LSU’s Hailey Van Lith predicted Middle Tennessee’s upset win over former school Louisville on Selection Sunday

Those hoping to see LSU’s Hailey Van Lith face off against her former school, Louisville, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament were let down after No. 11 Middle Tennessee State pulled off an upset over the No. 6 Cardinals on Friday.

The Blue Raiders stunned the Cardinals with a 71-69 victory that came down to the wire. MTSU’s Jalynn Gregory and Savannah Wheeler were calm and cool at the free throw line, sinking a pair of freebies each in the final 25 seconds to keep their team in front.

Louisville’s Sydney Taylor answered with a clutch 3-pointer to bring the Cardinals within two with five seconds left, and the Blue Raiders’ missed free throw left the door open. Louisville’s Merissah Russell attempted a near-full-court heave to win the game at the buzzer but her shot was off the mark as MTSU held on to win.

The result came as a surprise to some, but not all. Van Lith predicted the Cinderella story right after the Cardinals drew the Blue Raiders on Selection Sunday.

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LSU’s Hailey Van Lith predicted Louisville’s loss

When the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed, it was easy to circle a potential revenge game for LSU star Van Lith against her former school Louisville in the Round of 32.

But the broadcast caught Van Lith mouthing a comment that predicted the Cardinals’ downfall.

“Middle Tennessee is gonna whoop they a—,” Van Lith said to Angel Reese and head coach Kim Mulkey.

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The former Louisville star knew from experience. Just last season, Middle Tennessee State handled Van Lith and the Cardinals 67-49 in a non-conference matchup.

Van Lith saw the future as the Blue Raiders’ Gregory (24 points) and Wheeler (22 points) led the charge to pull off the upset over Louisville once again.

Then, Van Lith and No. 3 LSU handled its own business, defeating No. 14 Rice in the Round of 64 on Friday.

Why did Hailey Van Lith transfer from Louisville to LSU?

Van Lith became a star in three seasons at Louisville, averaging a career-best 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a junior last year.

But after two Elite Eight losses and one Final Four loss, she decided it was time for a change. Van Lith shocked the college basketball world when she elected to transfer from Louisville to LSU.

“It came down to my ability to be happy, and I had to put myself first,” Van Lith told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks on why she transferred.

“I had done my part, and I had sacrificed myself and given my all to that program. But at the end of the day, I just I wasn’t enjoying everyday life. It was a situation there where I chose that I deserve happiness.”

“It was really hard decision [to transfer],” Van Lith told Rooks. “My best friends in my whole life I made at Louisville. I went to a Final Four, and I shared that with those coaches and those teammates. …

“I know in my heart that I made the right decision for me and my family, and for women’s basketball in general,” Van Lith said.

“I don’t regret going to Louisville. I’m a much better player, and a much better person because of my experience there. But like I said, I’ve given myself the grace and the opportunity to find something better.”

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