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Thursday evening Cardinal news and notes

Charlie and Louisa Molter have been waiting all year to watch the Cards get buckets in the big dance.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 8.

I_medium I always go back and forth between whether I'd rather the Cards play their first game of the tournament on Thursday or Friday. On one hand, you always want to have at least one full day of being able to enjoy the tournament with your team still in it. On the other, there's nothing quite like winning on Thursday and then being able to sit back and enjoy the game with the peace of mind that your guys have already advanced. The risk, of course, is that you wind up being Iowa State or Baylor right now.

Either, just win and we're cool.

I_medium *New favorite channel:

*in March

I_medium If social or professional obligations kept you from watching the first handful of tournament games this afternoon, I am so sorry.

I'm not even sure where to start the recap, but .... Kevin Ware's team is still dancing after a miracle comeback, a miracle shot and a tremendous stool fall which may wind up being the best moment of March. The Yum Center rims kept Iowa State from scoring 60 points for the first time in two years, and the Cyclones fell at the hands of another 14 seed, UAB. The Big 12 is 0-3. UCLA is still dancing after one of the most controversial (I still think it's a bad one, although it's certainly more debatable than it appeared at first glance) calls in the history of the tournament.

That's all in one session.

I_medium Before the call at the end of the UCLA/SMU game, the 2015 CC coin flip bracket was set to be a perfect 10-0. It still currently ranks in the 99.9 percentile on ESPN, which means both that Hampton is going to beat Kentucky tonight, and that I wasted my time by watching college basketball religiously for the last four months.

I_medium The defining picture of March so far:

I_medium Louisville loses to UC Irvine when it comes to brackets based on school tuition, enrollment and total applications.

I_medium Other wild tourney facts from the early sessions today: underdogs are 10-0 against the spread, and both games at the Yum Center finished with a score of 60-59.

I_medium Jay Bilas calls Louisville a "legit contender" as Jeff Greer compares this group to the one which made the run to the Final Four in 2012.

I_medium Kevin Ware says he was hoping that Georgia State would draw Louisville on Selection Sunday.

Kevin Ware had one hope headed into Selection Sunday: He wanted hisGeorgia State team to be paired against Louisville.

That would have been quite the story, given their history. But instead, Ware makes his return to the NCAA tournament against Baylor on Thursday in the second round in Jacksonville.

"I was hoping," Ware said Wednesday. "That would have been big, not just the storyline and things like that, but just being the first game in the NCAA tournament. I definitely would have wanted to play them, but we got Baylor, and that's all we're really worried about right now.In the end, the opponent hardly matters. All that really matters is seeing Ware back in the tournament, two years after he suffered a gruesome leg injury while playing for the Cardinals in the Elite Eight against Duke.

"I miss those guys, but it is what it is. Hopefully, they advance and we advance."

I_medium SI's David Gardner looks at the case both for and against Louisville making a run in the NCAA Tournament ... and then says they'll lose to Northern Iowa.

I_medium I have a feeling this one ends poorly for us.

I_medium All four of Sports Illustrated's college hoops writers have Louisville falling to Northern Iowa in the round of 32.

I_medium The great people over at VU Hoops serve up a "pointless statistical preview" of fellow East Region foes Louisville and Virginia.

I_medium We're a Krag away from being No. 2 here.

I_medium Cool idea from the Wall Street Journal, which has a bracket featuring the best game on each line of the tournament from the last 30 years. No U of L games make the cut, but still cool.

I_medium Speaking of the WSJ, writer and Louisville native Dennis Berman talks about his "sold Kentucky home."

I_medium Former Card Grant Donovan is attempting to work his way into the NFL as a long snapper.

I_medium U of L's 2015 tournament media guide cover features Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear:

I_medium Whoops.

I_medium To no one's surprise, Kentucky fans are getting premature championship tattoos again.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team will be making its ACC road debut this week at Notre Dame. Here's your preview of the weekend set.

I_medium Mid-Major Madness previews tomorrow's game and predicts an upset.


This game has all the potential makings of a huge upset: an underrated team that had to work hard just to make it in, a possibly over-confident team and fan base and a legendary coach squaring off against a young coach who's starting to develop his legacy.  Let's go for the stupid upset pick: UC Irvine 52, Louisville 50.

I_medium The Anteaters have been paying attention to all the action today, and it has only made them more confident about the game ahead.

"It kind of proves the point that in March Madness, anyone can win,'" guard Travis Souza said. "It kind of assures us that, although we know it's going to be a big battle out there, we think we have the ability to pull it off."


"Anything can happen in the tournament," guard Alex Young said. "Seeing that score, it kind of gives you a sense of confidence, that anything can be done at this time of the year. But we know Louisville is a great team and we're not going to take them any different than any other opponent."

I_medium Still so insane how obsessed Louisville fans are with Kentucky. I had to get this license plate and show up at their road game against Florida State just to make sure they knew.

I_medium U of L swimmer Kelsi Worrell is doing work.

I_medium We'll have a longer profile on Irvine tomorrow, but for now, here's this single tidbit: The Eaters attempt 16.3 foul shots per game, the fewest of any team in the tournament.

I_medium Eric Crawford serves up 10 fast facts about the Cards in the big dance.

4. As the No. 4 seed, U of L will face the No. 13 seed University of California-Irvine of the Big West Conference. The Cards are 7-1 against 13 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The lone loss came in 2011, when Morehead State became the 23rd 13 seed ever to upset a No. 4 with a 62-61 win over Louisville in Denver.

5. Louisville is 10-0 all-time against teams from the Big West, with wins over UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State (2), Hawai'i (3), UC Riverside, Cal Poly and CSU Northridge. The Cardinals have never played UC Irvine. They are 41-2 against first-time opponents under Rick Pitino.

6. U of L has been a No. 4 seed more than any other NCAA Tournament seed, with this season marking the 10th time. Of the nine previous appearances, the Cards have exited in the second round four times, reached the Sweet 16 five times, and twice (2005 and 2012) advanced onto the Elite Eight and then Final Four.

I_medium Gambling folks say you shouldn't be afraid to throw some money at the Anteaters tomorrow.

I_medium And finally, we've got the video and transcripts from today's media conferences headed your way shortly, but for now, beat UC Irvine.