N. Iowa (Kurt Warner U) Stands Between Louisville and Sweet 16

Today the Louisville Cardinals face Northern Iowa for a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers have called on a famous alum for motivation. From ESPN:

Months ago, Kurt Warner told Northern Iowa Panthers coach Ben Jacobson to call him if he wanted Warner’s help once his alma mater reached the NCAA tournament.

So, Jacobson recently reached out to the retired NFL quarterback, and Warner agreed to fly from Arizona to Seattle, where he’s hanging out with the team throughout its first two games of the NCAA tournament. The former Pro Bowl quarterback gave the fifth-seeded Panthers a pep talk at the team hotel the night before Friday’s 71-54 victory over Wyoming at Key Arena.

Warner starred at Northern Iowa (2,747 yards in 1993), but went undrafted. He eventually led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl XXXIV title.

A ridiculously late starting time may make for some bleary eyes at work tomorrow:


Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 9.46.49 AMDate: Sunday, March 22

Time: approximately 9:40 p.m. ET

Site: KeyArena, Seattle, Wash. (17,459)

Television: TBS – Spero Dedes, play-by-play; Mike Gminski, analyst; Jaime Maggio, reporter.

Radio: WHAS (840 AM) Paul Rogers, play-by-play; Bob Valvano, analyst (national broadcast – Sirius 93, XM 203)

Series History: Louisville leads the series 1-0

UofL National Ranking: 16th USA Today, 17th Associated Press

The University of Louisville (25-8) men’s basketball team will face fifth seeded Northern Iowa (31-3) on Sunday at 9:40 p.m. (ET) in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.

Louisville advanced to the third round with a 57-55 win over UC Irvine on Friday night. Senior guard Wayne Blackshear led the Cardinals with 19 points while freshman Quentin Snider finished with a career-high 16 points.

Louisville is fifth nationally in NCAA Tournament appearances and sixth in tournament victories (73-41 record in the NCAA Tournament). The Cardinals are tied for fourth in NCAA Sweet 16 appearances (20), sixth in advancing to Elite Eights (13) and seventh with 10 Final Fours. Louisville won the 1980, 1986 and 2013 NCAA Championships.

The Cardinals have three players averaging double figures. Sophomore guard Terry Rozier leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per game. Junior Montrezl Harrell ranks second on the team in scoring with 15.5 points while Blackshear is third with 11.2. Harrell lead the team in rebounding with 9.3 rebounds per game. Rozier ranks second on the team in rebounding with 5.2 per game.

Northern Iowa will be looking for its second trip to the Sweet 16. The Panthers reached the Sweet 16 in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Panthers scored their largest victory in its NCAA Tournament history with a 71-54 win over Wyoming on Friday night to advance to the third round. UNI was led in scoring by Paul Jesperson (16), Seth Tuttle (14), Nate Buss (13), Wes Washpun (10) and Deon Mitchell (10). Tuttle also added nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Tuttle leads the Panthers in scoring with 15.3 points per game. Tuttle also leads the team in rebounding with 6.9 rebounds per game.

Louisville owns a 1-0 record against Northern Iowa in the all-time series. The teams met in the first round of the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Louisville defeated the Panthers 51-46. The Cardinals had built a comfortable lead at 40-22 only to see UNI rally to cut the lead to 48-46 with less than a minute to play.

The March 22 game will air on TBS, with Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Mike Gminski, (analyst), and Jaime Maggio (reporter) calling the action. Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (analyst) will announce the game on WHAS 840 AM. The contest also is available on SIRIUS channel 93 and XM channel 203.