It’ll be hard to find a more compelling first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament than Louisville taking on Minnesota. Richard Pitino will attempt to lead his Golden Gophers to a win over his father’s former team.
The Cardinals are now led by Chris Mack, who is known for getting his squads into the second weekend of the tournament. However, this Louisville roster hasn’t exactly done an admirable job performing well in crunch time.
Louisville blew double-digit leads to Duke and Virginia in marquee showdowns this year, and it’s possible that flaw could emerge this March. On the other sideline, Minnesota is searching for a berth in the Round of 32.
The Golden Gophers have an elite playmaker capable of changing any given game in Jordan Murphy. He averages a double-double with 14.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, while Amir Coffey leads the team in scoring.
Both impact players for the Golden Gophers will play a factor, but the biggest star on the hardwood might just be Jordan Nwora. His production on Thursday could dictate whether or not the Cardinals are still playing this weekend.
As of right now, ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Louisville a 73.3 percent chance of defeating Minnesota.
Tipoff for this game is set for 12:15 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Arena.
Winner of this intriguing showdown advances to face Michigan State or Montana.