INDIANAPOLIS — Rick Pitino did not spend much time celebrating his Louisville team’s NCAA Tournament first-round victory over Jacksonville State on Friday, not after what he had seen earlier from Michigan.
“We’re playing the Golden State Warriors on Sunday,” he said after beating Jacksonville State, 78-63. Pitino earlier had watched Michigan beat Oklahoma State, 92-91, behind a second-half barrage of three-pointers — 11-for-15 shooting in the second half.
“I’ve never seen shooting like that since I’ve been a coach; it’s incredible,” he said. “We know what we’re in for. It will be the toughest second-round matchup I’ve had since I’ve been in the business.”
No. 15 seed Jacksonville State (20-15) put a brief scare into second-seeded Louisville (25-8), taking an 8-0 lead, but it was not long before the Cards’ superior size took its toll. It showed in particular in rebounding. At halftime, Louisville led 38-31 despite being outshot 59 percent to 36 percent. How to explain that? In part because Louisville had a 13-1 edge in offensive rebounds.
Louisville led 16-4 in offensive rebounds, 24-3 in second-chance points and 44-14 in points in the paint. Jacksonville State drew within 61-52 with 6:51 remaining before Louisville scored seven in a row.
Mangok Mathiang led Louisville with 18 points and Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell scored 16 apiece, the latter after missing his first 11 shots. He added 10 rebounds.
For Jacksonville State, 7-foot Lithuanian Norbertas Giga scored 30 points and shot 11-for-13, including 5-for-5 on three-pointers, with nine rebounds. Pitino cracked that Mathiang “played great offense and [on defense] tried to put Norbertas Giga in the NBA.”