Spread check: Louisville by 10.
If you weren't already aware, the Louisville women will be taking on Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tonight at 7 p.m. inside the KFC Yum Center. Tickets are still available.
Go Cards. Beat Purdue.
A lot of you have probably already seen this by now, but the Wall Street Journal has a story on Louisville and Kentucky that's especially fitting on this, the 30th anniversary of the Dream Game.
Much of his praise went to Russ Smith, a slight 6-foot junior who scored 27 on Saturday, who was never Calipari material. And there was senior Peyton Siva, once emotionally volatile, now a steady, disciplined leader. The two swarmed Colorado State's backcourt with the fervor of two hungry cheetahs.
It's the kind of development and experience that Kentucky lacked this season, its stockpile of All-Americans wilting under the expectation. It was as if Calipari had met his sales quota-but ultimately delivered defective product.
Pitino seemed to revel in the contrast: "If I can keep recruiting guys like this, I want to coach until 70 and beyond because I've had such a blast and to see guys work that hard inside just fills you up, really does."
He had a point. A new Death Star is forming on the horizon. Kentucky fans will never say it. But they know: It's hollow inside.
I'll say it again: It's never been easier to be a Louisville fan than it is right now.
For plenty of good Oregon stuff in the days leading up to the game, be sure to check out Addicted to Quack. Our sites actually launched on the same day way back when. They got the better name.
Luke Hancock caused a mild (read: massive) city-wide panic last night when he posted a photo of himself clean shaven on Instagram. It turns out the photo was from several weeks ago, which Hancock confirmed this morning.
BeardTastrophe 2013. Where were you when you heard the news?
Louisville's open practice to the public in Indianapolis will take place on Thursday from 2:10-3 p.m.
Chane Behanan's dunk against DePaul has been tabbed as a finalist for the Pepsi MAX Dunk of the Year. You can vote for Chane, and help DePaul win something in the process, by clicking here.
Also, we never got a chance to talk about it on here, but I'm not sure I could have loved the fact that Chane's dunk became the end of the pregame hype video any more. Showing the dunk was one thing, but then going for a second look with a close-up and a still frame of a DePaul player being dunked on whilst receiving a knee to the face made me laugh both times I saw it. It was almost too perfect.
I hope we can at least keep it for the exhibition games next year.
Oregon has won two games in the NCAA Tournament for just the fifth time in program history, and for now the Ducks are just enjoying the moment.
And now add this NCAA Tournament showing, where double-digit victories over Oklahoma State and Saint Louis, propelled the Ducks into a Sweet 16 matchup with Louisville on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"I think a lot of us are kind of overwhelmed, but we know how good we are so it's not a surprise to us," UO senior E.J. Singler said after Saturday's victory over the Billikens in San Jose, Calif. "We're going to enjoy this moment, go back (to Eugene), practice a couple of days and get ready for Louisville."
"We're playing with a sense of urgency," Loyd said. "We've got a purpose. We know if we lose our season is over and we're playing as hard as we can and leaving it all out there on the court."
The result has been five consecutive victories, the last two in the NCAA Tournament. And that's hardly an every-year occurrence for Oregon.
"We're in the Sweet 16. It's a dream come true," Loyd said. "This is crazy."
Madison Ware Garden -> Russ Arena -> Luuukas Oil Stadium -> Gorgui Dome
If the dream is realized over the next 13 days (God, that's so soon), I want that on a shirt.
Howie Lindsey has a free edition of the Louisville Sports Report available online for subscribers and non-subscribers alike to take with them on the road to Indy this weekend.
Check out U of L representing front and center on Broadway-Lafayette in New York City.
The Achilles heel for Oregon this season has been turnovers, which obviously isn't a good sign heading into a game against Louisville.
The full-on, full-court pressure put on by No. 1 Louisville is reputed as one of the most relentless in the country. The Cardinals rank second in the nation in steals (11.0 per game) and second in turnover margin (plus-6.3).
"I've never played against a press like theirs," Loyd said, then pausing briefly. "But I love the challenge."
"I think Louisville is going to do the same thing to us," UO senior E.J. Singler said of the full-court press. "We just have to be strong with the ball and limit our turnovers."
That's been easier said than done for the Ducks, who ranked last in the Pac-12 Conference with 14.9 turnovers per game during the regular season. In five postseason games - including their three Pac-12 tournament victories - they are averaging 15.4 turnovers.
Still the quote of the tournament so far from Rick Pitino:
"We don't play the game for the lottery draft. We play the game for Louisville. Then we move on and succeed in and out of basketball."
