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March 31, 2013
The Louisville Cardinals are heading to Atlanta for the 2013 Final Four as the favorite to win the national championship. UofL overcame a gruesome injury to Kevin Ware to beat Duke to win the Midwest Regional.
HISTORY BEING MADE
Louisville earned its 10th trip to the Final Four, and has been to the Final Four in back-to-back years.
The Cardinals did not cut the nets down after the game.
"Coach told us before the Big East Tournament that we have one goal and that is to win the national championship," Wayne Blackshear said. "We aren't going to celebrate until we get that goal."
RUSS SMITH SHINES
The junior guard from Brooklyn continued to shine on college basketball's biggest stage. He scored 81 points in Louisville's first three games.
He eclipsed the 100 point mark midway through the second half, and continued to score. Smith is the leading candidate for NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player currently.
Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture in his right leg during the first half of the Louisville-Duke game.
Ware, who injured the leg when he landed while trying to block a three-point attempt, was carried off the court on a stretcher and sent immediately to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for emergency surgery.
Fans and UofL officials near the UofL bench reported seeing a portion of Ware's shin bone sticking through his leg before it was stabilized by trainer Fred Hina.
The Louisville players were clearly shaken up by the incident. Russ Smith had tears streaming down his face. Chane Behanan collapsed to the court in grief. Rick Pitino kneeled down next to Ware as the trainers and medical personnel worked on him.
"Our goal after he went down was to win it for Kev'," Chane Behanan said. "That's what we had to do."
A DOMINATING PERFORMANCE
With 16:18 left, Louisville and Duke were tied at 42. The Cardinals went on a 17-2 run to lead 59-44 with 9:39 left.
Duke got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way. UofL outscored the Blue Devils 12-4 in the final 3:08