—NET Rankings Update: No. 8.
—The Louisville women were the top No. 2 seed in the final NCAA tournament seed reveal special.
—Jordan Nwora’s game came full circle on Senior Night.
—After being named ACC Player of the Year, Dana Evans spent some time with Packer and Durham.
—Louisville is No. 7 in Andy Katz’s latest Power 36 rankings.
—DeJuan Wheat is one of the guests on the latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast.
—The Athletic’s Bubble Watch has NC State and Virginia as the only teams in the league that still qualify as “bubble boys.”
Man, you have to feel for Notre Dame. The Irish have been knocking on the bubble relevance door for, what, a month now? Every time we’ve gone back for another look, the Irish haven’t quite gotten there. Then they lose at (an apparently resurgent?) Wake Forest … only for Clemson to steal their spot. That’s got to hurt.
(You could say the same thing about Syracuse, but let’s be real: The Orange have been slouching toward the NIT for a while now.)
OK, OK, so it may not hurt that much, because by “spot” we mean here in this intro, in the purgatory Notre Dame has occupied for weeks, because we don’t yet have Clemson on the page. Sorry. No doubt the Tigers are making their play; after Saturday, they’ve beaten Duke, Louisville and Florida State. On the other hand, losses to Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest (and beyond) don’t just go away, and when you’re 15-13 you’d like a much healthier chunk of those defeats to be in Quadrant 1. See Minnesota, to whom Clemson lost, which is 13-15 overall and 5-12 in Q1 and also not on the bubble. Clemson is 3-6 in Q1. The Tigers made waves Saturday, sure, but they have to win out from here if they want an actual spot on this page.
Locks: Duke, Louisville, Florida State
Should be in: Virginia
Work to do: N.C. State
Virginia (21-7, 13-5; NET: 50, SOS: 78): So, speaking of bubble turnarounds, huh? To be fair, Virginia was never off the bubble this season; it was never anywhere near as deeply adrift as UCLA. But UVa did have its moments, particularly in January, when it looked like it could very easily be headed to the NIT. Now, after beating Duke Saturday, Virginia enters the final week of the ACC regular season one game back from a share of the title. Go figure. This team sheet is still flawed; Virginia’s 211th-ranked nonconference schedule doesn’t help, etc. and so forth. But this team, barring a series of unforeseen circumstances in the next two weeks, is going to end up in the NCAA Tournament fairly easily.
N.C. State (18-12, 9-10; NET: 55, SOS: 55): The arrival of a team like UCLA is a disaster for N.C. State, which has been hovering around the bubble cut line for almost the entire season, and has done very little to create, or sustain, any sort of upward mobility. Yes, the Wolfpack beat Duke by 22 Feb. 19, which was a massive result, and they’ve enjoyed seeing Wisconsin and Virginia elevate their own status over time. But Monday night’s showing at Duke (an 88-69 loss) was hardly flattering, particularly for a team sheet that a) drew much of its strength from a positive percentage against Quadrant 1 opposition, where it is now 4-5 and b) has long had a number of questionable losses weighing it down. Good wins. Bad losses. Mediocre basketball. Who knows which way the committee will go?
—Tampa Bay appears to be the early front-runner in the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes.
—T.J. Durr, the younger brother of Asia Durr, was one of the Louisville managers honored on Senior Day over the week. Asia wrote about her relationship with her brother for the Players Tribune back in 2018.
—The Mekhi Becton love continues to spread.
"Humans that big aren't supposed to be that fast. But he's not just a fast 40 time. He's the next Trent Brown & the upside may be even higher. @UofLFootball OT Mekhi Becton (@BigTicket73) blew everyone away. 6'7, 364 lbs. & he ran a 5.10 40-yard-dash. Get out of here."- @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/68NNKwqQtd— GMFB (@gmfb) March 2, 2020
—Louisville has offered class of 2021 shooting guard Blake Wesley from South Bend. The four-star prospect also has offers from Indiana, Cincinnati and Purdue, among others.
