Despite being the favorites to win the men’s basketball national championship, Coach Rick Pitino says his Louisville Cardinals face a tough challenge Saturday.
The Cardinals are the NCAA Tournament’s overall No. 1 seed. Pitino says he’s watched their opponent, the No. 9 seeded Wichita State Shockers, and is convinced that they’re underrated.
“We know that Wichita State can beat us, so we know we have to play our best game to beat them. So we understand that. They watch film, they concentrate. And our guys right now will say, damn they’re good. They’re real good.”
The Cardinals face the Wichita State Shockers without guard Kevin Ware, who broke his leg Sunday in an Elite Eight game. To make up for Ware’s absence, the Cardinals will have to rely on players who haven’t gotten much playtime this season.
The winner of Saturday night’s game plays either the Syracuse Orange or the Michigan Wolverines on Monday for the national championship.
“When you get to this stage, it’s so big and everybody wants to win a championship. Michigan wants to win one. Syracuse wants to win one. Wichita wants to win one. Because you don’t get to this stage too much. You’ve got to have a very good basketball team to get to the Final Four, and there are four very good basketball teams.”
The Cardinals play Wichita State on Saturday. Tipoff is at 6:09 p.m.
The championship game is Monday night.