—There has been lots of reaction to this Bloomberg piece on Louisville basketball, most notably to the brief mention of Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich pushing back against the idea of an NBA franchise coming to the city in 2002.
The piece is loaded with concerning things, most of which we already knew, but the “Pitino/Jurich kept the NBA from coming” narrative seems to have exploded.
1. Kentucky fans painting the situation as "UofL powers are the sole reason the city doesn't have an NBA team" is fresh. The man most closely tied to the NBA2Lou movement said last month that his biggest obstacle in recent years has been the powers that be in the state refusing to have an NBA team play in the KFC Yum Center because it's "so tied to Louisville basketball." He acknowledged the pushback from UofL powers over the years but identified "this stupid rivalry" as the primary reason his dream hasn't come to fruition.
2. The outrage over the re-hashing of shit everyone already knew (or at least should have known) has been the strangest part about the last two months. Any day now I'm expecting this area to be set on fire by a 15,000 word expose on how bad a head coach Steve Kragthorpe was.
3. The notion that “if Rick Pitino didn’t want the NBA in Louisville then we shouldn’t even try” seems a bit far-fetched. Pitino was coming off his first season at U of L, which had ended in the NIT. The Cardinals hadn’t been to the tournament in three years and hadn’t been to a Final Four in 17 years. I get that Pitino was still a big national name, but if the NBA really wanted to come to Louisville, then it’s for me to envision Pitino wielding enough power to keep that from happening.
If Rick did have that type of power, he should have used it to keep a lot of stuff that happened in the 15 years that followed from coming to light.
—Hey, with that out of the way, I spent the morning recapping everything about the first month of the 2017-18 college basketball season.
—We need to start hammering down permanent everythings, and you’d think that would start with president, whether it’s Postel or somebody else.
.@Postel_UofL wants to begin national search for permanent replacement for Tom Jurich. Coaching decisions need to be made in coming year and recruiting coaches is difficult without permanent Athletic Director, he says— Chris Otts (@christopherotts) December 14, 2017
He’s right, though. We need a permanent athletic director so we can have a permanent men’s basketball coach so we can have a (semi) permanent recruiting pitch. Until then, it’s going to be impossible to convince any 17 or 18-year-old kid that it’s in their best interest to come here and play basketball.
—Shoutout to Evan for growing up a Cardinal.
—Louisville is one of six preseason top 25 teams that currently finds itself unranked. The Sporting News looks at how that happened and what each of those teams can do to get a little number next to their names again.
Preseason rank: No. 16
Key results: lost to Purdue, Seton Hall
What’s gone wrong: Really, not as much as some other teams. It has been no shame to lose to two high-quality, senior-rich teams, both in close contests. That the Cardinals are out of the top 25 has little consequence relative to the outcome of their season. Where they lacked in the two defeats was in late-game execution, most notably in surrendering an offensive rebound to Purdue guard Carsen Edwards with 1:27 left and a two-point U of L deficit. The Cards then allowed a layup to Vincent Edwards and wound up being outscored 10-3 in the final minute.
What can be fixed: What they do need is more consistent contribution from their young bench, as when backup center Malik Williams nailed three first-half 3-pointers in a home victory over Indiana. Just about every key reserve is a freshman, and none is an elite prospect whose ability along might get Louisville through some crucial minutes. Players such as forward Jordan Nwora and guard Darius Perry need the confidence that comes with experience. The Cards also need to find a confident secondary scorer to support wing Deng Adel.
What’s next: The Cardinals get old rival Memphis at noon Saturday, then two home games on the way to the Dec. 29 trip to Kentucky. But one of those, a Dec. 23 game against Grand Canyon (7-2), could be tricky.
—Bovada’s college bowl game numbers indicate that 78 percent of the money that has been wagered on the TaxSlayer Bowl has been bet on Louisville.
Louisville -7 78%
Mississippi State +7 22%
The five most popular bowl bets?
1) Oklahoma State -6 93%
2) Troy -7 90%
3) SMU -5 87%
4) Colorado State -5.5 82%
5) South Florida -3 81%
Bovada also sets the over/under on ACC bowl wins at 5.5.
Conference Bowl Props
2017-2018 Bowl Season - Total Bowl Wins ACC
—Western Kentucky lost at Wisconsin last night on one of the most B.S. late game calls you’re ever going to see.
—This is a vicious social media takedown from the Iowa guard.
—Bilal Powell is among the former and current student athletes who received their college degrees Wednesday night.
—Three-star DT picks Louisville over Ole Miss and Arkansas, among others.
—Both Asia Durr and Angel McCoughtry have been named to 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team Pool.
—The U of L lacrosse team has released its 2018 schedule.
—Donovan Mitchell overtook Ben Simmons last night as the rookie leader in points per game. He also did this:
Donovan Mitchell, folks. This draft class is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/r5Vg8PXPwb— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) December 14, 2017
—There are still tickets available for Sunday’s Louisville-Kentucky women’s basketball game in Lexington.
—In shocking news, it looks like Duke is going to have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for 2018.
—The AP’s Ralph Russo gives you a reason to watch all 40 bowl games. You can probably guess the gist of the TaxSlayer Bowl argument.
Saturday, Dec. 30
TaxSlayer Bowl at Jacksonville, Florida
Louisville (minus 6 ½) vs. Mississippi State, Noon (ESPN)
Why watch? We will miss Louisville's Lamar Jackson when he is gone from college football and some bad NFL team is having him throw 3-yard outs on third-and-5.
—Welcome to the party, little one.
—Congrats to U of L QB commit Jordan Travis on being named the state of Florida’s Class 3-A Player of the Year and on being named a finalist for Mr. Football.
—Mekhi Becton has been named a Freshman All-American by 247 Sports.
—And finally, R&R has Dr. Ricky Jones on at 3:30 to talk about the state of U of L, and Gary Parrish on at 4:10 to talk Memphis and Saturday’s game in the Big Apple. Listen here.