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Author Archives: Mitch Motley

Louisville Football Preview: Running Backs

(Kentucky.com)

Louisville enters this season with a void to fill at the Running Back position. That void is there because Louisville lost its leading rusher from the RB position in Brandon Radcliff. At one point in the season, Radcliff was at the top of the nation in yards per carry. He finished the season with 903 yards on 138 carries (6.5 YPC) and 6 touchdowns. Radcliff was a workhorse for the program for pretty much all 4 years and he has left big shoes to fill for the guys this year.

However, I’m very confident that the position is in good hands. Jeremy Smith showed a lot of promise last season, the now-Senior rushed for 382 yards on 57 carries (6.7 YPC) and 8 touchdowns. Smith is currently recovering from a Jones’ fracture, but is expected to play in the opener against Purdue. I believe Smith will have a monster year, he’s a big back with good speed and proven ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

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Louisville Football Preview: Tight Ends

Last season, Cole Hikutini stole the show and the majority of the reps for one of Bobby Petrino’s favorite positional weapons. Hikutini actually led the entire team, not just Tight Ends, in receptions with 50, and receiving touchdowns with 8. Clearly, ‘Bobby Ball’ heavily involves using the Tight Ends as much more than just blockers. Hikutini is now in good position to make the 49ers roster, but who will step up in his place for Louisville this year?

The depth chart that was released in July has No. 80 Charles Standberry, 6-3, 241 lb, Senior listed as the starter. Standberry has been used in the passing game before, and he has proven to be effective when the ball is thrown his way, however, to this point in his career he has been used as mainly a blocking Tight End. Throughout his 3 year career, Standberry has recorded 17 receptions for 174 yards (10.2 YPC) with 2 touchdowns. I do believe that Standberry will be a bigger fixture in the offense this year, but I also think him being listed as the starter is a last ditch effort to wake up the man listed as his back-up, Micky Crum.

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I Got Your Back

The 2015-2016 Louisville Basketball season left fans of the program with broken hearts and dreams of next season. The fans also exited the college basketball season with a new motto that some “fans” seem to have forgotten, “I got your back.” That is all that could truly be held onto after Louisville’s season was cut short due to the self-imposed postseason ban by former-President, James Ramsey. The decision wasn’t popular, but after time to think and console ourselves, it became clear that the self-imposed punishment was the right thing to do, right? Wrong.

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James Quick And Josh Harvey-Clemons Ink Rookie Contracts With Redskins

Photo: GoCards.com

Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com

Former-Louisville standouts, WR James Quick and Safety/LB Josh Harvey-Clemons have signed their rookie contracts with the Washington Redskins for the upcoming NFL season. Harvey-Clemons was drafted in the 7th round, while Quick was later signed as an Undrafted Free Agent.

Harvey-Clemons’ contract is for 4 years and $2,484,306 total, with $84,306 as the signing bonus. The Redskins look like they will be playing the former-safety/LB hybrid as more of a Linebacker. Harvey-Clemons will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

James Quick’s contact is for 3 years and $1,665,000 total, with no signing bonus. Quick will look to add a much-needed spark to Washington’s WR corps. He will be a restricted free agent in 2020.

While there weren’t as many Louisville players drafted as originally thought, that isn’t stopping the former-Cardinals from making deals. Congrats to James and Josh and best of luck going forward.

Go Cards!

Terry Rozier: Boston’s Unsung Hero

Since the playoffs started, the news and media have flocked to Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and it’s no secret why. Any NBA fan can tell you Isaiah Thomas has been Boston’s best player since he arrived a little over 2 years ago. His breakout, MVP-like season had everyone in the league talking about the 5’9″ bulldog point guard that scores at will. Sadly, just before the opening round of the Celtics-Bulls series, Thomas’ younger sister passed away. His performances since then have been nothing short of spectacular.

Facing an 0-2 deficit against the Chicago Bulls, the Celtics needed more than just what Thomas was giving them. They needed help from role players, and no one has been more of a help than former-Cardinal Terry Rozier. Boston won 4 consecutive games to eliminate the Bulls. Terry scored 27 points in those 4 games and was often times Boston’s biggest contributor off the bench. Currently, the Celtics are up 2-0 on the Washington Wizards. Isaiah Thomas has dominated headlines scoring 33 and 53 points in games 1 and 2, respectively. Still, it was Terry’s solid all-around play that aided Thomas’ efforts.

