If it’s not going to be UofL, let it be Duke.
What a nice ending to the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament, with a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference winning it all. Four days ago the outlook for a satisfactory was somewhat bleak.
Hard to pull against Wisconsin, featuring a seven-foot Roger Burkman look-alike, but the Badgers left their mark on the tournament by putting Kentucky on the sidelines. Representing the best in college amateurism, they quickly became beloved in Louisville, .
Despite the mixed feelings, UofL fans had to be pulling for Duke — the still new conference brother and bitterly hated by a rival fan base — making the tournament outcome that much sweeter.
Don’t look now UK fans, but someone is creeping up on you. Kentucky, with many fans already counting their ninth title before the 2015 tournament began, still has eight. Duke now has five.
All’s well that ends well.
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The UofL baseball team shut out Virginia 4-0 Monday, the fourth series sweep in a row over ACC teams. The Cardinals are on top of the Atlantic Division with a 13-1 conference mark and are 24-7 overall. They travel to Duke this weekend for a three-game series.
First, however, comes a rivalry game against Kentucky on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. The rivalry games are usually packed so arrive early.
Welcome to Louisville, Duke. This is one town in Kentucky that has the utmost respect for your basketball program.
Never mind the Univeristy of Kentucky hate-mongers in our midst. They’re still feeling the pain from the Christian Laetner shot in 1992 that felled their idols in the closing seconds for the East Regional championship.
What a relief that was for Louisville fans, watching a team coming off two years of probation get sent back to Lexington. That was Rick Pitino’s first season as UK coach, proving he could compete at the highest levels with an assemblage of perceived leftovers and wannabes.
Duke has long been considered by UofL fans to be a premier program, not only in terms of NCAA championships and number of wins, but in the way the program has been managed. Appearing in 15 final fours, 10 national championship games, winning four national titles, most of them during Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure. A clean program, devoid of NCAA probations during Coach K’s 35 seasons.
Duke owns 5-4 edge in meetings between the basketball programs, but Louisville has won four of the last five games — including a 72-69 win in the 1986 championship and an 85-63 regional bracket win en route to a third NCAA championship in 2013.
Great to see two great programs finally coming together, beginning a new chapter in the ACC.
Kentucky women’s basketball coach spent almost as much time addressing the officials as he did his players in a game against the University of Louisville Sunday in front of a crowd of 14,862 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The tactic was successful, with his UK team upsetting UofL 77-68.
Louisville was clearly the better team with superior players but couldn’t find the basket or value possessions in the second half against a familiar UK press that has hampered UofL the past four seasons.
UofL jumped out to a 16-point lead and led 42-29 at the end of the first half, dominating the Wildcats in all phases of the game in the first 20 minutes. Things went south in the second half with the Cardinals making only seven of 29 field attempts while committing 15 turnovers.
Louisville would wind up with 28 turnovers for the game, including six by Bria Smith, five by Myisha Hines-Allen, four by Jude Schimmel, three each for Sara Hammond and Mariya Moore.
The Cardinals appeared afraid to shoot in the second half. When they did, there were far too many misses beneath the basket, UofL rushing shots or tossing the ball straight up in the air, expecting it to somehow find its way to the basket.
Jude Schimmel, who has played in four losses against UK in four years, will not have one decent memory of the rivalry, closing it out by missing all six of her shots Sunday.
Sara Hammond, a McDonald’s All American from the Bluegrass state, would score her 1,000th point on a free throw. Not much of a presence otherwise, managing 11 points and five rebounds, as she continues to play nice, exhibiting those ups and downs in her senior year.
Prior to the game, Hammond had discussed the importance of winning a game in the rivalry, the bragging rights and all. She also admitted, “We kind of gave it away the last couple years.”
Sunday’s outcome had a very familiar feeling.
The freshmen on the University of Louisville’s women’s basketball team haven’t see anything yet.
Two freshmen — Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore — currently lead UofL in scoring, with Hines-Allen averaging 15.1 points per game and Moore scoring at a 14.3 ppg pace. But they’re about to face some of their toughest tests.
The schedule gets much more challenging with 22nd-ranked Iowa coming to town Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by 13th-ranked Kentucky on Sunday at 2 p.m. Iowa and UK have 6-1 records. Iowa
Even Coach Jeff Walz would have to admit that the youngsters have had it fairly easy up to now with their team racing to a 7-0 won-lost record and a No. 7 ranking nationally during the early going.
Iowa, no doubt, is still nurturing resentment from an 83-53 beating at the hands of the Louisville women in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.
Kentucky? Well, let’s just say the venom between UofL and UK extends to women’s basketball. The only thing they have in common is that they play basketball. There may be some hell to pay if the UK women arrive with the same attitude as the football team did.
Thursday’s game against Iowa and Sunday’s grudge match against UK will both be streamed live on ESPN3.com.