—The fourth-ranked U of L women’s basketball team is back in action tonight against Virginia. Both teams are 8-1 and tied atop the ACC standings. Here’s a preview.
—Jeff Greer says that after previous losses to Virginia, it felt like Louisville’s spirit was broken a little bit. But that wasn’t the case last night.
“It’s a learning process for all of us,” senior center Anas Mahmoud said. “We’ve been getting a lot better in the last couple weeks, especially, and we can’t let just one game sweep away and affect anything. ... We’re right there at 6-3. We’re still at the top of the league, and we’re still in it.”
Ah, yes, there’s one other big game left on Louisville’s remaining schedule, too — at home against Virginia on March 1.
And while there’s no doubt Virginia is a national title contender and virtually unbeatable when it shoots like it did on Wednesday, Louisville may not look at the rematch and cringe quite like it did in previous seasons.
Considering how much Virginia fear had crept into the minds of Louisville’s fan base and former head coach, and perhaps its players, that’s actually saying something. After all, it was Rick Pitino who first used the “kryptonite” term to describe Louisville vs. Virginia.
In the meantime, as Mahmoud said in Louisville’s banged-up locker room, the Cards have four winnable home games over the next two weeks and one road game against basement-dwelling Pittsburgh.
That was enough to keep them optimistic as they left Charlottesville.
—Also loved this quote from Anas.
Thought this was a pretty insightful quote from Anas Mahmoud when he was asked about Virginia tonight. pic.twitter.com/r73urhtBdv— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) February 1, 2018
—Louisville football will host a pair of visitors on the final weekend before National Signing Day.
—I would like to officially endorse Russ Smith for president of the University of Louisville.
—The Sporting News has two ACC teams atop its college hoops power rankings.
—Congrats to the U of L men’s soccer trio of Tim Kubel, Adrien Cabon and Tate Schmitt for being named First Team All-Academic ACC.
—At least we made history.
Louisville’s 74-64 loss at Virginia is the Cards’ first loss in school history when shooting at least 50% from the field, 100% from the free throw line, and outrebounding the opponent.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) February 1, 2018
—I was sad to hear that former Philly basketball great Rasual Butler was killed in a car accident yesterday. I was even more sad after reading this great profile on him.
—How good can Asia Durr be? Terrific feature here from Bleacher Report.
Durr is next in line.
“She can be one of the greatest players to have ever played, period,” says Dorian Lee, her long-time trainer, who has worked with WNBA greats like Moore, Chamique Holdsclaw, Cheryl Ford and Swin Cash.
Durr, a guard in her junior year, is making a case against Ohio State. As Terry looks on, she’s jab-stepping, swaying back and forth with in-and-out moves, pulling up two feet beyond the three-point line, casually hopping into the deep treys like they’re layups.
She leaves Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff astonished. “Unbelievable,” he says. “They were all tough shots.” And she finishes with a school-record 47 points, including 13 in overtime, to lead the Cards to a 95-90 upset.
Durr doesn’t smile or gloat after any of her nine three-pointers. She does, however, have a go-to phrase she says silently to herself after each one.
“When you take a shot, and you feel like it’s going in—and it does go in—you say ‘nite nite,’” says Durr. The phrase is also her favorite hashtag on Instagram. “Or when you put someone to sleep, or when you shoot the lights out, you say ‘nite nite.’”
Shooting isn’t her only super power, though.
“I don’t back down. That’s not in my DNA,” Durr says. “It doesn’t have to always be scoring, but I just try to make sure I make a statement and to make my presence known.”
—Our friends at Streaking the Lawn serve up their recap of last night’s game.
—So there’s a kid in New York named Joseph Girard III who plays at the same high school as Jimmer, who is averaging 50.1 ppg, and who just broke Lance Stephenson’s career scoring record for the state of New York despite not even being finished with his junior season. Louisville is one of the schools who have already offered Girard and I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted someone to be a Card more.
I don’t care if he’s a three-star player right now, I will guarantee you that kid puts up numbers in college.
—The case of D.B. Cooper, who committed the only unsolved case of air piracy in U.S. history, has always fascinated to me. The latest development is that he may have been CIA.
—Interesting story in the Chicago Sun Times this morning where Northwestern players and coaches basically admit they got a big head and stopped working hard after last season’s success.
“I kind of knew we weren’t ready,” he told the Sun-Times on Wednesday, a day before the Wildcats’ game at Wisconsin. “We weren’t really prepared to play a good team. We weren’t mentally ready. I don’t think we were in shape physically. I’m still not sure we’re even really in shape now.”
Collins blew it, too. He sensed well before the season started that something was amiss with his team. He chirped — a little too quietly — at his players that they’d lost their “edge,” but what he did about it simply wasn’t enough.
“We went from everybody’s lovable losers to, all of the sudden, everywhere guys went, we’re getting praised, we’re being told everyone’s coming back, we’re going to be great again, we’re going to be even better,” Collins said. “We just fell into all the human-nature things that are normal.”
McIntosh put it more bluntly: “We thought it was going to be a lot easier. It’s been a really tough season. I’m disappointed in how we handled it. It hurts. There’s definitely a lot of regret.”
“Maybe the shock of their first NCAA tournament appearance was just too much for them.”
—Somebody stole Red Panda’s unicycle and they need to be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
—The best ACC dunks of the season so far:
—The crystal ball for former U of L commit Courtney Ramey had been heavily favoring Villanova in recent weeks, but Ramey just canceled his scheduled visit to Nova.
—There are new reports that Lebron James could potentially take his talents to Golden State after this season. James feud with Dan Gilbert continues to highlight the absurdity of modern sports.
—James Scully takes a closer look at the early road to the Kentucky Derby.
—It’s gettin’ there.
Papa John’s Carsinal Stadium expansion update: pic.twitter.com/8oy9SpZubS— Howie Lindsey (@howielindsey) January 31, 2018
—A new lawsuit is alleging that Arizona showed “deliberate indifference” as former Wildcats football player Orlando Bradford beat girlfriends — including one who was a student worker in the athletic department.
—Super blood moons bring out the best in us.
—U of L’s softball unis for the upcoming season are pretty sharp.
—Virginia’s win over Louisville last night was their 13th straight in conference play, which ties a school record.
—This is me at least twice a week.
—Virginia is just the fourth ACC team in the last 15 years to win their first 10 conference games. Two of the other teams that did it — 2008 Duke and 2014 Syracuse — ended up losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The other — 2006 Duke — lost in the Sweet 16.
Only eight ACC teams have ever run the table in league play. The 1998-99 Duke Blue Devils were the last to do it.
—Louisville First, Pettiness Forever.
—Here’s the recap of last night’s game from David Teel of the Daily Press.
—The Cardinal volleyball team placed more players on the ACC’s All-Academic team than any other squad in the league.
A great basketball player, but an even better human being. @GorguiDieng sits down to chat about his life outside of basketball, specifically his passion for farming and investing in agriculture in Africa! pic.twitter.com/NazbWGT6Yw— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 26, 2018
—The U of L baseball team will be hosting scrimmages on Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at noon. All scrimmages are free and open to the public.
—And finally, R&R is on from 3-6 recapping the loss last night and the clouded picture in the ACC behind Virginia. Listen here.