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Thursday morning Cardinal news and notes

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When you're still trying to process your first Cards NCAA tournament loss but dad still wants to take a funny picture.

I_medium The U of L baseball team suffered its first loss of the season with a 6-3 defeat Tuesday at Cincinnati. The top-ranked Cards are still tied for the best record in the nation at 19-1. They're back in action Friday at NC State.

I_medium Russ Smith is back in America and back pursuing his dream of playing in the NBA.

I_medium This is very cool to hear.

I_medium Allonzo Trier was suspended for the first 19 games of this season after testing positive for PEDs. Now he's back and could be about to lead Arizona to its first Final Four in 16 years. That's a wild story.

I_medium Updated championship odds from Mr. Bovada:

2017 NCAA Championship - Odds to Win

Kansas                         19/4

North Carolina               5/1

Arizona                         13/2

Gonzaga                       13/2

UCLA                            9/1

Kentucky                      10/1

Florida                          12/1

Baylor                           16/1

Michigan                       16/1

Oregon                         18/1

West Virginia                 18/1

Wisconsin                     18/1

Purdue                          20/1

Butler                            40/1

South Carolina              50/1

Xavier                           75/1

Regional Odds

East Region - Odds to Win

Baylor                           2/1

Florida                          2/1

Wisconsin                     3/1

South Carolina              4/1

Midwest Region - Odds to Win

Kansas                         6/5

Michigan                       5/2

Purdue                          15/4

Oregon                         17/4

South Region - Odds to Win

North Carolina               6/5

Kentucky                      11/4

UCLA                            11/4

Butler                            13/2

West Region - Odds to Win

Arizona                         7/5

Gonzaga                       7/4

West Virginia                 4/1

Xavier                           10/1

Odds to win Tournament MOP

Lonzo Ball (UCLA)                                 13/2

Justin Jackson (North Carolina)              15/2

Frank Mason III (Kansas)                        15/2

Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga)              8/1

Allonzo Trier (Arizona)                            17/2

Josh Jackson (Kansas)                         10/1

Malik Monk (Kentucky)                          10/1

Lauri Markkanen (Arizona)                      15/1

Derrick Walton Jr. (Michigan)                 16/1

Dillon Brooks (Oregon)                          20/1

Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)                       20/1

Joel Berry (North Carolina)                     22/1

Johnathan Motley (Baylor)                     28/1

KeVaughn Allen (Florida)                       44/1

Jevon Carter (West Virginia)                   44/1

T.J. Leaf (UCLA)                                    44/1

Whatever.

I_medium Pretty sure Pitt is on track to return negative scholarship players at this point.

I_medium The coaching staff over at Louisville City FC have signed a new contract that will keep them with the club through 2020.

I_medium Here's everything you need to know about the sneaker war that's raging within March Madness, where Nike is losing its commanding lead.

I_medium Levitch already making up for lost time on Twitter.

I_medium CBS has a new region by region preview of the weekend ahead in the NCAA tournament.

I_medium Tom Crean has made his first public comments since being fired at Indiana.

Since Crean got the news, he's been flooded with text messages and phone calls from former players, coaching colleagues and friends. The advice that resonated most came from a coaching friend: "You have to get over the feelings of failure and betrayal as quick as possible." Crean said he's on his way: "I didn't have any real fear of getting over failure. So obviously you have to get yourself and family over the other one. We're well on the way."

The signs around the Crean house on Monday morning pointed toward moving on. A pile of Indiana University T-shirts and sweatshirts sit near the front door, ready to be donated to a church. The white boxes from Crean's office at Indiana are stacked in the garage, ready for their next destination. The family to-do list includes buying a car this week, as the dealer car needs to be returned.

Crean showed no outward signs of self-pity on Monday. The most emotion showed may have come from a hug from his cleaning lady. For nearly three hours, he leaned forward on his couch and enthusiastically answered questions about the future. He displayed such energy that at one point his wife, Joani, observed that he must have gone to Starbucks that morning. He had. "I love Indiana," he said. "I loved it here. That's not going to change. You can't go loving something every day for nine years and then suddenly hate it."

