I LIKED LOUISVILLE to win the 2013 championship before this season ever started. I saw them once in person and they could not have been worse when they lost to Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center. I never wavered. When a top-tier coach knows he has a championship-caliber team, he builds to a crescendo in mid-March for the six-game run to that Monday night in April. Rick Pitino has timed it just right.
I was hoping Louisville would lose to Syracuse in Saturday's Big East championship game so that everybody else would not see what I was seeing. The Cardinals did not cooperate. Even when they were down 16 and looked like they might get blown out of Madison Square Garden, their body language never changed. They had belief in their coach and themselves. And when the rally commenced, it was obvious how it was going to play out.