—Spread check: Duke by 5.5.
—NET Rankings Update: No. 48 (no change).
—Louisville baseball has announced that 11 players are out for this weekend’s series against Western Illinois.
The players are:
—Here’s a preview of the series from U of L.
—Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA Draft Big Board for The Athletic has David Johnson at No. 27 and Carlik Jones at No. 59.
—New QB coach Pete Thomas was mic’d up for Thursday’s spring practice.
—It’s free shipping Friday over at Homefield Apparel. Just use the promo code “SURPRISE” at checkout for free shipping, today only.
—NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt talked with CBS about the changes to the tournament that were announced on Thursday. You can see the full video here.
—The U of L softball team is continuing its challenging early season schedule with a trip to No. 6/5 Florida for a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a preview.
—The first night of postseason play in college basketball saw Antoine Davis drop a Horizon League tourney record 46 points for Detroit-Mercy, and a true buzzer-beater to send Green Bay/Fort Wayne to double OT.
Jalon Pipkins (@JalonPipkins) WILL NOT let this season end for IPFW and banks in the game tying 3 pointer AT THE BUZZER to go to force a 2nd Overtime against Green Bay and prolong their departure at least 5 more minutes. pic.twitter.com/QTm9cYiiFb— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) February 26, 2021
The Mastodons (Fort Wayne) wound up winning in the second extra period.
—The Duke Chronicle previews Saturday night’s game in Durham.
—Mike DeCourcy’s latest mock bracket for Fox has Louisville as a 9-seed facing Florida in the first round.
—The children of the late Ty Scroggins are honoring their dad through athletics.
—No argument here on No. 5.
Bush staying healthy for the entirety of the 2006 season will always be one of the biggest “what ifs” in Louisville sports history.
—The U of L women’s golf team is headed to Bowling Green to face WKU in the Battle of the Bluegrass.
—Duke Basketball Report shares some thoughts on tomorrow night’s rematch with the Cards.
Between the Georgia Tech game on January 26th and the Notre Dame game on February 9th, Hurt was 5-22 from three point range. Since then he’s shot 16-24. Overall he’s gone from 25-49 in those games to 25-43. He’s gone up from 22.7 percent to 66.7 percent on threes and from 51 percent overall to 58.1 percent. As always, our math is suspect, but the point stands: he’s shooting much better since Williams emerged.
But that’s not all that’s changed.
With Williams established, Wendell Moore can exploit his versatility more. and at the same time, Duke’s freshmen guards, DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach, have greatly matured. They’ve learned to control some of the reckless/foolish plays they were making earlier in the season that cost Duke a lot.
Roach in particular has really improved. He’s become visibly more confident and is making key plays at the right time - showing great point guard instincts, in other words.
Both are learning discretion and against Syracuse, both had seven assists. Combined they had 14 assists to six turnovers.
Against Louisville, they combined for two assists and four turnovers and shot 1-6 from three point range. Roach didn’t score at all while Steward shot 4-8 and finished with 13.
Obviously that’s a major improvement. And note also that in that game, Moore had four assists while Hurt had five and Jordan Goldwire had four off the bench. That’s pretty impressive passing.
Of course there’s no guarantee that all of this means Duke will win on Saturday. Louisville is well-coached and talented. But this is also true: it’s not at all the same Duke team we saw on January 23rd.
—It’s Bellarmine vs. Liberty tomorrow at noon for the A-Sun championship. It’s the biggest game Freedom Hall has hosted since Kyle Kuric went nuts on Syracuse 11 years ago.
—Here’s the official Bellarmine preview of the game.
—Louisville is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for people 60 and over.
—Everything is coming up Pastner these days.
The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee has overturned scholarship reductions and recruiting penalties for the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program, per release.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 26, 2021
I’m glad that the infractions committee has finally discovered a level of leniency now that virtually every major program has taken its case to the IARP.
—The “replacement rules” for next month’s NCAA tournament are begging for a March Madness disaster.
—The Green Bay Packers held a virtual pre-draft visit with Javian Hawkins.
—The Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League have dropped Dwayne Sutton after Sutton suffered a season-ending foot injury.
—It’s been a tough month for two of the city’s favorite sons.
—Scott Satterfield has made multiple hires to bolster Louisville football’s “undermanned” recruiting department.
—Matt McGavic of Louisville Report is picking Duke by seven tomorrow night.
—U of L big man commit Roosevelt Wheeler and his mom are the guests on this episode of the “Up Next” podcast.
—The Louisville women’s basketball team gets another shot to lock up an ACC regular season title on Sunday.
—Let’s do this again.
—The latest episode of The Crunch Zone Podcast is here.
—Multiple bluebloods, including Louisville’s Saturday opponent, continue to creep closer and closer to the right side of the bubble.
—Louisville has the shortest odds to be the spot where Deion Sanders coaches next.
—The AP preview of tomorrow’s game is out.
OFFENSIVE THREAT: Jones has been directly responsible for 41 percent of all Louisville field goals over the last five games. Jones has 28 field goals and 20 assists in those games.
UNBEATEN WHEN: The Blue Devils are 8-0 when they hold opposing teams to 68 points or fewer and 3-8 when opponents exceed 68 points. The Cardinals are 10-0 when they make six or more 3-pointers and 2-5 when the team hits fewer than six from long range.
COLD SPELL: Louisville has lost its last three road games, scoring 58.7 points, while allowing 77 per game.
LAST FIVE: Duke has averaged 78.6 points per game over its last five games. The Blue Devils have given up only 68.4 points per game over that stretch.
—Louisville is “just a very good fit” for Miami transfer Matt Cross.
—And finally, beat Duke.