VOLUME XV • NUMBER 30 MARCH 17, 2011
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
MARCH 17, 2011
AMERICA’S FOREMOST AUTHORITY ON UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETICS®
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 30 • MARCH 17, 2011
EDITORIAL STAFF GENERAL MANAGER - Jack Coffee SENIOR WRITER AND EDITOR - Russ Brown OPERATIONS MANAGER - Howie Lindsey ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES - Mickey Clark, Betty Olsen and Blanche Kitchen CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dave Klotz, Shelley Feller, Gail Kamenish, Howie Lindsey and Chuck Feist CONTRIBUTING COLUMNISTS Matt Willinger, Jeff Wafford, Jason Puckett and Rick Cushing GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Scott Stortz COPY EDITOR - Rick Cushing
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THE BIG PICTURE: ON THE BIG STAGE AT THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ARENA A view from the top of the upper deck at Madison Square Garden as Louisville tipped off against Connecticut in the Big East Tournament final. The Cardinals fell short 69-66 in front of a hostile pro-UConn crowd. Louisville’s final shot, a three-pointer by Preston Knowles, rimmed out as time expired. - photo by Dave Klotz
5 MAGICAL RIDE STILL GOING
Senior Preston Knowles isn’t ready for UofL’s wild, magical ride of a season to be over yet. Picked to finish eighth in the Big East, the Cards finished No. 14 in the nation and are a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tourney.
The Ohio Valley Conference champion, Morehead State, landed a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are led by senior center Kenneth Faried, who leads the NCAA in rebounding, shooting percentage and double-doubles.
Miscues in the final minute helped seal Louisville’s fate against Connecticut in the Big East Tournament championship game Saturday night. The Huskies completed a five-game marathon for the title.
MOREHEAD STATE PREVIEW
11 HEARTBREAKING ENDING
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CARDS’ COMEBACK GETS IRISH
Peyton Siva and the Cardinals came from behind to beat No. 4 Notre Dame in the Big East semifinals Friday night. The Cardinals were down by 16 but came back to win 83-77 in overtime. 4 5-6 8 9 9 10 13-16 17
KNOWLES HAS GROWN UP A LOT
People thought Rick Pitino was crazy for taking a chance on Preston Knowles, an unranked, unheralded baller from Winchester, Ky., with a bad attitude, but Knowles has proven to be an asset to Louisville’s program as he matured.
NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT BRACKET NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW By Russ Brown THESE CARDINALS TRULY FIT THE CONCEPT OF TEAM PLAY By Jack Coffee COMMODORES RAN AGROUND IN LAST TWO NCAAS By Rick Cushing SPIDERS ARE PROVEN GIANT-KILLERS By Rick Cushing THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY By Howie Lindsey BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PHOTO GALLERY NO MIRACLE FINISH NEEDED FOR CARDS VS. MARQUETTE By Russ Brown
18-19 19 22 23 24 25 28 28
HEADED TO CINCY
The Louisville women were ecstatic when the brackets were released Monday night. That’s because their first NCAA Tournament game is just over 80 minutes away in Cincinnati, where their fans and family can come watch.
CANDIDATES ABOUND TO SUCCEED DAVIS AT PROVIDENCE By Russ Brown PITINO DEFENDS WILLARD AFTER RIP BY GONZALEZ By Russ Brown NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT BRACKET BASEBALL CARDS START TRIP WITH THREE WINS By Howie Lindsey SPRING SPORTS SCHEDULES UOFL SIGNEE BLACKSHEAR WRAPS UP PREP CAREER By Jeff Wafford SOFTBALL CARDS GO 3-2 LAST WEEK By Rick Cushing CARDINAL STARS OF THE WEEK By Howie Lindsey
NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET
MARCH 17, 2011
MARCH 17, 2011
RECRUITING NOTEBOOK LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW 10 AMAZING AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE 2009-2010 SEASON
FARIED, MOREHEAD PROVIDE FIRST NCAA TEST
CARDS NOT READY FOR THEIR MAGICAL RIDE TO END By Russ Brown The University of Louisville basketball team has been full of surprises this season, overcoming numerous injuries and dire preseason predictions to finish third in the Big East, 14th in the final AP regularseason poll and advance to the championship game of the Big East Tournament last weekend. Now we’ll see whether the Cardinals (25-9)) have a few more surprises up their sleeves for the NCAA Tournament, although at this point a case could be made that whatever this determined young group does wouldn’t rank as a surprise, short of a Final Four trip, of course. Junior center Terrence Jennings, for one, thinks he and his teammates could make a run in the tournament, which they will tip off as the No. 4 seed in the Southwest RUSS BROWN Region against No. 13 Morehead State (24-9) at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday in the Pepsi Center in Denver. If Louisville survives, it would meet the winner of the other first-round game in its bracket -- No. 5 Vanderbilt (23-10) or No. 12 Richmond (27-7) -- on Saturday for a berth in the Sweet Sixteen in San Antonio March 25-27. “A lot of people didn’t really think we were going to do much this year, especially in the Big East,” said Jennings, referring to UofL’s being tabbed by league coaches to finish eighth. “And look at what we did. We’re using that as fuel. We want to keep surprising people.” Junior forward Chris Smith echoed Jennings’ remarks: “We can do some good things. Nobody expected us to do what we’ve done so far, so we’ve just got to keep it going.” Count UofL coach Rick Pitino among the believers. He isn’t making any promises, naturally, but given how much he adores and admires this team, he indicated he doesn’t think anything is out of the realm of possibility. “Nothing would surprise me,” he said. “We have the attitude to make a run, but we have our shortcomings like everybody else. This team no longer surprises me.” UofL will be coming off a disappointing 69-66 loss to Connecticut in the Big East Tournament title game last Saturday, and the Cards also dropped a last-second heartbreaker in their regular-season finale at West Virginia (72-70) two Saturdays ago, but senior captain Preston Knowles believes those two narrow defeats could serve as extra motivation in the NCAA tourney. “I feel good,” he said. “I think we’re going to come back even more hungry after the West Virginia loss and (title-game defeat), because we were so close. It’s just little things for us, and I think we’re really going to focus on that during this week of practice. We can learn from this.” Sophomore point guard Peyton Siva
Senior captain Preston Knowles leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game. Knowles and the Cardinals will play Morehead State Thursday at 1:40 p.m. ET on TBS. - photo by Dave Klotz
also thinks the Cards are capable of making some noise in the tournament. The Cards will be trying to reach the Elite Eight for the third time in four years. “I have no worries whatsoever about this team,” he said. “I think we’re capable of fixing things. I know we can come through it as a team and be ready for the NCAA Tournament. I think we’re capable of doing anything if we put our minds to it, continue to listen and continue to play hard.” UofL’s biggest problem against Morehead figures to be the same as it’s been against many teams this season -- rebounding. The Golden Eagles, who earned the Ohio Valley Conference’s automatic NCAA bid by winning the league tournament, boast the nation’s leading rebounder in Kenneth Faried. The 6-8 senior is averaging 14.5 rebounds per game and is the NCAA’s career rebounding leader. He also leads the nation in shooting percentage at 64.4 and in double-doubles with 27 (84 all-time), and he is Morehead’s top scorer at 17.6 ppg. For good measure, he leads his team in blocks (79) and steals (65), too. Pitino compares Faried to former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman. “Faried has unbelievable passion for rebounding, and he’s a great low-post defensive player,” Pitino said. “He has, technique-wise, all the things you want to see in a great rebounder. He knows how to go baseline out, he knows how to change position out of his test tube, he knows how
to get position from a guy’s back, and he’s relentless. The only time he rests on the court is on a free throw and underneath out-of-bounds play.... He’ll cop five seconds. Outside of that, he doesn’t rest.” Faried’s 14.5 boards per game are more than the combined averages of both UofL centers, Jennings and Gorgui Dieng, and power forward Kyle Kuric. If that trio expects to rebound with Faried, they’d better bring a stepladder. “Faried rebounds more than our two centers and our power forward combined, so how difficult is that?” Pitino said. “It’s a very difficult assignment for any team, and our Achilles’ heel has been rebounding, and now we have the best rebounder in the history of the game to go against.” But Pitino said there is much to like about Morehead in addition to Faried, praising its trio of starting guards -- DeMonte Harper, Terrance Hill and Ty Proffitt, a 6-4 Notre Dame transfer -- along with 6-2 sixth man Sam Goodman. UofL opened the 2009 NCAA Tournament against Morehead and rolled to a 74-54 victory, but Pitino makes the current Eagles team sound like a national championship contender. Faried and Harper were sophomores on that team two years ago. “They’re as good a basketball team as there is in the country,” Pitino said. “They have Big East-type players at certain positions, transfers that are Big East-type players, they’re a senior team, a lot of experience. They play extremely hard with a lot of energy and passion.
“Besides Faried, they have a wellrounded team. Hill is lightning quick, a great shooter, Goodman plays as hard as Faried does, Proffitt is a great transfer, typical Notre Dame player, when you watch Hansbrough and those guys, that type of player. Harper is as good a player as there is; he’d be an all-Big East player if he was in our league. So they’ve got great talent, great experience and we have ourselves one tough ballgame.” Morehead has won 12 of its past 13 games but has no victories likely to raise eyebrows or lead anyone to think the Eagles can stay with UofL for 40 minutes. Morehead’s losses include back-to-back road setbacks at Florida (61-56) and Ohio State (64-45) in late November, the Eagles’ only games against high-level competition. “I think we’ve been pretty consistent all year,” Morehead coach Donnie Tyndall said. “We’ve won 18 of our last 21 games. Early in the year our record wasn’t great, but you’re playing at Florida, at Ohio State, at Northern Iowa.” Pitino has shared coaching ideas with Tyndall, even hosting Tyndall and his staff to watch individual instruction sessions last season, and he said the Golden Eagles are a mirror image of Louisville from a defensive standpoint. They employ a 2-3 matchup zone, with many of the same man-toman principles as the Cards’ zone. “They know our system very well,” Pitino said. “Their defensive scheme is as close to ours as any team. They’ll 2-2-1 press, play the zone the same way, match up a certain way. Now, their offense is a lot different than ours, but defensively we’re twins.” Tyndall said he’s grateful to Pitino for his willingness to help the Eagles’ staff. “He really didn’t have to do that, and it says a lot for him to allow a young coach at Morehead State to come up and watch his workouts and learn from him,” Tyndall said. “And then when our staff came up last year to tour the (Yum! Center) practice facility, he led us on the tour himself. I just really appreciate him working with us. I believe he is one of the best coaches to ever coach the game at any level.” As for Pitino’s current team that Morehead will try to upset Thursday, Tyndall said: “The way that they can shoot the ball with Knowles and Kuric and (Mike) Marra and Smith makes them tough. And then Jennings is an underrated big man with all the things he does.” Tyndall said the players Morehead could have the biggest problem matching up with, both offensively and defensively, are starting guards Siva and Knowles. “When you talk about Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles, those two guys are maybe playing as well as any backcourt combination in the country,” he said. “They both can shoot it. They both can drive it. They’re great defenders on the ball, and they cause havoc in their press. I have a great deal of respect for their entire team, but those two guards are probably the scariest of the group.” Continued on page 6
MARCH 17, 2011
RECRUITING NOTEBOOK LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW 10 AMAZING AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE 2009-2010 SEASON Continued from page 5
Pitino was asked several times during his Monday afternoon press conference prior to his team leaving for Denver Tuesday morning about Louisville’s No. 4 seed. Some figured the Cards would get a No. 3 seed after advancing to the Big East final, but four teams the Cards beat during the regular season -- Pittsburgh (1), Notre Dame (2), Syracuse (3) and Connecticut (3) -- were seeded higher. Pitino declined to criticize UofL’s seeding, but he was obviously perturbed by it, offering terse and sometimes sarcastic answers to other questions during the press conference and reciting a litany of Louisville’s accomplishments as if to suggest that they were a justification for a higher seed. “We’re excited to be part of the tournament,” he said. “We don’t get involved in seedings. Here’s what we look at: We finished No. 11 (RPI) in the country, No. 3 in the Big East, achieved the double bye, went to the championship game, played on the road in front of 18,000 hostile people and lost in the final seconds. “We were 12-6 in the toughest league in the country, so we’re extremely proud of where we are. We don’t do anything about political elections, we just worry about basketball. We’re excited to be part of the tournament. We don’t care where we go. We were hoping for Hawaii, but it wasn’t one of the regions. “You don’t worry about seeds, you
worry about the opponent you’re playing. We’ve got one of the hardest-working teams in the country we’re facing, with one of the best frontcourts and maybe the highest draft pick we’ll face this season up front, and you worry about the team you’re playing, not the seeds or where you play. All that stuff is for ESPNU late at night when you have no life.” Finally, asked about the value of the conference tournament because the Cards apparently didn’t get a bump in the seedings from winning twice and narrowly losing in the title game, Pitino replied: “Like I said, I could care less about seedings or any of that. I know a lot more about basketball than the people (selection committee) in that room, and my job is to coach the Xs and Os of the game -it’s their job to figure out (the seedings).... I’ve had to answer stupid e-mails about how could Syracuse be ranked ahead of us; it’s taking my time and getting under my skin. “You’ve got to play the game. Whoever you play, it’s going to be tough. Wherever you play, it’s going to be tough. The conditions are going to be tough. We don’t care. We are grateful and happy to be part of the tournament. We’re super-psyched about it. All I care about is, if you guys have a way to keep Kenneth Faried off the backboard, let me know, because (Ohio State’s Jared) Sullinger couldn’t do it, and that’s as good as it gets.”
2010-11 MEN’S SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT (TELEVISION) NOVEMBER Tues. 16 #16 BUTLER (ESPN) GLOBAL SPORTS SHOOTOUT Sat. 20 JACKSON STATE Mon. 22 CHATTANOOGA Sat. 27 MARSHALL (ESPN3) DECEMBER Wed. 1 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (ESPN3) in GLOBAL SPORTS SHOOTOUT Sat. 4 SOUTH ALABAMA Wed. 8 SAN FRANCISCO (ESPN3) Sat. 11 #20 UNLV (ESPNU) in BILLY MINARDI CLASSIC Tues. 14 DREXEL (ESPNU) Sat. 18 GARDNER-WEBB (ESPN3) Wed. 22 at Western Kentucky Mon. 27 MORGAN STATE Fri. 31 #11 KENTUCKY (CBS) JANUARY Wed. 5 SETON HALL (ESPNU) Sun. 9 at USF Wed. 12 at #7 Villanova (ESPN/2) Sat. 15 MARQUETTE (ESPN2) Wed. 19 ST. JOHN’S Sat. 22 at Providence (ESPNU) Wed. 26 WEST VIRGINIA (ESPNU) Sat. 29 at #5 Connecticut Mon. 31 at #13 Georgetown (ESPN) FEBRUARY Sat. 5 DEPAUL (BEN/WHAS) Wed. 9 at #8 Notre Dame (ESPNU) Sat. 12 #12 SYRACUSE (ESPN/2) Wed. 16 at Cincinnati (ESPN/2) Fri. 18 #13 CONNECTICUT (ESPN) Tues. 22 at Rutgers (ESPNU) Sun. 27 #4 PITTSBURGH (CBS) MARCH Wed. 2 PROVIDENCE (WHAS) Sat. 5 at West Virginia (ESPN/2) BIG EAST TOURNAMENT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Thur. 10 vs. Marquette Fri. 11 vs. #4 Notre Dame Sat. 12 vs. #21 Connecticut NCAA TOURNAMENT Thur. 17 vs. 13-seed Morehead State
KFC Yum! Center
KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center
W, 62-45 W, 106-65 W, 80-66
2-0 3-0 4-0
KFC Yum! Center
KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center
W, 97-70 W, 61-35 W, 77-69
6-0 7-0 8-0
KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center Bowling Green, Ky. KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center
L, 52-46 W, 78-49 W, 114-82 W, 104-74 L, 78-63
8-1 9-1 10-1 11-1 11-2
KFC Yum! Center Tampa, Fla. Philadelphia, Pa. KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center Providence, R.I. KFC Yum! Center Storrs, Conn. Washington, D.C.
