ATLANTA Louisville was a surprise visitor to the Final Four in New Orleans a year ago. After beating 1-seed Michigan State, the 4th-seeded Cardinals were a large underdog. This year, there is a different mindset.
"People are expecting us to win it," sophomore power forward Chane Behanan said. "I think that is the one different from last year to this year. Last year, I don't want to say it was a fluke because we were a great basketball team last year, but this year is totally different. We have the No. 1 seed. It's a lot of pressure with everyone expecting us to win."
"It's pretty different because we're expected to do a lot of things," Louisville junior guard Russ Smith said. "For me personally, I just go out there and play basketball. Along with my teammates, we don't pay too much mind to what anyone thinks. At the end of the day everyone has an opinion. We know how good these teams are, and we just have to bring our A game every game."
Smith said the Cardinals are much more serious this year.
"I've spent a lot of time in the hotel. The difference between last year and this year, the city of New Orleans was flooded with fans. It was too much fun, beads were getting thrown everywhere. I think this trip is more serious, more business-like."
The Cardinals are facing the biggest underdog in the Final Four, 9th seeded Wichita State.
"I say this without any exaggeration: They're the best team we will have faced this year at the defensive end," coach Rick Pitino said. "... I'm really impressed with what they do defensively."