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VOLUME XVI • NUMBER 31 MARCH 22, 2012

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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

FEBRUARY 3, 2011


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

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WHAT’S INSIDE:

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AMERICA’S FOREMOST AUTHORITY ON UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETICS®

VOLUME XVI, NUMBER 31 • MARCH 22, 2012

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 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

The Louisville SportsReport is printed in Kentucky and based in Louisville. It is published weekly in January, February and March, monthly in April, May, June and July and weekly mid-August through late December by Louisville Sports News, L.L.C., in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville Sports News, L.L.C.: Owner and General Manager - Jack Coffee. The SportsReport was founded in 1996. United States Postal Number: 015255 POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Louisville SportsReport, P.O. Box 17464, Louisville, KY 40217. Four weeks advance notice is required on old addresses as well as new. Periodicals Postage paid at Louisville, Ky. Subscriptions are priced at $57.95 each (plus 6% Ky. tax) for 32 issues. Members of the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Athletic Fund receive a special group rate of $39.75 for their initial subscriptions and that amount is applied from each annual donation. Year-round firstclass mailing is available for an additional $53 per year. Please call for Canadian and overseas rates. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs unless accompanied by return postage. Publisher reserves right to accept or reject advertisements. Copyright 2008 by Louisville Sports News, L.L.C. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. For subscriber information or circulation questions call 1-502-636-4330. Office hours at 2805 S. Floyd St. in Louisville: By Appointment Only.

BUNNY EARS: Playful sophomore Russ Smith danced, wiggled and gave Rick Pitino bunny ears while he waited to be interviewed by ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Hildreth after Louisville’s win over New Mexico sent the Cardinals to the Sweet 16. - ESPN screen capture

7 ADVANCED RELIEF

9 LIMITED GORGUI

Kyle Kuric and the Cardinals will take on No. 1 seed Michigan State Thursday night at 7:37 p.m. EDT on TBS for a spot in the Elite Eight. Full preview inside.

After frustrating first-game exits from the 2010 and 2011 tournaments, Louisville basketball broke through the first weekend with wins over Davidson and New Mexico.

Sophomore center Gorgui Dieng was tagged with three first-half fouls against Davidson. Even without Dieng, the Cardinals beat the Wildcats to advance.

11 SURVIVED GORDON

17

21 BEST START EVER

New Mexico star Drew Gordon had 21 points and 14 rebounds, but Louisville prevailed with strong team effort and great defense Saturday.

Sophomore star Shoni Schimmel and the Cardinals fell to Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday night, but the future still looks bright for Louisville.

5

SPARTAN SHOWDOWN

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BRIGHT FUTURE

Louisville softball is off to an amazing start. The Cardinals won their first 22 games of the season, and are ranked in the top 15 nationally.

www.cardinalsports.com THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT WILL BE MAILED MARCH 27

COVER DESIGNED BY SCOTT STORTZ COVER PHOTO BY HOWIE LINDSEY

CSPA COLLEGE SPORTS PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION

4 6 8 10 12 13 15

2012 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT BRACKET 16 THINGS ABOUT THE SWEET SIXTEEN By Howie Lindsey SWEET SIXTEEN A FAMILIAR PLACE FOR THE CARDINALS By Jack Coffee THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY By Howie Lindsey OPPONENT PREVIEW: MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS By Rick Cushing MEN’S BASKETBALL PHOTO GALLERY OPPONENT PREVIEW: MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES By Rick Cushing

15 18 19 20 22 24

OPPONENT PREVIEW: FLORIDA GATORS By Rick Cushing 2012 NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT BRACKET SOFTBALL PHOTO GALLERY SPRING SPORTS SCHEDULES CARDINAL STARS OF THE WEEK By Howie Lindsey CARDINAL KIDS PHOTO GALLERY


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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

2012 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT BRACKET

MARCH 22, 2012


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL 10 AMAZING AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE 2009-2010 SEASON

SWEET 16 FEATURES REMATCH OF ’09 UPSET

CARDS HOPE TO EMPLOY BIG BANG THEORY VS. SPARTANS By Russ Brown PHOENIX -- It doesn’t rise to the level of Kentucky’s obsessiveness about getting revenge against Indiana, but aside from the major goal of a trip to the Elite Eight, Louisville nonetheless does have some extra motivation for its West Regional semifinal battle against Michigan State Thursday night in the U.S Airways Center (7:47, TBS). You don’t have to be a history major to recall that it was the Spartans who knocked UofL out of a Final Four berth with a 64-52 upset of the topRUSS BROWN seeded Cardinals in the 2009 Midwest Regional championship game in Indianapolis. So the fourth-seeded Cards (28-9) would obviously like to return the favor against top-seeded Michigan State (29-7), which is trying to advance to its seventh Final Four under coach Tom Izzo. There are only two players remaining from that 2009 UofL team -- senior forwards Kyle Kuric and Jared Swopshire -- but their teammates are well aware of what happened in Indy, and that’s enough to spur talk of revenge. At the time, Chris Smith had completed his sophomore season at Manhattan before transferring to UofL. “I feel like we owe them something because they beat our older guys,” he said. “Everybody’s a family once you play for the Cards, so we want to give them what they gave our older guys.” Said freshman forward Chane Behanan: “Coach Pitino lost to them when T-Will (Terrance Williams) was here, so we’re going to try to make it a different result. I told the seniors I wouldn’t let them leave without a big bang, so we’re just got to keep rolling. We’re going to enjoy it and play hard.” The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Behanan and 6-11 center Gorgui Dieng figure to have the toughest assignment in the game -trying to contain versatile All-American forward Draymond Green (6-7, 230) and the Spartans’ other bruising rebounders. Green, the Big Ten Player of the Year, is averaging a double-double (16.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg), plus 4.0 assists. In Michigan State’s 89-67 win over No. 16 Long Island Brooklyn Green posted his second tripledouble in a row in the NCAA Tournament (he had one in a first-round loss to UCLA last season) with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Green can play every position.

Senior Kyle Kuric is one of just two players who were on the roster when then-No. 1 seed Louisville lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight (the other is Jared Swopshire in 2009). - photo by Howie Lindsey

“I’ve never had anyone who does as much,” Izzo said. In the Spartans’ 65-61 win over No. 9 Saint Louis in a second-round game in Columbus, Ohio, Green collected 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals, prompting Billikens coach Rick Majerus to call him “the best player in the country.” If he had to choose a player to go No. 1 in the NBA draft, Majerus said he would take Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. “But if I had to take a kid right now to win the national championship, I’d take Draymond Green.” That’s because Majerus, Izzo and everyone else who sees him play marvel at the Saginaw, Mich. native’s competitive fire, which he says he has always had. “Even when I was a young kid, I was a sore loser,” Green said. “I was the type of kid where if I lost I wasn’t getting off the court. If it was my basketball, nobody was playing unless I was standing on the court. So I’ve always had that will to win. And sometimes it got me in trouble. My mom used to make me stop playing video games because I’d get so mad if I lost. I know I can’t win; I suck at them. So I don’t play them any more.” Green isn’t a one-man gang, of course, just the most important cog. “I’ve seen them play, and if we can stop Green, that would be the game for us,” Chris Smith said.

Both teams emphasize smash-mouth defense, so the game figures to be a grinder like some of Louisville’s Big East contests and similar to Michigan State’s hard-fought win over Saint Louis, which one Spartan referred to as “a football game.” “We don’t pretend to be God’s gift to basketball,” Izzo said. “We know we’re a working man’s group. As dumb as this sounds, we had one of the best learning days you can have in college basketball. Now, whether that will do anything for us against Louisville, time will tell. But it was tough, and I think it was good for us.” MSU and UofL both rank in the top 15 in field-goal-percentage defense, but the Spartans have been very proficient inside, with 6-9, 270-pound Derrick Nix and 6-10, 240-pound Adrien Payne teaming up with Green. Defensive rebounding is a huge concern for the Cards, who rank below No. 250 in that department, while the Spartans are among the top 25 in offensive rebounding. Foul trouble with Dieng or Behanan could also be a major factor, given UofL’s shallow front-line depth. One individual matchup to watch is Siva vs. MSU sophomore point guard Keith Appling (6-1, 190), who is the Spartans’ best perimeter defender. Michigan State tied for the regular-season Big Ten championship, then won the tournament title.

Under Izzo, Michigan State has been a No. 1 seed four times and has advanced to the Final Four on each of the previous three occasions -- in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He has the Spartans in the Sweet 16 for the 10th time in the last 15 seasons. Pitino, on the other hand, has never lost in the Sweet 16 round, going 9-0. So game on, guys. “We look forward to it,” UofL junior point guard Peyton Siva said. “They’re a great team and Izzo a great coach; I would love to meet him. It will be a great game. They’re tough, physical, it’s going to be like another Big East battle. They’re aggressive, and they’re hot also. We’ve got to come to play.” The four regional teams compose a tantalizing field from Louisville’s and Pitino’s standpoint. If the Cards survive the rematch with Michigan State, they’ll face either Big East rival and No. 3 seed Marquette (27-7) for the third time this season or No. 7 Florida (25-10), which is coached by former Pitino player and assistant Billy Donovan. UofL split two games with Marquette, losing 74-63 in Milwaukee on Jan. 16, then blitzing the Golden Warriors 84-71 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

PITINO IN SWEET 16 (9-0) AT PROVIDENCE (1-0) Yr. Opponent 1987 UAB

Score 90-68

AT KENTUCKY (5-0) Yr. Opponent 1992 UMass 1993 Wake Forest 1995 Arizona St. 1996 Utah 1997 St. Joseph’s

Score 87-77 103-69 97-73 101-70 83-68

AT LOUISVILLE (3-0) Yr. Opponent 2005 Washington 2008 Tennessee 2009 Arizona

Score 93-79 79-60 103-64

PITINO IN ELITE EIGHT (5-4) AT PROVIDENCE (1-0) Yr. Opponent 1987 Georgetown

Score 88-73

AT KENTUCKY (3-2) Yr. Opponent 1992 Duke 1993 Florida St. 1995 North Carolina 1996 Wake Forest 1997 Utah

Score 103-104 106-81 61-74 83-63 72-59

AT LOUISVILLE (1-2) Yr. Opponent 2005 W. Virginia 2008 N. Carolina 2009 Michigan St.

Score 93-85(OT) 73-83 52-64


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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL

16 NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SWEET 16

0 14 1

Rick Pitino is 9-0 as a head coach in the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. After all these years of coaching, he has never lost in that round. That stat will be put to the ultimate test against No. 1 seed Michigan State on Thursday. Louisville has won 14 of its last 18 games heading into Thursday night’s matchup with Michigan State. The Cardinals have won six games in a row.

After beating No. 3 seed Florida State Sunday night, No. 6 seed Cincinnati now has one win over a higher-seeded team in the history of the program. For a program with Cincinnati’s history, that is a remarkable stat. In 1992, the fourth-seeded Bearcats beat teams seeded 13, 5, 9 and 6 to get to the Final Four. During Cincinnati’s runs to national titles in 1961 and ‘62 and a runner-up finish in ‘63, teams weren’t seeded.

17 1 46 39 2 31

Sophomore guard Russ Smith scored 17 points during Louisville’s 59-56 victory over New Mexico, including a pair of huge three-pointers.

The New Mexico game marked the first time this season that Louisville won when the opponent had more rebounds. The Cardinals were outrebounded 36-25. How did Louisville win despite getting outrebounded by 11? Shooting. Louisville hit nearly 46 percent of its shots against the Lobos (22 of 48), including 7 of 15 three-point shots. Center Gorgui Dieng played 39 of 40 minutes against New Mexico, coming out only for a brief period before a media timeout in the first half. He had six points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two steals, two assists and just one foul.

Louisville currently has two players averaging in double figures: Kyle Kuric at 13 points per game and Russ Smith at 11.4. UofL’s balanced attack has four players averaging between nine and 10 points: Chris Smith (9.8), Dieng (9.3), Peyton Siva (9.2) and Chane Behanan (9.1). Even after several recent shooting performances in the 40-50 percent range, Louisville is still hitting just 31 percent of its three-point shots this season (214 of 683).

