Bob Valvano on Louisville-Kentucky in Sweet Sixteen
ESPN's Bob Valvano joined Jeff Thurn on Monday’s edition of Overtime.
Valvano hosts the Bob Valvano Show on ESPN radio, and is an ESPN college basketball analyst on television.
Valvano talks about the Louisville Cardinals advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, despite losing Chane Behanan, Peyton Siva, and Gorgui Dieng.
"It's been a really nice run. By today's standards, making three Sweet Sixteen's in a row is pretty remarkable. You've seen how hard it is, and nowadays it's hard to get back into tournament for three years. I did an NIT game on ESPN. I did the Clemson game, as we put the show together, you had teams like Maryland, Indiana, Notre Dame, UNLV, who didn't even get NIT bids, let alone NCAA bids. So, it's tough. There's a tough bracket out there, and for Louisville to get into three straight Sweet Sixteen, I know that Rick Pitino is very happy and proud of these kids, but now they have the big blue nation next up, and that is a tough game for anybody, and especially in this part of the country."
Vegas has Louisville as a five-point favorite over Kentucky, and Valvano talks about if that is accurate after the Wildcats upset Wichita State:
"I call it a pick 'em and I really would. I really think this is a toss-up game, and could try to effectively persuade you on either side. Kentucky beat Louisville pretty soundly when they played them the first time, and are better now when they played them. For all the ups and downs, lefts and rights they've had, that's kind of what young teams do, but played a Wichita team that I think is legit. I can't imagine anybody watching that game and saying they were a fraud. That was a good team, and they found a way to beat them. They are doing a lot of things better than what they did early, guys are identifying their roles better and defensively they were really struggling at points in the year and have seemed like they have shored that up a bit. So, you can make the case because they beat them soundly the first time, they won't beat them again. For Louisville, I can say last year, the year they won the championship, they lost to Duke in the Bahamas, in the championship of that tournament, and if you watched that game, as I did of course, I would've said even at the national tournament, they would be a handful. They were going to have their hands full with Duke, Duke handled them pretty easy down there, no reason to to think they would were going to have more trouble when they met them in the tournament. When Louisville got them in the tournament, they lose Kevin Ware, they come back and win that game by 20 points pulling away. Mike Krzyzewski said that's the best team in the country, and they're playing like it. Rick Pitino is 11-0 in a round of sixteen game to get to the Elite Eight, and this is the same scenario as last year. A team that beat them pretty soundly the first time, and Louisville's gotten a lot better, and get a rematch with them in the NCAA tournament and last year turned it around won handily, and maybe they can do the same thing. Kentucky does turn the ball over, as we saw against Wichita State, the Harrison's had a bunch of turnovers between them. Louisville has the best turnover margin in the country and it's hard to believe Kentucky will be eight of 18 behind the three-point line again. They've not shot especially well as a team for much of the year. So, I could easily see where Louisville could be favored in the game. They are in the Pomeroy rankings, on offense and defense in the top ten, Kentucky is top ten in offense, defense in down there in 20 or 30. So, Louisville should be able to score basketball and make a case for them to win the game. I think it's a pick 'em and you can't even make it a home court advantage.."
Louisville and Kentucky play in Indianapolis on Friday at 8:45 CDT.
To hear more of Thurn's interview with Bonner, listen below:
Catch Thurn on Overtime tomorrow, as he will interview Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall.
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