—Spread check: Still no line yet.
—Louisville is all the way up to No. 27 in the updated NET rankings.
—The finalists for the 2018 Piesman Trophy are here.
—Louisville makes the cut for CBS’ annual “Bottom Four Playoff,” featuring the four worst teams in the FBS. Unfortunately (fortunately?), the Cards were knocked off in the semis.
No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 UTEP
Our first game was played at Bottom 25 Field, which is just a dirt patch in the middle of nowhere, and the Cardinals proved to be a bit too much for our defending champions. Louisville won 75 percent of our simulations, winning by an average score of 30-20. Of course, winning isn’t how you advance in The Bottom 25 Playoff. Losers move on while winners are forced to walk home in shame. So, for the second year in a row, the UTEP Miners move on to The Bottom 25 Championship. Who will they play?
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 4 Central Michigan
The Huskies came into the tournament as our favorite but received a stiff test from the Chippewas. In the end, however, the Huskies determination to lose shined through. Central Michigan won 54 percent of the simulations by an average score of 24-21. So the Huskies move on to face our defending champion Miners in the championship game.
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 3 UTEP
UConn was a historic team in 2018, but a championship mindset can’t be learned overnight. The Huskies won 61 percent of our simulations by an average score of 25-22. That means that UTEP is your 2018 Bottom 25 champion, and the first team in the history of the Bottom 25 to win a second title, let alone do it in consecutive seasons.
Congratulations, Miners, and I mean it from the absolute bottom of my heart when I say I hope I never see you here again.
—According to Bruce Feldman, Bryan Brown has agreed to be Scott Satterfield’s defensive coordinator at Louisville. An official announcement is expected early next week. Brown was the defensive coordinator at Appalachian State this past season.
—Love these guys.
—We now know that Kentucky’s Denzil Ware was suspended for last year’s bowl game because he took cash from an agent.
Getting caught taking cash from an agent and throwing a trash can at a rival player during a fight; that’s a hell of a month.
—Former Louisville walk-on Tyler Sharpe is now on scholarship at Northern Kentucky, and is one of the Norse’s most prized assets.
—V.J. King held down the No. 2 spot on SportsCenter’s top plays Wednesday night.
—Even as it’s clearly laying the groundwork for monetizing sports betting, the NCAA denies that it’s doing so. That’s because the NCAA is chock-full of lying liars who lie.
—I spent a little bit of time last night watching the 2003 Louisville-Indiana game that didn’t air live on CBS because of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. It did re-air three times in the succeeding 24 hours though, and I think I watched all three airings.
Freedom Hall was a GD madhouse, and we used to do the C-A-R-D-S cheer way better back then.
Also, what the hell was this?
For shame, 2003 CBS.
—I also watched three seconds from the 2014 Louisville-Indiana game at Madison Square Garden.
Another magical moment.
—Georgia Tech has named Geoff Collins as its new head coach. Collins was formerly the head coach at Temple.
—Danielle Lerner lays out three keys for Louisville if it wants to steal a win at Indiana tomorrow afternoon.
—The logo for the 2020 Final Four in Atlanta was revealed on Thursday.
Had a decent time the last time the Final Four was in Atlanta.
—Former Louisville QB commit Jaden Johnson has now committed to Southern Miss.
—Vince Tyra is earning high marks for landing Scott Satterfield as Louisville’s next football coach.
—Make it out to the Yum Center on Sunday for the Cards vs. the Cats. Should be quite the environment.
Doors open at 12:30 for the 2 p.m. tip, and the game is a “Red Out.”
—So far in 2018-19, Louisville inbounds plays have either gone perfectly or horribly, horribly wrong.
—This is a terrific read on Montrezl Harrell, who continues to show the rest of the NBA that he’s unlike any other player in the league.
“His motor comes from being from the trenches,” Rountree, who currently plays pro basketball in Qatar, says in a phone interview. “Where we’re from, there’s plenty of dudes that can hoop, but there’s no one that plays as hard as him. People love to talk like he’s just a brute and not that skilled, but playing that fucking hard consistently is a skill.”
Rivers has a similar sentiment.
“Energy’s a talent,” he says. “It’s not just an ‘I’m going to play with energy thing,’ because if it were true, everyone would do it.”
Chinanu Onuaku was on the wrong end of that talent as a freshman at Louisville. Onuaku, who now plays for the Charlotte Hornets’ G-League affiliate Greensboro Swarm team, was a freshman when Harrell was a junior on the Cardinals’ 2014-15 roster. Onuaku is as big as Harrell -- ESPN lists him at 6’10,” 245 pounds compared to Harrell at 6’8,” 240 pounds -- but that’s not how Onuaku remembers their first workout.
“He’s just trying to dunk on me, all the time,” Onuaku recalls. “And I was just always falling. Like what else am I supposed to do? You don’t just let somebody dunk on you, but there was nothing I could do. He was just different. He didn’t care that I was a little kid. He still went at me like I was one of the top players in the country.”
The way Harrell attacked Onuaku is the same way he attacks his workouts now. By the time he returns from a 23-minute pregame workout in Brooklyn -- practicing floaters and post moves from all around the court -- he’s dripping in sweat.
