The Louisville Cardinals and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will meet in the second Big East semifinal on Friday night. With the conference falling apart after the season, this will be the second to last game in the conference and has the potential to go down as a classic.
The first time these two met this season on Feb. 9 it took five overtimes to decide a winner, with the Irish finally pulling it out 104-101. The second meeting a month later was decidedly less thrilling, with Louisville winning 73-57 on their home court. In fact, the Cardinals haven't lost since that five-overtime battle, winning eight straight.
In that second game, the Cardinals won the same way they've won every game during this current winning streak, with defense. Over their last eight games, Louisville (27-5, 14-4) has only allowed an opponent to crack the 60-point barrier once. In the Big East quarterfinals the Cardinals suffocated Villanova's offense, forcing 24 turnovers on their way to a 74-55 win.
Notre Dame (25-8, 11-7) knocked off tournament three-seed Marquette to reach the semis, 73-65. The Irish got down big early, but rallied back behind Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant. Connaughton made six threes and Grant went 8-9 from the line to lead the Irish to the upset. All-Big East first team selection Jack Cooley has been held in check for both of Notre Dame's tournament games thus far; chances are he breaks out sooner rather than later.
Even if Cooley breaks out of his slump, it will be a tough game for Notre Dame. In addition to their excellent team defense, Louisville has two first team All-Big East team members of their own in Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng.
The winner will advance to the Big East Tournament championship, where Notre Dame would seek its first title and Louisville its third. No matter who wins, one thing is for certain, both teams will be wearing something crazy as their Adidas uniforms have been one of the hot topics at the tournament.
Tipoff is schedule for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, but actual time will depend on when the semifinal between Georgetown and Syracuse ends.