—The 8th-ranked Louisville baseball team has a monster series this weekend at No. 13 Clemson. Here’s a preview.
—There is a very solid chance that Asia Durr goes 1 or 2 in the upcoming WNBA Draft.
—On a related note, check out SB Nation’s WNBA Draft preview. The preview includes a separate feature on Asia Durr, who is on a mission to be the best the league has ever seen.
—This is the best social media work of the week.
—Montrezl Harrell has been working with Red Bull to come up with the concepts for some of his recent sneakers, including a Louisville-themed pair and a The Rock-themed pair. You can check out some high-res images of all of Trez’s recent kicks here.
—Jamal Crawford believes Ray Spalding will “be in the league for a long time.”
—Season tickets for U of L men’s and women’s soccer are now on sale.
—Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News ranks the 29 Final Fours he’s covered in his career.
—Chris Mack says his first Louisville team achieved its ultimate goal of making the NCAA tournament, but that was just the first step in his big picture process at U of L.
—The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton looks at what college basketball coaches might be the next to make their Final Four debut.
Chris Mack, Louisville. This seems like just a matter of sooner or later, given the program resources and the man in charge of deploying them. Mack has a career winning percentage of .679 with three Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight run to his credit. There are really only a couple more doors to knock down. Looming stay-or-go decisions from Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch might impact the timeline significantly, one way or another; Nwora, in particular, would be poised to have an All-America season should he return for his junior year. Meanwhile, Louisville welcomes five four-star, consensus top-100 freshmen next season — arguably a viable starting lineup alone, even though there should be steer-the-ship veterans like Dwayne Sutton and Ryan McMahon on hand even if Nwora and Enoch leave. The wild card? What kind of punishment is levied out by the NCAA for allegations against Louisville as part of the FBI investigation.
—According to WalletHub, Kentucky is the fourth-most stressed state in America.
—College and Magnolia created an Auburn basketball song that has now completely taken over the fan base. It’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
—Final Four prop bets from Mr. Bovada, where Barkley mentions over Magic mentions is easy money.
What dance will a coach do during his team’s locker room victory celebration on Final Four Saturday?
Orange Justice +350
Triangle Dance +350
The Worm +1500
Take the L +1500
Will Bruce Pearl Change Shirts At Halftime During The Final Four?
Will Bruce Pearl Have His Suit Jacket/Sports Coat On Or Off At The Conclusion Of The Game?
Will Bruce Pearl Cry During An Interview Following His Team’s Final Four Game?
Will Chris Beard Cry During An Interview Following His Team’s Final Four Game?
Will Tom Izzo Cry During An Interview Following His Team’s Final Four Game?
Will Tony Bennett Cry During An Interview Following His Team’s Final Four Game?
Who Will Receive More Mentions From Announcers During Their Alma Maters Game?
Charles Barkley -300
Magic Johnson +240
—Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt (blast from the past) is ready to do whatever it takes to keep Chris Beard in Lubbock.
—Trez continues to be the coolest.
—Act I: John Calipari lambastes the grad transfer rule and says multiple times that he’ll never do it again after taking Julius Mays in 2012.
Act II: John Calipari takes All-Pac-12 forward Reid Travis from Stanford, but justifies it by saying it’s ok because Travis comes from a power conference program, and mid-major programs and coaches are the ones really hurt by the rule.
Act III: John Calipari takes a grad transfer from Bucknell.
—Asia Durr is the winner of the 2019 Dawn Staley Award.
—Congratulations to Samantha.
—Reid Detmers has been named D1 Baseball’s top pitcher of the midseason.
—Though they don’t have a scholarship available at the moment, Louisville is in the mix for Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker, one of the best players on the transfer market.
—Boston College star Ky Bowman is headed to the NBA and has eliminated the possibility of returning to school.
—The 1992 SEC tournament was wild.
Every player wants to play for a coach like Dale Brown. Here he is taking-up for SHAQ Diesel in the SEC Tourney ~ March 14, 1992. pic.twitter.com/5ij9NsroRa— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) April 5, 2019
—U of L women’s golfer Lauren Hartlage finished tied for 63rd after two rounds of play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.
—Because of the weather, U of L has changed the schedule of this weekend’s softball series against No. 3 Florida State. The Cards and Seminoles will play a doubleheader on Saturday and then the series finale on Monday.
—Since its inception in 2011, the grad transfer rule has been one of the few NCAA rules that has been undeniably advantageous to the actual student athletes. Now, naturally, the NCAA is moving towards getting rid of it.
—Love seeing Cards running into Cards on vacation.
—Stuff I wrote in preparation for the Final Four that you should absolutely not read:
—Good read here on how Louisville swimmer Tanner Cummings went from walk-on to school record holder.
—The Lexington Herald-Leader(!) writes about Samuell Williamson is bringing national championship expectations to U of L.
—The freshmen are coming.
