Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams with very different NCAA Tournament resumes get together in the third round on Sunday night, as the Northern Iowa Panthers take on the Louisville Cardinals at Key Arena.
The winner advances to the Sweet 16 to do battle with eighth-seeded NC State.
Northern Iowa, the No. 5 seed in the East Region, improved to 31-3 on the season by taking out 12th-seeded Wyoming in the second round on Friday night, 71-54. It was the fourth win in 10 NCAA Tournament games for the Panthers, who have now won four in a row and 20 of the last 21 games of the 2014-15 campaign. UNI is seeking its second trip to the Swee6 16, the first coming back in 2010.
Louisville in the four seed in the East, and has logged a 25-8 record after surviving its second-round matchup with UC Irvine, 57-55. The Cardinals have a long, storied history in the NCAA Tournament, this being its 41st appearance. The Cardinals have been in nine straight tourneys, and they have reached the Final Four 10 times. Its overall record in the event is 73-41, and the UofL has won three national championships (1980, 1986 and 2013).
Louisville won the only other meeting between these two schools, taking a 51-46 decision in the first round of the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Balance was the key in Friday's win for Northern Iowa over Wyoming, as five players scored in double figures, with Paul Jesperson leading the barrage with 16 points. Seth Tuttle, the team's leading scorer (15.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.9 rpg), tallied 14 points and nine boards, while Nate Buss (13 points), Wes Washpun (10 points) and Deon Mitchell (10 points) all made significant contributions as well. Tuttle has been the top all-around performer in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, and he also had three assists and three steals in the recent triumph. As a team, the Panthers made good on 46 percent of their field goal attempts, including half of their 18 3-point tries, while the Cowboys hit on 45.7 percent of their total shots, which included nine treys as well. UNI logged sizable advantages in points from the foul line (16-3), point off turnovers (16-8) and bench points (41-2).
Freshman Quentin Snyder hit some key free throws late in Friday's narrow win over UC Irvine, finishing with a career-high 16 points. Wayne Blackshear, who is close to reaching a couple of career milestones (two rebounds shy of 400, two points shy of 1,000), led the way in scoring for the Cardinals with 19 points, and Terry Rozier, who paces the team this season with 17.0 ppg and came up with a late steal to seal the deal, finished with 12 points to go with five assists. UofL shot just 41.8 percent from the floor, going 5-of-15 beyond the arc, while the Anteaters knocked down 46.2 percent of their total shots, but went just 2-of-2 at the free-throw line. The Cardinals outscored their pesky opponent off turnovers (13-8), but they themselves were outscored by UCI in the paint (34-28), in second-chance points (11-7), out on the break (8-6) and in bench points (7-2).