—The showcase games don’t get underway until tomorrow, but the ACC-Big 10 Challenge actually kicks off tonight. Here’s the full schedule.
—It’s the biggest game in college basketball this week, it’s No. 1 vs. No. 4, and you can see it in person for just 10 bucks.
EDIT: The $10 tickets are now gone, but $25 tickets are now available.
—The Wolverines are feeling chesty.
You think Michigan is confident?— Daniel Dash (@danieldash428) December 2, 2019
David DeJulius on facing top-ranked Louisville tomorrow night: “We want it all. We want all the smoke.”
—The U of L men’s soccer season came to and end on Sunday with a 5-1 loss to third-seeded Georgetown in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16.
—Louisville is up to No. 1 in the latest ESPN college hoops power rankings.
1. Louisville Cardinals (7-0)
Previous ranking: 3
This week: vs. Michigan (Tuesday), vs. Pittsburgh (Friday)
Louisville hasn’t really been tested yet this season, but that’s about to change this week. The Cardinals will host Michigan on Tuesday, then Pittsburgh on Friday. And next week, they will travel to New York City for a game against Texas Tech. We’ll know more about Chris Mack’s team in about 10 days, but so far, things are looking great for the Cardinals. While we’ve focused on the injury returns and the point guard situation in recent weeks, All-American Jordan Nwora is on a tear. Nwora has scored 21-plus points in five of seven games, shooting 50% from 3-point range and 90% from the free throw line. He is one of the elite offensive players nationally.
Michigan, Louisville’s Tuesday night opponent, is No. 2.
—NBC Sports has it flip-flopped in their latest power rankings, with the Wolverines on top and U of L just behind them.
2. LOUISVILLE (7-0, 2)
Deciding whether to go with Louisville or Michigan for the No. 1 spot here was far more difficult that I thought that it would be. Heading into Sunday, I was dead-set on bumping Louisville up to No. 1, but as day wore on, and the more I thought about it, I really do think the Wolverines are the best team in college basketball.
In a year where there really is no high-end talent in the sport, in a season where the best players are the three- and four-year stars as opposed to the one-and-done talents, Michigan has as much of the former as anyone. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske are senior anchors that excel on both ends of the floor while Juwan Howard, who has thrived running ball-screens with this group, has myriad shooters to surround them with. The run in Atlantis – with wins over North Carolina, Gonzaga and Iowa State – was no fluke. Michigan has the goods.
That’s not to say that Louisville doesn’t. I had them in the top five in the preseason. I had invested hard-earned Dauster Dollars in a futures bet on Louisville to win the national title. I know how good this team can be. It’s just that we have not seen it yet. Put another way, Michigan has been tested and passed with flying colors. I think Louisville will pass when they get tested.
That earned the Wolverines the bump.
The best part?
No. 1 Michigan at No. 2 Louisville on Tuesday night.
—The more shocking football coaching news of the day is that Chris Petersen is stepping down at Washington.
—Scott Satterfield is on the road this week recruiting. His first stop was to check in with U of L QB commit Chubba Purdy.
—Speaking of Purdy, congrats to the future Card on picking up another offensive Player of the Year award in Arizona.
—According to Five Thirty Eight’s nerd math, Montrezl Harrell has been the fifth-best player in the NBA this season, and Donovan Mitchell has been No. 13.
—Sports Illustrated looks at the biggest winners and losers of Feast Week.
—Louisville basketball’s national title odds are down from 16/1 to 12/1:
Maryland dropping to 25/1 despite being undefeated and coming off a pasting of Marquette seems odd.
—The U of L volleyball team is headed to the NCAA tournament.
—Not a bad little fall.
With Volleyball making the NCAA Tournament, Louisville has had a school-record five Fall sports teams make the postseason:— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) December 2, 2019
The previous high was four teams in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
—Louisville is the overall No. 1 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology.
—NC State has fired defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable.
—The Wall Street Journal looks at how Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are reinventing the run game.
—Former U of L assistant Greg Paulus picked up his first win as Niagara’s head coach over the weekend.
—Louisville is No. 1 in Gary Parrish’s daily rankings for CBS.
—Javian Hawkins made one of the ACC’s top five plays of the week.
