Conference: Big East
Colorado State Rams
Conference: Mountain West
Date: Saturday, March 23
Time: 5:15 pm Eastern
Location: Lexington, KY
Colorado State handled Missouri and now takes on the #1 overall seed.
Louisville Colorado St.
SportsRatings Power Ratings
Strength: #3 Strength: #20
Neutral court: #2 Neutral court: #19
Median: #2 Median: #27
Other Power Ratings
Sagarin(predictor):#1 Sagarin: #34
Pomeroy: #1 Pomeroy: #23
Offense: #12 Offense: #7
Defense: #1 Defense: #97
LRMC: #4 LRMC: #21
Partial Season Refactorings
2nd half/season: #1 2nd half/season: #19
Last 6 games: #1 Last 6 games: #33
Injury correction: #4 Injury correction: #22
Consistency: #88 Consistency: #241
Best Play: #3 Best Play: #24
Deep Run Rank: #1 (of 68) Deep Run Rank: #26 (of 68)
As a 1-seed Louisville has a number of "1"s from the power ratings. They are Jeff Sagarin's #1 in his Predictor ratings, and they just became #1 in Pomeroy, where they have the #1 defense . They are the best team in our Strength ratings over the last 6 games and over the last 1/2 of the season. And due to their Strength ranking of #3 and their above-average consistency, they are judged the most likely team to have a deep tournament run (technically, this means their Strength rating minus their Strength's standard deviation is best among all teams). Colorado State has a offense good enough to seriously push Louisville's defense.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (12): =Missouri+23, @Memphis+9, =Western Kentucky+23, Pittsburgh+3, Marquette+19, @Syracuse+5, Cincinnati+16, Notre Dame+16, =Villanova+19, =Notre Dame+12, =Syracuse+17, North Carolina A&T+31
- Losses to tournament teams (5): =Duke-5, Syracuse-2, @Villanova-9, @Georgetown-2, @Notre Dame-OT
- Other losses (0): none
- Wins vs. teams better than Colorado State: 4
- Losses to teams worse than Colorado State: 2
Key Info: That's the kind of chart a coach loves to see: consistent and rising near the end, with a solid winning streak and one of the team's best games to close it off. Forget the three losses in a row at mid-season; since then, Louisville's been on a tear. Forget the early erratic performance, too.
Rick Pitino teams are famous for their pressing defense. This year Louisville's defense is exceptional and they rank #1 in efficiency in Pomeroy's tempo-free stats. They're #2 in the nation in steals and turnover percentage. Their offense isn't as celebrated but it's solid, ranking in the top 25, with Russ Smith at 18 points the team leader. Guard Peyton Siva, center Gorgui Dieng, and forward Chane Behanan all add 10 points, while Dieng culls 9.9 rebounds per game.
Louisville's 31-point win over North Carolina A&T exactly matched their average performance, so they're rolling right along. Smith had 23 points in the win.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (5): Montana+7, Nevada Las Vegas+5, Boise St.+20, San Diego St.+6, =Missouri+12
- Losses to tournament teams (7): @Colorado-9, @San Diego St.-OT, @New Mexico-5, @Nevada Las Vegas-2, New Mexico-9, @Boise St.-13, @Nevada Las Vegas-10
- Other losses (1): @Illinois Chicago-9
- Wins vs. teams better than Louisville: 0
- Losses vs. teams worse than Louisville: 8
Key Info: The Rams have played some exceptional games, for example destroying Virginia Tech 88-52 and beating Air Force 79-40. But near the end of the year, when they went 4-4, there were duds even when winning. Other than a 22-point win over Wyoming, Colorado State played below par down the stretch. The Missouri win was convincing and may have reversed that trend.
Center Colton Iverson is the center of attention on Colorado State's top 10 offense, scoring 14.7 points and averaging 9.8 rebounds. Three others score in double figures and Pierce Hornung adds 9.2 rebounds, and the Rams are arguably the best rebounding team in the country.
Danny Green led the Rams with 26 against Missouri, with Iverson collecting 13 rebounds.
Game Analysis: Colorado State played one of their best games against Missouri—it was roughly equal to Louisville's normal performance. So the Cards will have to push themselves to beat the Rams if Colorado State continues to play well. The Rams' normal performance isn't good enough to even stay close, however, and Louisville's offense is far better than Colorado State's defense.
The Rams' offense, however, will be a challenge for Louisville's top-ranked defense. These are two of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, but Colorado State gives up the fewest offensive rebounds in the nation, too. And while Louisville thrives on turnovers (#2 in the nation) the Rams hold onto the ball very well. Colorado State has the potential to negate a lot of what Louisville does best, but they'll still need to play their best game to stay above water.
Louisville by 10 1/2
Power rating: spread
Louisville by 12.4
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
Colorado St.: 17%
Bottom line: Louisville has to play better than average to win, while Colorado State has to play their best to keep it close. Based on both teams' first games, it could be a close one. But Louisville is playing in-state, and if it ends up tight they should pull it out.
Final prediction: Louisville 72, Colorado St. 63
More previews: click here for the full 2013 NCAA tournament schedule.