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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Zachary got a birthday last week and the Cards in the NCAA tournament this week. Not a bad March.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 20.

I_medium 'Tis the season for NCAA tournament podcasts. I talk about Louisville's draw and chances with Jeff Greer here, and about the overall bracket as well as some NCAA tournament memories with The Sporting News' Sam Vecenie here.

I_medium If you're outside the city and watching the games Friday and/or Sunday with fellow Louisville fans somewhere, shoot me your locations at MikeRuth5@aol.com so they can be included on a "Where We're Watching" post before (hopefully) both games.

I_medium Matt Norlander lists the five first round games he's most excited to watch, headlined by Dayton vs. Wichita State.

I_medium As NCAA money continues to trickle down, even tennis coaches are now making more than university professors.

Most college teams lose money, but as basketball revenues soar, so do salaries for coaches of lower-profile sports. The Washington Post's Will Hobson reports: In a city where investment bankers and coal magnates pay $10,000 or more for University of Kentucky men's basketball season tickets, head coach of the Wildcats has long been a high-pressure job with rich financial rewards.

In 2006, former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith made $2.6 million. In the decade that followed, as Kentucky athletics earnings climbed from $68 million to $132 million, pay for the leader of its flagship team skyrocketed. In 2016, John Calipari made $8.6 million, an amount Kentucky officials justify as fair market value for a coach whose team will generate tens of millions of dollars.

But as more money has surged into Kentucky athletics, records show, Calipari isn't the only coach cashing in, as the athletes remain amateurs. From 2006 to 2016, pay for Kentucky's track and field coach climbed from $108,000 to $429,000; men's tennis coach pay jumped from $122,000 to $230,000; and gymnastics coach pay rose from $112,000 to $252,000. Every coach made more than the school's average full professor's salary. In a phenomenon playing out across the country, salaries are soaring for coaches of lower-profile college sports largely subsidized by lucrative football and men's basketball, whose annual national tournament opens Tuesday.

I_medium A bracket filled out entirely by mascots has Louisville taking out Jacksonville State before falling to Oklahoma State.

I_medium To no one's surprise, Indy is one of the hottest tickets of this NCAA tournament.

I_medium For the first time in NCAA Tournament first round history, the 16 teams seeded 1-4 are favored by more than eight points. Of those teams, Purdue is the only one not favored by double-digits as it is currently a 9.5-point favorite over Vermont.

I_medium Former Dayton and Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory has been hired at South Florida.

I_medium Gary Parrish says Kansas has the easiest road to the Final Four.

THE SIMPLEST: KANSAS

The Jayhawks will play either North Carolina Central or UC Davis in the Round of 64 and would then have possible meetings with Miami, Purdue and Louisville. So Kansas' path to the Final Four could include a game against the seventh-place ACC team that's lost three of its past four games (Miami), a game against a team that won the Big Ten but is just 2-2 in its past four games (Purdue), and a game against a team that tied for second in the ACC but is 2-3 in its past five games (Louisville). To be clear, there's nothing simple about Louisville. And I do love Purdue's Caleb Swanigan. But I'd much rather have this potential path than any of the others. That's why I think Kansas is the "safest" pick to get to the Final Four -- although none of the 1-seeds are as safe as, say, Kentucky was in 2015.

I_medium Some tournament nuggets to know before you fill out your "official" bracket.

I_medium "New Louie" has only been around for about three months and he's already on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That has to be some sort of record.

Also, shoutout to SI for their work at the bottom here:

Golden.

I_medium The 93.9 The Ville bracket challenge is here. Enter and you could win a buttload of prizes including a 65 inch TV.

I_medium That feeling when you realize immediately that you have made an enormous mistake on national television.

I_medium A Brazilian soccer club signed a goalkeeper who was just released from prison after seven years for killing his girlfriend and feeding her remains to his dogs. Understandably, there is outrage throughout the country.

Seven years? The f--k?

I_medium Vote for the U of L managers here and help them beat UK. They already stomped the Wildcat managers on the court back in December, so we know they deserve to move on.

I_medium Card Chronicle Coin Flip Bracket 2017 is going down TONIGHT, and I couldn't be more excited. The last three years, the coin flip bracket has produced at least one Final Four team, including its national champion pick (Syracuse) last year. I'll share the results on Twitter when it goes down, and then here on tomorrow's news and notes post.

I_medium CBS looks at the fatal flaw of each of the 10 teams they say have realistic chances to win the national title.

Midwest No. 2 Louisville: Free throws and foul trouble. The Cardinals shoot 68.5 percent from the line, which ranks 236th in the country. The Cardinals have six players who commit more than four fouls per 40 minutes. The defense is aggressive but you'll die by a hundred knife stabs if you put your opponent on the line that much. Do that on top of missing free throws, and it's a miserable way to go. It's probably what will do in Louisville.

I_medium Bleacher Report says that while all the attention this week has been on Michigan, Oklahoma State is actually the safer bet to advance and face Louisville in round two.

I_medium Stat guru Ken Pomeroy examines the way that the NCAA abuses statistics to stack the deck against the little guy in college basketball.

I_medium The Huffington Post has a good read on what it's like for Marcus Paige to forever be the guy who hit "the shot before the shot."

I_medium I have to give a shoutout to my girl Paula, who dropped by Cross Chrysler before our show last week to drop off a candy care package to get me through this month.

You are the best. The first package of (original) Starburst jelly beans gets cracked open on Friday. Hopefully there will be several more to follow.

I_medium Here are ten under the radar college hoops players who could become household names by this weekend.

I_medium Traveling to watch your kid play in the NCAA tournament is costly, but the NCAA has taken steps in recent years to help out.

I_medium Iowa State's Deonte Burton threw down maybe the biggest dunk of the season over the weekend, and I love this kid who responded by busting out the "KEONTA VERNON" voice.

I_medium Tomahawk Nation looks at the economics of the NCAA tournament, which shows that it pays (literally) for your conference to have success.

I_medium Seth Davis of SI breaks down every region, and says he thought long and hard about having Michigan upset Louisville, but couldn't pull the trigger.

I_medium This is very cool.

I_medium Pat Forde serves up 16 things to know about the Midwest Region.

I_medium If you've ever thought about purchasing a U of L bourbon barrel, now is the perfect time.

I_medium The Sporting News counts down the 50 greatest first round upsets in tournament history.

I_medium Brendan McKay is your ACC Pitcher of the Week.

I_medium CBS says both Louisville and Oregon got rough second round draws, and likes Kansas to come out of the Midwest.

I_medium Nailed it.

I_medium Gary Parrish gives us 68 reasons why this bracket is set up to give us a terrific tournament.

I_medium If you want to feel better about Louisville's shot at winning a national title, read this Luke Winn piece which is loaded with college basketball nerd math.

2. Who fits the profile in 2017?

I took the 10 teams with the best title (gambling) odds on 5Dimes.com and analyzed their profiles using the same kenpom metrics from the previous chart. The light-green cells are where they have a close fit, the light reds are slight red flags, and the darker reds are bigger red flags.

I_medium Another profile of a champion that Louisville fits.

I_medium And finally, R&R is live at the Sports & Social Club on 4th Street from 3-6 where you can once again stop by, fill out a bracket, get a free t-shirt, and also enter to have a shot at winning a new TV and a host of other prizes. Jeff Walz, Dan McDonnell and RAY HARPER will be on the show. Listen here.