—NET Rankings Update: No. 64 (down 2)
—A very happy Final Four Thursday to you and yours. The Cards take the court in Columbus against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. tonight on ESPN.
—The U of L women’s basketball team is back in action tonight at 8 against Eastern Kentucky. Here’s a preview.
—Louisville football has officially announced a 17-player (transfers included) recruiting class of 2022.
—Louisville takes about as many good, uncontested three-point shots as any team in the country.
That’s the good news ...
—The S&P Rankings like Louisville over Air Force in the First Responder Bowl by less than a point. I’m not sure that’s possible, but it will be fun to watch and find out.
—Brett Dawson is the guest on the latest episode of Jeff Greer’s podcast.
—Talking with the media on Wednesday for the first time since immediately following the loss to Kentucky, Scott Satterfield acknowledged the disappointment of the last two seasons but also expressed optimism about the future.
During his early signing period press conference Wednesday, which was his first time speaking to the media since that game against Kentucky, Satterfield acknowledged that Louisville fell well short of their expectations this season.
“Very disappointing to finish 6-6, quite honestly,” Satterfield said. “We got high expectations for this program. ... Anytime you finish 6-6, that’s average. We don’t want to be an average program. We want to be one of the best programs in the country.”
“We’re really close,” he said. “I know people don’t hear that, they want to hear us winning these games and we’re on the top. But that’s what we got to do. That’s where we’re headed, that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re excited about it. I’m very optimistic about what we’re where we’re headed.
“I think with the additions of the guys that we’ll bring in here - not only players, but also staff - is going to help us get over the hump, and we’re going to win these close games. Then we’ll be celebrating a lot more than what we have in the past.”
—Louisville baseball has announced that Ben Bianco, Carter Lohman, and Ben Metzinger will be its three captains for the 2022 season.
—More than 70,000 gifts were donated to the Western Kentucky Toy Drive in the first 48 hours.
—I know they go way back, but it’s still a minor miracle that Charlie Strong didn’t break this dude in half over his right leg at some point.
Former Jaguars coach Urban Meyer told Jaguars coaching staff, per league source: 'I had a better coaching staff at Bowling Green. You guys are f---ng terrible.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 16, 2021
—Dana O’Neil of The Athletic goes inside the coaches’ plan to let men’s college basketball, not the NCAA, determine its own future.
—The Boston Globe profiles former Card and current top Red Sox prospect Alex Binelas.
—Louisville’s Eron Hodges gets a mention in this Athletic story about the best personnel people in college football.
—This is fantastic news.
The ULAA Board of Directors has approved an ammended employment agreement for Cardinals volleyball coach Dani Busboom-Kelly. It’s a new six-year deal starting Jan. 1, 2022, with a $400,000 base salary. Busboom-Kelly had been at $225,000 in base salary.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) December 16, 2021
We just have to hope the Nebraska job stays occupied for as long as possible.
Busboom-Kelly’s new deal includes a buyout of $400,000 until Dec. 31, 2024 and $300,000 from Jan. 1, 2025 through the end of the deal in 2028. Louisville will wiave the buyout clause “if head coach leaves for employment at head cocah’s undergraduate alma mater,” Nebraska.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) December 16, 2021
The Cornhuskers’ current head coach, John Cook, is 65 and in his 21st season on the job.
—Bob Valvano is the guest on the latest Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook podcast.
—Former Louisville catcher Henry Davis is among the first group of athletes who have been signed to Tom Brady’s new apparel brand.
—Jeff Greer’s latest newsletter goes in-depth on Louisville’s offensive issues and comes back with a stunning conclusion: You gotta make shots.
To test this theory, I watched every Louisville 3-pointer over the past five games to track shot selection using the NBA’s definitions. The NBA labels shots as wide open, open, tightly contested or very tightly contested. (Hat tip to Brett Dawson, The Courier-Journal’s new men’s hoops writer, for mentioning this data category to me.) Turns out, there has been no shortage of open and wide-open looks — Louisville is just missing a lot of them.