Freshman Chane Behanan will have a tough test against Michigan State’s Draymond Green Thursday. - photo by Howie Lindsey

4 4 10 2009 85 10

There are four Big East teams in the Sweet 16: No. 1 seed Syracuse, No. 3 Marquette, No. 4 Louisville and No. 6 Cincinnati. Third-seeded Georgetown was upset by No. 11 seed NC State Sunday, and No. 12 USF lost a hard-fought battle with 13 seed Ohio Sunday night. The Big East and Big Ten are tied with four teams apiece in the Sweet 16. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 each has two teams, and the remaining two are from the Atlantic-10 and MAC. Michigan State has made the Sweet Sixteen 10 times in the last 15 seasons under coach Tom Izzo. He has six Final Fours and one national title. Louisville’s rallying cry for the next few days might be “Remember 2009.” That’s the year No. 1 seed Louisville was upset in the Elite Eight by Michigan State, missing a chance at a Final Four and possible national title.

If Thursday’s game comes down to free throws, Louisville wants the ball in Kuric’s hands. He’s hitting 85 percent of his free throws since Big East play started and 80 percent overall, best on the team.

Michigan State’s Draymond Green, a formidable big man, had 10 assists against Long Island in the Spartans’ first game of the tournament. He had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the first player to record more than one triple double in the NCAA Tournament since Magic Johnson, who did it twice. The only other player to do it was Oscar Robertson (four times). Green’s other triple-double came last year against UCLA. He had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Sunday’s win over Saint Louis.

4

Louisville has made at least the Sweet 16 in four of the last eight seasons dating to a Final Four run in 2005. The Cardinals had back-to-back Elite Eights in 2008 and 2009.

BONUS NUMBER:

5

The Louisville women, seeded No. 7 in the NCAA Tournament despite being ranked No. 18 in the nation, eliminated 10th-seeded Michigan State in the first round Saturday. It was Louisville’s fifth straight NCAA first-round win.


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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

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LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL

CARDS RELIEVED DROUGHT IS OVER, SWEET SIXTEEN NEXT

Players (L. to R.) Wayne Blackshear, Gorgui Dieng, Angel Nunez, Zach Price, Kevin Ware and Jared Swopshire celebrated Louisville’s win over New Mexico Saturday in Portland. - photo by Howie Lindsey

By Russ Brown PORTLAND – As a courtesy, the NCAA distributed copies of the 2012 Tournament Championship Guide to players participating in the West Regional, so when the Louisville Cardinals walked into their Rose Garden locker room prior to their pre-tourney practice session last Wednesday, they found a copy in each of their lockers. If they had flipped through the glossy magazine, they would have immediately seen the lead article titled “Sweet Dreams” detailing Morehead State’s RUSS BROWN stunning 62-61 upset of UofL in the first round of last year’s West Regional in Denver. They wouldn’t have found it very entertaining reading, though. Sweet Dreams? More like Sour Nightmare. Not that the Cards needed to be reminded of their back-to-back first-round flops in the NCAA Tournament. Fans, the media and yes, their own coach, Rick Pitino, had covered those flameouts quite extensively. “Coach P talked about it all the time; he didn’t let us forget it,” senior guard Chris Smith said. “He’d bring it up in a sarcastic way, like, ‘You guys got knocked out in the

first round, you’re not a good team.’ For us, that’s motivation because we want to capitalize every time we get a chance to do something.” When was the last time Pitino mentioned the first-round failures? “Oh, probably (Wednesday) night,” Smith said, laughing, after the fourthseeded Cards (27-9) took care of that gaping hole in their recent postseason resume’ and silenced the coach and other critics -- temporarily at least -- by defeating No. 13 Davidson 69-62 in the opening game of the West Regional last Thursday to snap a three-game losing skid in the NCAA tourney. Afterward, they were talking like they’re not finished yet and have no intention of heading home anytime soon. Sure enough, UofL cleared its next hurdle, edging fifthseeded New Mexico 59-56 Saturday to earn its second trip to the Sweet 16 in four years. The Cards will meet top-seeded Michigan State ( 29-7 ) in the West Regional semifinals in Phoenix Thursday night. “It’s just starting, the work’s just starting,” senior forward Kyle Kuric said. “We’ve got a good one under our belt; now we’ve got to keep winning. The firstround monkey is off our backs, but there’s still more pressure moving forward. There’s

still a lot of basketball to be played, hopefully.” The players admitted to a sense of relief in being able to finally advance and win a tournament game for the first time since routing Arizona 103-64 in the 2009 Midwest Regional semifinals as the No. 1 overall seed before losing to Michigan State 64-52 in the final. “But we’re not going to slack off,” Smith said. “We’re going to play our game and play hard.” Junior point guard Peyton Siva, who had a team-high 17 points, six assists, two steals and two rebounds against Davidson, said much of the pressure stemmed not from the early losses in the past two tournaments but simply from the fact that it was UofL’s 2012 debut. “We weren’t really worried about all the first-round stuff,” he said. “I think the first game is always the hardest. You want to get those jitters out, you want to play, you want to win. But I think everybody came in with a professional attitude and not worried about what’s going to happen with this or that. We just focused on Davidson and defense.” WEATHER, LOSING TURN PITINO OFF Pitino was at his sarcastic best when a local reporter asked him if he had any

interest in the vacant head coaching job with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Pitino laughed and referred to the constant rain, along with the hapless Blazers, who are being called the “Fail Blazers” (formerly called the Jail Blazers) in The Oregonian newspaper. “Yeah, I really want the job,” he joked. “I’d really like to get out here. The weather has just knocked me over, and I really would like to start losing again.” ‘NO RESPECT’ TEAMS RISE UP Both freshman Chane Behanan and senior Kyle Kuric took a turn trying to explain the rash of upsets in the second round of the tournament, specifically No. 15 Lehigh over No. 2 Duke and No. 15 Norfolk State over No. 2 Missouri. “For the lower teams, they don’t get much respect,” Behanan said. “In the regular season, they don’t get the national look they should. So when they get in the tournament, this is their opportunity to shine.” Kuric referred to No. 12 VCU’s win over No. 5 Wichita State here. Said Kuric: “There are players everywhere. I didn’t think they were a 12 seed at all. They looked much better than that. The talent level they have is on the same par as us.”


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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

COFFEE BREAK WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

SWEET SIXTEEN A FAMILIAR PLACE FOR THE UOFL CARDINALS TO BE It’s good to see the University of Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team back where it belongs -- with the final 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament. As improbable as it seemed two weeks ago, this team has earned its position among the nation’s elite basketball teams. There are 344 schools that play Division I basketball, so to be one of only 16 still standing is a commendable achievement. Over the past six games in the Big East Tournament in New York and the NCAA West Regional in Portland, Ore., the Cards have combined tenacious defense and just enough offense behind Peyton Siva to defeat every opponent. The combined won-loss record of those six teams was 144-50 (74.2 percent), and all six won at least 20 games this season. New Mexico won 27 games during the regular season and in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which they won by defeating UNLV and San Diego State, both top-25 teams. The Lobos also defeated Long Beach State, a top-35 team, in the NCAA opening-round game. New JACK COFFEE Mexico was ranked No. 22 in both the Associated Press and Coach’s poll. None of the six UofL victories in the Big East or West Region was against a weak team. This is the 21st time the Cards have made it to the final 16 teams in the tournament. That includes their first trip to the tourney in 1951 when only 16 teams were invited. The NCAA Tournament began in 1939 and for the first 11 years only eight teams were invited. That number was increased to 16 in 1951 and 1952. From 1953-1974 between 22 and 25 schools were invited, and from 1975-1978 32 schools played in the tournament. In 1979 40 teams were invited, and from 1980-1982 48 teams were. Louisville won its first national championship in 1980, the first time 48 teams were invited. In 1983 52 schools got bids, with four play-in games. In 1984 53 were invited, with five play-in games, and from 19852000 64 teams received bids. That was increased to 65 from 2001-2010, with one play-in game, and in 2011 and this season 68 teams were invited, with four play-in games. There is talk now of increasing the field even more, but nothing definite has been decided. With 68 teams the field includes 20 percent of all Division I schools. All Cards fans know of Louisville’s past when it comes to NCAA tourney participation, but here it is updated with last week’s games: eight Final Fours, three Elite Eights, 10 Sweet Sixteens and, of course, two national championships (1980 and ‘86). Only 14 schools have more than one national championship. UofL is 62-39 all-time in 38 tourney appearances, with eight regional championships. Part of Louisville’s NCAA record was achieved in seven consolation games, with the Cards going 3-4. The Final Four had a consolation game through 1981, and the regionals had one until 1975. Louisville’s last consolation game was in 1975. After losing to UCLA in the semifinal, the Cards beat Syracuse 96-88 in overtime. So how did this team averaging barely more than 70 points a game advance to the Sweet 16? That’s easy -- defense! And more defense. Louisville held almost every team it defeated below that team’s average for the season. New Mexico averaged 72.7 in 32 games but scored only 56 against the tenacious Cardinals. Davidson, playing in a weaker league, averaged 77.9 ppg but managed only 62 against the Cards. Louisville is second in the country in field-goal defense at 38 percent. Interestingly, UofL’s next opponent, Michigan State is third. The Cards are seventh in steals per game at 9.0 led by Russ Smith with 2.33 per game, which is 15th and 20th in three-point defense at 30.2 percent. Georgui Dieng is eighth in blocked shots at 3.14 per game. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the shots will fall, the whistle will be fair and that the Cards will continue on this remarkable turnaround. ––––––––––––––– Congratulations to the women’s team that beat Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Was this the same team that I watched commit more than 25 turnovers in several games early in the season? Against Michigan State the Cards had just two turnovers at halftime. Like the men, this team has overcome a lot to come together at tournament time.

LOUISVILLE’S CHARLIE STRONG HAS OPENED THREE SPRING PRACTICES FOR FANS. Wednesday at 4 p.m. Friday at 4 p.m. Saturday at 10 a.m. ALL FANS ARE WELCOME

2012 LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL SPRING GAME • SATURDAY, APRIL 14 AT 1 P.M.

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NCAA TRIVIA: •

LOUISVILLE IS THE ONLY SCHOOL TO PLAY A FINAL-FOUR GAME ON ITS HOME FLOOR. IN 1959 THE CARDS LOST TO JERRY WEST AND WEST VIRGINIA AT FREEDOM HALL IN THE SEMIFINAL GAME, THEN LOST TO OSCAR ROBERTSON AND CINCINNATI IN THE CONSOLATION GAME.

WEST VIRGINIA HAS BEEN TO THE FINAL FOUR TWO TIMES, IN 1959 AND 2010. THEY HAVE NEVER WON A CHAMPIONSHIP

LOUISVILLE WAS ALSO A NO. 4 SEED IN ITS LAST TRIP TO THE FINAL FOUR - IN 2005.

LOUISVILLE IS THE ONLY SCHOOL TO WIN TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS AS A NO. 2 SEED.

BOB MONTGO M E RY H A S B E E N S E R VI NG TH E CO M M U N I T Y S I N C E 19 6 0 .

UOFL’S 68 POINTS PER GAME IS THE LOWEST OFFENSIVE OUTPUT OF THE 21 CARDINALS TEAMS THAT HAVE MADE IT TO THE FINAL 16. THE 1959 AND 1961 TEAMS AVERAGED 72 PER GAME. THE 1972 TEAM HAD THE HIGHEST SCORING AVERAGE AT 84 PPG.

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MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 9

LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL

UOFL STYMIES DAVIDSON IN NCAA DEBUT

NOTHING NEW FOR CARDS, JUST MORE OF THE SAME – DEFENSE By Russ Brown PORTLAND -- All season long defense has been the Louisville Cardinals’ calling card, and their opening game in the NCAA Tournament was no exception, with Davidson getting a painful lesson on why UofL is one of the nation’s stingiest teams. The 13th-seeded Wildcats (25-9) of the Southern Conference came into last Thursday’s West Regional opener in the Rose Garden as one of the country’s highestscoring clubs, but the fourth-seeded Cards’ defense proved too thorny as UofL (27-9) claimed a 69-62 victory RUSS BROWN after leading by as many as 15 points late. Davidson, averaging 78.4 points per game, was limited to its second-lowest total of the season, the previous low coming in an 84-61 loss at Charlotte in December. And a team that was shooting 34 percent from three-point range was a mere 4 of 19 from beyond the arc, along with a seasonlow 35 percent overall. UofL dulled the Wildcats’ execution so thorougly that they got only two fast breaks, neither of which produced a basket, as the Cards snapped a three-game losing streak in the NCAA Tournament. UofL point guard Peyton Siva, who led the winners with 17 points, six assists and two steals despite being limited to 25 minutes by foul trouble, and forward Kyle Kuric said the Cards were determined to make defense the name of the game, as always. “Everybody focused on defense and getting stops,” Siva said. “Coach P told us one of the big things with them was their transition, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.” Said Kuric: “We kept them out of transition, that was a big thing. I don’t know how man threes they had, but obviously it was below their season average. We extended, and when they passed the ball inside everybody covered for each other. It’s a whole team effort.” Through five postseason games, including four in the Big East Tournament, UofL’s victims have shot just 37.7 percent overall and 17.1 on treys. De’Mon Brooks, voted the Southern Conference Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, made just 1 of 7 shots, while guard JP Kuhlman missed 6 of 7 shots and all three free throws. Brooks and

Center Gorgui Dieng explained to coach Rick Pitino what he believed happened on his third personal foul in the first half of Louisville’s win over Davidson. Dieng was on the bench for most of the game with foul trouble. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Kuhlman, who were averaging a combined 27 points, finished with five and three respectively. “They pressure you from end line to end line,” said Davidson forward Jake Cohen, who led all scorers with 24 points, most of them in the paint. “It’s something that’s always in the back of your head. When you get the ball out, you’ve got to be worrying about their pressure and how you’re going to break it.” Davidson committed only 10 turnovers, but coach Bob McKillop said having to battle UofL’s relentless full-court pressure fatigued his players. “We just got worn down,” he said. “Louisville’s pressure may not show its ugly head in terms of turnovers, but I think it wears you down, and that takes away your legs and affects your shooting.” Also taking its toll was the Cards’ offensive movement, running Siva off staggered screens until the Cards found the shot they wanted.