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Darius Perry’s First BBN Encounter

Louisville’s 2017 4-star incoming Guard Darius Perry was asked about his decision to join the Cardinal Basketball Program. The soon-to-be freshman was asked about his reasoning for committing to Rick Pitino. His response was one most would agree to be true, he loves the development and improvement for which Pitino is widely known. He made comparisons to players from other programs that hadn’t seen the same development as those in the Louisville program, one of those players being Isaiah Briscoe.

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Tom Jurich vs “Better” Ingredients

(AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Alton Strupp)

By now, you’ve probably heard about the rant about athletics that board member John Schnatter spewed during the University of Louisville Board meeting this week. If not, I’ll provide a brief summary of the complaints from the pizza entrepreneur against Louisville AD Tom Jurich.

Simply put, Papa John stated his concerns over the lack of leadership within the athletic department, calling the leadership “invisible”, and saying the university’s problems will not be solved until there is a “handle on athletics”. First things first, to say the university’s problems stem from the athletic department is outrageous. John wasn’t referencing the NCAA investigation, he simply challenged Jurich’s ability to successfully lead the department in which he, Jurich, has brought to fruition since his arrival.

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Settle Down Everyone, The Rules Have Changed

After seeing an overwhelming amount of freak outs about NBA Draft entries, I’d just like to clear the air and hopefully provide some calming insight on Louisville’s current situation.

Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Jaylen Johnson and what could likely be others, have decided to enter the NBA Draft. While reading that sentence may cause a panic, I can assure you that is very premature. With the NBA’s new rule, implemented only last year, undergraduates are allowed to “enter the draft” and still come back. “How can this be?”, you might ask. As long as the player doesn’t sign an agent, and pulls his name out before May 24th, he will not lose eligibility.

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Louisville vs Michigan: Cards Fall Short In Title Rematch

Louisville led by 8 at halftime, and held that lead for much of the game. However, when Michigan took the lead 53-51 with 8:54 remaining, their first lead since 4-2, they didn’t look back. Michigan continues their magical run by defeating 2-seed Louisville 73-69.

Louisville was led by Donovan Mitchell’s 19 points. Deng Adel added 16 points, also. Mangok Mathiang finished his Louisville career with 13 point performance. Transfer Tony Hicks also ended his Louisville career today, he scored 7 points in useful minutes. Fellow Senior David Levitch played sparingly, he finished with 1 rebound. Thank you to the seniors for a great season.

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Louisville vs Michigan: 2013 Title Rematch

After defeating 15-seed Jacksonville State by 15 on Friday, 2-seed Louisville faces a 2nd round opponent that’s playing as well as anyone in the nation in the Michigan Wolverines. The 2013 Championship game rematch will tip-off in Indianapolis at 12:10 on Sunday, the game can be seen on CBS.

Michigan defeated 10-seed Oklahoma State 92-91 on Friday, thanks in large part to shooting 16-29 from 3-point range. After a mediocre regular season, the Wolverines went on an improbable run through the Big 10 tournament  winning against Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the championship. The Wolverines are a dangerously confident and hot shooting team right now, but they haven’t played a team as defensive-minded as Louisville in this stretch aside from a different style of defense in Wisconsin. 16-29 is scary good and while some of the threes were shot-clock beating daggers, it’s a different story when every shot is contested. Louisville will have to do a better job of defending the perimeter or take their chances with a team that is shooting as good or better than anyone in the nation.

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Louisville vs Jacksonville State: Cards advance to the Round of 32

Photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com

While unimpressive for the majority of the game, Louisville managed to put together a solid enough performance to advance past Jacksonville State by a score of 78-63.

I say unimpressive because Louisville struggled for most of the first half and Donovan Mitchell never really got it going except for a 7-point burst to put the Gamecocks away, for good.