He added later: "I hope Indiana wins that national championship. And another one. I really do."

I_medium Here's a brief history of Roy Williams' best daggum quotes.

I_medium Savannah Walker, the 20-year-old U of L student who was shot and killed at a concert in town over the weekend, was like a sister to a few Louisville football players.

I_medium Sam Vecenie over at The Sporting News looks at which players have helped and hurt their NBA Draft stock during the NCAA tournament.

I_medium Love the celebration.

I_medium Slam Magazine says Montrezl Harrell might be the biggest sneaker head in the NBA, and they talk to him about it.

I_medium The U of L baseball team's game against Eastern Kentucky that was previously rained out has been rescheduled for April 25.

I_medium Wise beyond his years.

I_medium Eric Musselman says he's staying at Nevada to "avoid the circus at Cal," which is always something you want to hear about your program when you're trying to hire a new coach.

I_medium I have a lot of thoughts about this video.

1. 1987 coach K looks so much like Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High

2. 1987 Denny Crum was so swaggy

3. Can you imagine a Final Four fight today with multiple punches landed where nobody even gets a technical? You would have three or four guys kicked out of the game and suspended for the national title game.

I_medium The mighty Knights of Bellarmine rolled into the Division-II Final Four with a 92-72 win on Wednesday. They'll face top-seeded Fairmont State at 7 p.m. tonight for a spot in Saturday's national championship game. You can watch the game live on CBS Sports Network.

I_medium I will probably watch this.

I_medium Texas A&M's Robert Williams has decided to pass up on being a likely lottery pick in favor of staying in school for one more year. That's an awfully risky play.

I_medium Bad week.

I_medium Twenty-five years later, Dana O'Neill tells the behind the scenes story of the Laettner shot game.

I_medium U of L has been named one of the most beautiful colleges in the United States.

I_medium Via Turner, this year's NCAA tournament has been the most-watched in 24 years.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports' exclusive coverage of the 2017 NCAA Tournament is delivering significant audience increases across all platforms. To date, the Tournament is generating record viewership across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, streaming on NCAA March Madness Live and engagement through social media channels.

Live game coverage across the four Networks on Sunday, March 19, averaged 11.9 million viewers, up +34% from last year (8.9 million), making it the most-watched first Sunday in 24 years (since 1993). Overall, the 2017 NCAA Tournament is the most-watched in 24 years through the first Sunday, with an average of 9,325,000 million viewers, up +10% from 2016 (8,513,000).

Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live (MML) has generated an all-time record 69.1 million live streams through the first Sunday of the tournament, an increase of +24% over last year. NCAA Tournament games garnering the most live streams to date, include: Notre Dame vs. Princeton (5.4 million streams); Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington (4.3 million streams) and Michigan vs. Oklahoma State (4.2 million streams).

Official March Madness social media handles have generated 26 million social engagements across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through Sunday, which is up +20% over the corresponding time period last year.

On Sunday, the networks' coverage delivered significant increases versus a year ago in all four game telecast windows on Sunday

I_medium Ken Pomeroy says the first weekend of the NCAA tournament was both exciting and kind of disappointing.

I_medium Dunk Reaction Kid is back with another jam.

I_medium Next year could be the year for Louisville.

I_medium Big fan of the slow-mo Gatorade pullout.

I_medium Whether you agree with the writer or not, this is really well-done piece arguing that the Woody Hayes/Bobby Knight comparisons should stop.

I_medium I just can't connect with these kids anymore, man.

Also, Xavier and Gonzaga are both done now. They're DONE.

I_medium Footage from the first day of U of L spring practice is here:

I_medium Jordan Davis said going to a football school where nobody cares about basketball was one of his biggest priorities when it came to choosing a college. He chose Alabama. Sorry, Avery.

I_medium And finally, longtime C-J reporter Bob White was robbed of basically everything he owns by his own son, and is now in desperate need of some help. If you have anything to give, I'm sure he would greatly appreciate it.