—The 13th-ranked Louisville baseball team stayed undefeated with a weekend sweep of Youngstown State.
—Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology has Louisville as one of the last four teams in.
—Saturday was extra special for Dwayne Sutton.
As he walked onto the Cassell Coliseum floor just after 1 p.m. Saturday, memories rushed into Dwayne Sutton’s mind.
The Manual High grad, starting for his hometown university for the first time, remembered the day he brought his tall, awkward pal Ray Spalding to his first fourth-grade AAU practice. He remembered watching the Louisville Cardinals, dreaming of playing point guard for them until a growth spurt made him a 6-foot-5 small forward.
It was only a fleeting moment, Sutton said. There was business at hand, and the redshirt sophomore took care of it. In Louisville’s biggest game of the season, a must-win for NCAA Tournament purposes, Sutton delivered season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (11) to help the Cards notch a 75-68 win at Virginia Tech.
And he did it alongside Spalding, a Trinity High alum, and Quentin Snider, a Ballard High graduate.
”I was just happy to get out there and help my team win any way that I could,” Sutton said. “I tried to just play free and play with confidence.”
Saturday’s game was the first since 1994 that Louisville started three players from city high schools, according to the school. And it was probably overdue, interim Cards coach David Padgett said.
—Former Louisville assistant Dan McHale has been fired after three unsuccessful seasons at Eastern Kentucky. Reece Gaines will serve as the program’s acting head coach until a full-time replacement can be found.
—The Athletic has a good read where coaches give an anonymous scouting report on the other teams in their conference. Some of the ACC ones are very interesting.
Louisville: “Padgett is doing a good job getting them to play hard, but when you have a force of nature like Pitino as the coach and he leaves, it’s just a hard spot. They’re long and extremely athletic. Their point guard play isn’t great. Snider was better two years ago. It seems like he used to be quicker. Spalding and Mahmoud are so long. They won’t be an easy team to play in the tournament on one day’s prep because it’s hard to prepare for their length. You have to keep Adel in check and not let him get off scoring on drives and hitting 3s. V.J. King is a disappointment. He was a McDonald’s All-American; he needs to be better for them to be an elite team.”
—Lamar Jackson is heading to the NFL Combine this week but he still hasn’t found an agent.
—And just like that, U of L’s 2019 QB commit may have become my new favorite player.
Squirt for new U of L President.
—Western Kentucky’s home attendance was the highest it’s been in a decade. Winning does that.
—Some of the greatest college football and basketball games of the last 30 years never happened according to the NCAA. Here are the 11 best, a list that includes Louisville-Michigan.
—Michael Porter may not be playing, but at least he’s spending his time on the bench getting better.
—The U of L softball team wrapped up its weekend with a 4-3 win over Harvard. I am contractually obligated to write “How you like them apples?” in this spot, so how you like them apples?
—BYU’s T.J. Haws hurting his ankle and then flipping out and telling the Portland crowd to “SHUT THE EFF UP!” might be my favorite video of the college hoops season.
—Shoutout to Dundee Tavern.
—The U of L men’s golf season is kicking off this week in Louisiana.
—If you’re looking for proof that sports can still be good, Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon gave you that last night.
Jordan Bohannon looked into Section KK at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to make eye contact with his older brother, Zach, to confirm one last time: The plan they had discussed was still in motion.
Iowa’s sophomore guard would intentionally miss a free throw, even with the Hawkeyes nursing a late lead in their regular-season finale against Northwestern.
And with one short-armed attempt, Bohannon’s mission was complete. He had ensured his name would be next to — not in place of — that of Iowa legend Chris Street in the Hawkeye basketball record book.
“It’s been in my mind for a while,” Bohannon said afterward. “I knew I wanted to leave it short a little bit. I didn’t want to make it too obvious.”
Having made 34 consecutive free throws to tie Street’s school record, Bohannon stepped to the foul line with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining with Iowa leading, 73-65. He left the shot short, off the front rim, and pointed to the sky.
It was a touching tribute from one Iowa-born Hawkeye to another. Street never got a chance to extend his streak to 35. He was killed in a car accident Jan. 19, 1993 — three days after his final game, a 65-56 loss at Duke during Street’s junior season at Iowa in which he made both free throws he tried.
Afterward, Mike and Patty Street — Chris’ parents, who are season-ticket holders — embraced Jordan on the Carver-Hawkeye floor. Patty Street was moved to tears by the gesture.
—If I ever run for office, I want Mick Cronin as my campaign spokesperson.
