Happy March, y'all. Here's to a special next four (five?) weeks.
DeJuan Wheat is killing it in his first season as the head coach at Valley. Last night, the Vikings won a game in the 6th Region tournament for the first time since 1999.
Our friends over at Blogger So Dear say this is the biggest basketball game for Wake Forest since 2010.
Wake Forest has come very close to defeating the Cardinals during each of the past two seasons. In 2015, Wake was down just 3 points with 3 minutes remaining before the Cardinals pulled away. Last season, in Louisville, the teams were tied with 3 minutes to play, but Louisville pulled it out in the end. This year, Wake needs to find a way to finish. This is the first meaningful March game since 2010. There have been some other meaningful games in ACC play, like the game against Syracuse in late January of 2014, but this is clearly Wake's best opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament since 2010. For reference, I was a sophomore in college then, and am now just over two months away from earning my MBA. Oh how the time flies.
This is a truly outstanding opportunity for the Deacons, as they will have had a week to prepare for Louisville, while the Cardinals had to focus on Syracuse up until Sunday afternoon. A win will do wonders for Wake's NCAA Tournamet hopes, which will in turn help Danny Manning's recruiting efforts moving forward. A win would mean so much more than a dramatic increase in Wake's NCAA Tournament chances in 2017. I really believe that it would mean that Wake Forest is back where it belongs in the NCAA landscape.
BSD also has a standard preview of tonight's game.
The U of L men's swimming team is in second place after two days of competition at the ACC Championships.
The ACC.com previews the upcoming women's basketball tournament in video form. The fifth-seeded Cards open up play Thursday at 11 a.m. against either Clemson or Virginia Tech.
ESPN's Myron Medcalf gives reasons why each team in the top 10 won't make the Final Four. The U of L blurb is fairly predictable.
Rick Pitino's team is like a python that squeezes opponents for 94 feet. And the Cardinals boast talented athletes such as Donovan Mitchell. They demonstrated their gifts in a 20-point win over Syracuse on Sunday. But that 0-for-5 stretch in the first half? That was Louisville's rickety offensive station wagon that misses a lot of free throws (66 percent from the charity stripe in ACC play) and encounters too many droughts. It's easy to imagine Pitino's team clanking its way to an early exit.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk is transferring for his sixth and final season of college football.
Kent Taylor catches up with Denny Crum, who will be celebrating his 80th birthday on Thursday.
Big fan of this portion of the Q&A:
Bobby Turner told me how you had Muhammad Ali call him and Darrell Griffith during the recruiting process. Was that common?
Oh yeah, in those days you could do that. When we recruited Tony Branch, he was from Michigan City and he was point guard and he was a huge Muhammad Ali fan, and in those days, anybody could call and talk to them. Muhammad had offered to help us and I had him call Tony and he said, "Is this Tony Branch from Michigan City?" He said, "This is Muhammad Ali from Louisville, Kentucky, and if you don't come here and go to school, I'll box your ears." Of course he did and he was a big factor.
For the sneaker heads, Jordan Brand has released special new Air Jordan XXXI Low PEs for California, Georgetown, Marquette, Michigan and North Carolina. You can check out more info here.
The list of 10 Naismith Award finalists has been released, and Donovan Mitchell is not on it.
"We may have lost this game, but I'd like to remind you that my worst corners have been quiet for weeks."https://t.co/qhWMqf1iNx— Supportive Guy (@SupportiveDude) March 1, 2017
U of L recruit Matthew Hurt (2019) exploded for 47 points last night, setting a new single game record at his high school.
Jim Boeheim's son has announced that he will play his college basketball at Cornell, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that the bigger story here to me is that Jim Boeheim has a high school-aged son.
When Duke gets a favorable region on selection Sunday pic.twitter.com/HqzUI43RO6— Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) March 1, 2017
The fact that DePaul once had all of its home games carried on WGN is sort of hard to wrap your mind around. Also, props to the Blue Demons on locking up the No. 10 spot for the Big East Tournament just as fast as 'Nova locked down the top spot. I look forward to "The DePaul" a week from tonight.
Is offense dominating too much in college football? CBS examines.
U of L softballer Hannah Koloski is the ACC Player of the Week. For softball. In case you were confused.
There's an Ohio businessman who spends his free time busting people who cheat at marathons. He is kind of a hero.
The U of L student who wasn't given the 38 grand for his halfcourt shot knew he was ineligible for the prize before he took the court, but U of L is still hooking up with some rewards anyway.
