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Louisville's Road To Final Four: Rick Pitino's Cardinals To Take On Kentucky In Semifinals (PHOTOS)

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RICK PITINO
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, left, is joined by his players on the court following their 72-68 win over Florida in an NCAA tournament West Regional final college basketball game, Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) | AP

Wait, this looks familiar. We've seen this before, haven't we?

A Big East team limps into the postseason.. then goes on an incredible run, across basketball's biggest stage, to win the conference tournament.. but it doesn't stop there.. as this team rides that momentum all the way to the Final Four..

Oh, right. That happened last year. UConn roared from mid-seed anonymity at Madison Square Garden to the national championship.

On Saturday night in New Orleans, the Louisville Cardinals will continue their quest to duplicate that feat.

Awarded a No. 9 ranking in the preseason, Louisville started hot -- winning its first 12 games -- before losing steam down the stretch. Entering the Big East Tournament, the Cardinals had lost four of their last six.

Last year, UConn ended the season losing four of their last six, as well, and didn't even earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament, needing five wins in five nights to clinch the Big East's automatic bid to the Big Dance.

Unlike UConn, Louisville was able to earn a bye and need to reel off only four straight victories en route to the Big East Tournament title. Like the Huskies of 2011, the 2012 Cards have reached the Final Four. In order to fully duplicate the amazing run of their leaguemates, they have to go through national powerhouse and in-state rival Kentucky first, a team that Rick Pitino's squad lost to in the regular season (69-62 in Rupp Arena).

Will junior point guard Peyton Siva, or maybe Russ Smith off the bench, turn in a Kemba-like performance and lead Louisville to the title? Just based on last year's results and the talent on John Calipari's roster, Louisville might need a couple players to resemble Kemba Walker in the national semifinals.

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Louisville's Road To The Final Four
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