On paper, No. 9 Wichita State has no chance against No. 1 Louisville in the Final Four, but teams don’t win or lose on paper and that’s why we play the game. The Cardinals force an average of nearly 19 turnovers per game, which is a result of their full-court press that is often described as a “swarming defense.” That’s bad news for the Shockers, who commit nearly 13 turnovers per game.
However, Wichita State has a stifling defense of its own and if it can hold Louisville close to the 36 percent its opponents are shooting in this tournament, then the underdog will have a shot. That’s easier said than done as the Cardinals are shooting 52 percent from the field through four tournament games and their offensive rhythm is kept flowing by superstar guard Russ Smith.
The Shockers will also have to knock down open jump shots because they have really relied on the long ball in March, so if they go cold from downtown, it won’t be pretty. The last time they played a No. 1 seed, the Shockers hit 14 of 28 three-point shots to bury Gonzaga and they’ll do the same to the Cardinals if they get hot from deep.
If Louisville keeps Wichita State from getting open looks, it will be a long night for the Shockers. However, if the underdogs keep playing good defense and don’t panic in the midst of the swarm, we could have a No. 9 seed playing in the title game on Monday night.