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2014 March Madness bracket: Florida, Louisville advance to Sweet 16

The Gators and Cardinals smothered their opponents, showing why they are two of the best defensive teams in the country.

SB Nation 2014 NCAA March Madness Coverage

The Louisville Cardinals are in the Sweet 16 for the third straight season, knocking off Saint Louis, 66-51. Rick Pitino's team is halfway to reaching its third straight Final Four.

Louisville played an excellent first half on defense, holding Saint Louis to just 16 points:


As the pace picked up in the second half, Saint Louis got going. Jordair Jett and Rob Loe got to the rim in transition:


But the Cardinals re-asserted themselves on defense, clogging the lane with bigs Montrezl Harrell and Stephan Van Treese. The Billikens didn't help themselves from outside, missing all 15 of their three-point attempts.

Luke Hancock had the hot hand for Louisville, hitting four three-pointers and finishing with 21 points. Russ Smith contributed seven assists in addition to his 11 points, but also had seven turnovers.

Dwayne Evans led the way for the Billikens, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Jett, a senior point guard, added 15 points and seven assists in his final game as a Billiken.

Louisville advances to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest region. The Cardinals will face the winner of No. 1 Wichita State and No. 8 Kentucky. Louisville lost to the Wildcats in Rupp Arena back in December.

No. 1 Florida 61, No. 9 Pittsburgh 45

The Gators had a much easier time against Pittsburgh than they did in their opening game against Albany, stifling the Panthers on Saturday. Florida held Pitt to 37 percent shooting, not allowing star forward Lamar Patterson to get going. The senior was just 3-11 for eight points in his last game as a Panther.

SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin proved to be the best player in the game. The senior point guard scored a game-high 21 points, including a buzzer-beater to close the first half:


Center Patric Young had another beast of a game. The big man pulled six of his eight rebounds down on the offensive end, while also notching four blocks. None were more emphatic than this one:


Florida advances to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season. The Gators will attempt to reach the Elite 8 for the fourth time in a row, facing the winner of No. 4 UCLA and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin.