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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Young Luke Michael is getting some stylish sleep in before the biggest sports weekend of his life (so far).

I_medium Spread Check: Louisville by 9

I_medium My apologies for the unusually thin amount of tournament week content yesterday. A citation for expired tags a few weeks back turned into an Easter Egg hunt across Louisville to both obtain new tags (not as easy for a leased car as it should be) and get the citation taken care of. Spending 4 hours downtown wasn't the way I would have liked to have celebrated a good Selection Sunday draw, but here we are.

The rest of the week will be much better.

I_medium CBS' Sam Vecenie says Louisville falling to UC Irvine is the second most likely upset of the round of 64.

No. 13 UC-Irvine over No. 4 Louisville

Reasons to pick the upset: This is kind of a matchup nightmare on offense for Louisville, a team that has struggled to space the floor all season. The Cardinals are shooting 30 percent from 3-point range and have relied upon their ability to finish at the rim in order to score on offense, as they're shooting 66 percent at the bucket this year. That's going to be immensely difficult against the Anteaters, who feature the services of 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye.

Coach Russell Turner puts Ndiaye in the center of a 2-3 zone defense. The zone alone makes it tough for teams to get dribble penetration. But even if they do get past that first line of defense, Ndiaye is there waiting for them at the rim, and there is not a better rim protector in the country. Despite Ndiaye missing a large portion of the middle of this season, the Anteaters finished 18th in field-goal percentage against at the rim nationally after topping that category last season -- Ndiaye's first in Irvine. I'm just not sure how the Cardinals are going to get efficient scoring opportunities in this game. That, along with the Anteaters' ability to bomb away from deep, should at least keep them in it the majority of the way.

Reason to pick the favorite: Louisville is still Louisville, and Rick Pitino will likely try to devise an up-tempo scheme that involves the Cardinals getting out into transition and trying to score before the Anteaters can set up on defense. And for just as many problems as Louisville figures to have on offense, Irvine will likely have the same problem. The Anteaters struggle to score inside, and Louisville's interior defense has been strong this season. Basically, this game will likely come down to whether or not UC-Irvine can make some shots from beyond the arc. If that happens, it can win. If not, Louisville will pull it out.

Only Stephen F. Austin over Utah is more likely according to Vecenie.

I_medium The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy ranks every team in tournament in terms of their chances to win the national championship, and has Louisville at No. 15.

I_medium Sharing this video, just because the words "Anteater Nation" are spoken.

I_medium For the 4th consecutive year, Louisville is college basketball's most valuable team.

The Louisville Cardinals are, for the fourth consecutive year, college basketball's most valuable team. But the team's financial success appears to have ebbed for the first time since 2009. This year Louisville is worth $38.3 million, down a hair from last year's $39.5 million valuation. And while the Cardinals have stalled, much of the field is charging hard. The Kansas Jayhawks, the sport's second-most valuable team, are up 7% to $35.4 million. It's the first time that Louisville's lead on the field has fallen beneath $5 million since the team took the top spot in 2012.

I_medium We is good and we is smart.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's (and CBS') Seth Davis is not feeling great about a Cardinal run this March.

The team I like less than its seed isLouisville. If your bracket pool has a points system that gives higher weight to lower seeds, then it's a good idea to pick an early round upset over a team that you don't think can go far even if they win. The Cardinals limped to the finish line after dismissing their starting point guard, Chris Jones, so I don't see them as getting beyond the Sweet 16. (Actually, I don't even see them getting that far.) So going with UC Irvine (you'll love watching the Anteaters' 7'6" center Mamadou N'Diaye) might be a worthy risk.

I_medium Kyle Kuric wrote a guest post for the fine folks over at Cardinal Sports Zone, and updates fans on his personal life, his career in Spain, and his overseas clashes with Edgar Sosa and Juan Palacios.

I_medium You know, I've been thinking about it, and UC Irvine and Green Bay have kind of similar uniforms, so I'm still not 100 percent convinced that some sort of basketball The Stand situation isn't playing out here.

John Calipari and Randall Flagg are the same person.

I_medium The Chicago Tribune says DePaul needs a young, energetic head coach who can help establish an identity for the program.

That's us. That article is talking about all of us.

I_medium Proving once and for all that we've run out of NCAA Tournament topics for the three days between Selection Sunday and the "start" of the madness, here's Sports Interaction breaking down red state success vs. blue state success in the big dance.

