—Spread check: Louisville by 7.5.
—C.L. Brown writes that year two under Kenny Payne will clearly be much different than year one. Will that be enough?
—Kansas was the latest (and last) program to avoid major penalties from the IARP. The Jayhawks were forced to vacate 31 wins and a 2018 Final Four banner, but will face no future punishments outside of probation.
—The FBI’s probe into college basketball is officially over, and with all the dust settled, one can’t help but ask the obvious question: What was the point?
So what exactly do we have to show for this colossal waste of time?
Seven men faced the terror of federal agents knocking on their door and are left with the permanent marker of a federal conviction on their records. Five of them even served federal time. But they are the Lance Ito and Kato Kaelin in this particular caper. Names briefly made famous but little more than bit actors in the real play. Christian Dawkins, Merl Code, James Gatto, Lamont Evans and Book Richardson will someday make for the answers to a good trivia question. Name the poor saps who went to jail for college basketball.
The IARP, a group concocted by no less than Condoleeza Rice — the woman who once tried to stop the North Korean nuclear threat — is now officially defunct after a brief four-year lifespan. Meant to handle complex cases, it did plenty of complex work in billable hours and considerably less in actionable effort.
Bill Self and Bruce Pearl never were forced out of the basketball coaching fraternity. One (Self) won a national title after the FBI’s dog and pony show; the other played in a Final Four. Both received contract extensions. Rick Pitino, Sean Miller and Will Wade were temporarily shunned, exiled and banished, but having served their time in the naughty corner are now back at work.
Only in Stillwater, Okla., are people wondering what the heck just happened. To borrow from a famous Jerry Tarkanian line, Oklahoma State is Cleveland State, slapped by the Committee on Infractions with a postseason ban while Kansas went on to win a national title.
Is college basketball — college athletics, really — any less corrupt than it was in September 2017 when Joon Kim, then the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, made clean-up promises?
Not really. Things are more on the up and up, but that has nothing to do with the FBI, NCAA, IARP or any other alphabet peacocks pounding their fists. It’s because the courts got involved and forced the NCAA’s hand. The very thing that got everyone in trouble is now permissible thanks to NIL (which is not to say they shouldn’t have been punished; saying the rules changed and therefore you are not guilty is like saying you should be refunded for a speeding ticket for driving 65 mph back when the speed limit was 55). Rather than send assistant coaches to Las Vegas hotel rooms to make deals, colleges can put a QR code on the Jumbotron and ask for a “donation” to a collective to support name, image and likeness.
—The CJ’s Brooks Holton shares his recap of Wednesday night’s scrimmage.
—The fifth-ranked U of L field hockey team is gearing up to face a pair of top 10 opponents.
—The sixth-ranked Louisville volleyball team is hoping for a packed house at the KFC Yum Center on Friday night when it hosts rival and eighth-ranked Pitt. Here’s a preview.
—A new Jack Plummer ad for Tom Drexler is out.
—The Louisville men’s soccer team played Ohio State to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night after surrendering two goals in the game’s final nine minutes.
—Kirby Smart told his team before last Saturday’s game against Kentucky to be prepared for cheap shots from the Wildcats because it’s “what they do.”
—Rick Bozich gives us three reasons why this year’s U of L men’s basketball team will be much better.
1. The Leadership of White and Clark
The leadership void was never filled on this team last season. When things went poorly, spirits and effort sagged. Heads dropped. Negativity reigned.
White and Clark looked and talked like guys who will not let that happen nearly as much season. They shared the ball. They played fast but they did not play out of control. They looked to score without looking to hunt shots.
“What I saw from (White) tonight is why I brought him here,” Payne said.
White had 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal — and did it under control. On multiple trips, White organized his teammates in a huddle and delivered instructions on what his teammates on the Red squad needed to do better. He is a sophomore who exceled at USC last season and looked the part.
Ditto for Clark. Too many times, Louisville played out of control last season, a crushing quality that led to a team that ranked 352nd in the nation in turnover percentage.
Clark played with reasonable pace. He can beat defenders off the dribble but he was not obsessed with it. He encouraged freshmen Curtis Williams and Kaleb Glenn to keep shooting even when their attempts were not falling. He did have five turnovers, but at least two were the result of teammates dropping crisp passes.
“Me and Tre, we’ve known each other since ninth grade,” Clark said. “So we’ve been best friends for a long time. And we’re both some dogs and we’re going to feed off each other.
“When we both get rolling, we feed off each other and we feed off the team. We both love to compete on offense and defense. So only good things can happen.”
“For myself, I really just want to be a leader this year,” White said. “I want to show that I can lead a team.
“But also, besides me, I’m just really excited to be with this group of guys. Our chemistry is crazy.
“Like if we’re off the court, we’d be together all day. So it’s really like when we play on the court, it’s like it’s not even like a game. We’re just playing for each other. So it’s really the bond. The brotherhood we have is gonna go a long way.”
—College Football Blue Bloods has Jeff Brohm at No. 3 in its coach of the year rankings.
—In the same city where Sydney Smith’s father, Derek, made a name for himself as part of Louisville men’s basketball’s 1980 championship team, she is attempting to create her own legacy with Cherry Pickin’ juice bar.
—A+ commitment video from Jeff Walz’s latest five-star.
—A woman has alleged that Kansas basketball player Arterio Morris held her down by the neck and sexually assaulted her. Kansas has since dismissed him from the program.
—Former Louisville hoops recruit Billy Richmond has cut the Cards from consideration. This leaves just five uncommitted players from the class of 2024 who have a U of L offer.