—Dana Evans is a Naismith Award semifinalist.
—Great video here from SLAM on future Cardinal Hailey Van Lith.
—Single game tickets for Louisville baseball are now on sale.
—The Anthony brothers from Male high enjoyed their visits to U of L.
—Louisville’s national title odds have dipped all the way down to 16/1 according to BetOnline:
—Louisville defensive coordinator says defensive staff continuity should help provide a huge step in the right direction for his unit in 2020.
—After a slow start, Louisville baseball is back trending in the right direction.
—Chalk up another victory for common sense.
Some (very good) sports media news:— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) March 3, 2020
CBS is sticking with its NCAA Selection Show format from last year's broadcast. They will unveil the teams in brackets when you first see them on the screen. It will be the Selection Show you want.
—Tonight in the ACC:
Wake Forest at North Carolina (7 p.m./ACC Network)
Syracuse at Boston College (7 p.m./ESPN2)
—Four-star QB Aaron McLuaghlin appears to have enjoyed his time at U of L.
The Alpharetta, Ga. native has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and a number of others.
—The U of L women’s basketball program continues to make history under Jeff Walz.
—“Snacks is in this game, man” should be the new “this is March.”
—Eric Crawford shares his thoughts on the U of L men’s team’s win over Virginia Tech.
—Jeff Walz and the U of L women will be the headliners at this week’s ACC tournament.
—Hmm. This is interesting information pertinent to my interests.
on this exact day in 2013 louisville was ranked 10th in the country and the final four was being held in atlanta.— Chris Hatfield (@ChrisDHatfield) March 3, 2020
This is also pertinent to my interests, and a very encouraging development.
for the first time in 2020, louisville has a stretch of five games where they've held the opponent under .90 points per possession. defensively trending towards the right direction which could currently be the most exciting thing. pic.twitter.com/z7kKmFHNWM— Chris Hatfield (@ChrisDHatfield) March 2, 2020
—The New York Jets continue to seem very interested in Mekhi Becton.
—Lucas Aulbach of the CJ breaks down all the potential tiebreakers and scenarios for the ACC regular season title.
—Just two Louisville kids and ... Le’Veon Bell?
—Can you categorize the bubble into specific genres? The Three-Man-Weave crew attempted it.
—Holy Grale has been named the best bar in Kentucky.
—A day after hitting the shot that everyone in the city was still talking about, Keith Oddo was at Frayser Elementary spending some time with the kids.
—Danielle Lerner writes for The Athletic about Louisville’s Senior Day win over Virginia Tech.
—Virginia is now guaranteed to meet or exceed its preseason ACC expectations for the 11th time in 12 seasons, which is an absurd streak.
“A month ago, we’re supposed to be done,” Mamadi Diakite said. “We’re supposed to be in relegation … that’s what people were saying.”
Bennett’s team has rattled off six wins in a row and won nine of its past 10 games. During that span, the Cavaliers have wins over Florida State and Duke as well as a competitive road loss to Louisville. UVa enters March as one of the hottest teams in the country.
“We didn’t care about that,” Diakite said of the outside noise during their losing streak. “We just put our heads down and focused on what we could control and now we’re here.”
UVa reached this point with close victories. During its current six-game winning streak, five of Virginia’s wins have come by three points or fewer. In late-game situations, the Cavaliers make just enough plays to earn victories.
—Big Red Louie looks at the top five Louisville basketball March performances of the past decade.
—The Cardinal lacrosse team hammered Longwook, 17-7, Tuesday afternoon.
—David Johnson is wise beyond his years.
Appreciate the offer but it might be a violation of some sort https://t.co/MLuWzO7bGN— David johnson ひ (@davidjohnson13) March 2, 2020
—And finally, conference tournaments get underway tonight and I once again blacked out and wrote over 9,000 words to preview the madness. I’m not even asking you to read all of them (full Champ Week story stream is here), but if you can just click on a couple of those links so I can justify putting in this work, I would greatly appreciate it.
Enjoy the basketball.