Monday, April 1, 2013 — INDIANAPOLIS — Louisville overcame a gruesome injury to sophomore Kevin Ware to earn the 10th Final Foul berth in the program's history -- and its second straight -- with an 85-63 victory over second-seeded Duke.
The top-seeded Cardinals will face Wichita State at 6:09 p.m. on Saturday in the first national semifinal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Michigan will meet Syracuse in the second game.
"To go to back-to-back Finals Fours is special," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "To win one would be really special."
Ware, a native of Conyers, Ga., broke his leg with 6:33 left in the first half with Louisville leading 21-20.
"I saw Kevin go out there and challenge it," junior Russ Smith said. "And then I see what happened and I immediately just fell. I almost didn't feel nothing, because I didn't think in a million years I would see something like that. And when that happened, especially to a guy like Kevin Ware, I was completely devastated."
"We had to do this for Kevin," senior guard Peyton Siva added. "We just tried to stay together as a team. That's all we could do."
"I was going to help him up and all of the sudden I saw what it was, and I literally almost threw up," Pitino said. "I don't think we could have [pulled it together] if Kevin hadn't said over and over, 'Just win the game.' It was terrible to watch, but we had to gather ourselves. We couldn't lose this game for him. We just couldn't.”
Ware underwent surgery for a double fracture in his leg at an Indianapolis hospital Sunday night. He is expected to recover although the healing process may take up to a year, Pitino said.