Illinois 72, Louisville 57
Darrell Griffith was not walking through that door.
Pervis Ellison was not walking though that door.
Reece Gaines was not not walking through that door.
And we're not really sure if any one of them could have helped Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals on this night. Deron Williams took out Fransisco Garcia with great defense, holding Garcia to 4 points. Illinois pounded the glass, outrebounding the Cardinals by 11.
Despite the fact that both teams had bus rides to the final four, the Illini clearly had the advantage in terms of fans, and the crowd seemed to spur the Illini onward.
Last time Louisville lost in the final four? Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983
North Carolina 87, Michigan State 71
Jay Bilas on SportsCenter last night was dead on about the Tar Heels' defense: non-existent in the first half, very present in the second half. While Carolina won this game, it's a disturbing trend to see Carolina, with their talent, play like they can turn it on at any time. Against a team like Illinois, they may not be able to turn it on.
Comparing talent for talent, I have to go with North Carolina. The fact that they seem to take possessions and games off scares me, though. But I picked them before the tournament and I'm sticking with it.
The Pick: North Carolina 78, Illinois 71
Monday: Where we go from here