We'll have more on the College World Series later today, but if you're looking for a breakdown of all the participants, Baseball America has about as thorough a preview as you're going to find anywhere.
The publication utilizes a formula which says that Louisville is tied with North Carolina (and behind only LSU) as the second-strongest team in Omaha.
Baseball America OFP
The three national seeds that reached the CWS must shoulder the "favorites" burden, but Louisville might be just as good as any of them. Only Oregon State can rival Louisville's pitching staff, and the Cardinals might have the more explosive offense because of their speed. Louisville is a very strong national title contender.
We also have a baseball-related contest coming up shortly that anyone who enjoys golf (or giving the gift of free golf) will want to participate in.
Five-star guard Jaquan Lyle tweeted out Friday night that his final four schools are Louisville, Indiana, Tennessee and Florida. The 6'4 guard is the No. 17 overall player in the class of 2014 according to Rivals.
One of the best "Year of the Cardinal" works of art to date:
The crazy thing is that we have enough trophies for a follow-up.
I'm thinking a shot of the Highlands with the Keg of Nails in place of the Q-Doba on the corner of Eastern and Bardstown, and the Governor's Cup trophy where the old Ear-X-Tacy was. Maybe throw my "Third Best Feature Writer" award from the LEO in place of Akikos. Yeah, ok, I didn't get an actual "award," so what? You're an artist, this is where you're supposed to get creative.
So someone at ESPN believes that Teddy Bridgewater is "the most overhyped player in college football," and justifies the stance by bringing up Louisville's handful of close games against bad teams in 2012.
The problem with this is that even when his team was just good last season, Bridgewater was spectacular. The one exception you might be able to throw out there is the Connecticut game, and he was forced out of that one on two separate occasions with two different (and serious - see Rutgers) injuries.
You can't just toss negative superlatives around like this without any reasonable justification, and there certainly isn't one here. Anyone and everyone who has seen more than two mintues of Teddy Bridgewater film knows what he's capable of and that he's worthy of each and every piece of praise he's getting this offseason.
ESPN's updated Top 100 for the class of 2014 has U of L commit Quentin Snider checking in at No. 28 and Shaqquan Aaron at No. 53. Kelan Martin, a teammate of Snider's at Ballard, also debuts on the list at No. 94.
Though Dave Telep might have Aaron ranked in the 50s, everyone who saw him at the NBA Top 100 camp on Thursday apparently disagrees.
Consider me sold on Shaqquan Aaron. Rick Pitino will only make him better. Enjoy it, Cards' fans— Garrett Tucker (@GTuckerF150) June 14, 2013
@FatCat1982 im looking at really thin frame but I have Shaqquan Aaron ranked as a future NBA player. #14 247Sports. http://t.co/6PF14sfXLU— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) June 14, 2013
Shaqquan Aaron has been most unstoppable 1on1 guy in this set of #nbatop100 gms.Has elite ability to create shot as 6'6 guy— Rodger Bohn (@rodgerbohn) June 14, 2013
Shaqquan Aaron has had a big evening session. The 6'8" Louisville commit is a versatile point forward with a pro game. #Top100Camp— Eric Hampford (@Future150EricH) June 14, 2013
All of that works for me.
Louisville's knack for getting hit by the baseball is one of 10 things to watch at the College World Series.
A pair of Cardinal pitchers were named All-Americans earlier this week.
Louisville righthanded pitchers Nick Burdi and Jeff Thompson were honored as All-Americans on Wednesday afternoon by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
A Second Team All-America selection, Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) leads the Cardinals with 16 saves (second highest single season total in school history) to go with a 0.78 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 28 relief appearances and 34.2 innings pitched this season. Opposing batters are hitting just .197 against the hard-throwing Burdi, a First Team All-BIG EAST selection who has a 3-3 record overall on the mound.
The 2013 BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Year and a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) is 11-1 on the mound with a 2.00 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 103.1 innings pitched this season. Seven of his 16 starts have been scoreless outings and opposing batters are hitting just .169 against him. For his career, Thompson is 22-6 on the mound with a 2.85 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 221.1 innings pitched.
Congrats to Nick and Jeff.
Pervis Ellison was one of seven people inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday. Future Cardinal James Quick was also honored at the ceremony as the state's High School Athlete of the Year.
We briefly debated re-opening the famous(?) backyard gate at CC Headquarters for this weekend/week, but decided against it. The Cardinal Nine have come this far with the closed gate, here's hoping they can go a little farther (Shawshank).
Still hoping to have this mural in my house someday.
I'd also like a moat. And I think I'd put Tobiah Hopper in charge of raising and lowering the bridge. I trust him enough to give him that type of that authority.
Yes, "The 2 Man Game" was canceled last night because the Reds and the Cubs played 14 innings. Yes, we'll be back next week. No, I will not make out with you.
Don't be surprised to see Patrick Ewing inside the Yum Center a few times next fall.
Randi Ewing, one of Patrick Ewing's three children, has enrolled at U of L for her final season of eligibility and will play on the volleyball team. Randi Ewing is a senior and recently graduated from Fordham.
"It's a neat situation," U of L coach Anne Kordes said. "She only has one year left. She graduated from Fordham and has another year. She's going to grad school and wanted something different and I think she wanted to test her abilities.
"I coached against her when I was at Saint Louis. She's a great kid. I had someone call me and say, ‘Do you need a middle (blocker) for one year?' I was like, ‘Have you read my mind?' So it's worked out well for both sides."