“I treat my my workouts just like I do a game,” he says. ”I get myself prepared for the types of things I’ll see in a game.”
—Any NCAA sanctions stemming from the FBI probe into college basketball don’t figure to be handed down before the 2019 NCAA tournament.
—A look back at the impressive season for U of L women’s soccer, which qualified for the ACC tournament for the first time and made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years.
—Eric Crawford takes a look at Scott Satterfield’s first day on the job as Louisville football coach.
—Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples shares his thoughts on the Satterfield hire.
From Dave: What’s your take on Scott Satterfield to Louisville?
I love the hire. I would have loved any school in the South hiring Satterfield, whose handling of Appalachian State’s transition from FCS to FBS was nothing short of phenomenal. After losing five of their first six games as an FBS program in 2014, the Mountaineers have gone 46–11.
How did Appalachian State do this? The same way it succeeded in the FCS. Satterfield and his staff took players who were fast enough to play in the ACC or SEC but were either too short or too light to get scholarship offers from those schools. I’ve laughed at some of the hand-wringing among members of the Louisville fan base about Satterfield’s ability to recruit. He’s been recruiting ACC players for years. It’s just that when he has approached the high school or seven-on-seven coaches of those players, he’s been told “That’s an ACC guy. The one you want is his smaller teammate.” Now, with a Cardinal on his polo shirt, Satterfield will get more attention from that bigger/taller player. He’s a tremendous evaluator, and he knows exactly what he’s looking for. That’s huge for Louisville, which needs to rebuild its roster quickly. It may take a year or two to get that roster restocked, but Satterfield is uniquely qualified to do it.
—In related news, four-star linebacker Jared Casey out of Ballard High committed to Kentucky on Thursday.
—Also in related news ...
We appreciate new UL Coach Satterfield visiting Male High School today. I know his time is extremely valuable right now and for him to make visiting a local Hs a priority after just being hired is a strong statement.— Coach Wolfe (@LMHSCoachWolfe) December 7, 2018
—Tyler Trent’s column for the Indianapolis Star is a must-read.
—Ricky O’Donnell writes about Michigan, which appears fully capable of bringing John Beilein his first national title.
—IU website Inside the Hall previews tomorrow’s game in Bloomington.
—For Cards fans in the Nashville area ...
Join us at @68breno 's newest restaurant, The Ainsworth, to cheer on our Cards with the IU alumni! #GoCards #NashvilleCards #UofLAlumni #theainsworthnashville #BeatIU @UofLAlum @ The… https://t.co/oswBwpi1Sq— Nashville Cardinals (@NashvilleCards) December 6, 2018
—Army and Navy — who will square off on Saturday — have football’s most fascinating 12-month chess match.
—Vernon Carey is headed to Duke, which was in desperate need of a 5-star recruit.
—High school football coaches in Louisville are pumped that Scott Satterfield has said he will have an open door to them. Apparently that wasn’t the case over the last five years.
“High school coaches, the region right here, right here in Louisville, come watch our practices,” Satterfield said. “Our doors are open. The closed doors are no longer. We’re going to open it up.”
U of L has enjoyed plenty of success recruiting Louisville athletes in recent years — Trinity’s James Quick, Ballard’s DeVante Parker and Male’s Keion Wakefield are prominent examples — but several high school coaches said they did not have good relationships with former U of L coach Bobby Petrino.
Moore coach Rob Reader noted the recruitment of highly regarded senior defensive end J.J. Weaver, who recently committed to the University of Kentucky.
“Bobby Petrino never came to our school and we have a four-star defensive end that everybody in the country was after,” Reader said. “He never took the time to drive 10 miles to our school. To hear the new coach opening that back up and being willing to share and build bridges and fix that PR is great. I’m excited for it.”
That is maddening.
—Andy Katz’s latest mock NCAA tournament bracket has Louisville as a 7-seed playing Minnesota in the first round. I’m not going to say that putting together a mock bracket when most teams have an 8 or 9 game sample size is more worthless than buying volcano insurance in Kentucky, I’m just going to think it really hard.
—My guy certainly has the right first name for taking on the role of Louisville quarterback right now.
deWeaver was the QB for East Mississippi Community College (the school from the first two seasons of Last Chance U), which just repeated as junior college national champions.
—Hoosier State of Mind looks at what to expect inside Assembly Hall Saturday afternoon.
—The Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry remains pretty great.
—Lower level seats for Louisville vs. Lipscomb (who is actually pretty damn good) are now available for just 39 bucks.
—The new U of L staff has already reached out to multiple tight end targets.
—This was pretty awesome.
What a moment for Minnesota's Dupree McBrayer last night, who lost his mother Tayra two days prior to cancer pic.twitter.com/5zEwdZNcp1— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) December 6, 2018
—247 Sports breaks down the key matchups in Louisville vs. Indiana.
—And finally, John’s back and we’re talking about a huge weekend in Louisville hoops plus the latest with the new Cardinal football staff from 3-6 this afternoon. Listen here.