Mitchell finished with 9 points, but added 3 steals and 10 rebounds, he also played outstanding defense all-around. Deng Adel continued his strong play with 16 points on 6-7 shooting. Quentin Snider added 16 points. Ray Spalding had an efficient 4-4 with 11 points. However, Mangok Mathiang led the team with 18 points and set the tone for the Cards from the tip.

Up next: the Cards will play Michigan on Sunday at likely either 12pm or 2:45pm. The Wolverines are one the nation’s hottest teams, so it’ll be a toughly fought game of offense vs defense.

The first one is over with. The Cards advanced and that’s all that matters this time of year. Looking sloppy at times, but seeing the press work effectively both in creating opportunities and wearing down the opponent was reassuring. Let’s keep it going.

Go Cards!

Louisville vs Jacksonville State: Cards Return to the NCAA Tournament

 

After a year of no postseason basketball, Louisville opens their NCAA tournament as the 2-seed in the Midwest region against 15-seed Jacksonville State today in Indianapolis at approximately 2:45 on CBS.

Jacksonville State earned its bid against most odds by knocking off the 1 and 2 seed enroute to their conference championship. This is the first time the Gamecocks will appear in an NCAA tournament game, thanks to new coach Ray Harper. Harper may be new to Jacksonville State, but he’s no stranger to Louisville. He was the infamous coach of the WKU team remembered vividly among Cardinal fans for the incident with 4 Hilltoppers and Montrezl Harrell a few years ago.

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March Madness: Louisville 2-Seed In The Midwest

Well, against most of the nation’s wishes (*cough cough* Lunardi and Jerry Palm), Louisville has drawn the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region.

Louisville will face former WKU head coach Ray Harper’s Jacksonsville State in the opening round. Michigan is the 7-seed pitted against the 10-seed Oklahoma State Cowboys. The 3-seed is Oregon, who fell a seed line after losing senior Chris Boucher to a torn-ACL. Purdue is the 4-seed and Kansas is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region.

This really couldn’t have been a better draw for the Cardinals. A 2-seed and the 3-seed being Oregon without their shot-blocking big man is more than anyone could have asked for. Now the Cards have to take care of business, let the Madness ensue.

Also, cool stat, the only 2 times Louisville has been a 2-seed? 1980 and 1986, anyways, carry on.

Go Cards!

Louisville vs Duke: Cards Fall Short In Brooklyn

After opening up a 12-point lead with 13 minutes left to play, the Cards failed to put Duke away and watched as the Blue Devils cut short Louisville’s first ACC tournament appearance since 2015 by a final score of 81-77.

Once again, free throw shooting proved to be this team’s Achilles heel. Louisville shot 15-26 from the line and to add to that the Cards shot an abysmal 4-21 from 3-point range. Even with those horrific shooting numbers, Louisville still led the majority of the game, only to crumble down the stretch, both offensively and defensively.

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Louisville vs Duke: ACC Tournament Rematch

After Louisville lost to Wake Forest last Wednesday, the concern over ACC tournament seeding was very real. Thanks to a bounce-back/revenge victory over Notre Dame on Senior Day, the Cardinals secured a double bye in the ACC. Duke lost to UNC, a game that had the Blue Devils won, would’ve improved Louisville to the 3-seed. Obviously, that’s not how it played out and that’s how we got here, Duke beat Clemson yesterday in a tough fought game and now two of the teams no one wants to see this time of year get to play each other today in Brooklyn at 2pm on ESPN for a Semifinal spot.

(Cont)

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Louisville vs Notre Dame: Senior Day Triumph

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No. 8 Louisville earned a hard fought and well-deserved victory over No. 19 Notre Dame today by a score of 71-64.

The Cards started slow, but ended the first half strong opening a 6-point lead that would be cut down to 3 right before half. The second half started rocky and at times seemed destined for a typical Notre Dame finish. However, like we all needed to see, the Cards closed out a game against a good basketball team and got their defense back on track when it needed it the most.

 

Louisville would take a lead behind Quentin Snider’s consecutive 3s and Mangok Mathiang’s well-timed (at times) clean-up baskets. Deng Adel’s dagger 3-pointer with 39 seconds left pushed the Cards ahead by 5 and the game was closed out by Donovan Mitchell’s 4-4 free throw performance down the stretch and the Cards earned a much needed win and a double-bye in the ACC tournament.

