Colin Cowherd went on an interesting tirade on The Herd yesterday afternoon about the state of general apathy regarding college basketball (I personally disagree and would cite TV numbers for ESPN college games compared to NBA), but he made an interesting point. He’s a college football guy, and I have no dog in the fight – I cover basketball and baseball and am a huge football fan. But the rationale for college basketball being far inferior to football was that “no one can name the basketball coach at LSU, Alabama, USC” and several other football powers. My retort would be, name the football coaches at Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and other basketball-centric powerhouses.
One coach whose name should roll of every fans tongue is Bill Self. The Kansas future-HOF’er earned his 11th straight Big 12 championship (outright) with a thrilling overtime comeback win over visiting West Virginia. The two games between these two this season were amazing, and if there is any reluctance to embrace new rivalries with conference realignment, this series should lay it to rest. Hopefully they will meet again on a neutral floor in the Big 12 tourney.
We got dropped along with Butler last night, the second time I’ve gotten burned by the bulldogs this year. Let’s see if we can get a better result tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Louisville Cardinals -4
It’s been an interesting two weeks for Louisville. They lost at home to North Carolina State. They got blasted at Syracuse. They permanently dismissed point guard Chris Jones from the program. Then they needed a furious comeback to beat Miami at home. Very quietly, they have won three straight games including a 22-point road win at improving Florida State last time out. So what to make of this team?? Are they still a top four seed without Jones? A win tonight would be a resounding answer, YES.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is gotten completely lost in the recent college basketball coverage as the line between the top eight teams (top two seeds) seems to have been drawn in ink. Notre Dame, the second best shooting team in the nation at 50.8% but shot under 35% in their most recent outing, a bad home loss to Syracuse. Louisville is a similarly talented defensive team, so the Irish will have to make more shots tonight if they want to spring the road ‘upset.’
Jerian Grant has shot just 28.6% in five games against the Cards, averaging 13.2 points. I was stunned by that stat, because any college basketball fan surely remembers the Jerian Grant explosion two years ago and the memorable 4 OT game the preceded. Aside from that barrage of insanity, he’s been pretty dreadful against Pitino and the Cards smothering D.
I still like Notre Dame as a nice sleeper in March, but this is a tough matchup for them. A road game against a team that seems to have their star figured out. Louisville might not shoot well either, but if it gets into a grinding game, I’ll take the Cards to outscrap at home.