Louisville's chances of making the Final Four according to the Sports Insights bracket simulator are, well, pretty good.
Bobby Petrino spoke openly and honestly with ESPN's Andrea Adelson about what went wrong down the stretch for the Cards in 2016.
Jackson, meanwhile, grew more impatient as it got more difficult to make plays. Because things came so easily in the first half of the season, Jackson tried to do too much down the stretch, believing every time he freelanced or improvised he'd be able to break a big play the way he did in September and October. That also led to some sacks and negative plays that could have been avoided.
"When we went back and really studied it, it was a combination of the offensive line and then Lamar not throwing the ball away, thinking he can make a play with his legs or looking for something big," Petrino said. "That will be something we work on this spring and all pre-fall next year, is the understanding of when to just throw the ball away and that second-and-7 is better than second-and-15. Really understanding the down and distance and situations and patience on when I can make a big play and when I can't make a big play.
"For three-quarters of the year, he's making big plays and he did make big plays out of nothing. He just needed to be a little bit more patient, rely on his teammates a little bit more at the end of the year and take what they give you. That's one of the things: He was pressing a little bit to make big plays and not reading it all the time like he did early in the year."
The good news, of course, is that Louisville does have the Heisman Trophy winner returning in 2017. With the changes he's made, Petrino hopes the Cards avoid what ailed them to close last season.
Matt Norlander of CBS fingers (gross) the six college basketball teams most likely to pull an upset in this year's NCAA Tournament.
Is this the time for the ACC to cash in on a huge TV deal? Probably, yes.
Louisville is No. 6 in the latest top 25 from Baseball America.
U of L is a No. 2 seed squaring off against Winthrop in SB Nation's latest Bracketology.
Congratulations to former Cardinal (and 2011 Hottest Male Athlete in the World tournament award winner) Elisha Justice on leading Pikeville High School to a district championship in his first year as head coach.
The Louisville lacrosse team recently notched the 100th win in program history.
U of L had its best offensive and worst defensive game of the season on the same day (Virginia Tech), which is incredibly rare.
Devin Hairston is still that dude at shortstop.
U of L signee Jordan Nwora is a certified bucket getter. Here's evidence.
Jeff Brohm talks about why he chose Purdue, and what he learned from his experience in the XFL.
With two games to go, Louisville still has a realistic shot at sharing the ACC regular season championship. All the Cards need to do is win out and have Duke beat North Carolina on Saturday night.
What has happened to our old rivals at Charlotte is kind of depressing.
Campus Insiders is rolling with an upset tonight.
Louisville vs. Wake Forest Prediction
It will be Senior Night for the Deacons, and there's a chance that this could be the last game Collins plays in Winston-Salem because he could be a high NBA Draft pick this coming summer. Aided by a last-minute bucket by Collins, Wake gets its ever-elusive signature win, better positioning itself for a tourney berth assuming that there is no major slip-up along the way.
Louisville vs. Wake Forest final score prediction: Wake Forest 74, Louisville 72
Louisville doesn't play a football game for another six months, but The Sporting News is already giving an early overview of the 2017 Cards.
With two games and a trip to Brooklyn remaining, U of L still has an outside shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Wake Forest is not shying away at all from how big tonight is for them.
The Deacons had their cracks against North Carolina (No. 6), Notre Dame (No. 22) and Duke (No. 13), but were unable to seal the deal. A win against the Cardinals (No. 3) would give Wake Forest (16-12, 7-9) at least a fighting chance to scrap its way into the 68-team field.
"It's definitely the thing that's missing from our NCAA resume, that win against a top-25 team," sophomore forward John Collins said. "Obviously we've played games against them, and we've competed with them. Obviously we haven't been able to close out down the stretch, which is one of our problems this year.
"So it's something we need to fix. We have another opportunity (Wednesday). I think it will be our last opportunity until we go up to Brooklyn (for the ACC Tournament) and try to get some wins up there."
Collins said the Deacons' fate is in in their own hands, knowing a win against Louisville would do wonders for their NCAA Tournament aspirations.
"We're going to come out and get a win," Collins said. "We're at home. Louisville is a great team, very lengthy, very good on defense — a defensive oriented team. Obviously they've got Donovan Mitchell on the one hand, an All-ACC guy. So it's going to be a good matchup."
Pretty definitive statement there, John.
R&R is live from 3-6 at Molly Malone's in St. Matthews getting you ready for tonight's game. Come by and casually sip a drink right in front of us knowing full well that we can't partake. Or listen online.