—NET Rankings Update: No. 82 (down 10 spots from yesterday)
Also of note is that Florida State currently sits at No. 78, meaning Saturday’s game in Tallahassee is not a Quad 1 opportunity for the Cards.
—The second-ranked U of L women’s basketball team returns to action this evening with a 6 p.m. home game against Pitt on the ACC Network. Here’s a preview.
—Louisville-Pitt highlights are here.
—Well, it should have been the dagger.
Those videos are always so beautifully done.
—The New York Times has bought The Athletic for $550 million.
—The Washington Mystics have extended a qualifying offer to Myisha Hines-Allen.
—Jeff Greer’s latest U of L hoops newsletter focuses heavily on the re-emergence of Samuell Williamson.
After watching his team labor through scoring droughts and off-shooting nights, Chris Mack repeatedly stressed the need to get the ball in the lane. To make up for a roster that, outside of El Ellis and Mason Faulkner, doesn’t really have drivers who can beat their defenders off the dribble, Mack and his staff worked with Louisville’s forwards on cutting into the lane off post entries and drives. In other words, they wanted another way to get the ball into the middle of the floor.
That slight change has made a significant difference in the fluidity of Louisville’s offense — and it helped revitalize Samuell Williamson, whose December slump befuddled his coaches and concerned Cards fans.
“I think it’s fair to say that he’s gotten more opportunities, and he probably feels a little bit calmer on the floor,” Mack said after Louisville’s win over Pitt. “… He’s playing better and he’s playing with a lot of confidence against teams that play zone defense. He’s really good in the mid-range and he’s a good passer.”
—Louisville Report looks at what’s behind the sophomore struggles of Jae’Lyn Withers.
—Louisville commit Kaleb Glenn is having a monster season for Male High, and currently leads the state in rebounding at 13.4 rpg.
—Jordan Nwora remains a beast.
—Forecastle tickets are on sale now.
—Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. is the No. 1 pick in the latest NBA mock draft from The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie.
—Teddy Bridgewater will end the 2021 season on the injured reserve list.
—What a list.
Most Points Scored in less than 20 minutes by a Louisville Player since 2010:— Chris Hatfield (@ChrisDHatfield) January 6, 2022
1. El Ellis, 22 pts (2021, Michigan St)
2. Wayne Blackshear, 20 pts (2013, Cornell)
3. Jordan Nwora, 20 pts (2018, Southern)
4. Wayne Blackshear, 19 pts (2013, Rutgers)
5. El Ellis, 18 pts (2022, Pitt)
—Brett Dawson writes that while Louisville is 4-0 in the ACC, it’s still very clearly not a great team, but it’s growing.
—Elsewhere in the ACC last night:
Miami 88, Syracuse 87
Notre Dame 78, North Carolina 73
We’ve got no more league games this week until a full slate on Saturday.
—With demand through the roof, Louisville is opening a new mass COVID testing site at Churchill Downs.
—It was El Ellis to the rescue Wednesday night for the Cards.
“It is hard for the first time in his career, he hasn’t played 30 minutes a game,” Mack continued. “I said you just have to make the most of your time. You have to be better defensively and have to make really good decisions on the offensive end. We know that he is explosive and can score. But he has been errant in other ways. He recognized that. It was really good to see him happy. He really juiced our team in the second half.”
It was much-needed juice. The Cardinals likely take a loss if Ellis doesn’t score 14 of Louisville’s 19 points from the 10:58 mark in the second half to 2:15. He seemed to answer each of Pittsburgh’s runs with a key basket of his own. Three of his buckets were lead-changing scores, with his jumper at the 3:33 mark giving UofL a lead it wouldn’t surrender.
“Once you see one go in, you feel like the basket just gets so big,” Ellis said. “You feel like you’re gonna make any shot. So really just seeing one go in I felt like it was gonna be one of those nights.”
Ellis credited the team’s defensive effort.
“Really just us continuing to get stops on the defensive end,” he said. “When you play that well on that end it helps your offense so that’s what was the really the click honestly.”
Ellis has now led Louisville in scoring twice this season, also doing so at Michigan State, but the visit with Mack and the experience against Pitt has helped him gain a greater understanding of what it takes to become a consistent contributor.
“I just got to come in with the right attitude every day and I know I got a lot to learn,” Ellis said. “This is my first year playing at this level and it’s hard. So I just got to just continue to get better each and every day and that starts at practice.”
—Cardiac Hill recaps the Pitt loss.
—Louisville roads are a mess. Stay safe out there.
—Pittsburgh Sports Now recaps yet another heartbreaking loss for Jeff Capel’s Panthers.
—Pretty wild stat.
Syracuse is 7-7 overall.— Mike Waters (@MikeWatersSYR) January 6, 2022
The Orange has never been at .500 this far into a season in Jim Boeheim's 46 years as head coach.
—Here’s Eric Crawford’s recap of last night’s Cardinal victory.
—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back from 3-6 on 1450 AM and 96.1 FM this afternoon to talk about the latest nailbiting win for Chris Mack and boys. Takes will be flying. You can stream the show here.