W, 73-54 W, 86-77 L, 88-74 W, 71-70 W, 88-63 L, 72-67 W, 55-54 W, 79-78 (2OT) L, 62-59
12-2 13-2 13-3 14-3 15-3 15-4 16-4 17-4 17-5
1-0 2-0 2-1 3-1 4-1 4-2 5-2 6-2 6-3
KFC Yum! Center South Bend, Ind. KFC Yum! Center Cincinnati, Ohio KFC Yum! Center Piscataway, N.J. KFC Yum! Center
W, 61-57 L, 89-79 W, 73-69 L, 63-54 W, 71-58 W, 55-37 W, 62-59 OT
18-5 18-6 19-6 19-7 20-7 21-7 22-7
7-3 7-4 8-4 8-5 9-5 10-5 11-5
KFC Yum! Center Morgantown, W. Va. NEW YORK CITY
W, 87-60 L, 72-70
W, 81-56 W, 83-77 OT L, 69-66
24-8 25-8 25-9
1:40 p.m. ET
Junior Chris Smith was fouled by UConn’s Charles Okwuandu during Louisville’s 69-66 loss to the Huskies in the Big East Tournament final. Smith had six points, three rebounds and three assists. - photo by Dave Klotz
MARCH 17, 2011
MOREHEAD STATE PREVIEW
MOREHEAD STATE IS CURRENTLY ON TWO-YEAR PROBATION DUE TO THE RECRUITMENT OF TWO NEW JERSEY ATHLETES, KENNETH FARIED AND ONE OTHER ATHLETE WHO DIDN’T ENROLL. THE PROBATION INCLUDED THE LOSS OF A SCHOLARSHIP AND CONTACT RESTRICTIONS, BUT NO POST-SEASON BAN. KENNETH FARIED
2010-11 SCHEDULE DATE NOVEMBER Fri, Nov 12 Sun, Nov 14 Thu, Nov 18 Sun, Nov 21 Tue, Nov 23 Sun, Nov 28 DECEMBER Thu, Dec 2 Sat, Dec 4 Tue, Dec 7 Sat, Dec 11 Sun, Dec 19 Tue, Dec 21 Tue, Dec 28 Thu, Dec 30 JANUARY Sun, Jan 2 Thu, Jan 6 Sat, Jan 8 Thu, Jan 13 Sat, Jan 15 Sat, Jan 22 Mon, Jan 24 Thu, Jan 27 Sat, Jan 29 FEBRUARY Thu, Feb 3 Sat, Feb 5 Thu, Feb 10 Sat, Feb 12 Wed, Feb 16 Sat, Feb 19 Thu, Feb 24 Sat, Feb 26 MARCH Fri, Mar 4 Sat, Mar 5 Thu, Mar 17
Asbury College N.C. A&T at N.C. Wilmington at (9) Florida at (3) Ohio St. at SIU Edwardsville
W 90-49 W 84-61 L 58-60 L 55-61 L 45-64 W 83-64
Tenn-Martin Murray St. St. Catharine at Northern Iowa at Tennessee St. at Austin Peay Kent St. Binghamton
W 70-49 W 75-65 W 77-64 L 53-69 L 64-70 L 85-86 W 76-59 W 80-74
Charleston Tennessee Tech Jacksonville St. at SE Missouri St. at Eastern Illinois Eastern Kentucky at Ball St. Tennessee St. Austin Peay
W 69-49 W 76-64 W 73-52 W 76-63 L 40-47 L 49-59 W 50-48 W 72-65 W 69-56
at Jacksonville St. at Tennessee Tech Eastern Illinois SE Missouri St. at Eastern Kentucky at Indiana St. at Murray St. at Tenn-Martin
W 78-72 W 76-60 W 81-65 W 64-52 W 76-68 W 71-65 L 62-70 W 77-64
Austin Peay Tennessee Tech vs. (14) Louisville
W 68-49 W 80-73 1:40 pm ET
By Rick Cushing The Golden Eagles earned their seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid. They beat Tennessee Tech 80-73 on March 5 to claim the title for the second time in three years. “We look forward to playing Louisville,” said Morehead coach Donnie Tyndall. “We’ve had a week to enjoy winning the Ohio Valley Conference. Now it is time to get back to work and get ready to play the Cardinals.” Morehead, which is led by Kenneth Faried, the nation’s leading rebounder, is 24-9 and has won 12 of its last 13 games. The Eagles, who finished second in the OVC in the regular season at 13-5, played two ranked teams early in the season, losing 61-55 at then-No.9 Florida on Nov. 21 and 64-45 at then-No. 4 Ohio State on Nov. 23. Florida went on to win the SEC regularseason title and earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while Ohio State won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, was ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season poll and earned the overall No. 1 seed for the NCAA tourney. The Eagles were 14-1 at home but only 8-8 on opponents’ home courts. They were 2-0 on neutral courts (at Nashville in the OVC Tournament). UofL and MSU played no common opponents this season. COACH Tyndall, 40, is in his fifth season at Morehead after 10 years as an NCAA Division I assistant coach and one year as head coach at St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky., which he led to a 30-5 record in 1996-97 and a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament for the first time in school history. Among his stops as a Division I assistant were LSU and Middle Tennessee, spending four seasons at each. A Morehead graduate who played for three seasons (199093), Tyndall is 94-65 overall at the school, and his teams have improved every year, going from 11 victories in 2006-07 (more than triple the number of wins – 3 – from the previous season) to 15 wins in 2007-08, to 20-16 in 08-09, to 24-11 in 09-10 and 24-9 so far this season. He was the OVC Coach of the Year in 2007-08, and the next season he guided Morehead to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1984. And when the Eagles beat Alabama State in a play-in game, it marked the first NCAA tourney victory by an OVC team since 1989. GUARDS DeMonte Harper, a 6-4 senior, is the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.0 ppg and leads in assists at 3.4 a game, although he has more turnovers (128) than assists (113). He is second in rebounding at 4.9 rpg, and in steals with 52. He’s shooting 44.5 percent overall and a team-leading 39.9 percent on three-point shots. In the OVC Tournament title game he had 27 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and was named the tourney MVP. Terrance Hill, a 6-1 junior, is third in scoring at 10.4 ppg and fifth in rebounding at 2.2 rpg and in assists at 1.4 a game. He also has more turnovers (65) than assists (47). He’s shooting 38.4 percent overall, 34.3 percent on treys. The third starter in Morehead’s usual three-guard lineup is Ty Proffitt, a 6-4 junior who transferred from Notre Dame. He is fifth on the team at 7.7 ppg and sixth at 2.1 rpg. He’s third in
assists at 1.8 per game and has the best assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.53/1. He’s shooting 37.2 percent overall, 37.8 on treys and is the team’s best free-throw shooter at 85.5 percent. The top backcourt sub is Sam Goodman, a 6-2 senior who has started 21 games and is the fourth-leading scorer (8.4 ppg) and rebounder (4.0 rpg). He’s shooting 47.9 percent overall, 35.6 percent on treys. Another backcourt sub is Lamont Austin, a 6-0 junior who is averaging 3.1 ppg and is second in assists at 1.85 a game. He’s shooting just 31.0 percent overall and a paltry 18.4 percent on treys but is a good free-throw shooter at 83.7 percent. BIG MEN Faried, a 6-8 senior, leads the team at 17.6 ppg and the nation at 14.5 rpg (he’s the NCAA’s career rebounding leader in modern history which, according to the NCAA, dates only to 1972!). He also leads the nation in shooting percentage at 64.4 (he has attempted no three-point shots) and in double-doubles with 27 (he has 84 all-time). He also leads the team in blocks with 79 and in steals with 65, but he’s not a good free-throw shooter at 57.8 percent. In the OVC Tournament title game he had 24 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots, and he played against UofL twice two seasons ago as a sophomore, getting six points and 11 rebounds in a 79-41 defeat on Nov. 22, 2008 and 14 points and 11 rebounds in a 74-54 defeat on March 20, 2009 in an NCAA Tournament first-round game. The other starter up front is 6-7 freshman Drew Kelly, who is sixth on the team in scoring at 5.3 ppg and fourth at 4.4 rpg. He is shooting 40 percent overall but just 20.7 percent on treys, and he has twice as many turnovers (36) as assists (18). He is a decent free-throw shooter at 71.8 percent. The Eagles’ two front-court subs are both freshmen – 6-6 Arthur McMillan (1.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg) and 6-7 Dionne Ferguson (1.1 ppg, 1.0 rpg) – so they must keep Faried out of foul trouble. He has fouled out of three games. If Kelly gets in foul trouble, the Eagles may go to Faried and four guards. ETC: Morehead is fifth in the country in rebounding margin at 9.2 a game and 20th in steals at 8.6 a game. The Eagles are holding the opposition to 61.7 ppg, 30th in the country, and to 41.6 percent shooting, which ranks 87th. Opponents are shooting 36.6 percent from beyond the arc, however, which is 285th. The Eagles are shooting 45.9 percent overall, 65th in the country, but 34.0 percent on treys, 180th. They make just 5.8 three-pointers a game, 201st in the country. ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and Morehead have met 42 times in a series that dates to 1932, with the Cards holding a 31-11 advantage. Their last meeting came in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, a 20-point victory for the Cards, and they met two other times in the NCAA tourney. The Cards won 83-61 in a consolation game in 1961 (after they dropped a 56-55 decision to No. 1 Ohio State) and 72-59 in the first round in 1984. The previous 10 times the teams have met resulted in UofL victories by 33, 13, 35, 14, 36, 58 (119-61), 64 (10440), 24, 38 and 20 points.
2010-11 WEST MOREHEAD BASKETBALL ROSTER NO 0 2 3 5 10 11 13 14 21 22 23 33 34 35
NAME DREW KELLY SHANNON WILLIAMS KEVIN GRAY REGGIE WILLIAMS LAMONT AUSTIN TERRANCE HILL TY PROFFITT TAYLOR MAZE DIONTE FERGUSON DEMONTE HARPER ARTHUR MCMILLAN ROMARIC LASME SAM GOODMAN KENNETH FARIED
POS F F-C G G G G G G F G F F G C
HT SO. FR. FR. FR. JR. JR. JR. FR. FR. SR. FR. JR. SR. SR.
HS HS HS
YR 6-7/235 6-8/230 5-11/175 6-2/180 5-11/175 6-1/175 6-4/190 6-1/173 6-7/215 6-4/195 6-6/235 6-7/215 6-2/190 6-8/228
HOMETOWN FRANKLIN, TN DETROIT, MI REYNOLDSBURG, OH VIRGINIA BEACH, VA TOPEKA, KS. COLUMBUS, GA LONDON, KY OWINGSVILLE, KY PRATTVILLE, AL NASHVILLE, TN NASHVILLE, TN PORT-GENTIL, GABON LAWRENCEVILLE, GA NEWARK, NJ
MOREHEAD GOLDEN EAGLES
EAGLES HAVEN’T HAD MUCH LUCK AGAINST CARDS RECENTLY
MARCH 17, 2011
COMMENTARY BY JACK COFFEE JACK@CARDINALSPORTS.COM
THESE CARDINALS TRULY FIT THE CONCEPT OF TEAM PLAY I don’t know how many of you agree with me, but in my opinion this is the most effective coaching job that Rick Pitino has done since arriving at the University of Louisville in 2001. I’m still trying to figure out how this team has won 25 games, finished third in the Big East regular season and second in the tournament, which they should have won and lost only after self-destructing in the last minute before succumbing to a team they had defeated twice in the regular season, once at their place. Although this kind of declaration is totally subjective, a look at the final regular-season statistics backs up my position. The Cards were truly a TEAM, and one of the best TEAMS in the country to boot. There is no superstar on the UofL roster, and the stats bear that out. Only one Louisville player is in the top 30 in scoring in the Big East, Preston Knowles at 14.8 ppg. Not one UofL player is in the top 20 in rebounding. There also is no Cardinal in the top 20 in minutes played, which is an indication of the TEAM concept that Pitino has created by using at least 10 players in every game, no matter the score. Even the last two players on the bench, JACK COFFEE Tim Henderson and Russ Smith, have been used in critical situations with the game on the line. Every player on the roster has contributed, with Knowles leading in minutes played at 30.3 per game. Eleven players averaged eight or more minutes per game, with senior George Goode the lowest at eight per game. Only Peyton Siva started every game, and only Siva and Knowles started more than 22 games. The remarkable statistic concerning this team is the balanced scoring and rebounding that has been the hallmark of the season. Eight different players have been a game-high scorer, and nine players have been the top rebounder or tied for top rebounder in a game. No one player has dominated scoring or rebounding, with Rakeem Buckles being the only player to have more than one double-double (he had two, against South Alabama and Butler early in the season). A look at the stats early in the season shows how devastating the loss of Buckles was to the team. He played in only 16 of the 34 games before the NCAA Tournament, yet he is the leading rebounder on the season, averaging 6.1 per game in spite of missing several minutes in games due to injury. In games when he played injuryfree, Buckles usually grabbed rebounds in double figures. The other double-doubles were by Stephan Van Treese against USF in Tampa (impressive considering he averaged fewer than 14 minutes per game), Terrance Jennings against UConn at Storrs, Gorgui Dieng against UConn at home and Preston Knowles against Providence at home. As I stated earlier in the season, the reason this team won games was defense, passing, three-point shooting and taking care of the ball. The weaknesses on this team were free-throw shooting and rebounding. Although the team’s .669 free-throw percentage would have increased to .725 with one more made per game and tied for fourth in the Big East with Notre Dame, it was not significant enough to impact the season. The Cardinals managed to outrebound their opponents by just .5 per game, but only one loss can be attributed to a disparity in rebounding, West Virginia in the last game of the regular season. In that game West Virginia had 24 more rebounds than the Cards in a game they lost by two. On defense the Cards held opponents to 64.6 points per game while scoring 75.4. They were second in the league in three-point defense at 30.6 percent; third in blocked shots at 4.9 a game; and sixth nationally in blocked shots, with Jennings fourth and Dieng fifth in the Big East. They led the league in steals and were third nationally, with Siva and Knowles both in the top four of the Big East. Also in the conference, Louisville was second in turnover margin at plus 3.03 per game, good for 19th in the nation. On offense, three-point shooting was the difference for this team as the Cards ended the season third in the league at 36.1 percent, with Kuric second, Chris Smith 11th and Knowles 12th. Knowles and Kuric were both in the top seven in three-pointers made per game. Louisville led the league with 8.8 per game and finished seventh in the country. Louisville shot 156 more three-pointers than the next highest team, Providence. It looks like the key for this team to win in the NCAA Tournament -- an unthinkable proposition when the season started, by the way -- is to hit three-pointers and at least stay even on the boards. The first game matches the Cards against perhaps the best player in the country, at least statistically. Kenneth Faried of Morehead leads the country in rebounds per game at 14.5, double-doubles with 27 and field-goal percentage at 64.4.
In the picture of the 1968-69 UofL basketball team, student manager Frank Hartley Jr. was unidentified. Thanks to his high school friend from Trinity, Bill Brasch, for providing his name. Frank tragically died of cancer near the end of his UofL career. He was the son of former Courier-Journal Sports Editor Frank Hartley Sr.
One more thing about my recent column concerning the Cards’ first year in the new KFC Yum! Center: How about next season offering some oldies to select for the songs to be played during timeouts when the crowd chooses the song? Enough of the teenybopper stuff. Why not these three: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Feel Good” by James Brown and “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes? Now that’s real Rock ‘n’ Roll.
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MARCH 17, 2011
COMMODORES RAN AGROUND IN LAST 2 NCAA APPEARANCES Vanderbilt led by 12 points early in the second half but fell to top-seeded Florida 77-66 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament last Saturday, but with a 23-10 record and a third-place finish in the SEC East the Commodores received a No. 5 seed in the Southwest Region in the NCAA Tournament. Vandy will be making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its fourth since 2004. The Commodores advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and 2007. Their last appearance was in 2010, when the 4th-seeded Commodores fell to 13th-seeded Murray State 66-65 in the first round. They also lost as a No. 4 seed to 13th-seeded Siena in 2008. UofL and Vanderbilt played four common opponents this season. Vandy lost to West Virginia, split with Kentucky, and beat Marquette and Western Kentucky. UofL split with West Virginia, lost to Kentucky, beat Marquette twice and Western Kentucky once. Vandy was 6-8 this season against teams in the NCAA Tournament. COACH Kevin Stallings is in his 12th season at Vanderbilt and will be taking the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time. He has six 20win seasons, tied with Roy Skinner for first all-time at the school, and his overall record at Vandy is 236-147. Before taking over at Vandy he coached for six seasons at Illinois State, going 123-63 and taking the Redbirds to the NCAA Tournament twice. Before that he was an assistant at Kansas for five years and at Purdue for nine years. GUARDS John Jenkins, a 6-4 sophomore, is one of the top three-point shooters in the nation (40.8 percent,
27th in the country, 3.1 a game, 11th in the country). He leads the team at 19.5 ppg and is shooting 45.9 percent overall. He’s a very good free-throw shooter at 89.2 percent. Point guard Brad Tinsley, a 6-3 junior, averages 10.6 ppg and leads the team at 4.5 assists per game. Jeffrey Taylor, a 6-7 junior swingman, averages 15.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg. BIG MEN Festus Ezeli, a 6-11 junior from Nigeria, averages 12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 2.6 blocks, and he’s shooting 57.9 percent. Lance Goulbourne, a 6-8 junior, averages 6.9 ppg and a team-leading 7.2 rpg. The team has solid depth up front in 6-9 junior Steve Tchiengang (4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg), 6-9 freshman Rod Odom (4.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and 6-7 junior Andre Walker (3.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg). ETC: The Commodores rank eighth in the country in three-point defense at 29.2 percent, so that could be a point of concern for the three-point loving Cards. Vandy ranks 43rd in overall defense at 40.4 percent. Vandy shoots 45.9 percent overall, 66th in the country, 37.6 percent on treys, 45th in the country, and it makes 7.7 threes a game, 44th in the country. It is a good free-throw shooting team at 74.3 percent, 37th in the country. The Commodores do not play pressure defense (just 5.2 steals a game, 283rd in the country), and they may be vulnerable to UofL’s pressing D (Vandy’s turnover margin is minus-1.4, 267th in the country). ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and Vanderbilt have met 15 times in a series that dates to 1929, with the Cards holding an 8-7 advantage. The last time the teams met was on Feb. 6, 1994, when the Cards won 78-62 in Freedom Hall.
