—Final Four spread check: South Carolina by 7.5.
—Here’s the U of L recap of last night’s Elite 8 triumph over Michigan.
—And here’s Cameron Teague Robinson’s write-up on the win.
—Congratulations to Louisville’s Ben Metzinger on being named the ACC Player of the Week.
—Five-star PG Skyy Clark, a recent Kentucky decommit, has Louisville in his list of six finalists. USC, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee and Washington are his other options.
—Nice look at Louisville’s road to the Final Four here.
—Of the eight men’s and women’s teams in the Final Four, the Louisville women are the only team that has never won a national title.
—As you might expect, the Cards are the longest betting shot on the board in Minneapolis.
Women’s Final 4 lines, by Bovada:
South Carolina is a 7.5 point favorite over Louisville
Stanford is a 1 point favorite over UConn
UConn +200 (makes no sense)
— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) March 29, 2022
—Cool story here on a donut shop in Elizabethtown that employs people with disabilities and sells out every day.
—The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie ranks the best currently available transfers and recruits in men’s basketball. He’s got Skyy Clark at No. 5.
5. Skyy Clark | 6-3 guard | HS senior | Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Clark is a bit of a question mark returning from a serious knee injury. He tore his ACL last spring and just recently returned to action this past winter after missing nearly a year’s worth of action. In the tape we’ve seen since then, the former Kentucky commit hasn’t quite had the same level of shake since returning, but how much of that is permanent and a reality of his future as opposed to just a player recovering from injury? The reason he’s down here at No. 5 is simply that uncertainty. Clark is a tremendous creator with ball in hand, a real scoring guard with real talent for attacking the paint and knocking down pull-up jumpers. His jumper looked very clean off the catch in his return, but some of that pop as a pull-up threat will need to be retained following the injury, as that’s what made him so effective — the constant three-level scoring threat for a 6 -foot-3 guard. He looks to have come back a bit heavier and stronger as well, which might allow him to power through defenders at the rim. Ultimately, where Clark needs to improve his game is as a distributor and playmaker for others. It’s a bit difficult to be a 6-foot-3 scoring guard even as you move up to the collegiate level. Still, expect him to be highly sought after.
—Eric Crawford has a great read on Jeff Walz, this Louisville women’s basketball team, and a special night in Wichita.
—Louisville football has offered class of 2024 QB Braden Graham from Nashville.
—Seeing stuff like this all last night was so cool.
—Darius Perry will be apart of this year’s 3-on-3 championship tournament in New Orleans.
—You can find highlights from last night’s win over Michigan right here.
—Taylor Barnette, the former Belmont star who’s been on the Louisville coaching staff the last four seasons, appears to be joining Steve Prohm’s new staff at Murray State.
—Speaking of the Racers, they have already lost a handful of players at the transfer portal, most notable OVC Player of the Year KJ Williams.
—Looks like Sydney Curry might be getting the Cross Chrysler Jeep bag.
—Denny Crum is the guest on the latest episode of Jeff Greer’s podcast.
—Two US senators are introducing a bill to overhaul the NCAA infractions process. The bill would create deadlines to streamline investigations and would authorize the DOJ to fine the NCAA up to $15M and remove Board of Governors members if deadlines aren’t met.
Please let this happen.
—The only thing that wasn’t cool about last night were these shirts.
—ESPN already has an early preview of Louisville-South Carolina.
—U of L football recruit Caleb Woodson had to have emergency surgery during his official visit to Louisville over the weekend. The fine folks at U of L hospital took great care of him.
—Louisville has reached out to Kentucky basketball transfer Dontaie Allen.
—Emily Engstler said losing to Miami in the ACC tournament quarterfinals forced the team to refocus ahead of the Big Dance.
“I think the Miami game pushed us to lock in just a little bit more when it comes to the fourth quarter,” Engstler said. “I think the impressive thing about us is we’re not just 61-61 hitting a last-minute shot. We’re pulling out a 10-point lead in the last three minutes of the game.”
Van Lith, as much a straight-shooter when she talks as a sharp-shooter on the court, said Sunday that the Cardinals are devoted to defense because it creates scoring opportunities. With 22 points against Michigan, she became the first Louisville player to score at least 20 points in four straight tournament games and was also named the Region’s Most Outstanding Player.
“The kid competes,” Walz said. “She loves these moments.”
Van Lith limped when she walked, after a hard fall in the game, but she appeared to shake it off as she danced in piles of multicolored confetti with her teammates. They’ll nurse their cuts another time. For now, for a moment, revelry.
Players beamed in group photos on the court, hugged the Final Four trophy and cried in the news conference when they discussed their bond with Walz.
“We’re going to live in this moment,” Engstler said, “just like we’ve been doing when we have been playing games. We deserve to soak this in.”
—Maize n Brew reacts to Michigan’s loss to the Cards.
—The CJ gives us an early look at what we should know about South Carolina.
—Sports Illustrated looks at the key factor for each team in the women’s Final Four.
Entering this year’s NCAA tournament it was hard to overlook how Louisville lost two of its final five games heading into March Madness. But the Cardinals are off to the Final Four, their fourth trip to the sport’s biggest stage. While they led by only two with 5:40 to play in their Elite Eight matchup with Michigan, the Cardinals finished the game with a 10–0 run. They allow just 55.2 points per game, with senior forward Emily Engstler being a particular force on that end of the floor. How star sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith performs against the Gamecocks will also go a long way in determining if they can upset the tournament’s No. 1 seed, but Van Lith has been as productive as any player in the Big Dance, scoring at least 20 points in each of the Cardinals’ four victories.
—It sounds like it was solid Pro Day inside the Schnellenberger Complex this morning.
—The CJ breaks down each of the seven violations the NCAA is levying against the Louisville men’s basketball program.
—And finally, the U of L baseball team is back in action tonight at 6 against Western Kentucky. The contest kicks off an 8-game road swing for the Cards, who are ranked as high as No. 5 in this week’s top 25 polls.