“They’re not a five-second, 10-second and shoot the ball kind of team,” McKillop said. “They’re a possession after possession where they took the shot clock into the 15, 14, 10 range, but it wasn’t just holding the ball. Our guys defended ball screens three, four or five times during a possession. I don’t think people realize what it’s like to do that not just for one possession but for 25. “Their consistent use of ball screens in each possession, with a guy as good as Siva, who is so quick, is tough. And it requires not just one guy to make the effort, but five guys to make the effort to stop him or try to stop him, and then the combination of their pressure.... The wear and tear on your legs.” UofL coach Rick Pitino said UofL’s goal was to wear down Davidson, and the Cards said afterward that they could tell they were being successful as the game wore on. “They slowed it up and were running a

lot of pick and rolls, which they weren’t doing earlier,” Jared Swopshire said. “So I think we got them tired, and that worked out for us. All those suicides, long practices and stuff are paying off.” Said Chris Smith: “We tire out a lot of teams because we’re probably in better shape than everybody. We practice hard, and that’s our thing, to wear everybody out.” UofL never trailed after the midway point of the first half and enjoyed its biggest margin at 59-44 with 3:22 left. Davidson mounted a comeback, but the Cards hit 10 of 13 free throws in the final 1:36 to survive the rally. CARDS’ TRIO ‘FEROCIOUS’ Before the game, McKillop described UofL’s front line of Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan and Kuric as “ferocious.” “They’re ferocious defensively, they’re ferocious on the glass and when they have the ball in their hands,” the veteran coach said. “They find a way to get to the rim, they find a crack. And they’re highly skilled.” The trio proved him right. Behanan notched the seventh double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dieng was limited to just 19 minutes by foul trouble but still got nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Kuric had 13 points, four boards, a block and a steal. Dieng said Pitino warned the Cards that officiating in the NCAA Tournament might be tighter than in the Big East Conference, and the 6-11 sophomore was whistled for a foul less than a minute into the game and picked up two more in the first half. “When we come here in the NCAA Tournament, every call is going to be tight,” Dieng said. “We’re not used to it like we were in the Big East -- you can hit somebody and they don’t say anything. So things change. It doesn’t look like the Big East at all.” HOMECOMING FOR SIVA The game marked a homecoming of sorts for Siva, who is from Seattle, three hours north and an easy drive on I-5. So a large contingent of friends and family -- including his mother, father, brother and sister -- made the trip to watch him play, and made a lot of noise in the UofL section of the stands. “Nobody else on the team really wanted to come to Portland except me,” Siva said. “I was happy to see them in the crowd. They can get loud. It’s great to come back to the Northwest. It’s pretty exciting and a lot of fun.”


PAGE 10

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

GAMEDAY PREVIEW - DAVIDSON

C O M M E N T A R Y

GOOD

It is GOOD to be making tournament runs again! The Cardinals are back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since back-toback Elite Eight runs in 2008 and 2009, and it’s GOOD to see the Cardinals being talked about again in late March. It is even more special with this team, a team many had counted out after it ended the regular season with losses to USF and Syracuse and finished seventh in the Big East. As it turns out, Syracuse is a Sweet 16 team and USF just missed being one.

GOOD

How much fun is this team having? You should have seen the scene in the locker room after the New Mexico game. The Cardinals laughed and joked, hooped and hollered throughout the interview session. As one player was being interviewed, several others tried to pelt him with ankle tape and towels, and turnabout was fair play. We asked freshman Chane Behanan how much fun this NCAA Tournament has been. “Sweet.... Sweet Sixteen,” he replied. Well said.

GOOD

New Mexico was no mid-major. After seeing the Lobos up close, we believe they could beat a lot of teams in this tournament. Tall and lean at every starting spot, they play aggressive defense, and Drew Gordon is among the best in college basketball this season. Louisvile’s players were impressed with the Lobos, too. “They are very good,” senior Kyle Kuric said. “They reminded me of a Big East team. They are tall and they can rebound.”

BAD

After Gordon’s reverse alley-oop dunk on top of Kuric, the Cardinals star was greeted with a message from his coach when he came back to the other end of the court. “That’s on you!” Rick Pitino said, adding that Kuric should have interrupted the pass and stopped the dunk. We asked Kuric about it after the game, and he just smiled. “I just jumped up to tip it, and didn’t get all of it. He grabbed it, and I thought he was going to come down with it and then go back up, but he dunked it like that on the way down.” Kuric then shrugged. “I mean, what are you going to do when he can do that? He’s pretty good.”

GOOD

It was a different dunk that really made the biggest impact on the game. With Louisville up by two with under a minute left, Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva ran a pick-and-roll to perfection, and it ended with a monster dunk by Dieng. After the game, the 6-foot-10 native of Senegal said he wanted to let New Mexico know that the game was officially over. Kuric joked, ”I don’t know about all that because they scored after that, but it definitely was a big dunk.” Siva also gave Dieng a hard time. “Coach doesn’t think Gorgui can really jump because he doesn’t do it very often, so it was good to see Gorgui actually show Coach P that he can jump.”

BAD

Turns out, Gorgui is the Rodney Dangerfield of the team. He gets picked on at every turn and “gets no respect.” During the Davidson game, he was whistled for three fouls in the first half, two of which weren’t actual fouls, and he had to sit for most of the game. “I don’t know why (the referee) called that, because I definitely did not foul,” Dieng said of the first foul call. “I don’t think he knows basketball, because I’ve never seen him ref the Big East.” Freshman power forward Chane Behanan said: “I was mad at (Gorgui) for a minute. But I knew I had to take it upon myself and just play like a vet and just go in and rebound. We have been through this situation before through the Big East Tournament. So we didn’t expect him to be in foul trouble, we just got to hold it down when he’s not there.” And the Cards did.

B Y

H O W I E

L I N D S E Y

GOOD

We’re glad the team’s focus wasn’t like that of the media, who were hung up on the first-game exits from the tournament in 2010 and 2011. It seemed everywhere the Cardinals turned another reporter - including us, unfortunately - was asking them about trying to snap the streak and bust through to the second and third games. To the players’ credit, they stayed focused on what they could control: this year. “We were not really worried about the first round in the sense of trying to get that first win in and worry about losing,” junior guard Peyton Siva said. “Everybody was focused on Davidson, everybody focused on defense. We watched a lot of film, tried to learn what they do inside and out. I think everybody did a really good job on defense, and that was really our main focus.”

UGLY

While the SportsReport staff and the team were out in Portland, we kept receiving these UGLY pictures of the KFC Yum! Center stuffed with blue. Kentucky fans, in town for the NCAA Tournament games at the Yum! Center, invaded Louisville’s arena en masse. Truth be told, we should see all that blue as green money and gold coin, but we have to admit it was more than a little sickening. Oh well, they could ‘t have liked it when Louisville fans invaded Rupp Arena a few years back and turned that into a Louisville home game, either.

BAD

Oh, and by the way. We know that KFC Yum! Center officials said that the water rushing into a common area at the Yum! Center was not an act of vandalism, but we are certain that somewhere, somehow, a Kentucky fan was involved. Were they doing chin-ups on the water pipe? See, Kentucky fans, this is why you can’t have nice things. Perhaps we should have torn out all the nice cushiony seats and replaced them with metal bleachers so they’d feel more at home.

GOOD

Charlie Strong and the Louisville football team will take the field for the start of spring practice Wednesday at the practice fields at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. There will be three practices open to the public this week, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Be sure to check out CardinalSports. com for full reports on the action from practice.

BAD

Our official web site, CardinalSports.com, is the Louisville site on the Rivals.com national network. While Rivals.com is the clear leader nationally in recruiting rankings for football prospects, we believe they are underrating local players. It has always been a struggle to get kids from Kentucky rated among the best in the nation, and while things are improving - Trinity juniors James Quick and Jason Hatcher are both rated four-stars and among the top 250 players in the nation currently - we believe Lexington Catholic quarterback Kyle Bolin and Trinity defensive back Ryan White should also be four-star prospects. In the initial national rankings, Bolin is the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the nation and White is rated No. 23 in the nation among cornerbacks. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but we believe both are likely a little better than that current ranking. The good news is that the rankings will be updated five times between now and National Signing Day next February. Both White and Bolin will have the opportunity to move up in future rankings.

GOOD

We feel there might not have been a single coach in the country who did a better coaching job this season than Louisville’s Jeff Walz. Name another school that lost its All-Conference leading scorer for the season, lost its best defender and starting two guard for the season and lost a starting center (Cierra Warren quit the team in January) and still finished the season ranked in the top 20. Walz’s Cardinals certainly still had talent, including McDonald’s All-American freshmen Bria Smith and Sara Hammond, but overcoming the loss of three starters is incredibly tough. Walz deserves a ton of credit for keeping his kids together and fielding a tough, fiesty team the rest of the season.

GET DAILY UPDATES ON THE CARDS AT CARDINALSPORTS.COM - WANT MORE OPINIONS? FOLLOW @HOWIELINDSEY ON TWITTER


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 11

LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL

C A R D S P L AY I N G W I T H C O N F I D E N C E , A G G R E S S I V E N E S S

UOFL’S LATE TURNAROUND MAKES IT A SWEET (16) SEASON

By Russ Brown PORTLAND – OK, let’s be honest. If somebody had dared suggest that Louisville’s basketball team would turn its late-season slide into a postseason surge, what would have been your reaction? Peyton Siva thinks he knows the answer. “They probably would have laughed in your face,” said UofL’s junior point guard. But it’s the upstart Cards (28-9) who are getting the last laugh. And it’s sweet. As in Sweet 16. That’s where UofL is headed after edging New Mexico 59-56 in the second round of the West Regional Saturday night in the Rose Garden. Now the Cards will try to continue their unexpected run when they take on top-seeded Michigan State (29-7) in the West semifinals at 7:47 p.m. Thursday in the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. The survivor will advance to the Elite Eight against the winner of the other semifinal between No. 3 seed Marquette (29-7) and No. 7 Florida (25-10). Louisville started the season ranked in the top 10 and rose as high as fourth on the strength of a 12-0 start, but the next two months were a roller-coaster ride and the Cards dropped out of the top 25 the final week of the regular season before re-enterting at No. 17/18 going into the NCAA Tournament. “We always stay positive,” UofL coach Rick Pitino said. “We wound up winning 22 games (in the regular season), and with all our injuries that was a heck of a season with a top-10 schedule. When we were 12-0, I never really thought we were that great. When we started losing, I never thought we were really that bad. We stayed even keel, and we went into the Big East Tournament ready to play.” The Cards wobbled into postseason play, having dropped four of their last six games, including the finale at Syracuse, 58-49, and looked anything like a serious threat to make a deep run in either the Big East or NCAA tournaments. But they quickly regrouped to win their second Big East Tournament in four years, earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAAs, then defeated No. 13 seed Davidson (69-62) and the No. 5 Lobos to set up a showdown with the Spartans, who knocked them out in the Elite Eight as the overall top seed in 2009. “I’m really delighted, because I thought this team had a lot of limitations,” Pitino said. “I wanted to win the Big East Tournament in the worst way because I knew their confidence would grow. Our guys deserve so much credit for hanging in there. They went through

Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng matched up with New Mexico star Drew Gordon on this play. Gordon had 21 points and 14 rebounds, but Louisville won 59-56. - photo by Howie Lindsey

a month and a half where they couldn’t even have normal practices because of all our injuries. We all made up our minds that the post-season was going to be different.” It certainly has been, and now UofL is on the cusp of its first Final Four appearance since 2005 -- with a couple of very big hurdles standing in the way, of course. “The way we’ve been playing, everybody is confident, we’re still playing with the same intensity and mentality and we’re playing as a team, and that’s why we’re winning,” senior forward Kyle Kuric said. “I don’t want to say we expected it, but things are clicking at the right time and guys are stepping up.” Said Siva: “I always knew we were going to battle with whoever. We know a lot of people were counting us out and nobody had us going this far. But everybody stuck together and showed a lot of heart. I just thank God for this opportunity.” Freshman forward Chane Behanan pronounced himself “not surprised” at the Cards’ postseason success and said they’re peaking at the right time and playing their best basketball of the year. “We had some ups and downs, but we have a good basketball team,” he said. “We’re playing for a Hall of Fame coach, and it doesn’t surprise me at all, I promise you that. If we had played like this all year, we would have stayed in the top five the whole season.” Although he was outplayed by New Mexico’s 6-9 Drew Gordon, a UCLA transfer who got

21 points and 14 rebounds, Behanan -- who referred to Gordon as “Superman” -- was a definite force in UofL’s victory with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, four rebounds, a steal and an assist. But it was the backcourt combination of Siva and Russ Smith who sparked the win. Overcoming an air-ball dunk that inspired Pitino’s wrath, Russ scored a team-high 17 points, hit the back-to-back three-pointers that put UofL on top for good and hit two clutch free throws in the final 92 seconds after New Mexico had sliced a 15-point deficit to just two. Siva scored only six points but came through with two huge plays at the end and also finished with five assists. “Any time there’s a big spark, Russ or Peyton is usually involved,” Kuric said. “Russ can play defense and get into people and make tough shots; he was big for us.” Said Russ: “I just stay on the bench and look and see what we need. If we need defensive energy, I’ll try and do that. If we need points, I’ll try and do that. I just try and do what I feel the team needs at the time, and hopefully it’ll work out.” It did against New Mexico, but not before some anxious moments after UofL had seen a 44-29 lead at the 13:02 mark melt to 53-51 with 1:38 remaining. The Lobos’ rally took nearly every ounce of energy to deflect. “I wish I was a little more excited instead of just kind of worn out from the comeback they had,” said a weary-looking Kuric afterwards. “It

was ridiculous. Thank God we pulled it out. I think maybe we backed off a little bit, we had some miscommunication, they got some good bounces and they wanted the comeback more than we wanted to finish the game. But at the end we made enough plays to come out with the victory.” Said senior guard Chris Smith, “I think we kind of got a little too happy, a little ahead of ourselves and thought the game was over, but it wasn’t over.” Here’s when it was over. With UofL clinging to a 55-53 lead following a Gordon dunk at 1:12, Siva drove down the lane, skidded to an almost-stop under the basket, passed to center Gorgui Dieng, who was charging down the lane, and got out of the way as Dieng rammed through a monstrous dunk to make it 57-53 with 31 seconds remaining. “I wanted that last dunk to be big because I wanted them to know the game was over,” Dieng said. “Game over. And I was tired.” Said Siva: “A few minutes earlier I had driven right down the lane and got a layup, so the next time I knew they were going to help out. I knew I wasn’t going to get the layup, so I just tried to plant, turned around, found Gorgui cutting to the basket and Gorgui showed the bounce today, showed he can jump a little bit. That was a big play for us.” Dieng’s hops surprised his teammates, who said their 6-11 teammate usually stays pretty much earthbound. “Man, that was a nice play,” Chris Smith said. “That’s about as high as I’ve seen him jump since I’ve been here.” Said Behanan: “That was tremendous. I think that sealed it right there, took us to the next level to play defense the final seconds. He got a running start; that’s the highest I’ve ever seen him jump.” After a New Mexico missed shot and a turnover, Siva wrapped it up with two free throws at 0:11.2. “We battled like crazy,” said New Mexico coach Steve Alford, the former Indiana University All-American. “Early in the second half we were out of rhythm, out of sync offensively, and they really came at us and got some easy baskets. Then we settled down and started guarding and made a run ourselves. We never stopped fighting. We just couldn’t make enough shots.” That’s been the story for Louisville’s victims most of the season. New Mexico, which was shooting 38 percent from three-point range, hit just 5 of 23 for 21.7 percent and shot 39.7 overall, the fifth of UofL’s sixth postseason opponents it has held below 40 percent, the exception being Marquette’s 44 percent.


PAGE 12

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

GAMEDAY PREVIEW - MICHIGAN STATE

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

BREAKING DOWN THE SPARTANS By Rick Cushing When UofL takes on Michigan State, the top seed in the West Regional, Thursday night in Phoenix, it will be a rematch three HEAD COACH years in the making. The teams last met TOM IZZO on March 29, 2009, and on that day in Indianapolis the eighth-ranked Spartans knocked off the top-ranked and top-seeded Cardinals 64-52 in the Elite Eight. That snapped a 13-game UofL winning streak and prevented the Cards from going to the Final Four for the second time under Rick Pitino. The Spartans (29-7) earned their No. 1 seed by beating Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament title game, then beat 16thseeded LIU Brooklyn 89-67 and ninth-seeded Saint Louis 65-61 in the NCAA tourney. The Billikens gave them a battle, closing within two points late before succumbing. The Spartans were coming off a disappointing season (19-15), although they did make the NCAA Tournament for the 14th straight time. Having lost leading scorer Kalin Lucas, this season’s outlook was iffy, with coach Tom Izzo optimistic but admitting that the Spartans “have a few unknowns…. You never know.” The unknowns came through, and senior forward Draymond Green developed into a first-team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and one of the top candidates for National Player of the Year. MSU opened the season with consecutive losses to North Carolina and Duke, won 24 of its next 27 games, then closed the regular season with two straight losses before winning three straight in the Big Ten tourney. The latter two victories came against Wisconsin (65-52) and Ohio State (68-64), both of whom also are in the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans have fashioned their success behind an extremely stingy man-to-man defense. They allow only 59.3 ppg, 17th in the country, and allow their foes to shoot just 38.0 percent, third in the country, including 29.7 percent on treys, 14th in the country. They also average 7.3 steals per game, 89th in the country. Offensively they are not flashy but prefer to work for highpercentage shots. They make 48 percent of their shots, 20th in the country, and have a rebound margin of plus-8.5, fourth in the country. UofL and MSU have played no common opponents this season, but the Cards know from experience that a game with the Spartans will be physical. GUARDS Keith Appling, a 6-1 sophomore, runs the show. He’s averaging 11.3 ppg, second on the team, leads in assists at 3.86 a game, and is second in steals at 1.17 a game. He’s shooting 42.9 percent overall but just 24.2 percent on treys. The other starter in the two-man backcourt is 6-2 senior Brandon Wood, a transfer from Valparaiso who is averaging 8.6 ppg, third on the team, and shooting 46.4 percent overall, 37.2

percent on treys. The top backcourt sub is 6-5 senior Austin Thornton, who is averaging 5.3 ppg and 3.4 rpg. He is shooting 47.3 percent overall, 46.0 on treys and is an outstanding free-throw shooter at 87.9 percent. Another backcourt sub is 6-0 freshman Travis Trice (4.8 ppg), who’s shooting 38.7 percent overall but 41.7 percent on treys. Curiously, he’s making only 57.6 of his free throws. BIG MEN Green, a 6-6 senior, is averaging a double-double (16.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg), leads the team in steals at 1.46 a game, is second in assists at 3.8 a game and in blocks at 1.0 a game. He’s shooting 45.2 percent overall, 39.8 percent on treys. He has 20 doubledoubles and one triple-double this season, and he’s joined Oscar Robertson (four) and Magic Johnson (two), a Michigan State alum, as the only players with multiple triple-doubles in NCAA Tournament history. Against LIU Brooklyn Green had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Branden Dawson, a 6-6 freshman who mans the other starting forward spot, is averaging 8.4 ppg, fourth on the team, and 4.5 rpg, second on the team. He’s shooting 57.7 percent and is 0 for 3 on treys. Alternating at center are 6-9 junior Derrick Nix (8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and 6-10 senior Adreian Payne (7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, teamleading 1.03 blocks per game). The duo combines for 15.4 ppg and 8.0 rpg. Frontline subs are 6-9 sophomore Alex Gauna (1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg) and 6-7 sophomore Russell Byrd (1.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg). STAR Green is a bona-fide star. TEAM STRENGTHS Defense, rebounding. TEAM WEAKNESSES The Spartans average just 5.5 three-pointers a game, which is 225th in the country. That is due more to the team’s offensive philosophy (pound it inside) than its shooting prowess, because MSU averages 36.5 percent on treys, which is 71st in the country. HEAD COACH Izzo, 57, is 431-183 (69.8 percent) in 17 seasons, all at Michigan State. He has won one NCAA title (in 2000), has been to the Final Four six times and was named National Coach of the Year four times. Before taking over at MSU in 1995 Izzo was an assistant at Northern Michigan for four years (1979-83) and an assistant to Jud Heathcote at MSU for 12 years. MSU’s 15-year NCAA Tournament streak is the third-longest current one. Kansas has been to the last 23 tourneys, Duke to the last 17. ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and MSU have met seven times in a series that dates to 1959, with the Cards holding a 4-3 advantage.

2011-12 MICHIGAN STATE BASKETBALL ROSTER NO 0 2 3 5 11 13 14 15 20 22 23 32 44 50

NAME RUSSELL BYRD ALEX GAUNA BRANDAN KEARNEY ADREIAN PAYNE KEITH APPLING AUSTIN THORNTON DAN CHAPMAN KEENAN WETZEL TRAVIS TRICE BRANDEN DAWSON DRAYMOND GREEN BRANDON WOOD ANTHONY IANNI DERRICK NIX

POS G C SF F G G G G PG G F G C C

YR FR. FR. FR. SO. SO. SR. SO. FR. FR. FR. SR. SR. SR. SO.

EXP RS RS HS 1V 1V 3V SQ RS HS HS 3V TR 1V 1V

HT/WT 6-7/205 6-9/240 6-5/185 6-10/230 6-1/180 6-5/210 6-3/185 6-4/190 6-0/170 6-6/220 6-7/230 6-2/190 6-9/260 6-9/278

HOMETOWN (SCHOOL) FORT WAYNE, IN (BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN SCHOOL) EATON RAPIDS, MI (EATON RAPIDS HS) DETROIT, (SOUTHEASTERN) DAYTON, OH (JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP HS) DETROIT, MI (PERSHING HS) SAND LAKE, MI (CEDAR SPRINGS) OKEMOS, MI (OKEMOS) MONROE, MI (ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CENTRAL) HUBER HEIGHTS, OH (WAYNE) GARY, IN (LEW WALLACE) SAGINAW, MI (SAGINAW) KOKOMO, IN (VALPARAISO) EAST LANSING, MI (OKEMOS) DETROIT, MI (PERSHING)

Coach: Tom Izzo Overall Record: 431-183 (17th season) Michigan State Record: 431-183 (17th season) IZZO HAS TAKEN THE SPARTANS TO THE FINAL FOUR SIX TIMES

DRAYMOND GREEN

2011-12 SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT TIME NOVEMBER Nov. 11, 2011 at N. Carolina L, 67-55 Nov. 15, 2011 at Duke L, 74-69 Nov. 18, 2011 Texas Southern W, 76-41 Nov. 20, 2011 Arkansas-LR W, 69-47 Nov. 23, 2011 Wisconsin-Milw. W, 68-55 Nov. 27, 2011 at Eastern Michigan W, 72-40 Nov. 30, 2011 Florida State W, 65-49 DECEMBER Dec. 4, 2011 NEBRASKA OMAHA W, 110-68 Dec. 7, 2011 Central Conn St. W, 89-69 Dec. 10, 2011 at Gonzaga W, 74-67 Dec. 17, 2011 Bowling Green W, 74-60 Dec. 19, 2011 Missouri-KC W, 89-54 Dec. 22, 2011 Lehigh W, 90-81 Dec. 28, 2011 Indiana W, 80-65 Dec. 31, 2011 at Nebraska W, 68-55 JANUARY Jan. 3, 2012 at Wisconsin W, 63-60 Jan. 10, 2012 Iowa W, 95-61 Jan. 14, 2012 at Northwestern L, 81-74 Jan. 17, 2012 at Michigan L, 60-59 Jan. 21, 2012 Purdue W, 83-58 Jan. 25, 2012 Minnesota W, 68-52 Jan. 31, 2012 at Illinois L, 42-41 FEBRUARY Feb. 5, 2012 Michigan W, 64-54 Feb. 8, 2012 Penn State W, 77-57 Feb. 11, 2012 at Ohio State W, 58-48 Feb. 16, 2012 Wisconsin W, 69-55 Feb. 19, 2012 at Purdue W, 76-62 Feb. 22, 2012 at Minnesota W, 66-61 Feb. 25, 2012 Nebraska W, 62-34 Feb. 28, 2012 at Indiana L, 70-55 MARCH Mar. 4, 2012 Ohio State L, 72-70 Big Ten Tournament Mar. 9, 2012 Iowa W, 92-75 Mar. 10, 2012 Wisconsin W, 65-52 Mar. 11, 2012 Ohio State W, 68-64 NCAA Tournament Mar. 16, 2012 Long Island W, 89-67 Mar. 18, 2012 Saint Louis W, 65-61