—The good news here is that, to my knowledge, Louisville hasn’t struggled at all against run-first offenses.
—Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer believes the Cards will head to the Music City Bowl.
—Jon Rothstein recaps the week that was in college hoops for the New York Times, and joins the contingent of folks who believe Louisville-Michigan is the best game of the week ahead.
—One of the under-the-radar storylines for Tuesday night’s game will be Fresh Kimble going up against former coach (Athletic link) Phil Martelli, who joined Juwan Howard’s staff as an assistant after his surprise firing at Saint Joseph’s.
“I think it’s gonna be a little bittersweet with him on a different sideline after us being on the same side for four years, but we both know total love off the court,” Kimble says. “It’ll be like that the rest of our lives.”
“Part of me is sad that I’m not with him in his last year after being through so much with him,” Martelli says. “And there’s a part of me that’s so proud of him for taking this opportunity outside of Philadelphia. When you’re in Philadelphia, you’re in Philadelphia for life. I do have a tremendous sense of pride and am really looking forward to seeing him on Tuesday and getting to hug him.”
Their reunion is expected to have some extra spice now that Louisville (7-0) and Michigan (7-0) are unbeaten and two of the nation’s top teams. The Cardinals, back at full strength after returning Malik Williams and David Johnson from injury, are coming off a drubbing of in-state rival Western Kentucky. The Wolverines jumped 10 spots in KenPom.com’s rankings to No. 10 after they captured the Battle 4 Atlantis title, thanks in part to wins over top-10 opponents North Carolina and Gonzaga.
In film sessions, Kimble will be on the lookout for familiar plays. Martelli doesn’t have the scout for the Louisville game, but says he’ll offer suggestions on how to cover Kimble and the rest of the Cardinals.
“We’re definitely playing a box-and-1 on this guy,” Martelli says jokingly. “I can’t let him get back to Philly and talk about me.”
—Lamar Jackson is the hottest name in sports collectibles.
—Dana Evans is the espnW National Player of the Week.
—Since pretty much nobody was able to watch it live, here are the highlights of Louisville’s takedown of No. 1 Oregon on Saturday:
—Louisville is No. 5 in Andy Katz’s latest Power 36 rankings. Michigan is No. 1.
—Sam Vecenie explores (Athletic link) why Donovan Mitchell didn’t go higher than No. 13 in the 2017 NBA Draft.
—I hopped back on the Fundamentally Sound Podcast to recap the week that was in college hoops. You can hear that here.
—College football highlight of the weekend:
—DeVante Parker had the best game of his NFL career on Sunday in a Dolphins upset of the Eagles.
—This wasn’t just a one week breakout performance, DeVante has been dominant for the last several weeks.
—The Louisville baseball team has wrapped up its annual Omaha Challenge.
—As always, these videos are the best.
—Draft Express has Jordan Nwora going 27th overall in its latest NBA mock draft.
—TuTu Atwell is a Pro Football Focus All-American for 2019.
—U of L commit Jordan Watkins has some burners.
Who said 40 times don’t matter?? pic.twitter.com/wxcipyHMDX— Jordan Watkins ¹ (@jordantwatkins) November 27, 2019
—Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said her team lost to Louisville on Saturday because the Cardinals simply wanted it more.
—Maize N Brew previews Louisville vs. Michigan and predicts a narrow Cardinal victory.
—DePaul is 8-0 with three quality wins and everyone’s favorite walk-on is now saying he’ll shave his head if the Blue Demons don’t make the NCAA tournament.
If we don’t end up being a tournament team this year I will shave my head. Remember this tweet, save it, and hold me to it! https://t.co/bxOxBW9FTv— Pantelis Xidias (@pantelis_xidias) November 29, 2019
—The Louisville-Kentucky advanced box score is available here. You don’t have to click on that link .... Don’t click on that link.
—It tok him almost a week, but Coach K finally came out with his excuse for losing to Stephen F. Austin at home.
—If you’re looking to get as educated as possible on Michigan before tomorrow night’s game, this video is a great place to start:
—Big Game Pod spends a full hour and 15 minutes breaking down Louisville vs. Michigan.
—And finally, Jeff Walz continues to kill it on the recruiting trail, this time landing a commitment from class of 2022 star Alexia Mobley.