Tentative dates for Louisville's incoming freshmen to arrive:— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_) April 3, 2019
Josh Nickelberry - June 3
Aidan Igiehon - after June 11 HS graduation
Samuell Williamson - TBD (HS graduation on June 3)
Quinn Slazinski - May 26
David Johnson - TBD (late May/early June)
Jaelyn Withers - May 28-29
—Brendan McKay continues to make strides toward becoming the ever-rare 2-way star in the MLB.
—Jordan Nwora is at No. 57 on Sam Vecenie’s top 100 draft big board (Athletic link).
—Two Dukies and Murray State’s Ja Morant headline the AP’s All-American team. Morant is just the third player in the history of the OVC to earn consensus first team All-America honors.
—It’s old news at this point, but Andy Staples’ latest column for Sports Illustrated does not paint Bobby Petrino in a particularly favorable light.
“Looks like they’re having some fun now, doesn’t it?” co-defensive coordinator Cort Dennison says. “I think these kids are definitely enjoying the different dynamic.”
Dennison was at Louisville for the fun times (on the field), when quarterback Lamar Jackson won a Heisman Trophy in 2016 and the Cardinals went toe-to-toe with a Clemson team that would go on to win the national title. Dennison joined Mario Cristobal’s staff at Oregon after the 2017 season, so he missed the free fall and subsequent rock bottom last season. But he had recruited many players on the roster, so his heart ached for the Cardinals as they endured blowout after blowout. The Cardinals lost their last nine games. They allowed at least 52 points in each of their last five. They were the worst team in the ACC, and it wasn’t particularly close.
It looked from the outside as if Petrino and his staff were tanking with the hope of getting bought out. The stories that have seeped out since Petrino was fired on Nov. 11 have only deepened that suspicion. The staff didn’t hold regular recruiting meetings—something every staff in the country does. Only one person, the director of football operations, had the head coach’s cell phone number. Players had no idea where the head coach’s office was because they weren’t welcome there. High school coaches weren’t allowed to watch practice. These are the things a coaching staff does if it wants to drive a program into the ground, and if that was the goal, Petrino succeeded mightily.
He got his $14 million buyout. Someone else would have to clean up the mess.
—Damion Lee continues to carve out a role for himself with the Golden State Warriors.
—The NCAA tried to keep players from taking the March Madness rugs that were in their locker rooms during the NCAA tournament. The players fought back. It got sort of hilarious.
—Jeff Eisenberg ranks the greatest one-and-done players in college basketball history, and goes with a pre-one and done era talent for the top spot.
—Buzz Williams has been officially introduced as the new head coach at Texas A&M.
—On a somewhat related note, stuff like this is the best.
send me a DM with your address so I can send him something allowing me to be with him forever ❤️ https://t.co/Qm207NcZEq— Justin Robinson (@5Alive_) April 1, 2019
—Louisville’s first round loss to Minnesota cost Chris Mack at least $200,000 in bonus money.
—After watching him during McDonald’s All-American Game week, Sam Vecenie came away impressed (Athletic link) by Samuell Williamson.
Samuell Williamson — 6-6 wing, No. 39 overall; committed to Louisville
One-and-done? Probably not
I was not particularly familiar with Williamson coming into the event, having only seen him live once before, in addition to some tape. But he was one of the standouts of the event’s practices, and it’s very clear to see how Louisville has a terrific player with an awful lot of long-term pro potential on its hands. He already has a pro-style game due to his pull-up repertoire. He has a nice set of pump-fakes and counter moves that allow him to get into the mid-range. Once he’s there, he’s lethal with his jumper. One scout made the “Costco Jayson Tatum” comparison to me, and I think that lines up well. The major differences being that Williamson’s strength level has more of a way’s to go, and Tatum had more ways to get all the way to the basket. But Williamson’s feel for the game is similarly high, and should allow him to make an impact in the ACC sooner rather than later.
To me, this is a perfect mesh of school and player, and should allow Williamson to become a two-and-done type of player that is pretty drastically underrated by recruiting services right now. The reason I say two-and-done versus one-and-done for Williamson is mostly physical. He has to change his mechanics a bit out beyond the 3-point line due to strength issues. Louisville’s strength and conditioning program is considered top-notch (just look at the effect it had on Jordan Nwora this season), and should really help Williamson reach the potential he has. But my bet is that we look at McDonald’s week as something of a coming-out party for Williamson as a player to be noticed more nationally.
—Eric Crawford writes that assessing the value of U of L women’s basketball means taking into account more than just money.
—For anyone wondering, Kyle Kuric can still get up.
—Big Red Louie says that concerned Louisville football fans shouldn’t worry so much about the growing list of player transfers.
—Congratulations to Senorise Perry, who has signed a 1-year deal with the Bills.
—Bull Run thinks Buffalo should target Luke Murray to be the school’s new basketball coach.
This video is worth 25 seconds of your time and you'll smile too.— Kevin W (@kwilli1046) March 26, 2019
—LEO has five things to do in Louisville this weekend.
—Shakin’ the Southland previews this weekend’s Louisville-Clemson baseball series.
—And finally, go DePaul, beat South Florida tonight in the CBI championship. I need that CBI champions shirt.