Rick Pitino Shows Brilliance, Louisville Storms Back to Defeat Florida for Trip to Final Four

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Rick Pitino Shows Brilliance, Louisville Storms Back to Defeat Florida for Trip to Final FourAt the end of the first half in their Elite Eight matchup on Saturday, Louisville was on upset watch. The Florida Gators were red hot and the Cardinals had no answer.

Of course, no game ever ends at halftime.

Louisville turned it on in the second half, finishing the game on a 23-8 run to defeat the Gators 72-68 and advance to the Final Four.

Chase Behanan was the big hero for Louisville, hitting a jumper with 1:12 left in the game. The Cardinals had a chance to put more distance between themselves and Florida, but an errant turnover by Russ Smith gave Florida life, only down one with less than 30 seconds to go.

Unfortunately for Florida, freshman Bradley Beal failed to dribble after picking off Smith's poor pass and was called for a travel, which would end up crippling Florida's chances. Louisville would hit both of their free throws, and after the gators missed two 3-point attempts to tie the game, the Cards hit one free throw and sent the Gators packing.

No one would've guessed that after the first half, as the Gators came out at a blistering pace, especially from downtown. Florida shot 8-of-11 from the 3-point line in the first half, but missed all nine attempts from beyond the arc in the second.

For Louisville, the victory was super sweet, as the Cardinals will be making their first appearance in the Final Four since 2005. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino was all smiles after the victory, and deservedly so, as his team was able to step up their game defensively to help their coach earn another Final Four berth.

The victory is just another in a long line of big wins for the legendary Pitino, as the coach proves that he is one of the best minds in college basketball — Celtics fans can tell you that his talents didn't translate in the pros.

The fiery Pitino will be gunning for his second National Championship to go along with the 1996 title he won with Kentucky. Another title will all but assure Pitino's place in the upper echelon of college basketball coaches, if he isn't already there.

Another storyline going into this game was the relationship between Pitino and Florida head coach Billy Donovan, the latter being a player and assistant coach under Pitino.

Pitino extends his record to 7-0 against Donovan with the big victory on Saturday. However, Donovan holds one major advantage over Pitino, possessing two National Championships to Pitino's one. Fortunately for Pitino, the master has the opportunity to tie his student if the Cardinals can win two more games in New Orleans.

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