SPIDERS ARE PROVEN GIANT-KILLERS The Spiders beat Dayton 67-54 for their first Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament title last Sunday to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They are 27-7 overall and have won their last seven games and 11 of their last 12.They received a No. 12 seed. This will be Richmond’s ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament and second in a row. The Spiders lost in the first round last year as a No. 7 seed. Richmond, though, has established itself as a “Giant Killer” -- the Spiders are the first school in history to win NCAA Tournament games as a 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th seed. UofL and Richmond have met one common opponent this season – Seton Hall. Both teams beat the Pirates, Richmond prevailing 69-61 at the Hall on Dec. 26, the Cards winning 7354 on Jan. 5 at the Yum! Center. Richmond played only one ranked team all season, knocking off then-No. 8 Purdue 65-54 on Nov. 27. The Spiders are 3-4 this season against teams in the NCAA Tournament. COACH Chris Mooney, 38, is in his sixth season at Richmond, having previously coached two seasons at the Air Force Academy. He was a four-year starter at Princeton, and his teams employ a Princeton-style offense, with a lot of movement and an emphasis on taking only good shots. GUARDS Kevin Anderson, a 6-0 senior, is second on the team at 16.5 ppg and shoots 42.7 percent from three-point range. He had 23 points in the A-10 tourney title game and was named tourney MVP. Damien Brothers, a 6-3 sophomore, aver-
ages 7.8 ppg and 3.3 assists, and Kevin Smith, a 6-5 senior swingman, averages just 4.0 ppg but leads in assists at 3.5 a game and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.94/1, eighth in the country. The top backcourt sub is 6-1 freshman Cedrick Lindsay (4.4 ppg). BIG MEN Justin Harper, a 6-10 senior, leads the team at 17.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg, and he’s shooting 54.3 percent overall, 46.5 percent on treys. He’s also a good free-throw shooter at 78.6 percent. Dan Geriot, a 6-9 senior, averages 9.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg, and he’s shooting 42.1 percent on treys. The Spiders have good depth up front, with 6-9 junior Darrius Garret (1.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg and a team-leading 45 blocks) and 6-6 junior Francis Martel (4.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg). ETC: The Spiders take care of the ball. They average just 10.9 turnovers a game, which is 15th in the country, have an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.41/1, ninth in the country, and a turnover margin of 2.2, 37th in the country. They shoot the ball well – 47.1 percent overall, 28th in the country, 40.7 percent on treys, seventh in the country, 8.0 made three-pointers a game, 29th in the country – and they play solid defense, holding foes to 40.5 percent overall, 45th in the country, and 30.5 percent on treys, 14th in the country. They are an average free-throw shooting team at 69.0 percent, 176th in the country, and do not rebound well, with a rebound margin of minus-2.4, 265th in the country. ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and Richmond have met just once, with the Cards prevailing 53-45 on Dec. 5, 2005.
2010-11 VANDERBILT BASKETBALL ROSTER
2010-11 RICHMOND BASKETBALL ROSTER
NO 1 3 5 10 11 12 14 21 23 33 35 40 44 45 50 54
NO 1 2 3 10 11 12 13 14 15 21 22 23 24 31 32 34 41
NAME BRAD TINSLEY FESTUS EZELI LANCE GOULBOURNE CHRIS MERIWETHER KYLE FULLER JORDAN SMART AARON NOLL DARSHAWN MCCLELLAN JOHN JENKINS STEVE TCHIENGANG JAMES SIAKAM JOSH HENDERSON JEFFERY TAYLOR ROD ODOM JOE DUFFY ANDRE WALKER
POS G C F G G G-F F F G F F C F F F F
YR JR. JR. SO. SR. FR. SO. JR. SR. SO. JR. FR. FR. SO. FR. SR. JR.
EXP 1V 2V 2V 3V 1V 2V 3V 1V 2V
1V 3V 2V
HT/WT 6-3/210 6-11/255 6-8/225 6-0/180 6-1/180 6-6/200 6-7/220 6-7/240 6-4/215 6-9/240 6-7/210 6-11/220 6-7/225 6-9/207 6-8/225 6-7/220
HOMETOWN OREGON CITY, OR (OREGON CITY HIGH) BENIN CITY, OU (IGBINEDION EDUCATION CENTER) BROOKLYN, NY (THE HUN SCHOOL) NASHVILLE, TN (FATHER RYAN HS) MORENO VALLEY, CA (RANCHO VERDE HS) LEXINGTON, KY (LEXINGTON CATHOLIC) FORT MITCHELL, KY (COVINGTON CATHOLIC HS) FRESNO, CA (EDISON) GALLATIN, TN (STATION CAMP HS) DOUALA, OU (MONTVERDE ACADEMY) DOUALA, CAMEROON (BREHM PREP) ROANOKE, VA (CAVES VALLEY HS) NORRKOPING, OU (HOBBS HIGH) BELLPORT, NY (MIDDLESEX SCHOOL) CHARLOTTE, NC (CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC) FLOSSMOOR, IL (HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR)
NAME DARRIUS GARRETT CEDRICK LINDSAY DARIEN BROTHERS JONATHAN BENJAMIN JOSH DUINKER KEVIN SMITH ZAK ESTES KEVIN ANDERSON FRANCIS CEDRIC MARTEL KEVIN HOVDE GREG ROBBINS WAYNE SPARROW LIAM BILLINGS CONOR SMITH JUSTIN HARPER DERRICK WILLIAMS DAN GERIOT
POS F G G G F-C F G-F G F G-F G-F G G F F F C
YR JR. FR. SO. SO. JR. SR. JR. SR. JR. SR. SO. FR. JR. JR. SR. FR. SR.
EXP 2V 1V 1V RS 3V 2V 3V 2V RS 1V RS RS 3V RS
HT/WT 6-9/210 6-1/180 6-3/195 5-11/160 6-11/230 6-5/200 6-4/200 6-0/175 6-6/205 6-6/215 6-5/215 6-3/175 6-4/195 6-9/225 6-10/225 6-6/250 6-9/255
HOMETOWN RALEIGH, NC (MCEACHERN (GA)) WASHINGTON, DC (GONZAGA COLLEGE HS) RICHMOND, VA (BENEDICTINE) ROCHESTER, NY (THE HARLEY SCHOOL) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, (ST. PIUS X) MURFREESBORO, TN (RIVERDALE) INDIANAPOLIS, IN (BREBREUF JESUIT) DULUTH, GA (PEACHTREE RIDGE) MONTREAL, QUEBEC, PQ (MONTMORENCY) KENNETT SQUARE, PA (UNIONVILLE HS) WYNNEWOOD, PA (LOWER MERION) BALTIMORE, MD (ST. FRANCES ACADEMY) WINTER PARK, FL (WINTER PARK) BROOKFIELD, WI (CATHOLIC MEMORIAL) RICHMOND, VA (MEADOWBROOK) STATEN ISLAND, NY (ST. ANTHONY HS) SPRINGFIELD, PA (SPRINGFIELD HS)
MARCH 17, 2011
C O M M E N T A R Y
What a run! We knew before the Big East Tournament that this UofL team was capable of a run, but the way it happened was more than we could have imagined. Thursday night, Louisville beat Marquette in stunning fashion, 81-56. Then the Cardinals came back from a 16-point deficit to beat No. 4 Notre Dame 83-77 in overtime. In the title game, Louisville fought and scrapped for every point, but some empty possessions in the final minute came back to bite them in a 69-66 loss. But even then, if Preston Knowles’ shot falls in the final seconds to force OT, the Cards probably would have brought home the tournament trophy from the toughest conference in the nation. That is simply amazing considering this team has no ready-made NBA players and returned zero starters from a season ago.
We think the coaches in the Big East made a BAD decision for both Big East Coach and Player of the Year. Both went to Notre Dame. Ben Hansbrough was named Player of the Year and was the only player to be a unanimous pick on the all-conference team. Mike Brey was tabbed Coach of the Year. While those are GOOD picks, they aren’t the BEST picks in our opinion. Kemba Walker of UConn was a better pick for Player of the Year. He’s a better player, more difficult to guard and is more important to his team than Hansbrough. And for Coach of the Year, our own Rick Pitino clearly did the best job in the league at creating a winning team out of a scrambled lineup.
If there is some category worse than UGLY, the refereeing work during the St. John’s-Rutgers game in the Big East Tournament would fit in it. It was an all-time goof-up. The crew of Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Watson didn’t call blatant fouls in the final minutes, then allowed a St. John’s player to walk and step out of bounds with time on the clock as they ran off the court at the end of the second-round game last Wednesday. The mess was so bad that nearly every talk show in the country was blasting that referee crew by the following morning. For more on the play and the pitiful officiating, check out Russ Brown’s Big East Tournament Notebook on Page 18. On Thursday, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto announced that the three officials have “voluntarily withdrawn (from the tournament) in the best interests of those involved.”
We don’t like that Louisville is in Kansas’ bracket. The topseeded Jayhawks are also the No. 1 team in the RPI. The Morris brothers (Marcus and Markieff) are going to be tough to stop in the low post, and they have the athleticism to cause Louisville’s guards trouble. Kenny Smith on CBS’ Selection Special Show said: “A team that stands out to me is Louisville. They have a great opportunity to advance, but what happens then? You advance to meet Kansas, and I don’t know if that is where you want to be.” Jay Bilas agreed with Smith about the toughness of Kansas. “I’ve got Kansas and Purdue in my Elite Eight,” he said. “I have Kansas advancing because I think Kansas is the best team in this whole bracket. I have Kansas beating Pittsburgh, then beating Connecticut in the final. I have Kansas cutting the nets down, but then again, I had Kansas winning it all last year, and they got beat by Northern Iowa.” Bilas has Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Kansas in his Final Four.
Several national analysts have been raving about Louisville, though. On Sunday night, Digger Phelps said: “Out in Denver you have Louisville, a team that played very, very well and reached the Big East Conference final before losing to UConn. You look at Louisville, and it is the two guards that really go after you. Peyton Siva is really aggressive going to the hole, and he drives it very, very well. He’s the go-to guy. And then there’s Preston Knowles. He’s the one that really makes everything happen. To balance things out, Terrence Jennings, to me, is going to be the key if he can get his double-doubles inside. This is a very aggressive defensive team, and this is when I think Louisville is at its best - Rick Pitino coaching in the NCAA Tournament. Louisville can make a run.” Dick Vitale also is a Louisville believer. He has the Cards making the Final Four along with Ohio State, Duke and Pitt.
Not all national analysts make great points, however. One guy in particular that we have a hard time watching is ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb. We understand that analysts need to be critical at times, but he seems to be critical of nearly every team all of the time. He made no exception for Louisville on Selection Sunday. “(Morehead State) will be an interesting matchup for Louisville against an in-state team,” he said. “This is no walk in the park for Louisville against a team in Morehead State that rebounds well with Kenny Faried going up against Terrence Jennings. Jennings wants to be a pro, he’ll go against a pro in the first round.” Gottlieb looked foolish when he
There is no equation we can possibly think of that would have Syracuse getting a higher seed than Louisville. The 4th-seeded Cardinals are the better team, are ranked higher in most polls, and beat the 3rd-seeded Orange head to head. And for that matter, what about Florida getting a No. 2 seed? Are you kidding? The seeding this year was more than a little odd.
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lauded Florida earlier last week and then criticized their seeding for being way too high Sunday. He also contradicted himself on several bubble teams that he blasted earlier in the week. We find it interesting that the last time the Cards made the Final Four they also were an underrated No. 4 seed. That year (2005), most people believed Louisville should have been a No. 2 seed, but the Cardinals funneled their frustration into stellar play on the court. Louisville had a test in the first round against Louisiana-Lafayette, winning 68-62, but demolished its next two opponents, clubbing 5th-seeded Georgia Tech 76-54 and sprinting past topseeded Washington 93-79. In the Elite Eight, Louisville had to come back from a 19-point deficit to beat 7th-seeded West Virginia 93-85 in overtime.
Gene Smith, the chairman of the Tournament Selection Committee, believes they did a GOOD job seeding all 11 Big East teams fairly. “I went into this entire weekend fearful that we may have a real challenge with bracketing,” the Ohio State AD said. “It was challenging, without a shadow of a doubt, because we had a couple conferences with multiple teams. When you’re trying to avoid replays, you really end up with some challenges. We ended up looking at, for example, the Big East, trying to make sure when we had replays, and as you well know they have a conference scheduling format where they don’t play each other twice, some schools that only play once. When we did that bracketing and knew that we’d have rematches, we tried to match up the one-plays and not the two-plays. That created a slight challenge, along with all the other regularseason matchups of other teams we were bracketing. It was a little bit more challenging than normal, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated it would be. It worked out very well.” We respectfully disagree. We understand Smith and the Committee had a difficult time placing 11 teams from the same league in the bracket, but having four Big East teams in the East bracket and having two different instances of Big East teams having to play each other in the second round is just not right.
UConn’s trip to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl not only produced a blowout loss to Oklahoma but UGLY financial figures as well, with the school’s athletic department losing nearly $1.8 million. The university incurred total expenses of $4,280,998 while receiving a payout of $2,523,200 from the Big East. By far the largest expense the school incurred came from absorbed ticket sales. It sold only 2,771 out of an allotment of 17,500 tickets, resulting in UConn absorbing 14,729 tickets worth $2,924,385. UConn’s losses were further inflamed by the costs of travel, meals, lodging and other bowl expenses. The last Big East team to participate in the Fiesta Bowl before UConn was West Virginia, which beat Oklahoma in 2008. According to bowl documents obtained from WVU, the school’s losses totaled about $1 million. The school received a similar payout as UConn from the Big East, but its numbers were bolstered by stronger ticket sales. Out of an allotment of 17,500, WVU sold 7,981.
The cover story in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated is the result of a six-month investigation by the magazine revealing some UGLY statistics -- that more than 200 players on teams listed among SI’s preseason football top 25, including 23.5 percent of scholarship athletes on one team, have been in trouble with the law. The Big East’s Pittsburgh headed the list with 22 players who were found to have police records. Arkansas, under former UofL coach Bobby Petrino, was tied with Iowa for second with 18. Cincinnati was 15th with five. TCU, which will join the Big East next year, had no players with a rap sheet. Pitt’s law-breakers came during the regime of Dave Wannstedt, who was fired after last season.
The UofL men’s soccer team is spending its Spring Break in Brazil playing local soccer teams and helping provide clean water to locals through a program called EDGE Outreach. It is an awesome idea, and we commend coach Ken Lolla and the Cardinals for taking on such an effort. If you haven’t seen goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux’s blog on UofLSports.com, it is definitely worth checking out. Here is part of what he said about their Saturday activities: “No matter what role we took on, whether it was being a friend and fellow soccer player for the kids, or a teacher and provider at the church with the water system, we all were able to come away knowing that we impacted lives. The impact was immediately visible on the faces of the children, but the impact the water system will have won’t occur until some years from now. Regardless of when our impact takes place, knowing that we helped improve peoples’ lives is something we can all appreciate.”