Louisville Rick is the best Rick.
Statistical guru Nate Silver has Louisville's likelihood of winning the NCAA Tournament at 32.4 percent, up from 23.8 percent last week.
Louisville (up to 32.4 percent from 23.8 percent) Three of the four No. 1 seeds survived into the tournament's second week, but only Louisville looked dominant in doing so, winning its first two games by a combined 57 points. Louisville also caught a break with its Round of 16 opponent, Oregon - which may well have been underseeded as a No. 12 but which nevertheless offers a much more favorable matchup than No. 4-seeded St. Louis might have (especially in a game played in Indianapolis).
Louisville wouldn't be so fortunate in its potential Round of 8 matchup: either Duke or Michigan State will be very tough. But should Louisville win that game, it will play the champion from the depleted West bracket in the national semifinal. (Not much of a bonus if that opponent is Ohio State, but Louisville has two chances for the Buckeyes to lose.) Between their strong play so far and the favorable contingencies in their draw, the Cardinals have emerged as a true tournament favorite.
Not U of L related, but Luke Winn's feature on his weekend with Miami is pretty terrific.
Tom Crean has always struck me as a super weird dude (Remember this tweet?), but kissing his 15-year-old son on the mouth is taking things to another level.
Luke, your thoughts?
Russ, anything to add?
That's just...he's way too old for that, man.
The two best teams left in the tournament might be playing in the same region (spoiler: Louisville's one of them).
Of the 36,000 tickets for Friday night's Louisville/Oregon game, just 4,000 remain unclaimed.
After dropping two games this past week, the Louisville baseball team has slipped from No. 4 to No. 10 in the latest Baseball America Top 25.
Some solid photoshop work in preparation for this Friday's game.
The previously mentioned Addicted to Quack takes an early look at Louisville.
A belated shoutout to the Louisville softball team, which won 5-1 at No. 1 Oklahoma over the weekend. The Cards dropped the second game to the Sooners, 9-1, but whatever. If you can beat the top dog in the sport by four, you can beat anyone in the country. That's a solid confidence-booster for the ladies heading into the second half of the season.
Remember Tony Woods? He's the guy U of L stuck their neck out for even after a controversial departure from Wake Forest, the guy who came and lived in Louisville while he sat out his transfer season, and then the guy who bolted the second Tim Fuller left town.
Well, Woods wound up at Oregon and he says he's excited to face the team it looked like he was going to be playing for.
Between this and the ruthless 90-63 beatdown the Ducks gave us in Pitino's first season, I think it's more than Ok to count Oregon as part of the Revenge Tour.
Let us not forget this weekend that Indianapolis just so happens to be the home of "the hulking" Stephan Van Treese. I just hope he doesn't try too hard to impress his friends and family by jacking up a bunch of threes. Four or five is fine.
Nothing says "we're Big Brother" like a grown man making a banner dedicated to two high school boys and bringing it to a game his favorite team isn't playing in (or a game in a tournament his team didn't even make.
Everyone look....Everyone look at me...EVERYONE LOOK AT HOW MUCH I DON'T CARE ABOUT LOUISVILLE....Are you guys seeing this?....Seriously, just look for a second...I'm not caring so hard right now.
A quick word from the U of L SPAD:
"The UofL Sport Administration Program is hosting its 16th annual golf outting at The Cardinal Club in Simpsonville on April 15th. Go to spadclassic2013.com to register. It is $400/team. The outting includes breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, and a cocktail hour. There will be raffles, a silent auction and awards for teams and individuals. Half the proceeds go to the SPAD Program, and the other half goes to The Kids Center For Pediatric Therapies. If you cannot play, but still want to donate to the cause, there is a 'Donate Now' icon to click on. If you would like to be a sponsor, info can be found on the website as well. 'Cloids, let's get out there and support our UofL Sport Admin Program and raise as much money as possible for the kids!"
Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Midwest Regional semifinal and final matchups, and takes Louisville.
Number to Ponder
76-71. Should Louisville and Duke advance to the Elite Eight, that was the score of their first meeting, a Blue Devils victory in the Bahamas on Nov. 24. That seems like three years ago at this point, but it's worth noting that Duke handled the Cardinals' defense effectively, making 54.3 percent of their two-point shots.
Louisville. The Cardinals should handle Oregon, and while they will face a steep challenge whoever emerges on the other side, it's hard to pick against them the way they're playing defense right now.
It's not possible to be as cool as Gorgui Dieng, we know that.
But you can buy the glasses he's wearing in this picture.
And finally, go Louisville, beat Oregon.