—Louisville-Alabama tickets are officially on sale.
—These things are always loaded with a bunch of cool stuff.
Want authentic Louisville athletic gear at a great price?— Louisville Athletics (@GoCards) May 14, 2018
Here's your chance.
️ Sat, May 19
Football Parking Lot near Central Ave. pic.twitter.com/60EY7VGIlp
—There’s never been a more lucrative time to be a second round NBA draft pick, which is part of the reason we keep seeing a record number of early entries. Another part of that is that there’s also never been a more lucrative time to be an overseas professional basketball player.
—The U of L men’s track and field team finished fourth and the women’s team finished fifth at the ACC championships.
—This is awesome.
The next class of managers have some large shoes to fill.
—Yesterday was the 30-year anniversary of the Carrollton bus crash, and the Courier Journal has a lengthy feature that includes the stories of a handful of the survivors.
—Congrats to U of L rower Violette Legrand on being named ACC Freshman of the Year.
—Pat Forde writes about why Chris Mack was willing to take a risk on Louisville.
Not long ago, another Power Five conference program with considerable resources and tradition made a run at Chris Mack. The Xavier coach was on vacation with his family in Turks and Caicos at the time of the call. His response: “Thanks, no thanks. Let’s go to the beach.”
“I think people would be surprised if they knew some of the opportunities we let come and go,” Mack said, declining to identify the school that couldn’t even get him to put off snorkeling long enough to consider its job. “They didn’t move the needle at all.”
So why did Louisville, coming off one major NCAA investigation and now toiling under the looming cloud of another, spike the needle on Mack’s personal coaching seismograph? Why is a program that was rocked by a stripper scandal, shaken by complete leadership turnover and implicated in the federal investigation of college basketball the place Mack couldn’t turn down? Why should a coach with eight NCAA appearances in nine years, four Sweet 16 appearances, a No. 1 tourney seed and a Big East title take on the leaning tower of risk that is Louisville?
Because it’s a bedrock basketball school with all the advantages of a football school. It’s one of the few places that cashes major-conference revenue checks and still cares more about hoops than anything else. If you’re a basketball coach and want to be king, Louisville is one of maybe half a dozen Power Five addresses where you can do it.
“I always wanted to take that next step at a place that truly cared about basketball,” Mack said. “Sometimes coaches talk among themselves about being at a place where football is more important and they leave you alone. I don’t know. At Xavier, we were at the forefront — basketball was it. I didn’t want to go to a place where they didn’t necessarily passionately care about basketball. That’s no disrespect to football at Louisville, which has been great, but there’s a huge commitment to basketball. And I always thought the ACC was the best basketball conference in the country.
“Really, there aren’t many Louisvilles out there.”
—Donations to Loyola-Chicago are up 660 percent, which I’m sure is just a coincidence.
—It was an up-and-down first day at the Columbus Regional for the U of L men’s golf team.
—The Dr. Neeli Bendapudi era at U of L begins on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is Dr. Neeli Bendapudi’s first day as president. LET'S GIVE HER A LOUISVILLE ALUMNI WELCOME ! Share your words of welcome and encouragement using the hashtags: #WelcomeNeeli and #WeAreUofL. Join us live on social media tomorrow at 7:45am, as we welcome her! pic.twitter.com/4CeHZVW5WJ— Louisville Alumni (@UofLAlum) May 14, 2018
—There are less than 40 spots available for this summer’s U of L soccer camps.
—John Cassillo over at TNIAAM shares the beautiful letter he wrote to his brother before cancer took him at the way too young age at 28. Among many other things, it’s a great reminder at the start of a new week to complain less and appreciate more.
—This is pretty great from signing day at Iroquois High School.
Coming up in 20 minutes, @IroqHSsports held its football signing day this afternoon. A day players said they never could envision when they were bouncing around in foster care or being arrested. The work being done within those walls is truly inspiring. @WLKY pic.twitter.com/zMcktesiO2— Dan Koob (@DanKoob_WLKY) May 11, 2018
—Many of the Celtics fans who blasted the Terry Rozier pick on draft night three years ago have significantly changed their tune.
—At least one NBA scout thinks Louisville made a terrific hire.
1. NBA Scout Salutes Chris Mack
For weeks I’ve called NBA scouts to collect their takes on Louisville forwards Raymond Spalding and Deng Adel as well as the string of Kentucky players who have made themselves eligible for the NBA Draft.
But one scout wanted to discuss more than the players. He wanted to discuss Louisville’s new basketball coach — Chris Mack.
”They got a really good one,” the scout said. “Really good. Give him a couple years and he’s going to win big there. He’s that good.”
The scout said he routinely worked at least a half-dozen Xavier games during Mack’s nine-year run at Xavier. What impressed him wasn’t the Number One seed Xavier earned during the 2018 season.
”Look back at that 2017 season,” he said. “He lost his point guard (Edmond Sumner) at the beginning of February. They lost something like six or seven (it was six) games in a row. People thought they were finished.
”But he held that team together and figured it out and then he took them to the Elite Eight. His teams play tough. They play physical. And they always play hard. Other than Jay Wright (of Villanova), there wasn’t anybody better in that league.”
—The Carrier Dome is getting some much-needed renovations, including air conditioning.
—The one-and-done rule gives us the entertainment value of sensational freshmen playing for blue-chip programs. But is it giving the NBA much value in terms of player evaluation? Not lately.
—The latest SB Nation mock NBA draft has Luka Doncic going No. 1.
—A much-deserved promotion for Brendan McKay.
—Kentucky has the 9th-biggest drug problem of America’s 50 states.
—Alabama’s 247 Sports site takes a quick early look at Louisville.
—Churchill Downs is fully prepared to pounce if Kentucky ever approves sports gambling.
—Tweet of the year so far.
—Lamar Jackson plans to use his first NFL paycheck to buy a house in Baltimore.
—Jeff Borzello wonders aloud whether or not Chris Mack will be able to handle the recruiting challenges Louisville is facing.
—The best moment of tennis’ clay court season already happened.
Play it cool Rodney.......play it cool...... pic.twitter.com/xfwQBtDVzJ— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) May 14, 2018
—Packers Wire presents all seven of Jaire Alexander’s college interceptions.
—As much as I like to give Levitch crap, he’s killing it right now and his picks made me some coin at the track on Mother’s Day.
I will be offering a package for this week. Churchill and Belmont everyday but you also get Friday and Saturday at Pimlico for the two big days(Preakness Saturday). https://t.co/w9p01jXXXo! the sheets will be sent via Email. Just $20 bucks for 9 sheets ! Only available till Weds— David Levitch (@D_Lev23) May 14, 2018
—Ten things under $5 you can do in Louisville this week.
—Ramsey & Rutherford is one of three finalists in Louisville Magazine’s “Best Call-In Radio Show” for its Best of Louisville awards. They did away with the “Best Website” award, but whatever, I’m not bitter.
—And finally, the Louisville baseball team is back at Jim Patterson Stadium tonight at 6 for its final non-conference game of the regular season. Here’s a preview of the Cards vs. Indiana.