TWEET OF THE WEEK @BrandonTierney: “Going from watching Big East basketball to Big 10 is like watching Caddyshack–and then watching Caddyshack II”
MARCH 17, 2011
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HUSKIES COMPLETE NEW YORK MARATHON AS CARDS FALL By Russ Brown NEW YORK -- In the University of Louisville’s somber locker room following its excruciatingly disappointing 69-66 loss to Connecticut in the Big East Tournament title game last Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, sophomore forward Mike Marra sat in his cubicle, head down, his eyes red from crying. Although he didn’t say so in so many words, he didn’t have to -- it was obvious that Marra blamed himself in no small degree for the loss. He had thrown an errant inbounds pass with 26.8 seconds remaining that led to a three-point UConn lead. Then he got a chance to redeem himself at the free-throw line, but that didn’t go well either. UofL trailed UConn RUSS BROWN 67-64 when Marra, fouled by Kemba Walker on a three-point shot at the top of the key, stepped to the line for three free throws. A 77 percent free-throw shooter, he hit the first one. But his second one rattled in and out. Then, ordered by UofL coach Rick Pitino to miss the third one in order to give the No. 14 and third-seeded Cardinals (25-9) a chance for the rebound and a game-tying basket, Marra made it. UofL immediately fouled UConn freshman Shabazz Napier with 3.3 seconds to go, and Napier hit both free throws for the final margin. Point guard Peyton Siva raced upcourt with the ensuing inbounds pass and threw to Preston Knowles on the right wing, but his deep three-point shot at the buzzer was short and bounced off the rim, spoiling UofL’s hopes for a Garden party. “That was definitely the most pressurefilled situation I’ve ever been in,” Marra said softly. “I just tried to shoot them like any other free throw. You know there’s a lot on the line, obviously, but you’ve got to try and stay focused and pretend you’re shooting just another free throw. I was supposed to miss the third one, but I threw it up there too soft and it popped off the rim and went in. Just my luck. I feel bad the way it ended. It’s going to take a few days to hopefully put this behind me.” But Marra’s teammates weren’t about to let him beat himself up over the miss. Knowles, the team captain, immediately moved to console him. “We really need him if we’re going to make a big run,” Knowles said. “So I just wanted to let him know that he wasn’t the reason we lost and we still have faith in all our players. He’ll be OK.” Said Siva: “If Mike Marra had those free throws at the end of the game, I’ll give them to him every single time. I know he’s capable of making them, I have faith in him. He’s gonna be all right, he’s a tough kid. That one play didn’t lose the game. We had a whole bunch of opportunities, but we didn’t come through in the clutch.” Said Marra of the support from his teammates: “It means more than any-
Sophomore Mike Marra hit 2 of 3 free throws with just under four seconds left to cut Connecticut’s lead to 67-66. After a pair of free throws by UConn’s Shabazz Napier the Cardinals had one final attempt to tie the score, but it rimmed out. - photo by Dave Klotz
thing because these are the guys I feel like I let down, and they still have my back. It felt really good to have our captain tell me to keep my head up because we’re moving on to bigger things. I still feel very positive that we can go far in the (NCAA) Tournament.” Pitino bemoaned the fact that Louisville allowed the Huskies to grab 15 offensive rebounds and score 17 second-chance points, and that the Cards had 16 turnovers that led to 19 UConn points. Furthermore, a lack of execution at crunch time proved fatal. “Those are things we can control, and that bothers me,” he said. “We beat ourselves a little down the stretch. We couldn’t even miss a free throw the right way.” Then there was the out-of-bounds play with 26.8 seconds left and UofL trailing just 65-64. Because of improper screening, Marra’s inbounds pass sailed over Terrence Jennings’ head into the hands of Napier, whose two free throws made it 67-64 with 16.4 seconds remaining. Knowles then missed a deep three, but Kyle Kuric batted the rebound back to Marra, who was knocked down by Walker, setting up the ill-fated free-throw se-
quence. Knowles, who had hit difficult shots for UofL several times in the late going and finished with a team-high 18 points, felt his last attempt that would have sent the game into overtime had a good chance to go in. “I really felt good about it,” he said. When the smoke cleared, No. 21/19 UConn (26-9) had completed its unprecedented New York Marathon, winning five games in five days to claim its first championship since 2004. The Huskies were unlikely champions. They hadn’t won a game in the tournament since 2005, had lost four of their last five to end the regular season, were seeded ninth and faced the daunting task of beating four ranked and higher-seeded teams in a row, including regular-season champion Pittsburgh, which subsequently received a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed. “What these kids accomplished during this week has been as moving for me as anything that I could possibly think of,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “Their heart took over, their determination to win, and their skill level. I couldn’t be more proud of them.” Said Walker, who was named the tour-
nament MVP, “They said we couldn’t do it, but we did it.” Calhoun’s seventh title broke a tie for the most in conference history with Georgetown’s John Thompson. As has been the case all season, the Huskies won mostly because of the courageous play of an exhausted Walker, who finally got the best of Louisville after two rough outings in a pair of regular-season losses. He scored a game-high 19 points, along with three assists and three steals, got seven of his points with the game on the line in the final minutes and had an assist for the Huskies’ go-ahead basket when he drove the lane for a wrap-around pass to Jeremy Lamb with 33 seconds left to make it 65-64. The 6-1 junior guard took home the most obvious MVP trophy in any tournament. He finished the five games with 130 points, 46 more than the previous mark, grabbed numerous big rebounds, made key passes and got clutch steals. He played all but 12 minutes of UConn’s 205 minutes in the tournament. “Most Valuable Player in America, no question. Bar none,” Calhoun said. “He is as special as any player I’ve ever coached. No one’s going to surpass him. They may equal him, but no one is going to surpass him. Five games in five days, he’s amazing.” UofL had hoped to wear the Huskies -- and Walker in particular -- down, much as they had done to Notre Dame Friday night, but it didn’t happen because the winners were able to fight through any fatigue they encountered. “Now that it’s over I can definitely tell you I was tired,” Walker said. “With about two minutes left I was gassed. I just wanted to win this game so bad my heart took over. It was tough, but we pulled it out. Words can’t describe it.” Louisville fell behind 34-20 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half, shortly after Walker went to the bench with his second foul. The Cards closed the half with a 12-4 run to close within 38-32, then scored the first eight points of the second half to edge in front, 40-38, as UConn missed its first eight shots and committed two turnovers in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the half. It was nip-and-tuck from then on, with the Cards’ last lead coming on Knowles’ basket that capped a 7-2 surge and put them on top 64-63 with 1:56 remaining. Marra drew a charging foul on Walker at 1:18, giving UofL a shot at stretching its lead. But Knowles drove and missed an off-balance shot, which led to Lamb’s layin off Walker’s feed. “I didn’t think I was playing very well the whole game,” Marra said. “When I got the charge on Kemba I thought things had started to turn and we were ready to put them away, but it didn’t work out.” Said Knowles: “This one is going to sting for a while, but we have a whole new season. We get another chance to prove that Louisville belongs.”
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
‘PRETTY GOOD NIGHT’ AS KNOWLES SPARKS OT VICTORY
CARDS’ COMEBACK GETS IRISH, PRESIDENT CLINTON’S ATTENTION By Russ Brown NEW YORK -- It was a performance by the gritty University of Louisville basketball team that warranted a Presidential visit, on an evening that started in the outhouse but ended with the White House. After the No. 14 Cardinals (25-8) had overcome their biggest halftime deficit of the season and stormed back to defeat No. 4 Notre Dame 83-77 in overtime Friday night in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden, they were treated to a congratulatory drop-in by former President Bill Clinton, who had watched the game from a seat at center court between the two benches. When the Cards walked off the floor, Clinton was waiting in the hallway near the locker room and congratulated several players as they walked past. “It was crazy,” said senior guard Preston RUSS BROWN Knowles, the hero of the moment. “I shook his hand on the way in here and I kind of mocked him because you know how he has that voice (here, Knowles did a passable immitation of Clinton). It was funny, everybody laughed. He said, ‘You guys played a great game.’ He was a great president, and he’s one of my favorites. He’s a great guy.” Then UofL coach Rick Pitino escorted Clinton into the locker room for a few words and a photo op. “He told us we played a great game and he loved watching us,” Knowles said. “That says a lot about our team.” Kyle Kuric said the players were stunned to look up and see Clinton walk into the locker room. “Everybody kind of looked, like, ‘Is that Clinton?’” Kuric said. “Wow. Big surprise, everybody enjoyed it. He told us, ‘Tough game, way to come back,’ stuff like that. We had a good time, it was really good to meet him.” So all in all, it was a late night in the Big Apple that would be hard to top. “Huge comeback in the Garden, going to the Big East championship game, and to top it off with the President coming in and talking to us,” Kuric said. “Pretty good night. I don’t know what else you can say.” Plenty, really, as third-seeded UofL advanced to last Saturday’s championship game for the second time in three years, where they met ninth-seeded Connecticut, which became the first team ever to win the title playing five days in a row. The Cards trailed Notre Dame 46-32 at intermission -- their previous biggest deficit was 12 in a 63-54 losss at Cincinnati -- after allowing the Irish (26-6) to shoot 56 percent and having fallen behind by as many as 16 points (46-30). “We were all ticked off and, obviously, the coaches were a little irritated at halftime,” Kuric said. “But we came together, stuck together like we always do, focused on defense, and that was it.” Said Knowles: “That’s what is great about this team, we never get down on
Peyton Siva was fouled by Notre Dame’s Ben Hansbrough during Louisville’s 83-77 overtime win over the Irish in the Big East semifinals Friday night in Madison Square Garden. - photo by Dave Klotz
ourselves. No matter how much we’re down, we always have the willpower to come back.” Notre Dame came in red-hot, having won 12 of its previous 13 games. The Irish also had beaten UofL 89-79 in overtime in South Bend on Feb. 9. In cooling off the Irish and avenging the Feb. 9 defeat, the Cards overcame not only the 14-point halftime hole but also serious foul trouble in the backcourt. Starting point guard Peyton Siva fouled out with 3:53 remaining in regulation, and Knowles -- moving to the point -played the final 16 1/2 minutes with four fouls. Knowles, though, took over the game in the final minutes after UofL had wiped out a 66-58 lead Notre Dame owned with 6:35 left. With the Cards trailing 66-64, Knowles scored his team’s last eight points in regulation, four on free throws driving into the lane and getting fouled, tipping in his own miss on a short jumper, then sinking an 18-footer in the key. “Preston was absolutely dead,” Pitino
said. “He had nothing left, he was out of gas. And he came through at the end and made big-time shots and played great defense, and he was pressing the guy fullcourt. I couldn’t fathom that.” “Were you tired?” Knowles was asked in the locker room afterward. “Toward the end, I definitely was, but it was crazy because I caught my second wind,” he replied. “Right now I feel OK, but later on tonight I know I’m going to be dead.” Knowles finished with 20 points, 15 in the second half, center Terrence Jennings had 16 points, five rebounds and a gamehigh five blocks in just 20 minutes, Siva had 15 points and seven assists, and Kuric added 14 points and a team-best six rebounds. “Siva fouled out and all my teammates were looking at me, like, ‘Bring this home,’ and so were the coaches,” Knowles said of his late surge. “So I just wanted to step up and be a leader for my team.” “It just shows how tough he is,” said Jennings. “He just keeps coming up with big
plays game in and game out. He’s the face of our team when it comes to toughness.” Pitino had told his players at halftime that their only chance was to wear the Irish out, or “take their legs out,” as he put it. That meant pressing full-court and forcing the tempo, and the strategy seemed to work. Pitino used 11 players, only two of whom played more than 32 minutes; four Notre Dame players were on the court for 41 minutes or more. The Irish shot only 27.3 percent in the second half (6 of 22) and were limited to only one field goal during one stretch of 12 minutes as UofL chipped away at their lead. “We knew they weren’t that deep, so we wanted to keep playing hard, staying with it,” Jennings said. “We never gave up and we just locked in down the stretch. We’ve been doing that all year, playing these tough games and showing the character of our team.” Kuric said that late in the second half the Cards could sense that Notre Dame was wearing down. “You could see maybe their blockouts weren’t as strong as they had been, the passes weren’t as crisp, their shots were falling short, they weren’t crashing the boards like before,” Kuric said. “There were signs like that telling us what we were doing was working.” In the earlier game in South Bend the Irish had seized command in the overtime by scoring the first 14 points, but the Cards weren’t about to allow a repeat. “Going into overtime, we were like, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” UofL forward Chris Smith said. “The last game they got us. This was our time, we’re competing for the Big East championship, so that’s what was on our minds the whole time. That’s what we came here to do, get to the championship game, and that’s what we’re going to do.” Sure enough, Louisville scored on four of its first five possessions in the overtime and held Notre Dame to 2 of 6 from the field, with Knowles’ two free throws putting the Cards in front to stay at 76-75. Jennings got a crucial putback with 2:07 left for an 80-77 advantage, then Smith’s free throw at :18.2 and two by Jennings at :09.3 wrapped up the victory in the two teams’ sixth OT game in their last 10 meetings. Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough suffered through a Garden nightmare with his worst game of the season. He hit just 3 of 16 shots for 13 points, had six turnovers and missed two critical free throws with 3:53 left in regulation. “I think we just made him tired,” Knowles said. “Ben Hansbrough is a great player, it took all five of us to guard him, so I think we did our job.” Said Hansbrough: “I think it was just one of those nights. I’ve made those shots I took before. They just didn’t fall tonight. Tonight was not one of our better nights.” The Irish were trying to advance to the final for the first time and strengthen their case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. “We’re just really disappointed,” coach Mike Brey said. “We really wanted to try and get to Saturday night here. It’s kind of a crushing blow.”
