—Spread check: Gonzaga by 4.5.
—After waiting all season, the men’s college basketball world finally gets Gonzaga-Baylor tonight.
—Louisville volleyball picked up four of the ACC’s top five individual honors for the 2020-21 season. Tori Dilfer was named Setter of the Year, Amaya Tillman was voted Defensive Player of the Year, outside hitter Anna DeBeer was selected Freshman of the Year and Dani Busboom Kelly was named Coach of the Year.
—Pretty major change coming to college baseball’s postseason this year.
BREAKING: The @NCAA will have predetermined Regional and Super Regional sites in this year’s tournament, sources tell @d1baseball. The sites for both rounds will be announced the week of May 10 and bids must be submitted by April 12.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 5, 2021
—The Louisville baseball team took two of three from Wake Forest over the weekend.
—Hubert Davis will reportedly be the next men’s basketball coach at North Carolina. Maybe it works out, but it certainly seems like about the most underwhelming hire Bubba Cunningham could have made.
—For the third time this season, U of L volleyball’s Anna DeBeer has been named ACC Freshman of the Week.
—Will Smith sent this pitch to the damn moon.
—Devin Askew is transferring from Kentucky.
—Good stuff on the transfer portal here from Hoops Insight.
Archetype #4: Elite recruit who struggled despite significant role at high-major program
Quentin Grimes was the #8 recruit in the 2018 RSCI, but his freshman year at Kansas did not live up to expectations. He played 25mpg and started every game, but was a very inefficient offensive player. He turned the ball over a ton, and had just a 48% effective FG%. He had a ton of turnover issues, barely drew fouls, and only hit 60% of his free throws when he did get to the line. Upon transferring to Houston, Grimes upped his eFG% to 52% and started getting to the line more often. This season, he’s gotten the turnovers under control and shown he can handle a huge offensive volume (29% of shots) and maintain above-average efficiency. He’s even hitting 40% from deep this season, which may be his ticket to the NBA.
Comp in the portal: Rocket Watts, Michigan State Watts was the #35 recruit in 2019 and was expected to take over as the next standout guard at Michigan State. That didn’t exactly happen. He’s averaged about 20mpg and started about half of his games as a Spartan, but has been wildly inefficient on offense. Like, 43% from two and 27% from three ineffiecient. He’s shown flashes of playmaking chops but struggles to get to the line, and this season he was a nightmare finishing at the rim (31% per hoop-math.com). Watts needs a change of scenery, and hopefully he can unlock his offensive game in a similar way to Grimes. Louisville was a contender for Watts’ services out of high school, and might benefit from giving him a chance.
—Louisville is the No. 11 overall seed for upcoming 48-team NCAA volleyball tournament. The Cards will face either San Diego State or Texas A&M in the second round on April 15.
—Heat Check CBB continues to keep tabs on all the college hoops coaching changes.
—Things continue to go poorly for John Brannen at UC.
BREAKING: University of Cincinnati suspends #Bearcats MBB coach John Brannen effective immediately, sources tell @TheAthletic.— Justin Williams (@Williams_Justin) April 3, 2021
Suspension lasts until UC external review is complete. It is believed the review is exploring potential of for-cause firing. No timeline on UC's review.
—Western High School has hired former Cardinal Jalen Harrington to be its new head football coach.
—Trey Leonard has been the leader of a powerful Louisville baseball offense so far this season.
—Dane Fife is joining Mike Woodson’s staff at Indiana.
—Next stop: Louisville.
—An Amtrak train route from Louisville to Chicago could be coming.
—The latest Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is here.
—Jordan Sperber of Hoop Vision has a great breakdown of tonight’s title game.
5] Is a small-ball battle inevitable?
All season, it has felt inevitable that this potential matchup may end up turning into a battle of small-ball lineups.
After beginning the season with Anton Watson in the starting lineup, Gonzaga fully committed to their smaller lineup in early February. We know we’ll see plenty of Corey Kispert at the four tonight.
However, Baylor has chosen to stick with Flo Thamba in the starting lineup for the entire season — although Flagler, Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and Mayer all average more minutes.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a great idea to fight small-ball with small-ball against Gonzaga. It’s very difficult to beat them at their own game.
But if any team has the roster to pull it off, it’s Baylor.
If Thamba and/or Tchamwa Tchatchoua start getting exploited in ball screens, Baylor’s next course of action will likely be to:
1. Put out the best offensive lineup possible
2. Switch everything defensively
—NFL Draft scouts are giving Javian Hawkins some positive feedback.
—Grade A rivalry quote here.
FC Cincinnati has canceled the exhibition rematch with @loucityfc.— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) April 5, 2021
“The reason we were told was because of the vaccination process with their team. I’ll accept that. I hope that it didn’t have anything to do with us going up there and beating them last time.” — John Hackworth
—It’ll be Louisville vs. Kentucky on the diamond Tuesday night.
—TuTu Atwell isn’t concerned about his size as the NFL Draft approaches.
—What a world.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL— Nate Bryan (@NateInSports) April 5, 2021
DaMarcus Smith is the new football coach at Louisville Evangel Christian.
Brandon Bender is the Evangel AD.
And 10 years ago ... THIS happened between the two now-interlocked colleagues pic.twitter.com/QOwG5GqqE8
—Former U of L wide receiver Christian Fitzpatrick has chosen Michigan State as his transfer destination.
—I enjoyed the Saturday night reactions of both Adam Morrison:
Jalen Suggs' all-time game-winner against UCLA called by Gonzaga's IMG radio team of Tom Hudson and Adam Morrison (yes, that Adam Morrison): pic.twitter.com/DBtqdFjenL— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) April 4, 2021
And Bill Walton:
—It won’t have Dana Evans, but the U of L women’s basketball roster for next season is loaded with experience.
—Sam Vecenie’s latest NBA Draft Big Board for The Athletic has David Johnson at No. 49 and Carlik Jones at No. 84.
—And finally, enjoy the hoops tonight, kids. We won’t get anymore for about seven months.