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 13

LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL PHOTO GALLERY

Former Cardinal great LaBradford Smith was in the crowd in Portland for the games. He is Louisville’s single-season assist leader. Peyton Siva is No. 2 on that list for his performance this season. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Peyton Siva waved to his family and friends in the crowd after the Cardinals beat Davidson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Louisville senior forward Kyle Kuric concentrated intently as he shot a free throw during the Louisville-Davidson game. - photo by Howie Lindsey

The Louisville Ladybirds stood in formation and saluted the fans as the Cardinal Pride Pep Band played a school song. - photo by Howie Lindsey

President James Ramsey and his wife Jane and provost Shirley Willinhganz were among the elated Louisville crowd in Portland after the Cardinals won both games. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Members of Louisville’a Cardinal Pride Pep Band cheered as the team walked off the court after advancing to the Sweet 16 with a 59-56 win over New Mexico. - photo by Howie Lindsey


PAGE 14

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

CARDS IN THE COMMUNITY

‘RUSSDICULOUS’ KEEPS THINGS LIGHT IN CUCKOO’S NEST

By Russ Brown PORTLAND -- One of the most interesting and entertaining sidelights to the University of Louisville basketball team’s success in the post-season is the soap opera surrounding sophomore guard Russ Smith, who continues to delight fans and teammates while alternately driving his coach up the wall and earning his praise. The New York Knicks have “Linsanity.” The Cards have “Russdiculous.” You just never know what the loquacious and personable New York City product is going to do next, which is what makes him so much fun. And that unpredictability and outgoing personality was on full display in UofL’s two West Regional wins over Davidson and New Mexico last week. One can only guess what’s in store next in Russ’s repertoire for the Cardinals’ semifinal battle against Michigan State Thursday night in Phoenix. After UofL had defeated New Mexico 5956 Saturday night, in large part due to Russ’s 17 points and three assists -- both team highs -- UofL coach Rick Pitino said he has come to expect, if not embrace, his Super Sub’s antics. Saturday they included air-balling a breakaway dunk late in the first half, talking back during a timeout after one of his miscues, then giving Pitino bunny ears and dancing behind him while he was being interviewed by a CBS reporter after the game. Pitino described his relationship with Russ as something right out of the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” In this case, we don’t have to guess about which one is cuckoo. “Coaching this young man is going to make me be a star in a remake of that movie,” Pitino joked. “When you coach Russ Smith you have a nervous breakdown on every possession.” Russ had been in a shooting slump but made all three of his shots from behind the arc against New Mexico, including back-toback treys from the right wing and left corner late in the first half to give UofL the lead for good at 24-21. “He hadn’t been shooting the three well,” Pitino said. “To show you how dumb I am, I’m yelling, ‘Take it Russ.’ You really don’t know what’s going to happen on the next play. But he always comes up big for us. When we struggle for points, he’s always there. I’m real proud of him.” Well, not so much when Russ blew a wideopen dunk as the ball went flying out of his hands. “To show you how funny Russ is, I told him, ‘Russ, any 5-10 guy from New York City can dunk a ball, just lay it up and put it in.’ So after the game, I asked him, ‘Why would you do that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, you’re right coach, I should never have put Vaseline on my hands before the game. It slipped out.’ So this is what I’m coaching every day.’” The two sat side-by-side during their postgame press conference, laughing at each other’s comments like a couple of high school kids. “Me and coach have a lot in common,” Russ said. “We’re both from New York, I just like to learn from him. He’s always telling me to make the right play. I try my best, but it sometimes doesn’t work.” In the first half, Russ and Pitino got into a heated exchange during a team huddle and Pitino yanked Smith from the game. Russ then rose to say something to someone, and Pitino yelled at him to return to his seat. When play

Sophomore Russ Smith spoke with TBS sideline reporter Jenn Hildreth after the Cardinals beat New Mexico to advance to the Sweet 16. - photo by Howie Lindsey

resumed, Pitino reminded Russ that when the coach is talking, he should be quiet. Russ, who later laughed at the situation, said Pitino’s yelling is all part of the deal playing at Louisville. “I just asked one of the assistants what I did wrong, go over it,” Smith said. “And then I just cheered for my teammates and got right back to the game. It’s just a message he was giving me. I listen to the message. That’s pretty much it.” Well, not quite. Great offensive drives and shots, slick defensive steals, boneheaded plays, funny lines. Russ is the whole package. “We have a blast together away from the court,” Pitino said. “Between the lines I’m trying to drive them to limits they didn’t think they could get to. Russ Smith -- nobody wanted him (out of high school), I don’t care what Russ tells you. No Big East schools recruited him. And here he is. And he bails us out time and again.” DIENG LIKES ‘CRAZY’ COACH Pitino took issue with sophomore center Gorgui Dieng having been snubbed on the Big East all-conference teams by the league’s coaches. The Senegal native led the Big East and was eighth nationally in blocked shots at 3.2 per game, was fourth in the conference in rebounding (9.1 rpg), fifth in field-goal percentage (54.6) and averaged 9.4 points. He had six points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals against New Mexico after geting nine points, seven boards and two blocks in the 69-62 win over Davidson. “He really gave us a big lift when we needed it,” Pitino said. “He didn’t make the first-, second- or third-team All-Big East, and he not only should have, but he’s one of the best centers in the conference because he affects every shot, whether he gets the block or not, against everybody. And I’m real proud of his development.” Dieng said he has a good relationship with Pitino despite the coach’s frequent temper outbursts. “Coach, sometimes he’s -- I don’t know how to explain it -- sometimes he goes crazy on us,” Dieng said. “But off the court he’s a really nice person. I really like him a lot. I don’t think he’s a coach for me, I treat him as a friend. He shows us to do the right things, teaches us how to be a gentleman in real life. He teaches a lot of things, not just about basketball, but in real life.”

Dieng got the dunk that gave UofL a 5753 lead with 31 seconds left to thwart a New Mexico rally that looked as if it might overtake the Cards. It came on a perfectly timed pass from Peyton Siva. “Coach wanted me to set a pick and roll,” Dieng recounted. “He said, ‘When you roll, roll hard. When you catch it, just grab it and dunk it.’ I did the right things.” Pitino praised Siva for his vital role in the play. “Siva made a great move, and then he did something that he hasn’t done with us in two

years,” Pitino said. “He came to a jump stop and made the play. That was a great pass. He made big plays down the stretch. He’s having a tremendous post-season.” PITINO RELIEVED FOR PLAYERS Pitino is a well-traveled coach/author/ speaker who has led three schools to the Final Four -- Providence, Kentucky and Louisville -– and has also been the coach of the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. After the win over New Mexico, as he was answering a question about whether his and UofL’s advance to the Sweet 16 was a big pressure relief after losing first-round NCAA games the past two seasons, Pitino had this reply: “Yes, we did lose the last two years, we had a tough injury. But that’s going to happen. I think you saw what happened with (first-round losers) Duke and Missouri. I’m relieved because I wanted this so much for the players. “For me, I say this with all humility.... After I left the Celtics, I’ve had a large dose of that. I’ve had more fulfillment in the game of basketball than 10 coaches combined. But I’ve never had a group like this in my life. I wanted it for them because they’ve worked so hard and had so much adversity, and I wanted them to get the experience that I’ve been through.” In 3½ seasons as the Celtics coach, Pitino’s teams never had a winning record or made the playoffs, so he says criticism doesn’t get to him these days. “I coached the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks,” he said. “Just Philadelphia is missing in my life for the triple crown. I can take an awful lot in my life.”


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 15

GAMEDAY PREVIEW - MARQUETTE

MARQUETTE HAS BEEN TO THE SWEET 16 THE PAST TWO SEASONS

DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM

2011-12 SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT NOVEMBER Nov. 11, 2011 Mount St. Mary’s Nov. 14, 2011 Norfolk St. Nov. 18, 2011 Winthrop1 Nov. 20, 2011 Ole Miss2 Nov. 21, 2011 Norfolk St.3 Nov. 28, 2011 Jacksonville DECEMBER Dec. 3, 2011 at Wisconsin Dec. 6, 2011 Washington Dec. 10, 2011 Wisconsin-GB Dec. 17, 2011 N. Colo Dec. 19, 2011 at LSU Dec. 22, 2011 Wisconsin-Milw. Dec. 29, 2011 Vanderbilt JANUARY Jan. 1, 2012 Villanova Jan. 4, 2012 at Georgetown Jan. 7, 2012 at Syracuse Jan. 11, 2012 St. John’s Jan. 14, 2012 Pittsburgh Jan. 16, 2012 Louisville Jan. 21, 2012 at Providence Jan. 24, 2012 South Florida Jan. 28, 2012 at Villanova Jan. 31, 2012 Seton Hall FEBRUARY Feb. 4, 2012 at Notre Dame Feb. 6, 2012 at DePaul Feb. 11, 2012 Cincinnati Feb. 18, 2012 at Connecticut Feb. 22, 2012 Rutgers Feb. 24, 2012 at West Virginia Feb. 29, 2012 at Cincinnati MARCH Mar. 3, 2012 Georgetown Big East Tournament Mar. 8, 2012 Louisville NCAA Tournament Mar. 15, 2012 BYU5 Mar. 17, 2012 Murray St.

TIME W, 91-37 W, 99-68 W, 95-73 W, 96-66 W, 59-57 W, 88-56 W, 61-54 W, 79-77 W, 79-61 W,93-72 L, 67-59 W, 64-50 L, 74-57 W, 81-77 L, 73-70 L, 73-66 W, 83-64 W, 62-57 W, 74-63 W, 79-72 W, 67-47 W, 82-78 W, 66-59 L, 76-59 W, 89-76 W, 95-78 W, 79-64 W, 82-65 W, 61-60 L, 72-61 W, 83-69 L, 84-71 W, 88-68 W, 62-53

BREAKING DOWN THE GOLDEN EAGLES By Rick Cushing Should UofL get by Michigan State, the top seed in the West Regional, and thirdseeded Marquette beat No. 7 seed Florida, the fourth-seeded Cardinals and Golden HEAD COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS Eagles would meet in the Elite Eight. It would be the third meeting this season of the Cardinals and Golden Eagles, with Marquette having won the first, 74-63 on Jan. 16 in Milwaukee, and the Cards taking the second, 84-71 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on March 8 in Madison Square Garden. Marquette reached the Sweet Sixteen for the second straight year by thumping BYU 88-68 and then using a late 21-7 run to knock off Murray State 62-53 last Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. Marquette went into the NCAA Tournament at 25-7, having finished second in the Big East Conference at 14-4. They were ranked No. 9. The Golden Eagles have fashioned their success behind a talented and athletic group of players headed by Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder and All-Big East first-teamer Darius Johnson-Odom. They employ a free-wheeling offense that averages 76.3 ppg, 26th in the country, and an aggressive manto-man defense that limits opponents to 66.3 ppg, 153rd in the country. They are shooting 45.9 percent, 71st in the country, and are averaging 16.9 assists per game, seventh in the country. Despite their free-wheeling style, they take good care of the basketball. Their assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.27-1, which is 18th in the country, and their turnover margin is 3.3 a game, also 18th in the country. Defensively, they average 8.8 steals a game, 11th in the country, and they are holding foes to 40.5 percent shooting, 41st in the country, including 32.3 percent on treys, 82nd in the country. They held Murray to a season-low 31.3 percent shooting, including a season-low 19 percent on treys (4 of 21). They also forced 16 turnovers, including seven steals, and blocked four shots. Marquette forced the Racers out of their offense, especially during its game-closing 21-7 run. UofL is very familiar with Marquette and well knows it will be a battle should they meet again. GUARDS Johnson-Odom, a 6-2 senior, is averaging 18.5 ppg, 30th in the country, and shooting 45.1 percent overall, 38.9 percent on treys. He leads the team in free-throw shooting at 76.5 percent and is second in assists at 2.7 a game He had 19 and 23 points in the two games against UofL, but he had six turnovers in the second meeting as the Cards forced 26 in all, including 14 steals. The Golden Eagles employ a three-guard offense, with a fourth guard seeing considerable playing time. Vander Blue, a 6-4 sophomore, and Junior Cadougan, a 6-1 junior, start, while Todd Mayo, a 6-3 freshman, plays a lot. Blue averages 8.5 ppg and 2.69 apg, both third on the team.

