—Spread check: Louisville by 6.
—A big, big thanks to all those who helped us earn Best Local Blog, Best Twitter Account and Best Local Writer in the annual Leo Readers’ Choice awards. You can check out the full list of award winners here.
—Louisville will be hosting a not-so-secret closed scrimmage against Ohio State on Oct. 20.
While we’re at the Big Ten media day, might as well put out the Big Ten secret scrimmage list. pic.twitter.com/reL0EWeb2Q— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) October 2, 2019
I sort of figured this was going to be the case when there was only one exhibition listed on the schedule, but I’m glad to see it confirmed. Ohio State is a very solid opponent for something like this, and Louisville having to figure out how to defend Kaleb Wesson without the services of Malik Williams should be a solid early learning experience.
No one besides the actual staff and players are allowed to attend these scrimmages, but the winning team usually leaks some of the details to Jeff Goodman or Jon Rothstein afterwards. I’d expect that to happen here.
—The Utah Jazz need Donovan Mitchell to be a superstar in year three. Mike Prada writes about how the former Card can make that happen.
—After visiting Nebraska, three-star prospect Ronald Delancy is backing off of his commitment to Louisville.
No hard feelings respect my decision ♂️ .... pic.twitter.com/eqqLcDIdem— Ronald Delancy III ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@_TherealkingRjj) October 2, 2019
—Sports Business Daily ranks Louisville as the 13th-best minor league market in America.
—In related news, the Louisville Bats have been nominated for the Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award, presented annually to a team or individual in Minor League Baseball for outstanding support of the United States Armed Forces and veterans.
—Penny Hardaway is now openly predicting (Athletic link) that Memphis State is going to win the national title this season.
The University of Memphis won 22 games last year, lost in the second round of the NIT, and here sits Penny Hardaway inside the glass-walled conference room outside of his office, talking unabashedly about winning a national championship. Not eventually, mind you. No, he’s talking about this season, about lifting the trophy over his head inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on April 6, 2020. It’s not a premonition, he explains. It’s more a sixth sense. The same gift that in 1995 made him certain Orlando would reach the NBA finals when the Magic acquired Horace Grant, has him convinced his untested, unproven and woefully young Tigers will win it all.
“What do I know?” he says. “I know when I have something special. When I see this group in action, see their abilities, I know what’s at stake and I know what’s out there. The teams like Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, all the usual suspects. I’ve studied the film. I know who they are, but when I look at this group, I just say to myself, ‘We’re going to win a national championship.’ That’s what I know.’’
It is mentioned to Hardaway that such boasting simply is not done in polite basketball circles, not even by coaches who have won a few national championships, let alone one who has coached exactly 36 games in his career — and none in the NCAA Tournament. Hardaway considers the breach of basketball etiquette and shrugs. “I don’t do coach-speak,’’ he says, dismissing others who, he says, “like to undersell and over-deliver to make themselves look better.’’ If he believes, as he does, that his Tigers have everything they need —talent, depth, staff — to win it all, why not say as much? Sitting to Hardaway’s right, 7-foot-1 freshman James Wiseman grins and nods. The No. 1 recruit in the nation and the focus of the top freshman class in the country is the reason that Hardaway can speak so brashly. As for the coach’s confidence, well, that’s why Wiseman is here.
I am going to go equally as strong and predict that Hardaway’s team will not win the 2020 national championship.
—Despite pulling his starters and despite three of his team’s final five touchdowns coming via special teams or defensive scores, a high school football coach in Arizona was still forced to resign because his team won by too much. Ridiculous.
—The U of L men’s soccer team bounced back from an upset loss to NC State by hammering Belmont, 3-0, Tuesday night at Lynn Stadium.
—The week of national Mekhi Becton love continues.
So @UofLFootball LT Mekhi Becton has some power.... pic.twitter.com/0oedEP39fc— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 1, 2019
—Tickets for Louisville’s Jimmy V. Classic game against Texas Tech in New York are now officially on sale. I’m still not sure why that game is the “table-setter” for Indiana vs. UConn, but whatever.
—Speaking of the Cards taking on the Red Raiders, here’s a cool look at one of the wrinkles that makes the Texas Tech defense so effective under Chris Beard.
There's nothing more important vs Texas Tech's "help-drop-zone" rotations than optimizing your perimeter spacing on the weakside.— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) October 2, 2019
A shooter deep in the corner and a shooter right at the top of key make it difficult for "zoner" to guard 2 at once: https://t.co/lmWaPHGedN pic.twitter.com/9tk9e0GTkg
Jordan is the best at this and you should closely follow his work.
