in the country that night for 3/4 of the game.

These guys have shown that they can hang with anybody in the country, and on the right night, can beat just about anybody in the country – and that’s what March is all about, right?

Chris Mack is great in March, especially when he’s the underdog

Mack’s 2016-17 Xavier squad had a similar season to this Louisville squad, they were 21-13 going into the tournament, after struggling in February – sound familiar?

That team went on to shock a lot of people in the tournament. Knocking off Maryland, Florida State, and Arizona to advance all the way to the Elite 8.

In 2015, Mack’s Xavier Musketeers were 21-13 and a 6 seed going into the tournament, and they made it to the Sweet 16.

Lastly, in 2012, Xavier was 21-12 and a 10 seed going into the NCAA Tournament, and they were a couple baskets away from making it to the Elite 8.

Mack has shown that he can win in March as the underdog, and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t do it here too.

Michigan State is beatable

Should Louisville beat Minnesota on Thursday night, we’ll more than likely be looking at a Louisville-Michigan State rematch for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

Louisville won that match-up in November, and it was a huge win. It marked the first marquee win for Coach Mack at Louisville and is still one of Louisville’s biggest wins of the season, I’m sure Michigan State will come looking for revenge.

Make no mistake, this Michigan State team is really good, but they have some question marks. This team lost to a bad Illinois team and lost to a mediocre Indiana team not once, but twice.

Michigan State also lost backup guard Kyle Ahrens to a leg injury in the Big Ten title game, dealing a blow to their depth.

This would be a tough one to win, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

This team is hungry

Consider everything these guys have been through the last couple years. Going through multiple coaching changes, getting snubbed from the tournament last season, and for the grad transfers, this was their goal when they came to UofL – to have a chance to shine in the NCAA Tournament.

Think about guys like VJ King who went through the post season ban, and had to deal with both scandals. Now he finally has the chance to go off in the tournament.

These guys have everything to play for and not much to lose. Not many people thought we would be here.

VJ King, Darius Perry, and Dwayne Sutton all seem to be coming into form at the right the time, which is huge for this team. You can fully expect Jordan Nwora to go off in his first chance to ball in the NCAA Tournament as well.

Next. 2019 NCAA Tournament: 5 best potential match-ups in the East Region. dark

Also, Ryan McMahon is destined to have a One Shining Moment.

So I say why not?