Knowing how badly they needed to win, the Cardinals certainly played that way. And it turned out, that huge cushion came in handy.
Quentin Snider scored 19 points, Ray Spalding had 18 and Louisville knocked off Florida State 82-74 on Wednesday in an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament game with major NCAA implications.
"I'm sure this significantly helps our resume," said Padgett, the interim coach who took over when Rick Pitino was fired before the season. "I know if we're able to come out and get a win (Thursday) against the No. 1 team in the country that I would surely think they're in."
Deng Adel added 15 points and eight rebounds for the ninth-seeded Cardinals (20-12), who won for the first time in ACC postseason play and advanced to face top-ranked Virginia in the first quarterfinal Thursday.
A week ago, Louisville had a four-point lead against the Cavaliers with 0.9 seconds left - only to let a marquee victory slip away.
"This is our chance," Snider said.
Trent Forrest and PJ Savoy each had 14 points off the bench to pace No. 8 seed Florida State (20-11), which trailed 64-38 with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.
"I think we came out a little bit lackadaisical," freshman Ike Obiagu said.
A furious rally by the Seminoles whittled the margin to eight with 3:26 to play, but Louisville regrouped and hung on behind Snider.
The senior point guard had six assists and five rebounds without committing a turnover in 35 minutes.
"We didn't panic," Padgett said. "Our guys did a great job."
Reserve forward Dwayne Sutton added 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks for Louisville, which reached 20 wins for the 16th straight season. Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga are the only other schools working on at least 15 in a row.
Louisville, which finished 10 for 16 from 3-point range, took control with a quick 14-1 spurt midway through the first half and outscored the Seminoles 27-5 over the last 11 minutes to go into the break with a 41-22 advantage.
That marked the fewest points in a half this season for Florida State, which was third in the ACC in scoring at 82 points per game. FSU missed 15 of its final 17 field goal attempts before halftime and shot 8 for 30 overall (26.7 percent) in the opening period.
"I just think that we played against a team that was really dialed in, tuned in, and we weren't quite as sharp as we needed to be," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "If we have an opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament, I'm sure that we'll play with a lot more sense of urgency to bounce back from what we thought was a poor performance today."
Louisville: Trying to salvage a tumultuous, scandal-plagued season by at least making the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinals might have needed this one more than Florida State. Louisville had dropped four of five and seven of 10, including an excruciating 67-66 loss to Virginia at home last Thursday. After losing the regular-season finale at North Carolina State two days later, Padgett acknowledged his team couldn't afford a quick exit in Brooklyn. Whether the Cardinals need to upset Virginia, too, remains to be seen. ... Louisville had been 0-2 in ACC Tournament games. ... Adel scored in double figures for the 23rd consecutive game.
Florida State: Looking to make consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, the Seminoles have reason to believe their resume is worthy. They beat Florida, Virginia Tech and Louisville on the road, plus North Carolina, Clemson and Miami at home. ... Florida State has lost five of eight and six of 10. ... FSU had won six straight ACC Tournament openers.
The teams combined for 21 blocked shots (11 by FSU), a tournament record. Anas Mahmoud led the way with five for Louisville, and Obiagu had four for Florida State. It was the first Division I game this season in which both teams blocked at least 10 shots.
The previous time these programs faced each other in a league tournament was 1991, when Florida State rallied from 20 points down to defeat Louisville for the Metro Conference championship. The Seminoles and Cardinals squared off five times in the title game of the old Metro Conference. Louisville leads the all-time series 34-11 after taking two of three meetings this season, with each winning on the other's home court.
Louisville: Another shot at the No. 1 team in the country. Louisville lost both matchups with Virginia during the regular season and has dropped six in a row to the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-2), who allow only 58.2 points per game - best in the nation.
Florida State: Hoping for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.
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