The 14th ranked Louisville Cardinals were the last of 16 BIG EAST teams to tip off their 2011 postseason play. It appears as though they were ready.
Led by Mike Marra’s 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting (6-of-10 from three-land), three assists, two boards and two blocked shots the Cards destroyed Marquette 81-56 in the night cap of Day 3 of the BIG EAST Championship.
Rick Pitino called Marra the “best high school shooter he’s ever seen,” and while the kid has good form, his high school talents haven’t exactly been replicated at the Division I level. Yet.
Despite knocking down a career high six three-balls, Mike also tossed up an airball and a brick so mortifying it was a bank shot from the wing that never hit the rim…. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?
Regardless, the Cardinals cruised against a likely worn down Marquette team playing their third game in three nights. Louisville held Marquette to 29.8% shooting from the field, and just 20% (3-of-15) from downtown. Another point of emphasis that the Cardinals have really improved upon the last quarter of the season is rebounding. Marquette grabbed 36 boards to Louisville’s 43.
The Cardinals will now play 2nd-seeded Notre Dame, who also won big (89-51) over Cincinnati last night. Louisville made a serious effort at ending the Irish’s home winning streak the last time these two faced off, before fading in overtime, giving up the first 14 points and falling 89-79.
In the last nine meetings between Louisvile and the Irish, five of them have needed at least one extra period. This will be Louisville’s third appearance in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals, they won it all in 2009. Notre Dame is trying to reach the final game for the first time in the fifteen years since it joined the BIG EAST conference. Friday night in the Garden should be fun!