MARCH 17, 2011
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PHOTO GALLERY: CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Rick Pitino was overheard telling the referees during the UConn game that Kemba Walker was not Michael Jordan, implying that the UConn star was getting preferential treatment like His Airness used to receive. - photo by Dave Klotz
Sophomore point guard Peyton Siva battled a physical UConn defense and a tweaked ankle during Louisville’s 69-66 loss to the Huskies in the BIg East title game. Siva finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 29 minutes. Here, he drove the lane against UConn center Alex Oriakhi. - photo by Dave Klotz
Junior center Terrence Jennings had 11 points and six rebounds and was 4 of 6 shooting against Connecticut. Jennings hit 3 of his 5 free throws. - photo by Dave Klotz
The nine-time national champion Louisville Ladybirds performed at halftime of the championship game of the Big East Tournament at New York City’s Madison Square Garden Saturday. - photo by Dave Klotz
Louisville’s Preston Knowles and UConn’s Shabazz Napier dove for a loose ball during Saturday’s Big East Championship game. Louisville typically turns its opponents over frequently, but the Cardinals had just seven steals to UConn’s 12. - photo by Dave Klotz
LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL SENIOR NIGHT PHOTO GALLERY
MARCH 17, 2011
MARCH 17, 2011
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PHOTO GALLERY: SEMIFINALS LOUISVILLE SWIMMING AND DIVING PHOTO GALLERY
Terrence Jennings dunked two of his 16 points against Notre Dame Friday. - photo by Dave Klotz
Louisville’s Chris Smith drove to the basket on Notre Dame’s Carleton Scott. Smith finished with just 7 points on 1 of 11 shooting. He had five rebounds and was 4 of 6 on free throws. - photo by Dave Klotz
Peyton Siva was fouled by Notre Dame’s Tyrone Nash as he tried for a layup. Siva was too quick for the Irish, slashing through their defense throughout Louisville’s 83-77 win. Siva finished with 15 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. - photo by Dave Klotz
Notre Dame senior Ben Hansbrough and Louisville senior George Goode prepared to dive for a loose ball during the Cardinals’ 83-77 overtime win over the Irish in Madison Square Garden. - photo by Dave Klotz
MARCH 17, 2011
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT PHOTO GALLERY: QUARTERFINALS SELECTED FALL SPORTS SCHEDULES KFC Yum! Center OPENING PHOTO GALLERY
Kyle Kuric nabbed a rebound as teammates Mike Marra and Stephan Van Treese looked on during Louisville’s win over Marquette. The Cardinals outrebounded Marquette 43-40, and Kuric had seven rebounds. - photo by Dave Klotz
Senior guard Preston Knowles dribbled up court just ahead of Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom during Louisville’s 81-56 win over the Golden Eagles last Thursday in the Big East quarterfinals. Knowles had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. - photo by Dave Klotz
The Cardinal Pride Pep Band was loud and proud during Louisville’s run to the Big East final in Madison Square Garden. The band recently inked a sponsorship deal with adidas. - photo by Dave Klotz
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Sophomore point guard Peyton Siva finger-rolled in two of his eight points against Marquette on this play. Siva played only 27 minutes, but he had nine assists and four rebounds. - photo by Dave Klotz
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MARCH 17, 2011
MARRA LEADS 81-56 ROUT OF MARQUETTE
NO MIRACLE FINISH NEEDED FOR CARDS THIS TIME By Russ Brown NEW YORK -- This time there was no Miracle on Main, no Meltdown, just a Beatdown. By now the story is a familiar one, etched into the lore of the inaugural season in the KFC Yum! Center. When the University of Louisville and Marquette met during the regular season on Jan. 15, the Cardinals rallied from an 18-point deficit in the final 5:44 to pull out an amazing 71-70 victory that was dubbed “The Miracle on Main Street.” Marquette coach Buzz Williams later said that his team played as well as it could for the first 35 minutes and as poorly as it could for the last five minutes. In the more important rematch in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament last Thursday night in Madison Square Garden, both teams vowed that things would be different. And they were. This time, No. 14 and third-seeded UofL (24-8) left no doubt as to the dominant team, ripping the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles 81-56. “We just wanted to make sure nothing like that (first game) happened again,” senior guard Preston Knowles said. “We heard they said they wanted to play this game again, and rightfully so. We did too. We played bad (the first time), so we wanted to make sure the same thing didn’t happen this time around.” These are the telling numbers the second time around: With 5:44 left, the Cards led 68-48 and had been in control most of the way. UofL used a three-point barrage, relentless defense and waves of energetic subs to hand Marquette (20-14) its worst loss in coach Buzz Williams’ three seasons. Mike Marra came off the bench to lead the way with a game-high 22 points as UofL rolled into the semifinals against second-seeded Notre Dame. Marra drilled a career-high six three-pointers and added three assists and two blocks. He hit 6 of 10 treys while scoring in double figures for only the second time in the last 15 games. The sophomore forward had missed eight straight three-point shots and was only 3 of 16 in his previous three outings. But Marra said it all started with defense. “My shooting came around, luckily, at a great time,” he said. “Shooting is always going to come and go, so you really just have to focus on defense, which is what I’ve been trying to do. I think it started with defense, like Coach always says. I came in and got a block, took a charge, and I think that’s what really got us going. I think our threes really solidified that we were going
Kyle Kuric blocked a lay-up attempt by Marquette’s Junior Cadougan during Louisville’s 25-point win over the Golden Eagles in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament last Thursday. - photo by Shelley Feller
to take over and win this game.” Marra wasn’t the only Card connecting from long range. UofL shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc (13 of 31), and the 13 threes matched its most in a conference game this season. Knowles added 15 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting, and Kyle Kuric also hit three en route to 11 points. “Mike came out very strong, knocking down all those shots, making good passes,” said center Terrence Jennings, who contributed 12 points, three rebounds and two blocks. “When (Marra) is playing like that, everything is contagious. When one person is doing what he’s supposed to do, everybody wants to get involved and try and do the same thing.” Several of Marra’s trifectas came from Kuric’s favorite spot on the court, the left corner, and it was suggested that Marra was stealing his teammate’s thunder. “Oh no, that will always be Kyle’s corner,” Marra said, grinning. Louisville’s defense was just as impressive as its shooting, limiting Marquette to a season-low 29.8 pecent (17 of 57). “We played great defense and highly, highly intelligent offense, sharing the basketball and hitting the open man,” said Rick Pitino, whose club had 24 assists on 30 baskets. Peyton Siva had nine assists and Knowles
seven. Besides Marra, UofL also got solid, if unspectacular, play off the bench from forward Stephen Van Treese and centers Gorgui Dieng and George Goode. “It’s crazy, because if me or Kyle isn’t having a good night, somebody always steps up,” Knowles said. “That’s what Coach appreciates. Even through all our injuries, if some of us wasn’t playing their best, other guys stepped up. Mike came in and hit some clutch threes, because without those threes I think we would have been struggling a little bit. Mike had the hot hand tonight, and it was good to see him get his stroke back.” Pitino was worried about how his players would react to the dreaded double-bye, perhaps recalling that three of the four doublebye teams last year lost in their first game. But he needn’t haven’t been concerned. “I worry about the double-bye sometimes, not being prepared, but our guys have been terrific,” Pitino said. “I just like to play a little bit rather than sit.” “I told them before the game that not since 1996 did I walk into a place and feel as confident as I did walking in here. In 1996 I had a reason with eight pros,” Pitino added, referring to his national championship team at Kentucky. “That’s a great feeling knowing your team is going to bring it.” Jimmy Butler had 14 points for Mar-
quette, which beat Providence in the opening round and sixth-seeded West Virginia in the second round to reach the quarterfinals. The Golden Eagles were looking for their third semifinal appearance. But the three games in as many days seemed to take its toll on them. “I don’t know,” Williams said of the effects of the three-game stretch in 72 hours. “I think that is hard to quantify -- easy to justify, hard to quantify. Louisville was great. Any time a team scores 59 percent of its points on threes, it’s going to be a long night.... Saying they beat us because we didn’t have legs is a soft answer, and we don’t want to leave here with a soft response. “If you don’t guard the ball, teams are going to get open shots. When you play high-major teams, they’re going to have guys that can make open threes. We didn’t guard the ball well tonight.” UofL, which led only 36-31 at halftime, started the second half by asserting itself inside. Jennings scored the Cardinals’ first three baskets of the half, the first two on dunks off passes from Marra and Peyton Siva. Marra than hit a trio of consecutive threes and Knowles added another to give Louisville a 54-39 lead with 12:26 to play, and it was over.
MARCH 17, 2011
SELECTED 2007 BIGFALL CARDINAL EAST SPORTS NOTEBOOK CARAVAN SCHEDULES KFC Yum! Center OPENING PHOTO GALLERY LOUISVILLE TRACK AND FIELD
CANDIDATES ABOUND TO SUCCEED DAVIS AT PROVIDENCE By Russ Brown NEW YORK -- Writing courtside from Madison Square Garden, where the clock still reads :01.7 As expected, Providence fired Keno Davis last week, three days after the Friars lost to Marquette in the first round of the Big East Tournament. No clearcut favorite to replace Davis has emerged, but there are plenty of candidates whose names are being bandied about, including UofL coach Rick Pitino’s son, Richard, a Providence grad who is an assistant at Florida. Among others being mentioned are Harvard’s Tommy Amaker; Ed Cooley of Fairfield; Ron Everhart, Duquesne; former St. John’s and New MexRUSS BROWN ico coach Fran Fraschilla, now an ESPN commentator; Tom Herrion, Marshall; Ken McDonald, Western Kentucky; Tom Moore, Quinnipiac; Herb Sendek, Arizona State, an assistant to Rick Pitino on PC’s 1987 Final Four team; and former Boston College coach Al Skinner Providence ended its three-year run under Davis, opting to buy out the final five years remaining on his contract. Davis had a 46-50 record at PC and just finished his second successive 4-14 Big East season. “I’ve taken the last nine months to evaluate the program, and based on that analysis, we weren’t at the standard that I thought we’d be at after three years,” Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll said. “I think Coach Davis in my conversations with him realized that, and I thought it was in the best interests of the program to change the leadership.” Driscoll would not comment when asked how much PC would pay to escape a contract that was originally seven years. Davis received a one-year extension after leading the Friars to the NIT in 2009. Driscoll said that he’s asked assistant coaches Chris Driscoll and Kevin Gamble to stay on and monitor the program on an interim basis. Driscoll will work with Mike Tranghese, the former Big East commissioner who now serves as a consultant for colleges and conferences, to find a successor to Davis. Davis reportedly made more than $800,000 a year, and Driscoll indicated that PC is prepared to pay as much, if not more, for the next coach. PC has poured thousands of dollars into its locker rooms and offices of late and plans to spend millions more to renovate its practice facility at Alumni Hall.
Louisville fan Steve Springer won Volvo’s Biggest Fan of the Big East and was presented with the keys to a new Volvo s60 and a $10,000 check for the UofL Scholarship Fund. - photo by Dave Klotz
“If I can, I want somebody who’s been a head coach and had some success,” Driscoll said. “That doesn’t mean championships, but I like a track record and also someone who understands our culture and what it’s like to work and coach in Providence and the Northeast.” After four Big East teams changed coaches last year -- DePaul, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall -- Providence apparently will be the only school to do so this season. AN OFFICIATING RED STORM St. John’s 65-63 victory over Rutgers in the second round of the tournament -- helped greatly by numerous officiating blunders in the final seconds -- caused perhaps the biggest ruckus ever seen in the event, and one of the most glaring cases of critical refereeing mistakes in any tourney. It was as if the veteran crew of Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Carl Walton -- who are wellknown to Louisville fans, having officiated many Cardinals games -- dozed off or started thinking about their dinner reservations as time wound down. To recap: In the final seconds of the game, Rutgers tried to throw a long inbounds pass past halfcourt to Gilvydas Biruta, but the pass was tipped away and gathered in by St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee. Before the last seconds could tick off the clock, Brownlee quit dribbling and took three steps, then stepped out of bounds and threw the ball high in the air and into the stands. Replays showed Brownlee stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left, but the clock kept running, no official blew his whistle and
the final horn sounded. Burr, Higgins and Walton immediately ran off the court. Big East commissioner John Marinatto issued a statement that night acknowledging “two separate officiating errors” in the final seconds but took no action against the trio, who should have immediately been suspended from officiating any more games in the tournament. Instead, the next day all three withdrew from the tourney, evidently at the behest of Marianatto. Besides missing the traveling call, the stepping out of bounds with time remaining on the clock and the throwing of the ball into the stands, which should have resulted in a technical foul against St. John’s, the three officials also failed to call three clear fouls by the Red Storm on consecutive possessions in the final minute. First-year Rutgers coach Mike Rice took the high road, both in his post-game press conference and later when commenting on the officials’ withdrawal. Rice said the three officials demonstrated accountability by withdrawing from the tournament. He praised the quality of referees in the Big East in general and the three referees in particular, but he declined to say whether he would like to have seen them continue to work through the tournament. “There’s accountability there. They didn’t have to do this,” Rice said of their withdrawal. “I’m sure besides my 13 players and my staff they probably feel just as bad about what happened. They wanted to hold themselves accountable, and they did what they did.” Burr, Higgins and Walton have refereed
more than 2,500 games combined, including 14 Final Fours by Burr and Higgins. Wonder if this puts them on the NCAA Tournament bubble? ST. JOHN’S LOSES KENNEDY St. John’s hopes of continuing its renaissance by making a splash in the NCAA Tournament suffered a major blow when senior swingman D.J. Kennedy suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a quarterfinal loss to Syracuse. Kennedy will be out of action indefinitely. Surgery will be necessary, and his recovery time could be between 6-8 months. St. John’s (21-11) received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will make its first appearance in the event since 2002. The Red Storm was seeded sixth and will face No. 11 West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga in the first round of the Southeast Regional Thursday in Denver. “Our basketball is family and is there to rally around D.J. Kennedy,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “He’s going to step into a role of assistant coach. No one knows the team better than D.J. from having played so many games.” Said Kennedy: “I’ve wanted to play in the NCAA Tournament since I picked up a basketball in grade school, and this is a real blow. I am disappointed on a personal level, but I am happy that I will be with my teammates on the road during the tournament, supporting them the way they always support me.” Kennedy injured his knee just 5 1/2 minutes into the game when he made contact with Syracuse’s Fab Melo. He is the Red Storm’s third-leading scorer (10.7 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.7 rpg). “This is a tough time to lose both a leader and a vital member of our team,” Lavin said. “D.J. has consistently influenced the game at both ends of the floor throughout our successful season. We will miss his leadership, versatility and experience.” Lavin said the program will pay tribute to Kennedy by bringing “an inspired effort” during the tournament. HOYAS’ WRIGHT TO RETURN Georgetown’s Chris Wright, who broke a bone in his left (non-shooting) hand in a loss to Cincinnati on Feb. 23, has been cleared to resume practice in full and is expected to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas are seeded sixth in the Southwest Regional. “It’s consistent with what we were told,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of Wright’s return. “We had anticipated him being able to start full practice this week and anticipated him being able to play on Thurs-
MARCH 17, 2011
2007 BIGCARDINAL EASTPREVIEW NOTEBOOK CARAVAN BASKETBALL VS. PITT day.” Thompson said Wright is not experiencing any pain, has been dribbling with both hands “for a few days” and won’t be required to wear any protection on his hand. Wright had surgery on his hand on Feb. 24. “He’s a senior,” Thompson said. “He’s as tough and competitive as they come. From the day doctors allowed him to begin cardio (conditioning) he’s been doing as much as he could to keep his wind up. So I don’t anticipate any drop-off. “It’s a break, so once it is healed it is healed. I don’t know that our medical staff won’t decide to give him additional protection. We aren’t at that point yet. But the doctor said he will not require anything.” Starting with the loss to Cincinnati, the Hoyas are 0-4 without Wright, including a 17-point loss to Connecticut in their first game in the Big East Tournament. Meantime, the offense -- among the nation’s most efficient when Wright was healthy - has sputtered, averaging 51.1 points per game and shooting 33.9 percent. They were shooting nearly 50 percent before Wright went down. Wright, the Hoyas’ second-leading scorer, is averaging 13.1 points, 5.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. ‘NOVA A MYSTERY TEAM The Big East’s biggest mystery team is Villanova. The Wildcats, who were stunned by lowly South Florida 70-69 in the first round of the tournament, started the season 16-1 and rose into the top 10 in mid-January, handing Louisville its worst conference loss of the year, 88-74, on Jan. 12 in Philadelphia. But the Cats are 5-10 in their last 15 games and have lost five in a row. The Wildcats are also a relieved team, having received a No. 9 seed in the NCAAs, where they will meet No. 8 George Mason (26-6) in the first round of the East Regional in Cleveland. “There’s nothing tricky here,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. “No one would choose this, but this is life. I don’t want (the players) expecting anyone to feel sorry for them. You don’t want to say it’s the injuries. It’s not just that. Other teams have them. They overcame them. We haven’t been able to. “But it’s the schedule, guys feeling a lot of pressure instead of just playing. All that stuff. Even with all the things that happened (against USF), we should’ve won the game.... We know what’s going on, we know (people are) playing hurt. But it’s not our job to give everybody excuses. We haven’t been good enough to fight through the injuries to top guys this year. But nobody cares. “When things go bad, when it rains it pours, that’s what has happened. We’ve just
got to fight through it and keep trying to battle, keep trying to get mentally tougher. Life is tough, we’ve got to keep our heads up and take what comes next.” HUGS HITS LEAGUE TOURNEYS In his 29 seasons as a head coach, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins has been a part of 10 conference championship teams, including leading the Mountaineers to the 2010 Big East Tournament title. Each championship gave his Akron, Cincinnati and WVU teams an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament but, in a perfect world according to Huggins, he wouldn’t have wanted it that way. “I think your regular-season winner ought to represent (the conference in the NCAA Tournament),” Huggins said. “I don’t think it should be the conference tournament (winner). “The conference tournaments were created to make the conferences money. That’s why they were created. They weren’t created to get a tournament bid. What happens is, if you want to make them more exciting and draw more people, then you add that NCAA Tournament bid to the end of it, and then all of sudden it becomes more exciting, it draws more people and you make more money.” The Big East has held an annual conference tournament since the league’s creation in 1979, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Big East officials have refused to reveal how much money is generated from the postseason tournament. “My point is, this whole thing -- people don’t want to say it -- has to be revenue driven,” Huggins said. “Otherwise, let’s not have conference tournaments. We don’t need to have conference tournaments.” CALHOUN, CRONIN TRADE JABS One coach in the Big East did not vote UConn star Kemba Walker to the All-Big East first team, and Huskies coach Jim Calhoun thinks he knows who that was. Mick Cronin told the Cincinnati Enquirer in late February that Walker’s parents wanted their son to play for him. That led to this remark during the Big East Tournament. “If anybody did it because they lost out on him recruiting-wise, which we went to one city this year and that was the story in the paper, something from three years ago,” Calhoun said. Cronin denied Calhoun’s accusation. “That’s unbelievable,” Cronin said. “I’d do anything for Kemba Walker. He’s a class act. It’s not me, I can tell you that. If he wants to know who I voted for, he needs to ask me.”
