The most defining moment of this weekend's NCAA Regional games wasn't Ohio State's buzzer-beating antics nor Michigan's three-point magic. Both were captivating but will eventually fade with memory. …
The same Louisville team that I didn't believe was worthy of the overall No. 1 seed was not.
This is not the same Louisville team, plain and simple. It's not the same group of inconsistent, vulnerable scrappers that clawed their way through the regular season.
Louisville has won 14 straight games, but I believe this Cardinal team was really born sometime in the second half of the BIg East Tournament championship game.
They trailed fellow Final Four qualifier Syracuse by 16 points before rallying to win by 18. Explain that.
I once criticized Russ Smith for not being clutch, comparing him to Phil Pressey after he continually failed to convert in his team's five-overtime loss to Notre Dame. Now he's well on his way to being the tournament MVP.
Peyton Siva is no longer the aspiring, inexperienced leader he was a year ago, surprising the nation with a breakthrough Final Four berth.
Smith, Siva and Gorgui Dieng have been there and know what to expect.
The Cardinals no longer have their big bully brother standing in the way of the coveted title game. Instead, Louisville will play an unlikely opponent in Wichita State, who finally tranquilized the comeback kings known as Ohio State.
If you're a Mizzou fan, you should take gratification in seeing Kansas sit at home while it's little sister from the Sunflower state dances on. It took a Trey Burke miracle, but the Jayhawks are done and Michigan is finally back in the basketball spotlight for the first time since the Fab Five.
The Wolverines will square off against another of the nation's most paralyzing defenses in Syracuse. The Orangemen have ridden their signature 2-3 zone to Coach Jim Boeheim's fourth Final Four appearance, and I have a feeling revenge might be in their sights.
That said, I'm not sure anybody can stop this Louisville team. Adversity on Sunday night didn't slow them. It propelled them.
Follow the Madness
I'll be in Atlanta this weekend attending the Final Four, as I do each season.
This time I will be providing frequent updates through our new website, www.warrencountyrecord.com and also through our Record sports Twitter feed @WarCoSports.
I'll let you know about my celebrity encounters, game-related analysis and other insight as I journey to the NCAA games as well as several other sporting events during a busy weekend.
Louisville players display Kevin Ware's No. 5 jersey while celebrating their Midwest Regional Championship on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Ware suffered a horrific leg injury during the first half of the Cardinals' win over Duke.Getty Images Photo.