Louisville was led by Donovan Mitchell’s 20 points, Mangok Mathiang had a great senior day with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Quentin Snider finished with 17 points (4-5 from 3) and 6 assists.

Up next: the Cards play in the ACC tournament next week and with today’s win will play on Thursday in the quarterfinals with the double-bye. The rest of the games today will dictate their seed and potential opponents, but the seed is guaranteed to be between 2-4. Today was a big day. Thank you to the seniors for the memories and get ready for postseason basketball.

Go Cards!

Louisville vs Notre Dame: Senior Day

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After suffering their first loss to an unranked opponent, No. 8 Louisville will look to cool down the red-hot Fighting Irish today at home in the Yum! Center. No. 19 Notre Dame has won 6 straight heading into today’s contest and won the first meeting between these two teams in South Bend earlier in the season. Louisville is coming off a tough road loss to Wake Forest and needs a victory today to secure a double-bye in the ACC tournament. The game tips off at 2pm and can be seen on CBS.

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Louisville at Wake Forest: Pregame Breakdown

Wake Forest

The No. 8 Louisville Cardinals travel to Wake Forest to take on the upset-minded Demon Deacons tonight at 9pm on Fox Sports South. Louisville currently sits as a 3-point favorite, despite being the away team.

Wake is led by forward John Collins who almost averages a double-double with 19.1 PPG and 9.8 RPG and guard Bryant Crawford at 15.5 PPG and 5.6 APG. Outside of those two, there is only one other player on the roster averaging double-figures in guard Keyshawn Woods at 12.5 PPG. If the Cards can limit/stop any of these 3 players, Wake will be forced to use depth it doesn’t have. The Demon Deacons average a solid 81.6 PPG but give up an unimpressive 76.8 PPG. A recipe the Cards have had a lot of success with this season when playing teams with more offensive focus and defensive struggles.

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Louisville vs Syracuse: Postgame Recap

Photo: YouTube.com

Photo: YouTube.com

The Louisville Cardinals took care of business today at home against the Syracuse Orange by a score of 88-68.

Louisville controlled the game the entire way, the only spark the Orange showed came in form of a 17-13 lead after Louisville started the game up 11-3. After the Syracuse run, Louisville stormed back and never let up en route to a 20-point de-pulping (sorry) of the Orange.

Louisville was led by 25 points (6-10 from 3-point range) from Donovan Mitchell, 17 points from Deng Adel, Ray Spalding awoke from his slumber to dominate down low with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Quentin Snider added 12 points and 6 assists, and Anas Mahmoud had a solid game of 8 points and 9 rebounds.

Louisville looked like a No. 1 seed today, which couldn’t have come at a better time after Gonzaga’s home loss to BYU last night. If the Cards win out and make a run in the ACC tournament, it’ll be difficult to place another team on that 1-seed line over Louisville. In addition, Louisville stayed tied for 2nd place in the ACC, which sets the Cards up nicely for that coveted double-bye in the ACC tournament.

Up next: the Cards travel to Wake Forest on Wednesday for a 9pm game on the ACC Network.

Go Cards!

Louisville vs Syracuse: Pregame Breakdown

Syracuse

The No. 6 Louisville Cardinals look to bounce back from Wednesday night’s road loss against UNC today against a Syracuse team that is looking to build on a buzzer beater win over Duke in their last outing. The two old Big East foes face off today at 2pm on CBS, Louisville is favored by 9.

Syracuse is led in scoring by Guard Andrew White at 17.5 PPG. Guard John Gillon facilitates the offense by averaging 5.4 APG. However, the guy who may be the most essential piece to the Syracuse puzzle is forward Tyler Lydon. The Sophomore averages 13.5 PPG and leads the team with 8.1 RPG, he fills the stat sheet but does the grunt work as well which makes him essential to the Orange’s gameplan against the gritty Cards.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino have been coaching together and against each other since their careers began. Today they may face off for the last time as Boeheim alluded to the possibility of this being his last season. I think the Cards spoil the potential last reunion for Boeheim and do so impressively.

Cards 83-Orange 68.

Go Cards!