CALLS FORMER SETON HALL COACH ‘BITTER, SILLY’
PITINO DEFENDS WILLARD AFTER RIP BY GONZALEZ By Russ Brown NEW YORK -- There apparently is no end to the wackiness of former Seton Hall basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez, who was at it again last week during the Big East Tournament when he criticized his successor -- former UofL assistant Kevin Willard. In turn, UofL coach Rick Pitino and Kevin’s father, Ralph, a current Cardinals aide, struck back at Gonzalez, who was formerly a friend of Pitino’s. After Seton Hall’s 2010-11 season ended with a 76-70 overtime loss to Rutgers in the first round, Gonzalez, who was fired by the school last March, said he believed the Pirates still would have been playing the next day if he had been coaching the team. “If I was back this year we would have won over 20 KEVIN WILLARD games and we would’ve went back to the NCAA (Tournament),” Gonzalez said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com. “To have a record like that with the talent that I left them is unacceptable.” Willard led the Pirates to a 12th-place finish (7-11) in the Big East in his first season. Much of the season was consumed by clearing up the mess Gonzalez left. Three Seton Hall players had been arrested during Gonzalez’s final season, and forward Herb Pope was ejected from the Pirates’ season-ending loss to Texas Tech in the NIT for hitting a player below the belt. Responding to Gonzalez’s remarks, Pitino said Gonzalez is “bitter ... silly (and) adolescent.” “He’s a bitter man right now, and he’s not learning his lessons,” said Pitino, who helped both Gonzalez and Kevin get their jobs at Seton Hall. “I want him to turn around his life and to start saying positive things. I want him to have success, and when he stops making comments like that, he’ll turn the corner. It’s silly. It’s adolescent behavior.” Pitino defended Kevin Willard, whom he initially advised not to take the Seton Hall job because of what he would be facing in terms of changing the school’s perception and rebuilding the program. “Kevin Willard had a young man lose his life and got brought back (Pope),” Pitino said. “He had a young man break his wrist (Jeremy Hazell). He has had tremendous turmoil to turn it around, and nobody blames Bobby Gonzalez for that. It’s not his fault. “But that being said, there’s no reason to kick dirt on Bobby Gonzalez and there’s no reason to say anything about Kevin Willard. You’ve made your mistakes. Now change and get better from your mistakes. “But it doesn’t seem like he’s learning, and that’s the disappointing thing because I like him. I want him to get back in the game in a successful way. But he’s going to have to stop doing that. He doesn’t have to defend his coaching. His coaching was fine. And that’s what he’s forgetting. It’s the other stuff he’s going to have to learn.” Ralph Willard, Pitino’s Director of Basketball Operations, echoed those sentiments. “I found (the comments) offensive, but it’s something you kind of expect,” Ralph said. “Kevin is fine. I’m proud of the effort he did. I’m proud of the job he did through all the adversity this year and everything.” Ralph said his son believes he will straighten things out at Seton Hall within a couple of years. Two players were kicked off the team this season for disciplinary reasons, one transferred, and the Pirates will lose four of their top players -- Hazell, Jeff Robinson, Keon Lawrence and Eniel Polynice -- to graduation. “You have to change the perception,” Ralph said. “I don’t have to tell you that. The perception of the program was not good. Whether it was deserved or not, it’s not good. “It’s going to affect your recruiting. That was why initially Rick and I both said, ‘You have to think long and hard about this, because it’s going to take time. You’re not going to be able attract the quality of people and player initially until that perception has changed.’” Ironically, Gonzalez said he’s gained “perspective” from his time off and that he probably picked too many fights during his time at Seton Hall. “I was just too much of a maniac, I was too driven,” he told ESPNNewYork. Ralph said his son “really understands that there are some people in this world that you just have to ignore because that’s the best thing you can do. If you listen to people like that, if you let them upset you, it’s just counter-productive. “Kevin’s focused on the kids in the program, on attracting good players and good kids to the program and on building the thing the right way. If it was somebody with any credibility (criticizing you), then it would be something that would upset you to a degree.” Shortly after his firing, Gonzalez sued the university, claiming he was fired without cause and was owed two years of salary under terms of his contract. The suit was settled in mid-August. Terms were not disclosed, but Gonzalez said, “We walked away pretty happy.” A little more than three months after he was fired, Gonzalez was accused of stealing a $1,400 satchel from a Polo Ralph Lauren store at The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey on June 29. Gonzalez turned himself in to police in Millburn shortly after the incident. He was accepted into a one-year pretrial intervention program in December that will allow him to avoid a criminal record. Under the program, Gonzalez is required to perform 50 hours of community service and pay restitution to the store. If he completes the one-year program, shoplifting and criminal-mischief charges are slated to be dismissed, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
MARCH 17, 2011
NOW SENIOR GUARD HOPES TO LEAD UOFL TO FINAL FOUR
‘TOUGH GUY’ KNOWLES HAS COME A LONG WAY WITH CARDS By Russ Brown Preston Knowles said he thinks about Louisville’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament last March almost every day, which is one reason he’s intent on helping make sure it doesn’t happen again. The Cardinals barely had time for a gulp of Gatorade in Jacksonville, Fla., last year before California sent them back home with a convincing 77-62 first-round defeat that wasn’t even that close. “That was the worst feeling,” Knowles said. “I still think about that to this day. I told myself that my senior year I wasn’t going to let that happen, so we’re going to be prepared, going to be ready offensively as well as defensively.” Now Knowles, UofL’s captain and its only true senior, gets a chance to erase that bitter memory and create some better ones when the fourth-seeded Cards (25-9) begin play in this year’s Big Dance Thursday against No. 13 Morehead State (24-9) in the first round of the Southwest Regional in Denver. “My dreams and aspirations are set on the Final Four,” he said. “I played in the Elite Eight (in 2009), but I want to get over the hump.” Unlike most of his teammates, who are underclassmen, any game could be Knowles’ last as a collegian, but he said he has to be careful not to think much about that lest it hinder his focus on more important matters, such as winning and advancing in the tournament. And he wants to savor his final days in a Louisville uniform. “I really don’t worry about that,” he said. “As long as we take care of business with our group mentality, you don’t worry about it possibly being your last game. You know everybody has the mentality of winning, so it just makes it that much easier to not think about yourself. “Instead of being pumped up, I’m just taking everything in slow. This is my last year playing with a great group of guys, so I just want to soak it all in and take it for what it’s worth. I can’t go out there and try to do too much. I think all season I’ve stayed within myself. If you be yourself, everybody on the team will be themselves, and that’s an accumulation of winning.” Knowles has been the glue of Louisville’s young team throughout the season, not only because of the way he has played -making big shot after big shot, rebounding, passing, going full bore with tenacious defense -- but with his leadership off the court as well. Encouraging, consoling, motivating, criticizing when necessary. “They won’t cross him at all,” UofL coach Rick Pitino said of his other players. “Preston as a leader has been tremendous,” junior forward Chris Smith said. “He locks down and sets the tone on defense in the game. He sets the physicality of the game. He’s a tough guy, and that’s what we’ve got as a team, a lot of tough guys. In every aspect, Preston has raised his game and our game to another level.” Knowles has let his teammates know how he felt about their effort and execution
Senior captain Preston Knowles was a long shot to graduate from Louisville according to his AAU coach, Charles Givens. “Nobody in Winchester thought he’d stay at Louisville for four years. He’s made me very proud of him,” Givens said. - photo by Shelley Feller
on several occasions this season, including after an 88-74 loss at Villanova and an embarrassing 72-67 defeat at Providence. “He is the ultimate winner,” said assistant coach Steve Massiello, who recruited Knowles out of Winchester, Ky. “He wants to win at all costs, and if he feels like you’re not on the same page with him, he’ll let you know about it.” It’s a well-known story that Pitino was warned by many people not to sign Knowles, who was regarded as a troublemaker and branded as having a bad attitude while playing for Clark County High School in Winchester. But Pitino said Knowles has done everything that has been asked of him since he arrived on campus. “I love coaching Preston,” Pitino said. “He’s so much fun to coach. He can be a big success in business because he has great drive, energy and passion. He’s a team player in every way. He’s been one of the best captains I’ve ever had because he’s selfless; he only cares about winning. It’s been a love affair since the first day he got here.” Well, a love affair with a few separations, though no divorce. Knowles was suspended at the end of last season and, among other things, was required to work at the Daniel Pitino Shelter in Owensboro, Ky., serving meals to homeless people. Pitino didn’t disclose the reason for the suspension at the time, but he said a few months ago that it had to do with academic shortcomings. “He just wants me to graduate,” Knowles said. “He doesn’t want me to be here four years and not graduate.” Knowles got the message and buckled down, and he said he’s now on schedule to graduate this May with a degree in communications. He is taking 18 hours this semester, an incredible load for a college basketball player with so many demands in his
sport. How does he do it? “Great tutoring, a great academic adviser and a lot of online classes,” Knowles said, laughing. Besides Pitino, Knowles owes a lot of his success to his AAU coach, Lexington native Charles Givens, who took Knowles under his wing as a youngster, helped set him on the straight and narrow and then became the only person in Eastern Kentucky who went to bat for him with Pitino. The UofL coach signed Knowles strictly on Givens’ recommendation. “I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for him,” Knowles said of Givens. “He put all his faith and effort in me when I didn’t see it myself. He saw something bigger of me.” Givens revealed that Pitino -- for all the high regard he has professed for Knowles -wasn’t at all sure that Knowles would return to the team after last summer due to a laundry list of requirements he placed on him. “Coach Pitino told me I might as well start looking for a new school for Preston, because he just knew he wouldn’t be able to do it all,” Givens said. “He couldn’t go around the players, he couldn’t miss one summer school class, he couldn’t be one minute late to any meetings or anything. And if Coach heard one thing bad, he was finished. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. Nobody in Winchester thought he’d stay at Louisville for four years. He’s made me very proud of him.” Said Knowles: “Coach put me through a bunch of tasks just to see how serious I was. Anybody else probably would have quit. But I knew I had to step up and do what I had to do to get back on the team. I knew what type of teammates I had, and how good everybody’s attitude was. I knew we had the chance to be a better team than everybody thought.”
Sure enough, Knowles was right about the Cards’ potential, in large part because he completed his transformation, took his leadership role seriously and performed beyond expectations on the court. Knowles has been UofL’s leading scorer all season, but in mid-January Pitino asked him to assume a larger role and become more like Terrence Williams, a versatile player who could contribute in every area. Knowles responded by stuffing the stat sheet and earning second-team all-Big East honors. He not only leads the Cards in scoring at 14.8 ppg, but also in three-pointers made (97). He’s second in steals with 60, behind Peyton Siva’s 69, second in assists at 3.2 per game, and he’s averaging 4.0 rebounds. Lately, he’s even been subbing for Siva at point guard. Nevertheless, Knowles balks at being mentioned in the same breath as T-Will, so don’t call him T-Will Jr. “First of all, there’s only one T-Will,” Knowles said. “I’m nothing like that. I don’t think anyone ever will be like Terrence Williams, like how he affected the team and how he brought a lot of energy and love to the city of Louisville. But Coach P doesn’t want me to just be a scorer. He knows that since I’ve been shooting so well, teams will really buckle down on me and he doesn’t want me to be one-dimensional. He wants me to rebound and create a lot of assists for other players. “I love it. I want to get more assists and rebounds. I don’t want people to think, ‘He’s not shooting well, might as well say he’s done.’ I still want to get steals, rebounds and assists.” And Knowles will admit to one thing when it comes to Williams: He wants to go T-Will one better and help drive UofL to its first Final Four since 2005.
MARCH 17, 2011
2007 WOMEN’S BIGCARDINAL EASTBASKETBALL NOTEBOOK CARAVAN
CARDS SPELL RELIEF NCAA B-I-D By Howie Lindsey As they sat in large, comfy couches in the basement of the Student Activities Center Monday evening, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team waited to hear its name called for an at-large bid during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPN. One bracket release, nothing. Two brackets released, nothing. Then the third bracket was released and Louisville was announced as the No. 7 seed in the Spokane Region, and the Cardinals screamed and celebrated. It was more than joy when the Cardinals jumped up and high-fived and hugged each other as their name appeared on the screen, however - there was relief. “I was just excited to make the tournament because last year we didn’t get a chance to go,” junior Monique Reid said. “I’m glad that we can stay close to home so we can get a lot of fans and my Grandma HOWIE LINDSEY gets to come. “It is a relief, actually. I am so excited to get that weight off my shoulders. We went all the way my freshman year, and then we had big pressure and failed my sophomore year. It is exciting to be back in it. I’m glad.” The Cards missed out on last year’s NCAA Tournament with a 14-17 record, then lost 69-59 to Bradley in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. “You are always excited to get in,” coach Jeff Walz said. “With what we went through last year, no one was too thrilled. To see your name come up on the screen and then to see we are playing in Cincinnati is a really good opportunity.” Said sophomore Tia Gibbs: “It was a big relief, being able to continue our season. It is a big relief to play in the Big Dance instead of the WBI or whatever we played in last season.” Deep down the Cardinals players knew they likely were in the tournament, but until they saw their name on the screen they weren’t for sure. Louisville (20-12, 10-6 Big East) will face 10th-seeded Vanderbilt (2011, 10-6 SEC) Sunday at 12:10 p.m. ET at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. “We’re really excited about the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, especially playing in Cincinnati, which gives a lot of our fans the chance to make that hourand-20 minute drive,” Walz said. He said the Cardinals can celebrate for a night, but they’ll need to get back to work tomorrow preparing for a Vanderbilt team that ranks 10 spots higher than them in the RPI. “We’re really pleased with our seed, and now we have to go out and represent our league and our school and play well,” he said. “We have to defend. We have to defend and rebound and execute in the half court. That is what it comes down to. When
toughest teams in the nation. The Musketeers beat Louisville 71-59 on Nov. 23, both team’s third game of the season. “We were with them for the longest time, but we just have to block out and rebound,” Gibbs said. “That was our main thing, and our defense. As long as we play defense we should be fine.” Xavier’s only two losses this season were to Stanford and Duke in back-toback games in late December. In the game against Louisville, the Musketeers pulled away in the second half. “In that game we got into foul trouble,” Reid said. “We were young, and we were just learning how to play with each other. Now we are more experienced and we understand how to play with each other better. It should be good for us.”
Shoni Schimmel and the 7th-seeded Cardinals will take on 10-seed Vanderbilt at 12:10 p.m. Sunday in Cincinnati. The game will be televised on ESPN2. - photo by Shelley Feller
you get into the NCAA Tournament it is a possession-by-possession game, and you have to take care of the basketball. We’ve talked about that, and hopefully our kids will do that.” The game will take on special meaning for Gibbs. The Louisville Butler product played in 29 games for the Commodores as a freshman, averaging 5.1 points and 2.4 rebounds and scoring in double figures five times. She then transferred to UofL and sat out last season before becoming eligible this season. “We knew that we could play Vandy,” she said. “Everyone was telling me all week, ‘You know we could play Vandy,’ but when it came up it was still kind of a shock. It is exciting. Getting a chance to play against some of my old teammates and my old coaches will be great.” Gibbs said she is familiar with Vanderbilt’s personnel, which could be an asset for the Cardinals. “I know a few of them, and I am close with a few of them,” she said. “I also know some of the freshmen that we were recruiting while I was there. They are a smart team, and they are a shooting team. We just have to play hard because I know they will play hard all day, every day.” Given Louisville’s 12 losses, it’s somewhat surprising that the Cardinals landed a No. 7 seed, but Walz said out-of-conference wins over then-No. 8 Kentucky and then-No. 23 Nebraska helped. “I think (the RPI) helped, and I think the fact that we played so well in our league helped,” he said. “We finished 10-6 in the
league, and we had some really good nonconference wins. I think it really showed that we went out and played some very good non-conference teams, as well as our competitive Big East schedule.” Louisville is making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in the last six years. UofL has won six of its last nine games but fell 63-53 to No. 7 Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament last week. The Cardinals are led in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) by Reid. Freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel is second in scoring at 14.3 ppg. She also dishes out 5.1 assists per game, among the national leaders in that category. Louisville has 10 players averaging 10 or more minutes per game, and five players have scored more than 200 points for the season. Louisville reached the Sweet 16 in two of the past three seasons, and the Cards made a run to the title game in 2009, falling to UConn 76-54. Can they make a run in this year’s tournament? Walz thinks so. “I do,” he said. “We slipped up against Providence in our last regular-season game, but I thought we played well at the Big East Tournament. Now we have to have a really good week of practice, prepare for a really good Vanderbilt team and worry about one game at a time.” XAVIER NEXT? If the Cards beat Vanderbilt, they likely would face No. 2 seed Xavier in the second round Tuesday. Xavier (28-2), the Atlantic-10 champion, is one of the tallest,
FRESHMAN FOCUS Walz won’t have any talk of Xavier this week in practice. With such a large freshman class, he wants to make sure the team understands the true nature of postseason play. “We’ll try to get our freshmen prepared for this,” he said. “We have to get them to understand that it is one-and-done now. You have to come with your ‘A’ game or there is no second day. We are going to make sure they are prepared for the Vanderbilt game and make sure they don’t think about any other game.” The Cardinals haven’t played since last Monday. They’ll have been off for 12 days before their game Sunday vs. Vanderbilt. “I gave them Saturday and Sunday off so they are fresh and rested,” Walz said. “It is Spring Break week for us right now, so we can really focus on basketball and not have to worry about school work. We’ll have their attention the entire week.” CARDS WIN PACK THE HOUSE UofL was announced last week as one of 33 winners in the NCAA Division I “Pack the House” Challenge. “Pack the House” is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance. NCAA Division I women’s basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a “Pack the House” game, with the goal of setting an attendance record. One winner from each of the 32 conferences and one from a group of independent institutions were named. “We believe this initiative has served as a catalyst to increase attendance, create excitement and enhance exposure for our women’s basketball programs,” said NCAA Vice President of Division I Women’s Basketball Sue Donohoe. “Institution personnel committed a great deal of time, effort and resources to this program, and the results were extremely positive. This program provides ... examples of success for institutions that are seeking to grow women’s basketball, and these success stories will continue to strengthen efforts in the future.” Louisville hosted 22,152 fans for its game against Kentucky on Dec. 5.