He shoots 42.3 percent overall, just 25.8 on treys, and he had six turnovers in the second meeting with UofL. Cadougan averages 6.5 ppg, sixth on the team, and leads in assists at 5.4 a game, 35th in the country. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.02-1, 75th in the country. He had seven points and six assists in the first game against UofL, and nine points and five assists in the second meeting, but he also had eight turnovers. Mayo, the younger brother of NBA standout Todd Mayo, is averaging 7.8 ppg, fifth on the team, and is shooting 41.5 percent overall, 32.6 on treys. He had 11 points in the first game with UofL, when he hit 3 of 4 treys, but the Cards limited him to four points in the second meeting. He also had to be removed late in the Murray game after making back-to-back freshman mistakes. BIG MEN Crowder, a 6-6 senior, averages 17.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg, second and first on the team respectively. He also leads with 85 steals. He shoots 42.1 percent overall, 35.3 on treys. He had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting, 10 points and 12 rebounds in the second, when he was a non-factor offensively. He had 17 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocks against Murray. Jamil Wilson, a 6-7 sophomore, is the other starter up front after being a reserve earlier in the season. He is averaging 7.1 ppg and 4.1 rpg and shooting 44.9 percent overall, 32.1 percent on treys. He leads the team at 1.3 blocks per game. He came off the bench in the first meeting with UofL and had just four points, but he had 13 points and eight rebounds in the second meeting. Davante Gardner, a 6-8, 290-pound sophomore who was a starter until an injury caused him to become a reserve, is averaging 9.6 ppg, third on the team, and 5.4 rpg, second. He’s shooting 57.3 percent and is 0 for 2 on treys. He had 17 points and six rebounds as a starter in the first meeting, four points and five rebounds as a reserve in the second. STARS Crowder and Johnson-Odom both figure to be in the NBA next season. TEAM STRENGTHS Overall athletic ability, as reflected in the above stats, and the senior leadership of Crowder and Johnson-Odom. TEAM WEAKNESS Rebounding. The team’s rebounding margin is plus-0.1, which is 187th in the country. The Golden Eagles were outrebounded by Murray 43-36, and by UofL in the second meeting 50-44. HEAD COACH Buzz Williams, a colorful character, is in his fourth season at Marquette and fifth season overall. At Marquette he’s 96-44, and overall he’s 110-61. He was 14-17 in one season at New Orleans, resigned to become an assistant at Marquette, then took over there one year later when Tom Crean left to take over at IU. ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and Marquette have met 67 times in a series that dates to 1951, with the Cards holding a 41-26 advantage. They have been foes in the C-USA and Big East conferences.

2011-12 MARQUETTE BASKETBALL ROSTER NO 0 1 2 4 5 12 21 22 23 25 32 33 42 45 54

NAME JAMIL WILSON DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM VANDER BLUE REGGIE SMITH JUNIOR CADOUGAN ERIK WILLIAMS JOSEPH FULCE JAMAIL JONES DWIGHT BUYCKS DAVID SINGLETON JAE CROWDER JIMMY BUTLER CHRIS OTULE ROBERT FROZENA DAVANTE GARDNER

POS F G G G G F F F G G F F C G G

YR SO. JR. FR. FR. SO. SO. SR. FR. SR. JR. JR. SR. SO. SR. FR.

EXP 1V 3V

1V 1V 2V 2V 1V 3V 2V 1V 2V

HT/WT 6-7/220 6-2/215 6-4/200 6-0/175 6-1/205 6-7/210 6-7/205 6-6/210 6-3/190 6-4/190 6-6/225 6-7/220 6-11/265 6-1/190 6-8/290

HOMETOWN RACINE, WI RALEIGH, NC MADISON, WI CHICAGO, IL TORONTO, ON HOUSTON, TX PHILADEPHIA, TX ATLANTA, GA MILWAUKEE, WI COATESVILLE, PA VILLA RICA, GA TOMBALL, TX RICHMOND, TX SHERWOOD, WI SUFFOLK, VA

MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES

Coach: Buzz Williams Overall Record: 110-61 (5th season) Marquette Record: 96-44 (4th season)


PAGE 16

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

GAMEDAY PREVIEW - FLORIDA

FLORIDA GATORS

BREAKING DOWN THE GATORS By Rick Cushing Florida, a team that made it to the Elite Eight last season, losing to Butler in overtime, expected to be good this HEAD COACH BILLY DONOVAN season. In that regard, a 22-9 regular-season record was somewhat disappointing. But the Gators easily got into the NCAA Tournament for the third straight time and received a No. 7 seed. They have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with dominating victories over 10th-seeded Virginia (71-45) and 15th-seeded Norfolk State (84-50). In the latter game they ran off 25 straight points to take a 29-6 lead, then cruised. The Gators (25-10) will take on third-seeded Marquette (27-7) Thursday in Phoenix, with the winner to face the UofL-Michigan State winner in Saturday’s Elite Eight. Florida leads the country in three-pointers per game at 9.8 and is shooting 38.4 percent on treys, 28th in the country. They are shooting 46.2 percent overall, 57th in the country. The defensive stats aren’t so impressive. Opponents are shooting 43.2 percent, 177th in the country, including 35.0 percent on treys, 209th in the country. They also rank just 190th in blocks (3.2 per game) and 169th in steals (6.5 per game). Most basketball fans around here know all about the Gators, an SEC team coached by Billy Donovan that has won two national titles (2006 and ’07). Donovan has a 27-9 record in NCAA Tournament games, his .750 winning percentage ranking third among active coaches. The Cardinals and Gators have played four common opponents. UofL beat Vanderbilt 62-60, while Florida split with the Commodores, winning 73-65 at home and losing 77-67 at Vandy. UofL beat Rutgers 78-66, while Florida lost to the host Knights 85-83 in overtime. UofL lost twice to Syracuse, 52-51 at home and 58-49 at Syracuse, while Florida lost 72-68 at Syracuse. UofL lost at Kentucky 69-62, while the Wildcats beat Florida three times -- 78-58 at UK, 74-59 at Florida and 74-71 in the SEC Tournament semifinals in New Orleans. GUARDS The Gators start three guards, all three-point threats, plus a frontline starter is an adroit bomber. Kenny Boynton, a 6-2 junior, leads the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg and is second in assists at 2.54 a game. He also leads with 107 treys (3.09 a game, 10th in the country) and is shooting 41.5

percent from beyond the arc, 40.4 percent overall, Bradley Beal, a 6-3 freshman, is averaging 14.6 ppg and a team-leading 6.7 rpg. He also leads with 48 steals. He’s shooting 43.4 percent overall, 33.0 on treys with 58, and 81.6 percent on free throws. Erving Walker, a 5-8 senior, is averaging 12.1 ppg and is shooting 39.9 percent overall, 36.7 percent on treys, with 66. He also leads in assists at 4.57 a game and has an assist-toturnover ratio of 2.31-1, 35th in the country. The top backcourt subs are 6-3 junior Mike Rosario (6.8 ppg, 34.4 percent on treys with 33), a transfer from Rutgers, and 6-2 sophomore Scottie Wilbekin (2.6 ppg, 44.0 percent on treys with 20). The Gators can hurt you from outside. BIG MEN Erik Murphy, a 6-10 junior, is averaging 10.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg and shooting 49.2 percent overall, 43.1 percent on treys, with 56. Patric Young, a 6-9 sophomore, is averaging 10.3 ppg and 6.4 rpg and is shooting 61.8 percent. He’s not attempted a trey. The top frontcourt sub is 6-7 sophomore Will Yeguete (4.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 56.1 percent shooting, no treys), who has started 10 games. Another frontcourt sub is 6-6 sophomore Casey Prather (2.0 ppg). STAR With the five starters all averaging in double figures, ranging from 10.3 ppg to 16.1, any of them can star on a given night. TEAM STRENGTH Three-point shooting. TEAM WEAKNESS Defense. HEAD COACH Donovan, who’s known as “Billy the Kid,” has been coaching for 18 years, 16 of them at Florida. He has an overall record of 420-177, 385-157 at Florida. He was an assistant to Rick Pitino for five years at Kentucky, was 35-20 in two seasons at Marshall, then took over at Florida in 1996. He played for Pitino at Providence, leading the Friars to the Final Four in 1987 as a senior, then played one season in the NBA (Knicks). ALL-TIME SERIES UofL and Florida have met eight times in a series that dates to 1969, with the Cards holding a 7-1 advantage.

2011-12 FLORIDA BASKETBALL ROSTER NO

NAME

POS

YR

EXP

HT/WT

HOMETOWN (SCHOOL)

3

MIKE ROSARIO

G

JR.

TR

6-3/191

JERSEY CITY, NJ ()

4

PATRIC YOUNG

C

SO.

1V

6-9/247

JACKSONVILLE, FL (PROVIDENCE HS)

5

SCOTTIE WILBEKIN

G

SO.

1V

6-2/178

GAINESVILLE, FL (THE ROCK HS)

11

ERVING WALKER

G

SR.

3V

5-8/177

BROOKLYN, NY (CHRIST THE KING)

15

WILL YEGUETE

F

SO.

1V

6-7/222

MELBOURNE, FL (FLORIDA AIR ACADEMY)

23

BRAD BEAL

G

FR.

HS

6-3/207

ST. LOUIS, MO (CHAMINADE PREP)

24

CASEY PRATHER

SO.

1V

6-6/212

JACKSON, TN (NORTH SIDE HS)

33

ERIK MURPHY

F

JR.

2V

6-10/230

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI (ST. MARK’S)

34

CODY LARSON

F

FR.

SQ

6-9/231

SIOUX FALLS, SD (ROOSEVELT HS)

35

WALTER PITCHFORD V

F

FR.

HS

6-10/221

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (SUMMIT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY)

Coach: Billy Donovan Overall Record: 420-177 (18th season) Florida Record: 385-157 (16th season) DONOVAN HAS WON TWO NATIONAL TITLES

KENNY BOYNTON

2011-12 SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT NOVEMBER Nov. 11, 2011 Jackson St. Nov. 15, 2011 at Ohio State Nov. 17, 2011 NORTH FLORIDA Nov. 21, 2011 Wright State Nov. 25, 2011 Jacksonville Nov. 28, 2011 Stetson DECEMBER Dec. 2, 2011 at Syracuse Dec. 7, 2011 Arizona Dec. 9, 2011 Rider Dec. 17, 2011 Texas A&M Dec. 19, 2011 Mississippi Valley Dec. 22, 2011 Florida State Dec. 29, 2011 at Rutgers Dec. 31, 2011 Yale JANUARY Jan. 3, 2012 UAB Jan. 7, 2012 at Tennessee Jan. 10, 2012 Georgia Jan. 14, 2012 at South Carolina Jan. 21, 2012 LSU Jan. 26, 2012 at Ole Miss Jan. 28, 2012 Miss. State FEBRUARY Feb. 2, 2012 South Carolina Feb. 4, 2012 Vanderbilt Feb. 7, 2012 at Kentucky Feb. 11, 2012 Tennessee Feb. 14, 2012 at Alabama Feb. 18, 2012 at Arkansas Feb. 21, 2012 Auburn Feb. 25, 2012 at Georgia Feb. 28, 2012 at Vanderbilt MARCH Mar. 4, 2012 Kentucky SEC Tournament Mar. 9, 2012 Alabama Mar. 10, 2012 Kentucky NCAA Tournament Mar. 16, 2012 Virginia Mar. 18, 2012 Norfolk St.