Cronin response to DEFENSE slipping the last few games: "I don't know what people expect. I'm allowed to answer you however I want and I'm going to give you a stat. Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville this year combined for 32 losses. Tell me how long it's taken us to lose 32 games" pic.twitter.com/MBv9ERvWQ3— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) February 25, 2018
“I don’t know what people expect. Sure Mike has no government experience, but do you know how many murders have happened under the watch of the mayors of Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Nashville? A TON.”
—Are you confused about why the FBI is now carrying out NCAA investigations? You are not alone. Here’s a little FAQ on the actual crimes the feds are alleging.
Do these cases mean that paying players, in general, is illegal?
Not on its own. There are plenty of ways a payment can become illegal, though, such as if the people making it launder that money or defraud others in the course of the transaction. That’s clearly how the FBI and Justice Department approached these cases.
How does this all work out for the NCAA itself?
The NCAA gets to wage a high-profile fight and publicly express its outrage about an underground economy its own rules created. It also gets to have the freaking FBI, with subpoena power and all the resources of the federal government, do its investigating.
The NCAA gets to have a robust investigation of something it hates more than anything else: players getting paid for their athletic ability. And it doesn’t even have to do the work!
Later on, the NCAA can punish whatever wrongdoing the FBI finds, which it probably will.
Is the federal investigation going to stop players from getting paid under the table and lead to a new era of rigorous NCAA compliance?
—Their beyond the arc contributions during the game’s most crucial stretch were obviously huge on Saturday, but watch these defensive efforts from Dwayne Sutton and Darius Perry during the heart of the Louisville run.
Making the guy with the ball in his hands uncomfortable by applying that type of pressure (effectively) is something this team has struggled with. It’s not enough to just be in front of your guy with a hand up, as we saw in the preceding stretch of games where teams lit us up from the outside.
This is why I think if you’re going to stick with mostly man defense (which it looks like Louisville is), you have to keep rolling with both Perry and Sutton for extended stretches against good offensive teams. They’re the best defenders on the team when it comes to providing ball pressure without running the risk of getting beat off the bounce.
—I enjoyed this.
BREAKING — Kevin Stallings caught by FBI offering $100,000 to anyone who would attend a Pitt basketball game https://t.co/YwASizp8yM— SportsPickle (@sportspickle) February 24, 2018
—Another top University of Louisville donor is withdrawing his multimillion-dollar pledge to the school.
Still listed among the top-tiers donors of the Cardinal Athletic Fund, Bruce Perkins has decided to let his status as a “Louisville Legend” lapse.
The former Humana executive, a member of the University of Louisville’s class of 1976, notified the school’s office of advancement last month that he was pulling his multimillion-dollar pledges because of “extreme dissatisfaction with current leadership.”
In a letter dated Jan. 4, Perkins informed U of L fundraisers that he was amending a revocable trust to eliminate bequests to the Cardinal Athletic Fund and the College of Business; that he had decided against a contemplated $1 million charitable remainder unitrust; and that the current value of those bequests would have resulted in gifts worth approximately $5 million. The letter was copied to board chairman J. David Grissom and interim president Greg Postel and signed by attorney Michael Maier.
Nah, everything’s goin’ great.
—David Padgett talks about the loss of his brother in law, who passed away Wednesday night after a lengthy bout with cancer.
—Michael Vick continues to sing the praises of Lamar Jackson.
—Reid Forgrave of CBS says the 2012-13 Louisville Cardinals were one of the most inspirational teams he ever covered, but in the end, they broke his heart.
—Virginia’s defense held Pitt to seven first half points on Saturday. Tony Bennett still didn’t think that was good enough.
After NCAA decisions on U of L and UNC, they have said to every college: don’t cooperate, don’t tell the truth, don’t self impose penalties, stonewall forever. Sad.— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) February 22, 2018
—Believe it or not, conference tournament play actually gets underway tonight with the quarterfinals in the Atlantic Sun. Dunk City is once again the favorite there.
—We learned last week that basketball agents reportedly failed to sign a bunch of players they paid. That’s the cost of doing business.
—Everything is the NCAA’s fault.
—Southern Pigskin’s pre-combine mock draft has Lamar Jackson going No. 1 overall to the Browns.
—This was awesome:
—Bad NFL Draft takes are back, and a lot of them involve Lamar Jackson.
—Via Kelly Dickey, here’s what the ACC tournament bracket would look like if the Sagarin favorite wins each of the last 14 games in the conference:
I’m still calling this: Louisville is going to wind up playing Notre Dame with the Irish at full strength for the first time since December. I don’t want any part of Brooklyn Bonzie.
—And finally, R&R is back this afternoon from 3-6 recapping all the madness of the weekend that was and looking ahead to the final week of the college basketball regular season. You can listen here.