And if he wants to stop in and work with U of L's big men, that'd probably be cool, too. What's that? A violation? So, it wouldn't be cool? Forget I said anything.
Speaking of the volleyball team, they'll reportedly be taking a trip to North Dakota State for a tournament in September.
So these bad boys are apparently on the shelves at Party Marts in Louisville:
They aren't technically produced by Woodford, but they're stil pretty cool.
Easily the best thing from the sports world on Thursday.
According to Jody Demling, Louisville received a visit from highly-regarded defensive tackle Poona Ford on Thursday. Ford left saying that the visit was "really, really good."
Ever since I can remember, it's been one of my life goals to be able to scream "POONA" on multiple occasions in a public setting and have it be viewed as socially acceptable. This is my must-have recruit for the class of 2014.
Mark Stoops is doing things on the recruiting trail that I didn't think anyone could do at Lexington Basketball Academy, I'm willing to admit that. A troubling trend with these young men, however, seems to be their need to tweet or make a public statement about Louisville immediately after committing to Kentucky.
The most prominent example this week comes from Florida defensive end Denzel Ware, who tweeted out this picture of a conversation between he and U of L assistant Ron Dugans shortly after his commitment.
Ware, who decommitted from UK back in April (and apparently utilizes the "Kindergarten" font on his Facebook preferences), prefaced the picture with "I ain't lien," which made the word "lien" a trending topic in Lexington for an extended period of time. That, I can appreciate.
I'm not sure how the Wildcat players who actually have to play on the field against Teddy Bridgewater and company feel about the antics of the class of 2014 right now, but I can guess.
Although it's safe to say that not all members of the class are that impressed.
And with good reason.
Nah, you guys are gonna be good, though.
Louisville pitcher Cody Ege has spent plenty of time at the College World Series, he's just never been there before as a participant.
If you have children who play sports or have plans to have children who will play sports, read this and bookmark it.
Sometimes I forget where the Sugar Bowl is too, adidas.
It's nothing to beat yourself up over.
Speaking of the Sugar Bowl, Florida lost more than just a game at the beginning of this year.
If you were wondering what Billy Gillispie has been up to since getting the axe in Lubbock, the answer is that he's back out on the recruiting trail.
Don't even act like you don't like "Blurred Lines." I'll believe and understand you in three weeks when you've heard it 750 more times, but right now? Come on. It's Ok to like things that are on 98.9 every now and then. "Ignition (Remix)" was once on 98.9. Case and point.
Louisville and Indiana are familiar foes squaring off on an unfamiliar stage.
The Hoosiers (48-14) won the season-opener against Louisville (51-12) on Feb. 15 in Tampa, 2-0. IU won again, 6-2 on March 27 in Bloomington. But the Cardinals earned a measure of revenge on May 8, capping the season series with a 4-3 win in Louisville.
"Their matchups are still nasty," Indiana coach Tracy Smith said Tuesday. "The key to this game, I think, is you've got to have a lead by the fifth or sixth inning, because what they're able to do with their bullpen is what most of the rest of us can't do, which is play matchups each inning and still have quality."
I got you f---ers so good with that Brick Roll earlier in the post. I couldn't talk about in the blurb immediately after it because you might have caught a glimpse and I would have been found out. And the two subsequent paragraphs of faux outrage? DECOYS. GLORIOUS DECOYS.
Don't do something if you're not going to commit to it. And when you commit to it, commit hard. Just like rolling.
Don't give me that look, you got the reference.
Peyton Siva's "casual" dunk from earlier this week is pretty ridiculous.
The man can get up.
Broke the Lakers vert. Record today .. 44inch 🐇🐇 lol 😁— Peyton siva (@PeypeySiva3) June 13, 2013
Trinity quarterback Reggie Bonnafon is still more than committed to Louisville, a program of which he says he "loves everything about."
Alabama got swept by Louisville at Jim Patteron Stadium back in March, but coach Mitch Gaspard still wasn't impressed enough to pick the Cards to win it all in Omaha.
"I think everybody realized after last weekend just how good Louisville is," Gaspard said. "They're a real threat, because of their pitching staff and their style of play. They can be a team that's fighting to the end."
But Gaspard isn't picking the Cardinals.
"I still lean to the SEC," he said. "I really like Mississippi State. They've been kind of a quiet team. I felt all along that they've got some age.
"But LSU has really got what you want."
We'll take our chances against the SEC.
A little bit more on Brian Vickers and his U of L race car.
A number of Louisville fans who picked up the Rick Pitino Maker's Mark bottle last week were upset when they couldn't consolidate that with a ticket to the get the bottle autographed. Pitino heard about it and would like to help those folks out.
"I know a lot of people got shut out of this and I'm going to make time throughout the summer," Pitino said, "We'll give them a weeks announcement (notice) to go somewhere and sign another 300 to 400 at a time so, I'll make sure I get to them."
The coach was impressed by the dedication of fans and he's ready to get back to work for them. "I'm excited to get the season going, I've celebrated (the National Championship) enough now," he laughed, "I want to get going again."
I love Louisville Rick.
While Rick Pitino was busy autographing bottles, his son was throwing out the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game.
And finally, with a big game against Indiana looming, I feel like it's only right that we resurrect some Friday Morning Crean.
Go Louisville, beat Indiana.