2011 NCAA DIVISION 1 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET
MARCH 17, 2011
MARCH 17, 2011
CARDS START SPRING-BREAK TRIP WITH THREE WINS By Howie Lindsey Do you remember your college Spring Break? Try to answer without revealing anything incriminating. Spring Break 2011 is a little different for the players on the No. 20 University of Louisville baseball team. Sure, they might come back to campus with some funny stories, but they likely won’t come back with airbrushed T-shirts and a four-day hangover. When the Cardinals packed their bags for Spring Break, they packed their baseball gear as well. That’s because coach Dan McDonnell scheduled a five-game West Coast trip, with a three-game series against Pepperdine and a two-game matchup with perennial power USC. The Cardinals (11-3) started their trip with a three-game sweep of Pepperdine (6-9). They won 4-2 Friday night, then posted dominating victories Saturday (8-0) and Sunday (7-0). “The pitching was great all weekend, and we got the bats going in the second and third games, which was nice,” McDonnell said. “I think we could have scored a lot more runs Sunday, but we left a lot of runners stranded on base. Even good offenses are going to leave a lot of guys on base because they are going to have a lot of guys on base. You can’t drive them in every inning. I think as the weekend went on we got much better offensively.” The Cardinals hadn’t been as potent as they typically are on offense before Saturday. Losing so much firepower off of last season’s team due to graduation and the Major League Draft, the Cardinals’ young lineup had been limited to five or fewer runs in 8 of their first 11 games. “I think guys are having better at-bats and focusing in,” McDonnell said. “With young guys - sophomores and freshmen - these situations have all been pressure situations. Only in the last two days have we had situations where they are extending a lead. Hopefully they will realize that they are good hitters. I know they are, and I tell them they are, so hopefully they will take that to heart and come up to the plate with confidence.” Back to pitching. The Cardinals limited the Waves to just two runs in 27 innings. Louisville’s starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of the team’s last 15 games dating to last year’s season finale. The starters have allowed just four earned runs in their last 50 innings (0.72 ERA). “We continue to pitch really well,” McDonnell said. “Matt Koch and Justin Amlung were dominant. It wasn’t (Mike) Nastold’s best outing, but he fought through it. It was a small strike zone, and he had to make some adjustments. The umpire was trying to get comfortable in the first few innings and so was Mike, so he had to fight through some tough innings. He didn’t give up the big hit, so you have to give him credit.” Louisville finished the series with 22 straight shutout innings. “(The media) likes to bring out these streaks, and then they go out there the next inning and give up runs,” McDonnell said with a smirk. “I don’t think anybody is trying to keep the streak alive because I didn’t even know it until it was mentioned, but I think there is a lot of competition among the pitching staff, so even when you are in a 7-0 game you have to throw strikes and stay hot.” Through 14 games this season, Louisville’s staff has an overall ERA of 1.20, with 91
strikeouts and just 36 walks in 128 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .173. “We haven’t been out West since we played Fullerton in that Super Regional, so this is a good opportunity for us to get the young guys some experience,” pitching coach Roger Williams said prior to the trip. “... West Coast baseball has traditionally been more of a small-ball style, with longer games and more hits. Hopefully, it will be good for us to see different styles of play.” Prior to last weekend, UofL hadn’t played in California in the regular season since 2004 (a 7-0 loss at No. 16 USC), and this was just their third regular-season trip to California. The Cardinals were 1-5 in regular-season games and 1-7 overall, including their two losses at Cal State Fullerton in the 2009 NCAA Regional, their most recent visit to the state. Following a day off on Monday, Louisville returned to action Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET against USC at Dedeaux Field. The series finale with the Trojans is set for Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast on the Internet at UofLSports.com. “It’ll be our first two mid-week games, so it will be good to get some guys some opportunities,” McDonnell said. “We’d like to see Dace Kime get another start, and we’ll look at Derek Self and Gabriel Shaw.” The Cards would love to finish out the trip 5-0, and to have a little fun away from the ballpark. “We are here in sunny California, so (Sunday) we are going to take the kids to the beach and the Venice Boardwalk, and (Monday) we are going to practice at Southern Cal,” McDonnell said. “We might also do something fun on Monday, and then we’ll get back at it Tuesday.” PEPPERDINE GAME 1 Louisville won its seventh straight regularseason road game behind sophomore righthander Koch (2-1), who allowed just one earned run and four hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings. The Cardinals beat Pepperdine 4-2, coming from a 1-0 third-inning defi-
Junior Ryan Wright had a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning of Louisville’s 4-2 Friday win over Pepperdine. - photo by Howie Lindsey
cit to score three runs in the fifth on a pair of hits after back-to-back walks. After Pepperdine cut the deficit to 3-2 with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth, Louisville pushed its lead to 4-2 in the sixth on a two-out, RBI single to left field by junior Ryan Wright. Freshman Ryan Seiz was 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored to lead the Cards, and senior J.J. Ethel was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Junior righty Tony Zych pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save of the season. PEPPERDINE GAME 2 Sophomore right-hander Amlung pitched eight shutout innings to lead the Cards to their 8-0 victory on Saturday. He allowed just three hits and had three strikeouts in his career-long performance, and the Cardinals got a lot of help at the plate from freshman Alex Chittenden, who was 2 for 4 with a careerbest three RBIs and a run scored, and junior Stewart Ijames, who was 2 for 4 with two RBIs on his first home run of the season. Amlung lowered his ERA to 0.63. He has
allowed just two earned runs and 13 hits with 16 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings this season. Freshman righty Jeff Thompson followed Amlung with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth inning in his fourth appearance of the season. CARDS COMPLETE SWEEP Behind another dominating pitching performance and six players with two hits each, the Cards blanked Pepperdine 7-0 Sunday to complete the sweep. “I was really happy that we had such focus on Sunday,” McDonnell said. “Regardless of what happened the first two days - win, lose or draw - you have to come out on Sunday and play. That’s what we did.” Four pitchers combined to allow just three hits. Nastold (2-0), a sophomore right-hander, started and allowed one hit with three strikeouts in five innings. He was followed by freshman righty Chad Green, who allowed two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Junior righty Travis Tingle then pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings, and sophomore righty Andy Flett worked a 1-2-3 ninth. The Cardinals’ matched a season-high with 13 hits, led by senior Drew Haynes, who was 2 for 2 with three RBIs, and sophomore Cade Stallings, who was 2 for 5 with two RBIs. ASK COACH MAC Last week the University launched a new feature on the University of Louisville Baseball Facebook page titled “Ask Coach Mac.” Each week the Cardinals’ skipper will answer one question picked from a list of submitted questions, with his answer to be posted on the Facebook site in a video response. Last week’s question was, “Coach, what do you look for when recruiting a player?” McDonnell replied: “I’m obviously looking for a very talented baseball player, but he also has to be a good student and has to want to come to college. I like kids who are competitive and want to win. They also have to want to be a part of the University of Louisville. At the end of the day, if they have those qualities, I believe they can come here and be successful.”
2011 CARDINAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE DATE
OPPONENT / EVENT
TIME / RESULT
Thu., Sept. 1
Murray State (ESPNU)
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Fri., Sept. 9
Florida International (ESPN)
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Sat., Sept. 17
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky
Sat., Oct. 1
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Sat., Oct. 8
at North Carolina
Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Sat., Oct. 15
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Fri., Oct. 21
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Sat., Oct. 29
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Sat., Nov. 5
at West Virginia
Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV
Sat., Nov. 12
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Sat., Nov. 19
Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn
Fri., Nov. 25
at USF (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla
MARCH 17, 2011
SPRING SPORTS SCHEDULES
OPPONENT / EVENT
BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge 02/18/11 vs. Michigan 02/19/11 vs. Ohio State 02/20/11 vs. Minnesota 02/25/11 vs. TOLEDO 02/26/11 vs. TOLEDO 02/27/11 vs. TOLEDO 03/01/11 vs. MOREHEAD STATE 03/04/11 vs. KENT STATE 03/05/11 vs. KENT STATE 03/06/11 vs. KENT STATE 03/08/11 vs. PURDUE UBS Spring Trip 03/11/11 at Pepperdine 03/12/11 at Pepperdine 03/13/11 at Pepperdine 03/15/11 at USC 03/16/11 at USC 03/18/11 vs. XAVIER 03/19/11 vs. XAVIER 03/20/11 vs. XAVIER 03/22/11 vs. KENT STATE 03/25/11 at Rutgers # 03/26/11 at Rutgers # 03/27/11 at Rutgers # 03/29/11 vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY 04/01/11 vs. WEST VIRGINIA # 04/02/11 vs. WEST VIRGINIA # 04/03/11 vs. WEST VIRGINIA # 04/05/11 at Western Kentucky 04/08/11 at Cincinnati # 04/09/11 at Cincinnati # 04/10/11 at Cincinnati # 04/12/11 vs. KENTUCKY TV 04/15/11 at St. John’s # 04/16/11 at St. John’s # 04/17/11 at St. John’s # 04/19/11 vs. INDIANA (Cancer Awareness Night) 04/21/11 vs. USF # TV 04/22/11 vs. USF # 04/23/11 vs. USF # 04/26/11 at Kentucky 04/29/11 vs. GEORGETOWN # 04/30/11 vs. GEORGETOWN # 05/01/11 vs. GEORGETOWN # 05/03/11 vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN 05/04/11 vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN (Elementary School Day) 05/05/11 at Seton Hall # 05/06/11 at Seton Hall # 05/07/11 at Seton Hall # 05/10/11 vs. VANDERBILT (Patriotic Night) TV 05/13/11 at Connecticut # 05/14/11 at Connecticut # 05/15/11 at Connecticut # 05/17/11 at Indiana 05/19/11 vs. NOTRE DAME # TV 05/20/11 vs. NOTRE DAME # TV 05/21/11 vs. NOTRE DAME # TV 05/25/11 at BIG EAST Championship 05/26/11 at BIG EAST Championship 05/27/11 at BIG EAST Championship 05/28/11 at BIG EAST Championship 05/29/11 at BIG EAST Championship
TIME / RESULT
St. Petersburg, Fla. Clearwater, Fla. St. Petersburg, Fla. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM
W, 6-3 W, 2-0 W, 3-0 L, 3-1 L, 4-2 W, 4-2 W, 6-1 W, 3-2 W, 5-3 W, 1-0 L, 6-4
Malibu, Calif. Malibu, Calif. Malibu, Calif. Los Angeles, Calif. Los Angeles, Calif. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Piscataway, N.J. Piscataway, N.J. Piscataway, N.J. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Bowling Green, Ky. Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati, Ohio JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Queens, N.Y. Queens, N.Y. Queens, N.Y.
W, 4-2 W, 8-0 W, 7-0 9:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 7:00 PM ET 6:30 PM ET 4:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 12:00 PM ET
JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Lexington, Ky. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM
6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:30 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET
JIM PATTERSON STADIUM South Orange, N.J. South Orange, N.J. South Orange, N.J.
12:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET
JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Norwich, Conn. Storrs, Conn. Storrs, Conn. Bloomington, Ind. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Clearwater, Fla. Clearwater, Fla. Clearwater, Fla. Clearwater, Fla. Clearwater, Fla.
6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 12:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 7:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA
OPPONENT / EVENT
Texas Invitational 02/10/11 at Texas 02/11/11 vs. Northern Illinois 02/12/11 vs. Tulsa vs. Tulsa 02/13/11 vs. Texas Bama Bash 02/18/11 vs. Syracuse at Alabama 02/19/11 vs. UTSA 02/20/11 vs. UTSA 02/19/11 at Alabama Louisville Red & Black Tournament 02/25/11 vs. SIUE vs. BOSTON UNIVERSITY 02/26/11 vs. WRIGHT STATE 02/27/11 vs. MIAMI (OHIO) vs. WRIGHT STATE Tennessee Tech Combat Classic 03/04/11 vs. Middle Tennessee State vs. North Carolina State 03/05/11 at Tennessee Tech 03/06/11 vs. Belmont vs. Samford 03/10/11 vs. MOREHEAD STATE Louisville Tournament 03/12/11 vs. MICHIGAN vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY 03/13/11 vs. MICHIGAN vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY San Diego Classic II 03/18/11 vs. Cal State Northridge at San Diego State 03/19/11 vs. Wisconsin vs. Ohio 03/20/11 vs. Ohio State 03/23/11 vs. KENTUCKY 03/26/11 vs. VILLANOVA # vs. VILLANOVA # 03/27/11 vs. VILLANOVA # 03/30/11 at DePaul at DePaul 04/02/11 vs. SETON HALL # vs. SETON HALL # 04/03/11 vs. SETON HALL # 04/06/11 vs. INDIANA 04/09/11 at Pittsburgh # at Pittsburgh # 04/10/11 at Pittsburgh # 04/13/11 vs. CONNECTICUT # vs. CONNECTICUT # 04/16/11 at Notre Dame # at Notre Dame # 04/17/11 at Notre Dame # 04/20/11 at Kentucky 04/21/11 vs. PROVIDENCE # 04/23/11 vs. PROVIDENCE # vs. PROVIDENCE # 05/04/11 at Georgetown # at Georgetown # 05/07/11 at Syracuse # at Syracuse # 05/08/11 at Syracuse # BIG EAST Conference Championship 05/12/11 TBA #
TIME / RESULT
Austin, Texas Austin, Texas Austin, Texas Austin, Texas Austin, Texas
L, 6-2 W, 6-1 W, 4-1 W, 5-0 L, 14-4
Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
L, 3-2 L, 9-8 W, 2-1 W, 7-3 (10) L, 9-8
ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM
W, 10-0 W, 5-0 W, 8-0 L, 6-5 W, 10-0
Cookeville, Tenn. Cookeville, Tenn. Cookeville, Tenn. Cookeville, Tenn. Cookeville, Tenn. ULMER STADIUM
W, 10-5 W, 3-2 CANCELLED CANCELLED CANCELLED W, 12-1 (5)
ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM
L, 4-1 W, 3-2 L, 2-0 W, 6-2
San Diego, Calif. San Diego, Calif. San Diego, Calif. San Diego, Calif. San Diego, Calif. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Chicago, Ill. Chicago, Ill. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh, Pa. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM South Bend, Ind. South Bend, Ind. South Bend, Ind. Lexington, Ky. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Washington, D. C. Washington, D. C. Syracuse, N. Y. Syracuse, N. Y. Syracuse, N. Y.