TIME W, 99-59 L, 81-74 W, 91-55 W, 78-65 W, 107-62 W, 96-70 L, 72-68 W, 78-72 W, 90-69 W, 84-64 W, 82-54 W, 82-64 L, 85-83 W, 90-70 W, 79-61 L, 67-56 W, 70-48 W, 79-65 W, 76-64 W, 64-60 W, 69-57 W, 74-66 W, 73-65 L, 78-58 L, 75-70 W, 61-52 W, 98-68 W, 63-47 L, 76-62 L, 77-67 L, 74-59 W, 66-63 L, 74-71 W, 71-45 W, 84-50


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 17

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

CARDS HAD NO. 5 MARYLAND ON THE ROPES By Howie Lindsey A dramatic late rally that included a 9-0 run by No. 2 seed Maryland (30-4) prevented what would have been Louisville’s second upset of a top-five team in the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years Monday night. The No. 17 Cardinals (23-10) had a 6459 lead with just over six minutes left, but the No. 5 Terrapins came roaring back, closing the game with a 13-4 run for a 72-68 victory in a game that included more than its fair share of controversy. “It was just a tremendous game,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “It’s a shame that either team had to lose that game. Both teams really competed for 40 minutes. There was a lot of adversity for us with foul HOWIE LINDSEY trouble and a slow start. I thought our team did a tremendous job hanging in there.” Said UofL coach Jeff Walz: “They came up with some loose ball plays at the end of the game that were big, things that we knew we had to come up with if we were going to have a chance to be in this game. And they made those plays.” A heated battle from the opening tip, the game included a flagrant elbow by a Maryland player in the first half, several knockdowns by both teams and a suspiciously awful call with 15 seconds left that could have changed the outcome of the game. Maryland went on a 9-0 run to take a 68-64 lead with just over three minutes left. That run would keep the Terrapins in the lead for good, but not without Louisville making the home team sweat. A pair of free throws by UofL senior guard Becky Burke cut the margin to two, but a Louisville turnover and a jumper by Maryland’s Tianna Hawkins made it 70-66. A jumper in the lane by Asia Taylor cut the margin to two again with 1:36 left, and a shot-clock violation gave Louisville the ball back with 1:05 left. Shoni Schimmel was fouled on the perimeter, giving Louisville a chance to tie the score with under a minute left, but she bricked the front end of a one-and-one and Maryland grabbed the rebound. A foul by Louisville freshman Bria Smith, her fifth, put Maryland’s Laurin Mincy at the line with 34.1 seconds left. Mincy missed the first but hit the second to put the Terrapins up by three. Again Louisville had a chance to tie the score, but a three-point shot by Burke hit the back of the rim with 22 seconds left, and Maryland got the rebound and passed the ball ahead to Hawkins. She drove for a layup but seemed to fumble the ball on her way up, and Burke grabbed it and was fouled by Hawkins with 15.2 seconds left. Here’s where the mystery comes in. At the end of a 30-second Maryland timeout, instead of putting Burke at the line for free throws, the referees signaled for Louisville to inbound the ball under Maryland’s goal. Officials said Hawkins’ foul was of the of-

Sophomore star Shoni Schimmel helped Louisville make the NCAA Tournament after losing Monique Reid and Tia Gibbs to injury and Cierra Warren, who quit. - photo by Chuck Feist

fensive variety and merited only a change of possession. Louisville scrambled for an open look for a three-point shot on its last possession, but a trey by Burke was blocked with just over four seconds left. Hawkins nabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.5 seconds left. She hit 1 of 2 for the final 72-68 margin. Schimmel finished with 22 points on 8-of-25 shooting (3 of 12 from three-point range). Shwanta Dyer added 17 points and Bria Smith had 12. Mincy led all scorers with 24. CARDS GO 5-0 IN FIRST ROUND With a 67-55 win over No. 10 seed Michigan State last Saturday in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, Louisville improved to 5-0 in their last five first-round games, 4-0 under Walz. The Cardinals jumped on the Spartans early, getting their star, Lykendra Johnson, in early foul trouble. Johnson, a 6-foot-1 senior forward who was Michigan State’s second-leading scorer (10.8 ppg) and best rebounder (8.6 rpg), was whistled for her second foul with 15:37 to go in the first half. With Johnson out, Louisville pushed the lead from 9-5 to 33-16 by the 5:00 mark of the first haf. “I thought they played a very hard game,” Walz said of the Spartans. “(Michigan State coach) Suzy (Merchant) had her kids ready to play. We’re fortunate enough

to get (Johnson) in some early foul trouble, which really took away a lot of what I think they wanted to do.” Louisville led 39-23 at the half behind eight points apiece by Burke and Schimmel and seven by Dyer. “Obviously, we are disappointed with the outcome,” Merchant said. “Certainly, I think we need to give Louisville a lot of credit. I thought they really rattled us in the first half. We couldn’t get into an offensive play, and that put us into a little hole going into halftime.” Louisville out-rebounded the bigger Michigan State squad 40-34, and the Cardinals made just 12 turnovers, many of which were in the final minutes with the game in hand. “It was a hard-fought game,” Walz said. “I was really excited for our players. I thought we executed extremely well for 35 minutes of the game. I think with five minutes to go we had three or four turnovers at that point in time, which was a season low for us. It’s always nice to get a win in the first round.” Schimmel finished with just eight points, but she had six rebounds and six assists. She was a key to the win, according to Walz. “I think (Shoni) was really important,” he said. “I thought Shoni played a very good game today. I thought she did a very good job on the defensive end of the floor. I thought she made some great passes out

there. She’s got a lot of responsibility. The ball is in her hands a lot, and there’s a lot of wear and tear on her. She came up with some big shots for us. She hit a shot out of the timeout and had two or three great passes out of inbound plays. It takes a high basketball IQ to be able to put the ball in the right spots. She threw an unbelievable pass to Shawnta’ (Dyer) on the break.... Her scoring is the least of my worries, because I know what she can do.” Said Schimmel: “It felt great for us to get out there and take advantage of what we could and continue to score, and that’s what we did for the most part. We kept going at them, and it turned out good for us.” Burke led all scorers with 14 points, followed Dyer with 13 and Taylor and Smith with 10 apiece. Louisville outshot Michigan State 45.2 percent to 35.7 and held the Spartans to just 3 of 16 from beyond the arc. DYER COMING UP BIG Prior to the 2010-11 season, the buzz surrounding Dyer was that she - not Schimmel, Sheronne Vails or Antonita Slaughter - was the freshman to watch for. Then she fractured her heel and missed all of that season. This season, particularly in the past month, Dyer is beginning to show flashes of the player many believe she can become. She had 13 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes against Michigan State and scored 17 points with three rebounds against Maryland. AT HOME NEXT SEASON When the brackets were revealed earlier this month, many in Louisville bemoaned the fact that the Cardinals would have to play a No. 2 seed on its home court for the second NCAA Tournament in a row. Sure, last year’s draw worked out with Louisville upsetting No. 2 seed Xavier in the second round before falling to Gonzaga in the Sweet 16, but still -- back-to-back years on a top-5 team’s home court is tough.


PAGE 18

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

2012 NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT BRACKET

MARCH 22, 2012


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 19

LOUISVILLE SOFTBALL PHOTO GALLERY

Louisville softball has set a record for consecutive wins and best-ever start this season. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Catcher Taner Fowler is hitting .406 with five doubles, a triple and five home runs through Louisville’s first 22 games. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Leonard is 5-0 this season with a 0.54 ERA. She is able to make the ball move on several of her pitches. - photo by Howie Lindsey

First baseman Alicja Wolny congratulated Katelyn Mann after she scored a run against Michigan. - photo by Howie Lindsey

Jordan Trimble is hitting .343 with 11 RBIs this season. - photo by Howie Lindsey


PAGE 20

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

SPRING SPORTS SCHEDULES

SWIMMING AND DIVING

LACROSSE

DATE 01/14/12 01/28/12

OPPONENT / EVENT at Cincinnati # at Indiana

LOCATION Cincinnati, Ohio Bloomington, Ind.

02/03/12 02/10-12/12 02/15-18/12 02/24-25/12 03/08-10/12 03/09-11/12 03/15-17/12 03/22-24/12 03/29-31/12 05/03-06/12 06/07-09/12 06/25/12

vs. KENTUCKY Ralph Wright Natatorium BIG EAST Diving Championship # Pittsburgh, Pa. BIG EAST Swimming Championship # Pittsburgh, Pa. Championship Qualifying Meet Knoxville, Tenn. NCAA Diving Zones Auburn, Ala. Grand Prix - Columbus (LC) Columbus, Ohio NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship, Auburn, Ala. NCAA Men’s National Championship Federal Way, Wash. Grand Prix - Indianapolis Indianapolis, Ind. Grand Prix - Charlotte Charlotte, N.C. Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational Omaha, Neb. US Olympic Trials

TIME / RESULT M 2-0, W 2-0 M 165.5-134.5, W 128-165 M 188-107, W 183-107 M 4th, W 1st M 2nd, W 1st Not scored --Not scored Not scored All Day All Day All Day All Day

BASEBALL DATE OPPONENT / EVENT Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge 02/17/12 vs. Minnesota 02/18/12 vs. Illinois 02/19/12 vs. Michigan State 02/22/12 vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY 02/24/12 vs. OAKLAND UNIVERSITY 02/25/12 vs. OAKLAND UNIVERSITY 02/26/12 vs. OAKLAND UNIVERSITY 02/28/12 vs. EASTERN ILLINOIS 03/02/12 vs. PEPPERDINE 03/03/12 vs. PEPPERDINE 03/04/12 vs. PEPPERDINE 03/06/12 vs. INDIANA Alabama Tournament 03/09/12 vs. Oral Roberts 03/10/12 at Alabama 03/11/12 vs. East Carolina 03/13/12 vs. OLE MISS 03/14/12 vs. OLE MISS 03/16/12 vs. BALL STATE 03/17/12 vs. BALL STATE 03/18/12 vs. BALL STATE 03/20/12 vs. OHIO STATE 03/23/12 vs. CINCINNATI # 03/24/12 vs. CINCINNATI # 03/25/12 vs. CINCINNATI # 03/27/12 at Purdue 03/30/12 vs. VILLANOVA # 03/31/12 vs. VILLANOVA # 04/01/12 vs. VILLANOVA # 04/03/12 vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY 04/05/12 at Georgetown # 04/06/12 at Georgetown # 04/07/12 at Georgetown # 04/10/12 at Kentucky 04/13/12 vs. SETON HALL # 04/14/12 vs. SETON HALL # 04/15/12 vs. SETON HALL # 04/17/12 at Indiana 04/20/12 at USF # 04/21/12 at USF # 04/22/12 at USF # 04/24/12 vs. KENTUCKY 04/27/12 vs. CONNECTICUT # 04/28/12 vs. CONNECTICUT # 04/29/12 vs. CONNECTICUT # 05/01/12 at Western Kentucky 05/05/12 at West Virginia # at West Virginia # 05/06/12 at West Virginia # 05/08/12 at Vanderbilt 05/11/12 vs. ST. JOHN’S # 05/12/12 vs. ST. JOHN’S # 05/13/12 vs. ST. JOHN’S # 05/15/12 vs. MOREHEAD STATE 05/17/12 at Pittsburgh # 05/18/12 at Pittsburgh # 05/19/12 at Pittsburgh # 05/23-27/12 BIG EAST Championship

DATE 02/19/12 02/24/12 02/26/12 03/02/12 03/07/12 03/10/12 03/14/12 03/17/12 03/24/12 03/27/12 04/05/12 04/07/12 04/13/12 04/15/12 04/20/12 04/22/12 05/03/12

OPPONENT / EVENT at Ohio State at Longwood at Old Dominion vs. DENVER vs. NORTHWESTERN vs. Presbyterian at Vanderbilt at Jacksonville at Notre Dame # at Cincinnati # vs. LOYOLA (Md.) # vs. GEORGETOWN # at Rutgers # at Villanova # vs. SYRACUSE # vs. CONNECTICUT # BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP

LOCATION Columbus, Ohio Farmville, Va. Norfolk, Va. UofL LACROSSE STADIUM UofL LACROSSE STADIUM Cumming, Ga. Nashville, Tenn. Jacksonville, Fla. South Bend, Ind. Cincinnati, Ohio UofL LACROSSE STADIUM UofL LACROSSE STADIUM New Brunswick, N.J. Philadelphia, Pa. UofL LACROSSE STADIUM UofL LACROSSE STADIUM Syracuse, N.Y.

TIME / RESULT L, 21-7 W, 19-8 L, 14-12 Cancelled L, 16-7 W, 20-3 L, 14-12 L, 20-10 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 5:00 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET TBD

LOCATION

TIME / RESULT

Miami, Fla. Miami, Fla. Miami, Fla. Miami, Fla. Miami, Fla.

W, 4-1 W, 8-3 W, 5-4 W, 4-2 W, 2-0

Greenville, N.C. Greenville, N.C. Greenville, N.C. Greenville, N.C. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM

W, 2-1 W, 5-0 W, 5-4 W, 7-6 W, 8-0 W, 7-0, W, 4-0

Knoxville, Tenn. Knoxville, Tenn. Knoxville, Tenn.

