NCAA Bracket 2012: How Louisville Basketball Got To March Madness

Mar 3, 2012; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva (3) and forward Chane Behanan (24) bring the ball up court during the game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Louisville has the talent to make an NCAA tournament run, but they need to start closing out close games.

The Louisville Cardinals appeared to be heading toward a disappointing season. And then the Big East Tournament happened. Behind the electric play of tournament MVP Peyton Siva, the Cardinals rolled to four wins in four days to capture the conference title and set themselves up for a solid NCAA Tournament seed.

Louisville was ranked third in the Big East preseason media poll and did not lose a non-conference game other than the rivalry game away to No. 1 Kentucky. Their only bad loss this season was to the Providence Friars, and it came on the road. The Cardinals came up just short in games they probably should have won on multiple occasions, however, leading to their 10-8 regular season Big East record and 26-9 overall record. At home, they lost to Georgetown by three, Notre Dame by two (in double overtime) and Syracuse by one.

Everywhere on the floor, Louisville has the talent to cause problems for teams. Kyle Kuric is having a very good season and sophomore guard Russ Smith is a pleasant surprise as the team's second leading scorer. Siva was not very good during the tail end of the regular season, but he's a seriously talented player who is obviously capable of producing huge performances. Big sophomore Gorgui Dieng and talented freshman Chane Behanan are rebounding at an impressive rate, and they can bang with anybody.

At Madison Square Garden, this team showed its capable of beating anyone in the field of 68.

The Cardinals earned the No. 4 seed in the West Region and will face Davidson in the Second Round.

Join our 2012 NCAA Bracket pool to compete against the best and brightest from around the network.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Louisville blog Card Chronicle. For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

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