Here are the shot definitions followed by a chart of my findings:
Wide open: A shot where the closest defender is 6 or more feet away from the shooter
Open: 4-6 feet
Tightly contested: 2-4 feet
Very tightly contested: 0-2 feet
The Cards are 19 of 50 on open and wide-open 3s. Now, 38% from 3 in a vacuum is good, but these are open-to-wide open shots. The makes on wide-open 3s need to be closer to 8-10. Just four more makes on wide-open 3s alone over the past five games would add 2.5 points to Louisville’s scoring per contest. The makes on open 3s should be better than 39.5%. That’s a huge chunk of good looks — the vast majority of them from reliable shooters — going by the wayside.
Now, the tightly contested and very tightly contested attempts are high, too. Some of those are late-clock shots, but in watching all of them, a big portion are unnecessary, quick-trigger 3s. This is why Mack (and his assistants and team leaders) harp on getting into the lane, breaking down defenders, posting them up — anything to create more open and wide-open looks because the defense has collapsed. This is also where Samuell Williamson and Jae’Lyn Withers regaining some confidence would help Louisville a lot.
—The third game of Louisville football’s upcoming three-game series against South Florida has been pushed back from 2029 to 2030. That game had previously been pushed back from 2026 to 2029.
The dates for the three games are now:
Sept. 24, 2022 – at Louisville
Aug. 31, 2024 – at USF
Aug. 31, 2030 – at Louisville
—Cardinal Authority has a Q&A with U of L football signee Maurice Turner.
—Vince Tyra has time now.
This is the crap I’m talking about. Always antagonizing UofL and its fans. Just can’t hear the room. You want to mix in controversial choices with our volleyball team. Come on. Try some topics readers want to read versus what you want to stir up. Old habits…— Vince Tyra (@vincetyra) December 16, 2021
Probably the best local rivalry going at the moment.
—Louisville Report takes a closer look at Devaughn Mortimer, the four-star wide receiver the Cards flipped from Florida State on Wednesday.
—Esquire ranks the 65 best movies of 2021. I think I’ve heard of three.
—We haven’t had an “official” wear red day in far too long.
—WDRB talks about how Louisville fans can support Western Kentucky’s tornado relief efforts when the ‘Tops host the Cards on Saturday.
—The CJ looks at why signing five wide receivers was such a huge part of Louisville’s 2022 recruiting class.
—The men’s basketball team is ready to finally see a different team sport program from U of L claim a national title.
—The Columbus Post Dispatch lays out everything you need to know about this weekend’s volleyball Final Four.
—Dani Busbom Kelly has won an NCAA volleyball championship as a player and as an assistant, now she’s looking to become the first woman head coach in the sport’s history to win the whole thing.
In 40 years of the Division I women’s volleyball tournament, only men have been the head coaches of teams that hoisted the trophies at the end. If Busboom-Kelly and the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals can finish their undefeated season with a national championship on Saturday, Columbus and Nationwide Arena will have a place in history.
It would no doubt be a significant, glass-ceiling-shattering moment for one of college athletics’ premier women’s sports. But Busboom-Kelly doesn’t want history to take away from what her team has accomplished or put her in a different category as if she isn’t as good or better than other national championship-winning coaches.
“I know a lot of my female peers have said it would be amazing to be the first female to win the national championship. But it would also just be amazing to have a female win the national championship and break that barrier,” she said. “But at the end of the day, I also hate that it comes down to gender. And on Saturday if we win, I want it to be because I’m the best coach this year, not because I’m a female.”
—The CJ’s Brett Dawson analyzes the data that the Louisville men’s basketball team has produced through 10 games.
—New WR signee Chris Bell says he’s ready to be a monster once he arrives at U of L.
—Let’s do this.
—Our friends over at Buckys 5th Quarter preview tonight’s match in Columbus and make some comparisons between this one and the last time they faced an undefeated team from Kentucky in a Final Four matchup.
—The CJ hands out superlatives for Louisville’s 2022 recruiting class.
—And finally, beat Wisconsin.