W, 10-1 W, 11-0 W, 2-0

ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Bowling Green, Ky.

W, 9-0 W, 2-1 W, 9-0 W, 8-2 W, 8-0 W, 6-0

Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento, Calif. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Lexington, Ky. Chicago, Ill. Chicago, Ill. Chicago, Ill. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Villanova, Pa. Villanova, Pa. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM South Orange, N.J. South Orange, N.J. South Orange, N.J. Bloomington, Ind. ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM ULMER STADIUM Jamaica, N.Y. Jamaica, N.Y. Jamaica, N.Y.

Cancelled Cancelled W, 6-1 Cancelled 5:00 p.m ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 5:30 p.m. ET 1:00 p.m. ET 3:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 6:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 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 4:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET TBA 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET 2:00 p.m. ET 12:00 p.m. ET

South Bend, Ind.

TBA

SOFTBALL LOCATION

TIME / RESULT

Clearwater, Fla. St. Petersburg, 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 JIM PATTERSON STADIUM

L, 7-1 W, 4-3 W, 7-6 W, 7-2 W, 7-4 W, 10-7 W, 6-3 L, 3-2 postponed L, 3-2, W, 3-1 W, 7-3 W, 13-4

Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuscaloosa, Ala. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM West Lafayette, Ind. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Bethesda, Md. Bethesda, Md. Bethesda, Md. Lexington, Ky. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Bloomington, Ind. Tampa, Fla. Tampa, Fla. Tampa, Fla. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Bowling Green, Ky. Morgantown, W.Va. Morgantown, W.Va. Morgantown, W.Va. Nashville, Tenn. JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM JIM PATTERSON STADIUM Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh, Pa. Clearwater, Fla.

W, 7-3 L, 7-6 L, 9-4 W, 4-3 L, 18-8 W, 9-4 W, 14-5 W, 13-5 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 4:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 4:00 PM ET 12:00 PM ET 6:30 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 3:00 PM ET 7:00 PM ET 6:00 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 2:00 PM ET 5:30 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 7:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 6:00 PM ET 1:00 PM ET TBA

DATE OPPONENT / EVENT Florida International University Tournament 02/10/12 vs. Michigan State vs. Illinois 02/11/12 vs. UAB at Florida International 02/12/12 vs. Massachusetts East Carolina University Tournament 02/17/12 vs. Virginia 02/17/12 at East Carolina 02/18/12 vs. UNC Greensboro 02/18/12 vs. Hofstra 02/24/12 vs. Creighton 02/25/12 vs. Creighton (DH) Tennessee Classic 03/02/12 vs. Middle Tennessee State 03/03/12 vs. Memphis 03/04/12 vs. Boston University Red and Black Tournament 03/10/12 vs. Saint Louis vs. Michigan 03/11/12 vs. Saint Louis 03/12/12 vs. Illinois State vs. Illinois State 03/14/12 vs. Western Kentucky Sacramento State Capital Classic 03/16/12 vs. Colorado State vs. Princeton 03/17/12 vs. Akron at Sacramento State 03/20/12 Ohio State 03/24/12 vs. Pittsburgh # vs. Pittsburgh # 03/25/12 vs. Pittsburgh # 03/28/12 vs. Kentucky 03/31/12 vs. DePaul # vs. DePaul # 04/01/12 vs. DePaul # 04/04/12 vs. Kentucky 04/06/12 vs. Rutgers # vs. Rutgers # 04/07/12 vs. Rutgers # 04/11/12 vs. Villanova # vs. Villanova # 04/14/12 vs. Longwood vs. Longwood 04/15/12 vs. Longwood 04/18/12 vs. USF # vs. USF # 04/21/12 vs. Seton Hall # vs. Seton Hall # 04/22/12 vs. Seton Hall # 04/25/12 vs. Indiana 04/28/12 at Georgetown # at Georgetown # 04/29/12 at Georgetown # 05/05/12 vs. St. John’s # vs. St. John’s # 05/06/12 vs. St. John’s # BIG EAST Championship 05/10-12/12 BIG EAST Championship


MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

PAGE 21

LOUISVILLE SOFTBALL

CARDS KEEP ROLLING ALONG, NOW 22-0 By Rick Cushing The University of Louisville softball team, which rose two spots in the polls to No. 14/15 after a school-record 20-0 start to the season, faced a daunting challenge last week, with five road games. That didn’t trip the Cards up, however, as they won 6-0 at Western Kentucky on Wednesday, then went 1-0 in a weekend tournament in California when rain washed out the other three scheduled games. They are now 22-0 and figure to rise in the polls again this week. The Cards were scheduled to play Colorado State and Princeton on Friday and Akron and host Sacramento State on Saturday in the Sacramento State Capital Classic. A steady rain washed out Friday’s action, and it returned to cancel Saturday’s second game with the Cards leading 4-3 in the middle of the fourth inning. Because the teams did not complete four innings, the game does not count. COLLINS, LEONARD BAFFLE TOPPERS Tori Collins (10-0) and Chelsea Leonard combined to allow just three hits in notching UofL’s 11th shutout of the season as the Cards beat host Western Kentucky 6-0. Colllins gave up three hits and struck out three in four innings. Leonard did not allow a hit and fanned four in notching her second save of the season. Alicja Wolny , Katelyn Mann and Hannah Kiyohara each was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run. “I was pleased with how we came out and scored four runs early and set a great tone for the game,” said coach Sandy Pearsall. “We knew they would be a tough opponent and would constantly put pressure on us, and we knew we would have to be aggressive.” The Cards put up a four-spot in the top of the first. Jennifer Esteban and senior Kristin Austin delivered back-to-back singles and Taner Fowler walked to load the bases for Wolny’s two-run single. Kiyohara’s two-out, two-run single made it 4-0. UofL tacked on two more runs in the third when Jordan Trimble reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to third on a double by Kiyohara. Both scored on a double by Mann. The Hilltoppers (17-9) put runners in scoring position in the third and the seventh but could not bring them home in suffering their first shutout of the season. CARDS TOP AKRON Caralisa Connell (7-0) went the distance, allowing one run and eight hits while striking out seven, and Wolny was 2 for 3 with

Senior Tori Collins has a 10-0 record and 1.29 ERA this season. - photo by Howie Lindsey

her fourth home run of the season as the Cards beat Akron 6-1 Saturday. Again the Cards broke on top, scoring twice in the first inning. Esteban led off with a single and stole second. After an out, Fowler walked, and both scored when Wolny reached on a two-base error. UofL tacked on two more runs in the third. Austin had an infield single and came home on Katie Keller’s triple. Fowler’s sacrifice fly brought Keller home to make it 4-0. Wolny led off the bottom of the fifth with a shot over the fence in right-center, and the Cards got another unearned run in the sixth. Austin and Keller led off with back-to-back singles, and an error allowed Austin to cross the plate. The Zips (11-10) got on the scoreboard in the sixth on a double and single. Esteban and Austin also had two hits

apiece, and sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod was 1 for 2 in her first extended appearance since suffering an injury on the opening weekend of the season. The Cards had 12 hits in all. BUCKEYES, PANTHERS UP NEXT The Cards will play host to Ohio State Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a game recently added to the schedule. The Buckeyes were 12-8 heading into last weekend. UofL then will entertain Big East foe Pittsburgh for three games this weekend, a doubleheader on Saturday (noon and 2 p.m.) and a single game Sunday at noon. TEAM STATS ARE OUTSTANDING As one would expect from a team with a 22-0 record, UofL’s stats are impressive. The Cards are hitting .351 with 22 home runs as a team, while the opposition is hitting .160 with just four home runs. The team ERA is

1.06, the foes 5.22. The individual batting leader continues to be Austin at .479. She also leads in runs (24). Two others are hitting above .400 - Wolny at .463 and Fowler at .406. Fowler leads with five home runs. Wolny has four. Fowler and Keller are tied with 20 RBIs each. Ruckenbrod is hitting .400 and has three home runs despite playing in just 15 games. Leonard (5-0, 0.52 ERA) has allowed just three earned runs and 16 hits in 40 innings, with 58 strikeouts. Collins (10-0, 1.29 ERA) has allowed 12 earned runs and 42 hits in 65 1/3 innings, with 92 Ks. All four opponent home runs have been hit off her. Connell (7-0, 1.40 ERA) has allowed eight earned runs and 25 hits in 40 innings, with 37 Ks.


PAGE 22

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

KEEP UP ON ALL THE LATEST CARDINAL NEWS!

CARDINAL STARS OF THE WEEK

HOWIE LINDSEY’S

KRISTIN AUSTIN - SOFTBALL The senior outfielder from Hartsburg, Mo., continues to lead Louisville at the plate. She is hitting a team-best .479 while starting all 22 games for the Cardinals. She is second on the team with 49 total bases and leads the team with 24 runs scored. She has three doubles, six triples and eight RBIs. Her .513 on-base percentage is strong, and she is 6 for 7 on stolen-base attempts. AUSTIN

KOHOYDA

GISSELLE KOHOYDA - WOMEN’S SWIMMING The sophomore from Midland, Mich., made school history at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship Saturday night at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the campus of Auburn University when she placed fourth in the 200-breast with a time of 2:07.87, making her the first Cardinal woman to place in the top five nationally. UofL as a team placed 24th, the highest finish in school history. The team title went to Cal-Berkely, which edged Georgia for the crown. USC was third. “These were great swims and a historic night for Cardinal swimming,” coach Arthur Albiero said. “I am very proud of the way our ladies competed here. Senior Fanny Lilliestrom finishes her UofL career with three lifetime-best swims. Freshman Tanja Kyllianen and sophomore Gisselle Kohoyda showed they are major competitors on the national level. This weekend is another step in the development of our program.” CHELSEA LEONARD - SOFTBALL The redshirt sophomore pitcher from Lexington, N.C. has opponents baffled. Her 0.52 ERA leads the team. She has 13 appearances and is 5-0 so far this season. Through 40 innings pitched, the crafty Leonard has given up just 16 hits and has 58 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .120 against her and have only two extra-base hits (both doubles).

LEONARD

ALBERT WAGNER - MEN’S TENNIS The freshman from Amberg, Germany, had a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory over No. 89 Lucas Oliveira that clinched the match as No. 40 UofL defeated No 56 Virginia Tech 4-3 Saturday afternoon at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. The victory extended the Cards’ home winning streak to six. “We’ve been playing these types of matches with Virginia Tech a long time,” coach Rex Ecarma said. “We’ve been battling with them since the early 90s, and almost all of the matches have been 4-3. It’s like history repeats itself, and it’s crazy with our rivalry.”

WAGNER

STEWART IJAMES - BASEBALL The senior from Owensboro, Ky., had a home run to help Louisville beat Ball State 13-5 Sunday. With his team-leading seventh home run of the season, Ijames now has 40 career home runs and is tied with Phil Wunderlich for 10th on the Cardinals’ career list. Along with the seven home runs, Ijames leads the Cardinals with 25 RBIs and is hitting .329 this season. IJAMES

RATAJCZAK

ABDULLA

NICK RATAJCZAK - BASEBALL The junior from Joliet, Ill., had a first-inning single on Sunday, extending his career-best hitting streak to 11 games. The transfer from Gulf Coast Community College is hitting .535 (23 for 43) with 14 runs and eight RBIs during his 11-game streak. He is hitting .416 for the season with 21 runs and nine RBIs. Ratajczak has reached base safely in all 20 Louisville games this season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound second baseman was a two-time first-team All-Panhandle Conference selection at Gulf Coast and was the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. KHADIJA ABDULLA - WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD The senior from Markham, Ill., led a 1-2-3 finish in the shot put at the USF Bulls Invitational last weekend. Abdullah won her season-opening competition with a toss of 16.21m/53-2 1/4. Amashi Kendall followed with a runner-up performance with a throw of 15.87m/52-1, and Chinwe Okoro took third with a mark of 15.02m/49-3 1/2. Each mark qualified for the Big East Championships. Abdullah, the 2010 and 2011 Big East champion in the shot put, also finished second in the discus behind Okoro.

MARCH 22, 2012

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LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT

MARCH 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE SPORTSREPORT’S CARDINAL KIDS Trevor and Dylan prepared to cheer on the Cards at the Belk Bowl.

Robert Fritz submitted this picture of his Grandson, Logan Fritz, “on a fast break.”

Saylor Didio is two months old.

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Cardinal Kid Remi Ann Adams at the Notre Dame game.

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Grayson Zolecki, 4 months old, signaled “touchdown” for the Cardinals.


March 21 issue: How Sweet It is!