—The CJ’s Cameron Teague writes that Dez Fitzpatrick’s commitment to being a complete wide receiver is paying off.
—NBC has Jordan Nwora as a preseason First Team All-American.
JORDAN NWORA, Louisville
Nwora was one of the breakout stars in college basketball last season, opting to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school for his junior year. A combo-forward and a big-time shot-maker, Nwora is the perfect fit for Chris Mack’s offense, and his presence is the biggest reason that the Cardinals enter this season as a top five team in the NBC Sports Top 25. The big question with Nwora is going to be where he improved this offseason. If he comes back to school as a more fluid and explosive athlete, someone that can put the ball on the floor and create at a higher level, there’s no doubt that National Player of the Year is within his range of outcomes. He’s that good and Louisville is that good.
—Via Rivals, Louisville recruit JJ Traynor took an unofficial visit to Kentucky today.
—The Sporting News covers the 10 biggest arguments in the 150 years of college football.
—Sports Illustrated takes a lengthy look at the Fair Pay to Play Act and dignity in college athletics.
—Shoutout to the U of L men’s golf squad on their championship at the Bearcat Invitational. The Keg of Polos is coming home.
We are the Champions!!!— UofL Men's Golf (@UofLMGolf) October 1, 2019
⚫️Cards win the Bearcat Invitational with a cool 37-under-par!
@john_murphy5 breaks into collegiate winner’s circle for the first time individually!
⚫️4 players in the Top 10
So much to be thankful for!#GoCards pic.twitter.com/a81VLLRmke
There should be a Keg of Polos.
—SI’s First Team All-Decade squad for college hoops: Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, Buddy Hield and Doug McDermott.
—North Carolina used deception on defense to slow down the Clemson offense and nearly spring the most significant upset of the season last weekend.
No one else but Louisville won the national title in 2013. Just say you did. Hang a banner if you want, these rules are ad hoc nonsense https://t.co/eRR4IG18S5— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) September 30, 2019
—The NCAA is back to its natural state: crisis.
—If you think you should be the CJ’s new U of L beat writer, you can apply here.
—Marcus Dumervil will be visiting U of L when Clemson comes to town later this month.
—Another look at the Ali-inspired unis the Cards will be wearing against Boston College.
Fresh from @adidasFballUS for this weekend!#BeatBC | #GoCards pic.twitter.com/lhPQj49GEZ— Louisville Football (@UofLFootball) October 1, 2019
—There has been a major move in the futures point spread for the Louisville-Kentucky football game. I think you can guess which direction that move is.
—This weekend, Boston College RB AJ Dillon is returning to the site that made him a star.
—CBS’ gambling team thinks BC is a sneaky good bet this weekend.
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET | Where: Louisville, Kentucky | Moneyline: Louisville -240, Boston College +200
Why it’s listed: That’s right! The same Boston College that lost to Kansas! As bad as that was, the Eagles took care of business against Rutgers the following week and actually played well against Wake Forest. Has the defense turned a corner? Louisville doesn’t exactly possess the ACC’s highest-scoring unit.
Boston College’s key to the game: Without any real pass rush, BC will have to manufacture pressure from other parts of the defense. That may not be a huge deal against the Cardinals, who at this point under first-year coach Scott Satterfield are more reliant on the run. BC showed some success against Wake defensively as that game went on, too.
Louisville’s key to the game: It’s one thing to hone in on a stud running back. The Cardinals have already faced Notre Dame’s Tony Jones Jr. and Florida State’s Cam Akers, both of whom hit 100 yards in their respective games. Now Louisville faces AJ Dillon and David Bailey, with quarterback Anthony Brown to boot. That’s a lot to defend, but the Cardinals have to find an answer.
Pick: There’s not a lot separating these teams, and that Kansas loss may have been a wake-up call of sorts for Boston College. The Eagles have quietly played better since then and a 2:1 payout is nice if you think they’ll keep trending that way. Boston College +200
—Dwayne Ledford believes the Louisville offense improved significantly during the bye week.
—A summary of what BC head coach Steve Addazio had to say about Louisville on Tuesday.
—U of L looks at the four former Cardinals involved in the 2019 MLB Playoffs. Brendan McKay’s Tampa Bay Rays take on the Oakland Athletics tonight in the AL Wild Card Game.
—And finally, Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch will be Louisville’s player representatives at next week’s ACC media day festivities in Charlotte.