2:30 p.m. ET 10:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 7:30 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET 3:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET 5:30 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET 6:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 11:00 a.m. ET
LACROSSE DATE OPPONENT / EVENT 02/20/11 vs. BINGHAMTON 02/26/11 vs. OLD DOMINION 03/04/11 vs. OREGON 03/12/11 vs. Jacksonville 03/17/11 at Sacred Heart 03/19/11 at Manhattan 03/24/11 vs. STANFORD 03/27/11 vs. CINCINNATI # 03/30/11 vs. VANDERBILT 04/03/11 vs. OHIO STATE 04/08/11 at Loyola (Md.) 04/10/11 at Georgetown # 04/15/11 vs. RUTGERS # 04/17/11 vs. VILLANOVA 04/21/11 at Syracuse # 04/23/11 at Connecticut # 04/29/11 vs. NOTRE DAME # BIG EAST Tournament 05/05/11 BIG EAST Semifinals 05/07/11 BIG EAST Championship
LOCATION U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM Cumming, Ga. Fairfield, Conn. Riverdale, N.Y. U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM Baltimore, Md. Washington, D.C. U of L LACROSSE STADIUM U of L LACROSSE STADIUM Syracuse, N.Y. Storrs, Conn. U of L LACROSSE STADIUM
TIME / RESULT W, 18-4 W, 12-7 W, 15-13 W, 17-7 3:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 3:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Georgetown) WASHINGTON, D.C. (Georgetown)
MARCH 17, 2011
WOMEN’S SIGNEE TAKES KENTUCKY STATE TITLE
UOFL SIGNEE BLACKSHEAR WRAPS UP PREP CAREER By Jeff Wafford University of Louisville basketball signee Wayne Blackshear wrapped up his high school career last week when his Morgan Park H.S. fell to Brooks H.S. in Chicago’s 3A Rich South Sectional. The 6-5 forward, who is rated as a four-star player and the No. 32 overall player in the 2011 class, finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while in foul trouble most of the contest. “We played our hardest,” Blackshear told the Chicago Tribune. “I have had the spotlight on me since freshman year. I am going to leave my legacy here in Chicago and head to Louisville and try to contribute there.” The loss comes just a week after Blackshear beat out several other Division I signees to win the Chicago Player of the Year award. “I am going to miss Wayne a lot,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin JEFF WAFFORD said. “I wish he could have made it downstate to get him the trophy all the top players get.” Blackshear averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds per game this season, and he is expected to battle for early playing time at UofL next season. Blackshear will play in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago’s United Center on March 30, and he’ll be among the four Louisville signees to play in the Derby Festival Classic All-Star game on April 22. HAMMOND WINS UofL women’s basketball signee Sarah Hammond, a 6-2 forward, led Rockcastle County to a thrilling 62-60 victory over Louisville Manual in the Kentucky State Championship game last Saturday. Hammond, who has been named a McDonald’s All-American, is rated as the No. 12 overall player in the 2011 class by ESPN. com. She was named the Sweet 16’s MVP after scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the championship game. “This is the best feeling ever,” Hammond told The Courier-Journal. “I knew we were going to get it done tonight.” Rockcastle County finished the season 36-1, losing only to a team from out of state and winning its final 27 games. Hammond, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, will play in the McDonald’s AllAmerican game in Chicago’s United Center on March 30. CARDS OFFER CINCY TE Sycamore H.S. (Cincinnati) tight end A.J. Williams (6-6, 260) picked up a scholarship offer from Louisville last week as the Cardinals and coach Charlie Strong continue to reach into that talent-rich region for play-
ers. Williams spoke to Cardinalsports.com about the offer. “Louisville offered on Tuesday, but I originally found out about it on Wednesday because my coach tried to call me, but I was sleeping when he called,” Williams said with a laugh when recalling how he found out about the offer from UofL. “They offered me, but I haven’t talked to anybody from the staff yet. It came out of nowhere. I wasn’t receiving any Big East attention, and then it popped out of nowhere.” Although Williams hasn’t made initial contact with the Cardinals, he is aware of what’s going on just a little less than two hours from the Queen City. “I think the Big East is a pretty good conference to be playing in,” he said. “And I heard they (Louisville) had a decent program. They have a nice coach who I would like to talk to and get to know. That would make this process go better.” Already with offers in the double digits, Williams holds full rides from such schools as Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State. “I’m just taking it all in,” he said. “The toughest part is limiting my options down and picking out the top three or five. That’s the tough part.” Williams said that while distance won’t be the ultimate factor in his decision, it’s something to consider. “It’s always nice to have family come watch you,” he said. “A place like Louisville, they aren’t too far, but they aren’t too close to where your family - they’re making you pie every day and coming to see you all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom’s pie, but I’m not trying to have it every day.” Williams said he plans to visit Michigan, Illinois and Michigan State later this month. “After that I’ll take it in and see if I need to go anywhere else,” he said. “Then hopefully I can make a decision before football season.” CARDS AFTER BIG-TIME GEORGIA DE With an offer sheet rapidly approaching two dozen scholarship offers, Stephenson H.S. (Ga.) defensive end Jarontay Jones (63, 245) has almost everyone’s attention. One of Rivals.com’s 250 to watch in 2012, Jones spoke to Cardinalsports.com about his recent offer from UofL. “I have about 23 scholarship offers now,” he said. “I’m loving it. I’m just staying humble.” The Cardinals came through with a scholarship offer for Jones several weeks ago. “I don’t know much (about them),” he admitted. “They are kind of far, but I want to take a visit there, definitely.” Although Jones doesn’t know much about the Cards’ program yet, he has had the chance to speak with Strong. “I talked to Coach Strong, and he was telling me Louisville is a great program and
how he took pride in the defense,” Jones noted. “I liked that.” Jones also is aware of Strong’s past as a defensive coordinator at Florida, where he coached former Stephenson H.S. star Jermaine Cunningham. “He is like a big brother to me,” Jones said of Cunningham, who is now with the NFL’s New England Patriots. “Every time he comes to school, I talk to him for a minute.” Jones, who already has taken unofficial visits to Georgia Tech, Auburn, Georgia and Florida, said he has some specifics he’ll be looking at when he starts to narrow his list. “It’s probably the depth chart, because I want to graduate early and come in and compete for a spot,” said Jones, who is on track to graduate in December. “I want to play spring ball my freshman year. And I definitely want to come in and fight for a position.” CARDS IN TOP 3 FOR GEORGIA DE According to Sheldon Rankins, the Covington (Ga.) Eastside junior defensive end is a long way from picking a college. But in an interview last week, the 6-3 250-pounder said a few schools “stand out.”
“There are three,” he said. “North Carolina is one of them. They were the first to offer. Then Louisville and Mississippi State.” Here’s what he likes about each: North Carolina: “I went up there for a camp before the start of my junior season. I just liked the whole place and the whole coaching staff. It was a great atmosphere up there.” Louisville: “I followed Coach Strong when he was at Florida. He had some great defenses and some great defensive players. When he made the move to Louisville, I knew he’d turn that program around and help Louisville win the Big East.” Mississippi State: “First, I love the SEC. It’s my favorite conference. Second, I really like head coach Dan Mullen. I followed him while he was at Florida, also. I felt really good to get that offer from them.” Besides those three programs, Rankins also has offers from Boston College, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State and South Florida. Louisville is also recruiting Rankins’ teammate, defensive tackle Shaquille Huff (6-1, 286), who also is receiving interest from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech and others.
MARCH 17, 2011
EAST 2007 LOUISVILLE WOMEN’S CARDINAL NOTEBOOK BASKETBALL BASKETBALL CARAVAN - FOOTBALL 10 AMAZING AND BIG MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE 2009-2010 SEASON D
Each week members of our esteemed media panel will try to prove they are smarter than average. Longtime Louisville SportsReport subscribers will remember that our media members used to test their basketball knowledge against a dog, but that proved to be far too challenging. The panel will battle it out by trying to pick the winners of 10 games per week during the college basketball season to earn the honor of top dog in the LSR’s Make Your Picks contest. This week, the panel will try to pick the winner of 10 conference tournaments.
FOR THEIR FINAL CHALLENGE OF THE SEASON, OUR PANELISTS WERE ASKED TO PICK 10 TEAMS THEY BELIEVE WILL MAKE THE NCAA SWEET 16. HERE ARE THEIR PICKS...
Despite the games being played at night and indoors, new New York Knick Carmelo Anthony wore sunglasses as he sat courtside for the Big East Tournament. - photo by Dave Klotz
DREW DEENER WHAS PLAY-BY-PLAY
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
MAKE YOUR PICKS LAST WEEK:
UOFL PRESIDENT JAMES RAMSEY
JACK COFFEE SPORTSREPORT
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 72-48
LAST WEEK:_____ OVERALL:_______
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 68-52
LAST WEEK: 2-8 OVERALL: 71-49
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS TEXAS SYRACUSE LOUISVILLE WEST VIRGINIA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME PURDUE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT TEXAS LOUISVILLE ST. JOHN’S NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE PURDUE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
FRED COWGILL WLKY TV
KENT TAYLOR WAVE TV
TERRY MEINERS WHAS RADIO
GARRY GUPTON RED AND BLUE REVIEW
RUSS BROWN SPORTSREPORT
HOWIE LINDSEY SPORTSREPORT
JEFF WAFFORD SPORTSREPORT
MATT WILLINGER SPORTSREPORT
ZACH McCRITE 93.9 THE TICKET
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 78-42
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 72-48
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 70-50
ION CHANNEL 21 LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 76-44
LAST WEEK: 6-4 OVERALL: 78-42
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 71-49
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 74-46
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 71-49
LAST WEEK: 6-4 OVERALL: 74-46
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY SYRACUSE PURDUE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME BYU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT PURDUE LOUISVILLE CONNECTICUT NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE SYRACUSE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 72-48
TOM LANE WDRB FOX 41
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT TEXAS SYRACUSE PURDUE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME PITT
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA SDSU NOTRE DAME PURDUE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT WEST VIRGINIA LOUISVILLE SYRACUSE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME PURDUE
CLINTON & THE CARDS DEB HARBSMEIER WHAS TV TEAM
AL PARRISH PARRISH HOUSE 80 UNDER 80
TONY CRUISE WHAS RADIO
LACHLAN MCLEAN WHAS RADIO
DAVE JENNINGS WHAS RADIO
PAUL ROGERS WHAS RADIO TEAM
TONY VANETTI AFTERNOON UNDERDOGS
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 74-46
LAST WEEK: 3-7 OVERALL: 74-46
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 73-47
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 71-49
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 75-45
LAST WEEK: 5-5 OVERALL: 68-52
LAST WEEK: 4-6 OVERALL: 70-50
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT SDSU LOUISVILLE FLORIDA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME TEXAS
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT PURDUE LOUISVILLE SYRACUSE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SDSU
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE KANSAS STATE NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME PURDUE
OHIO STATE DUKE KANSAS PITT KENTUCKY LOUISVILLE ARIZONA NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE
Louisville was visited in the locker room by former President Bill Clinton after the Cardinals beat Notre Dame in the Big East semifinals Friday night in Madison Square Garden. - photo by Vinny Tatum
MARCH 17, 2011
2007 CARDINAL CARAVAN
MARCH 17, 2011
CARDS GO 3-2 LAST WEEK, WITH BOTH LOSSES TO NO. 5 MICHIGAN
LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT • PERIODICAL POSTAGE PAID
By Rick Cushing The University of Louisville went 2-2 over the weekend in the Louisville Softball Classic, with both its losses coming to No. 5 Michigan, 4-1 on Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday. “Obviously, the team and staff are disappointed with the loss to Michigan,” said UofL coach Sandy Pearsall after Sunday’s game. “We had opportunities to score but were not consistent in our offense or defense. On the bright side, we rebounded with a good win over Western Kentucky. We came out aggressively and stayed focused. I’m proud of both of our pitchers who were consistent, which is what we need from them.” The Cards (14-8) beat Western Kentucky twice in the Classic, 3-2 on Saturday and 6-2 Sunday. Earlier in the week UofL pounded visiting Morehead State 12-1 on Thursday. Michigan improved to 25-1 with its victory on Sunday as the Cards were shut out for the first time this season. Junior Tori Collins (8-5) was the hard-luck loser, allowing two earned runs and five hits while striking out four in a complete-game effort. The Cards actually outhit Michigan 6-5, but Stephanie Speierman improved to 12-0 by getting big outs when she needed them. She allowed five hits in fiveplus innings, and Jordan Taylor allowed one hit in two innings to record her fourth save. The game was scoreless through four innings as Speierman worked out of jams in the first, third and fourth innings, with UofL’s Tesha Paysen getting thrown out at the plate to end the fourth. Michigan broke through in the fifth on two singles and two stolen bases. The Cards threatened again in the sixth, putting runners on first and third with no out, but Taylor came on and retired the next three batters on two infield outs and a strikeout. The Wolverines added a run in the seventh on a leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly, and the Cards mounted a final threat in the bottom half, putting a runner on second with two out before Chelsea Bemis flied out to deep left to end the game. Sophomore Alicja Wolny went 2 for 3 to lead the Cards. Bemis led the way against the Hilltoppers (14-8) in the nightcap, going 2 for 3 with a
CARDINAL STARS OF THE WEEK
grand slam. Wolny stroked a two-run double in the first to make it 2-0. WKU tied it in the second, but Bemis belted her grand slam in the bottom of the inning. It was her fourth home run of the season and her second career grand slam. Freshman Caralisa Connell (5-2) allowed eight hits and struck out five in a complete game to earn the victory. Maggie Ruckenbrod also was 2 for 3 as the Cards totaled eight hits. It was a similar story on Saturday as the Cards outhit Michigan 9-7 but lost 4-1, then bounced back to top WKU 3-2. Michigan scored a run in the fourth, and it remained 1-0 until the Wolverines got three in the seventh on a triple, two singles and a walk. The Cards scored a run in the bottom of the seventh on three singles and a sacrifice fly, but Wolny popped to short with two on to end the game. Collins took the loss, allowing seven hits and fanning seven in a complete game. Taylor (12-0) won it, allowing nine hits and fanning nine in a complete game. She stranded nine. Freshman Katie Keller was 3 for 4 for the Cards, and Jennifer Esteban and Colby Wherry each had two hits. “Michigan is a good team, but we have to find ways to get the job done when we have runners in scoring position,” said Pearsall. The Cards rallied to beat WKU, getting two runs in the bottom of the sixth to triumph 3-2. Freshman Taner Fowler got the game-winning hit, a two-run double with one out that was set up by a hit-batsman and an error. Connell started for the Cards and allowed two runs and six hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Collins (8-4) relieved and worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. Two of her strikeouts came in the fifth to strand runners at second and third. Fowler and Katie Keller both were 2 for 3. “We need players to step up, and Taner Fowler did that,” said Pearsall. “Tori Collins also did a great job for us today.” Last Thursday the Cards scored a seasonhigh 12 runs against Morehead (6-11). Bemis and Maggie Ruckenbrod each went 2 for 4 with four RBIs to lead the Cards, with Ruckenbrod slugging a three-run home run in a fiverun second and Bemis getting a two-run triple in a three-run third. Connell (4-2) got the win, holding the Eagles to one unearned run and three hits while striking out six in three innings. Collins worked two hitless innings and fanned three. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the mercy rule. UofL will travel to San Diego for the San Diego Classic Friday through Sunday. The Cards will be busy, with five games in three days.
HANNAH GADD - WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING The sophomore from Ft. Thomas, Ky., is the first diver in school history to advance to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships after a strong showing at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships last weekend at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus. The Big East Diver of the Year finished fourth on the 1-meter board. The women’s championships will be held Thursday through Saturday at the University of Texas Swimming Center in Austin. “This is huge!” UofL head coach Arthur Albiero said. “Hannah made history for the Cardinal Diving program. (Diving) coach Mike Zehnder and Hannah did a great job with a ton of hard work to reach this milestone for the program. It is a big step in the right direction.” D’ANA MCCARTY - WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD The senior from Indianapolis made first-team All-American in the weight throw for the third straight time and second-team All-American in the shot put for the first time at the NCAA Indoor National Championships last weekend in College Station, Texas. The two-time defending national indoor champion in the weight throw was second through the preliminaries with a throw of 22.02m (72 feet, 3 inches). She failed to register a longer throw in the finals, however, and finished third. She lost out on a third national title by a little over 2 feet. In the finals of the shot put, McCarty’s best throw was 16.29m/53-5 1/2, good for ninth place. BYRON STINGILY - FOOTBALL The senior offensive tackle from Chicago might have had the best day of all the UofL prospects during Pro Day workouts on campus last Thursday. He weighed in at a solid 315 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in a good 4.86 seconds, and he hoisted the 225-pound bench press 28 times. Stingily’s performance likely means he’ll be taken in next month’s NFL Draft, which will be held even if the lockout remains in effect then. WESLEY SMITH - MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD The junior long jumper from Chesapeake, Va., was the only Louisville male to advance to the 2011 Indoor Track and Field National Championships last week in College Station. He finished 16th in the nation with a jump of 24 feet, 1/4 inch last Friday, which didn’t qualify for the finals. He had qualified for the championships with a jump of 25-8 on Dec. 3 at the Fast Start Invitational.
LIZ LOVEJOY - LACROSSE The senior from Greenwich, Conn., was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week last Wednesday for her efforts in two victories the previous week. The Cardinals beat Old Dominion 12-7 on Feb. 26 and Oregon 15-3 on March 4 as Lovejoy tallied six goals - five against Oregon - on eight shots for a .750 shooting percentage. Her five-goal performance matched a career best, and it is the fifth time she has achieved the feat. She now has scored at least one goal in 14 straight contests. It is the first major honor for UofL lacrosse this season. ASHLEY HERBST - LACROSSE The freshman goalkeeper from Pittsford, N.Y., is 4-0 after the Cards beat Jacksonville 17-7 last Saturday in Cumming, Ga. Herbst made 10 saves. “Ashley had a phenomenal day,” said coach Kellie Young. “She was consistent and constantly came up with big saves in key moments. Overall, our defense played really well and made good decisions. We held their leading scorer, Morgan Derner, scoreless, which is largely attributed to Monica Negron’s stellar defense.”