Other interesting Red vs. Blue State facts, since 1985:

  • Red State schools have won 16 titles. Blue States schools have won 14
  • Blue State schools are 8-5 against Red State schools in the title game
  • Three schools have won a national title in this span as both a Blue State and a Red State
    • Duke (Red in 1991, 1992 and 2001. Blue in 2010)
    • North Carolina (Red in 1993 and 2005. Blue in 2009)
    • Kentucky (Red in 2012. Blue in 1996 and 1998)
  • Seven other schools have reached the Final Four as both a Red and Blue State school - Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Villanova
  • Indianapolis has Red feeling Blue. This year will be the sixth time Indianapolis will have hosted the Final Four since 1985. Schools from Red States have only won two of the five titles played there and account for only three of the 10 teams to make the championship game
  • I_medium I have had to live with the evil of Kentucky winning my coin flip bracket for a full year now. That monkey will be tossed off my back (and subsequently stomped to death) this afternoon.

    I_medium ESPN's Myron Medcalf says Louisville is the East Region team with the most to prove.

    I_medium We are few, we are proud, and apparently we all love basketball.

    I_medium Scott Davenport and the Bellarmine Knights will be playing for a spot in the Division-II Elite 8 tonight when they face Indianapolis in the Midwest Regional final at Knights Hall. The 7 p.m. game is sold out, but if you'd rather watch it than the First Four, it will be live-streaming here. The two teams have already met three times this season, with the Knights winning two of those.

    I_medium I'd prefer if this stat were only accurate on the Louisville side of things, but since that's not the case, I'll play the state pride card.

    I_medium Despite losing a pair of nail-biters to No. 3 Boston College and No. 4 Duke last week, the Louisville lacrosse team has moved into the top 10 of the coaches' poll for the first time in program history.

    I_medium Let's get to some March Madness CC kids...

    Powerful and adorable. All of them.

    I_medium ESPN's David Hale looks at the "wealth of options" Bobby Petrino has to work with at quarterback.

    I love that we always have spring football to take the edge off of whatever just happened in the NCAA Tournament. Whether the high of the tourney run was too high or an early upset loss was too low, spring football's always waiting to even us out before Derby time.

    I_medium Let's do this, Ham Man.

    I_medium The U of L softball team is still unbeaten in ACC play after a series sweep of Virginia.

    I_medium It should come as little surprise that the U of L women's team led the ACC in attendance in its first season in the conference. Well done, Cardinal fans:

    I_medium The 8th-ranked Louisville baseball team is currently tied atop the ACC standings at 5-1 after sweeping a weekend series with Boston College. The Cards return to the diamond this afternoon against visiting Purdue. First pitch is slated for noon.

    I_medium I have a good feeling about the way this one's going to turn out.

    I_medium Griffin Uhl can squat 715 pounds. That's more than Andrew Phelps can squat.

    I_medium NBC's Rob Dauster says that Louisville is "the great unknown" of the East region, but believes a round of 64 upset the hands of UC Irvine will not happen.

    Upsets that WON'T happen

  • No. 13 UC Irvine over No. 4 Louisville: I can't see this happening. I know that it's cool to look down on Louisville these days — they might actually be overseeded at a No. 4 — but I can't see Terry Rozier or Montrezl Harrell letting this group lose in the opening round, regardless of how tall Mamadou N'Diaye is (7-foot-6, by the way).
  • I_medium Nothing says "you've made it" like spring breakers you've never met dedicating a video of a guy bonging a beer in a creepy bird mask to you.


    I_medium As much as I'd love for Manhattan and Steve Masiello to be the first 16 seed to ever knock off a 1 in the NCAA Tournament, this quote from Hampton's coach kinda has me hoping they're the ones to do it.

    But Hampton Coach Edward Joyner Jr. had a better idea for how the Pirates could shock the world when asked whether he's thought about facing Kentucky. Divine intervention.

    "I'm going to give you the truthful answer — I believe everybody has thought about that," Joyner said on Monday. "I'd say 1 percent of me has thought about it. And I say (if we do), I'd probably have Jesus on speed dial. I hope he's hot that night, if we play."

    I_medium According to "next generation sports analytic platform" numberFire, Louisville has a 0.27% chance to win the national championship. The Cardinals have a 5.37% chance to win the East, a 15.88% chance to make the Elite 8, and a 60.94% chance to make the Sweet 16.

    I_medium Ken Pom's current prediction for Friday is Louisville 66, UC Irvine 59.

    I_medium Your schedule for this evening:

    Tuesday, March 17 (First Round)

    Game: No. 16 Manhattan vs. No. 16 Hampton, 6:40 p.m., truTV
    Announcers: Brian Anderson/Steve Smith//Lewis Johnson

    Game: No. 11 BYU  vs. No. 11 Ole Miss, 9:10 p.m., truTV
    Announcers: Brian Anderson/Steve Smith//Lewis Johnson

    I_medium And finally, if you haven't yet signed up for the Card Chronicle Bracket Challenge, go on 'head and do that.