—The Reddit college football poll for this week has Louisville at No. 13.
—Bellarmine/Trinity product Brandon Pfaadt helped the Diamondbacks sweep the Dodgers last night.
—Our old pal Josh Pastner will be helping out with the college basketball coverage on NBC/Peacock this season.
—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic gives his take on last night’s Red/White Scrimmage.
—I went on the latest episode of the Mark Titus Show to talk about the Brohm era, my blood feud with Ruettiger family, and then I got surprised with some basketball questions.
—Dimers simulated Louisville-Pitt 10,000 times and came out with an average score of the Cards winning 27-19.
—Stat Salt likes U of L to cover the 7.5 on Saturday.
—John Clay writes that Kentucky fans would be best-served not trying to compare Jeff Brohm and Mark Stoops.
—Some quick notes from the AP’s Louisville-Pitt preview.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Pitt has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the schools, though Louisville shut the Panthers down in a 24-10 victory last season. ... The Cardinals have won seventh straight games dating back to 2022, tied for the 10th-longest streak in program history. ... Louisville is outscoring opponents 48-0 in the first quarter. ... The Cardinals have produced eight turnovers over the last two games. ... Louisville leads the ACC with eight interceptions. ... The Cardinals have lived by the long ball. QB Jack Plummer has three passes of at least 60 yards and three of at least 70 yards, tied for the most in the FBS. ... The Panthers have beaten one ranked opponent in each of the last seven seasons. ... Pitt is coming off a bye week and has a difficult stretch to end the season. Four of the Panthers’ final seven opponents are ranked (Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida State and Duke). ... The Panthers need to go 5-2 to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time since 2017. ... Pitt’s usually productive running game has stumbled due largely to teams loading up to stop it with no threat of the pass. ... The Panthers are averaging just 115.6 yards on the ground, down from 183 yards rushing per game last season.
—At the season’s midway point, Jawhar Jordan deserves at least a bit of Heisman buzz.
—Louisville Report goes behind enemy lines with a Pitt writer.
—The CJ looks at how the Louisville defense will attack a Pitt offense that will look different with Christian Veilleux (pronounced “Vay-air” apparently) behind center.
—I will watch every single Notre Dame highlight/recap video that is made.
On Saturday night, we will have a 30-minute pregame show on WBKI starting at 6 p.m. that leads into the kickoff for Louisville-Pitt at 6:30 on The CW. Before we get to that, let's look back at the special night that was Louisville's 33-20 win over Notre Dame. A memorable night. pic.twitter.com/T9LjmhgTTZ— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) October 12, 2023
—Jeff Brohm made an appearance on Tuesday’s Jim Rome Show. You can hear his full interview here.
—The One Foot Down podcast is extremely salty about the loss at Louisville.
—Inside the Panthers says Pitt is eager to play the role of spoiler on Saturday.
—Brett McMurphy examines the possibility of a record number of college football teams finishing this season undefeated.
As college football hits the midway point of the regular season, there remain 14 undefeated teams.
Those include Air Force, Florida State, Georgia, James Madison, Liberty, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, USC and Washington.
Of the 14, only 13 are eligible for the College Football Playoff. James Madison is ineligible because it’s in its second year transitioning to FBS. With the remaining schedules, it’s mathematically possible we could end up with a maximum of eight 12-0 teams entering conference championship week.
There could be three unbeatens from the ACC since FSU, Louisville and UNC don’t play each other, but the remaining conferences can only have one unbeaten.
The Great Eight: Air Force from the Mountain West, Liberty from Conference USA, Florida State, Louisville and North Carolina from the ACC, Oklahoma from the Big 12 and one team each from the Big Ten (Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State) and Pac-12 (Oregon, USC and Washington).
Of course, knowing how chaotic college football is, we could end up with no unbeatens. While it’s mathematically possible, there’s no way we will have eight undefeated teams entering December.
Here are the percentages of each team’s chances to finish 12-0 based on the projected point spreads by Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson for their remaining games, including their toughest remaining game.
Georgia, 91%. Toughest test: at Tennessee
Oklahoma, 87%. Toughest test: at Kansas
Florida State, 82%. Toughest test: at Florida
Penn State, 82%. Toughest test: at Ohio State
Michigan, 81%. Toughest test: at Penn State
Ohio State, 79%. Toughest test: at Michigan
Air Force, 78%. Toughest test: at Boise State
Washington, 77%. Toughest test: at USC
Liberty, 77%. Toughest test: at Western Kentucky
UNC, 75%. Toughest test: at Clemson
Oregon, 74%. Toughest test: at Washington
USC, 73%. Toughest test: at Oregon
Louisville, 67%. Toughest test: at Miami
—The AP has Jeff Brohm as its midseason coach of the year in the ACC.
—Athlon previews Louisville-Pitt.
—Jody Demling looks at the series between Louisville and Pitt, which has seen the Panthers win eight of the last 10.
—Well, Seth, it cost Louisville arguably the greatest coach in the sport’s history, so ...
The FBI and SDNY probe of college basketball was a huge waste of time and taxpayers money. They gave immunity to an informant who embezzled $2 million to put a few assistant coaches in jail who took low five figure bribes. It was all one big nothingburger.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) October 11, 2023
—Louisville Report’s latest ACC power rankings have Louisville up to No. 3.
—The schedule has been announced for Louisville baseball’s annual Pizza Bowl.
—The Lines puts Louisville on upset alert for this weekend.
—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450/96.1 The Big X. You can stream the show here.