Louisville baseball spots Tar Heels four runs, prevails in ACC opener

Silly question but if the University of Louisville and North Carolina meet only once this season, does that mean UofL just won another series?

Of course not, but it begged to be asked. Louisville won all 10 series against ACC teams during the regular season, you know.

Off to a good start in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball championship. UofL with a come from behind 7-4 win over the Tar Heels, spotting UNC with a 4-0 deficit after three innings.

Freshman Lincoln Henzman would relieve starter Sean Leland and throw six innings of three hits and scoreless baseball while his teammates were climbing all over the North Carolina pitching staff for seven runs, two in the fourth, one in the fifth, and four in the sixth. Henzman is now 5-1 on the season.

Brendan McKay showing the way with four hits, including a home run, a double and two singles while driving in two runs and scoring two runs himself.

Zach Burdi, in relief, wrapping his ninth save while disposing of all three North Carolina batters he faced in the ninth, averaging 97 miles per hour on his fast balls.

UofL will face Clemson Thursday at 3 p.m., with Kyle Funkhouser on the mound.

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UofL’s Sebastian Stiefelmeyer defeated California’s Andre Goransson 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championship Wednesday at Baylor University.

The fifth-ranked Stiefelmeyer improves his overall singles record to 41-6 on the season. He advances to the second round to face Georgia’s No. 30 Austin Smith who upended South Florida’s 21st ranked Roberto Cid in his first round match.

Collapse leads to early departure for Louisville

Such an impressive first half, the University of Louisville racing out to a 10-point lead at one point, hitting 52 percent of its shots, clinging to a five-point lead at the half, a great first impression in the heralded Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament.

The Cardinals leading by 10 points at one point, North Carolina just trying to keep it close. angry man

Turnovers on the first two possessions of the second half, however, are a harbinger of what lies ahead for UofL. A drop off in focus and intensity, a serious bump in momentum that will prove fatal in the 70-60 loss to North Carolina.

One of the turnovers a pass from Terry Rozier bouncing off the hands of Chinanu Onuaku, not expecting the ball, leading to a 3-pointer by UNC’s Justin Jackson. The other a gift from Quentin Snider to Brice Johnson leading a slam, tying the game at 37-37.

A chess match the rest of the half, the dreaded shooting slump rearing its ugly head again.

Looking for quick fixes, the wrong guys taking the wrong shots, benefiting and prolonging the North Carolina zone. The Cardinals could manage only eight of 36 shots in the final 20 minutes, missing 15 of their last 17 shots. Of those eight baskets, three of them were dunks by Montrezl Harrell.

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It’s a shame Terry Rozier will have had only the equivalent of one full season at UofL when he enters the NBA draft this spring. One of the better all-around players during Rick Pitino’s tenure, he has enormous potential, inspiring confidence every time he gets the ball.

Rozier would lead UofL with 20 points, but he needed 20 attempts to get those points, connecting on only six shot attempts.

One more season would have greatly benefitted Terry and Louisville basketball. Would have been fun to watch him grow and mature. But that’s college basketball these days, so dimished by the NBA influence, lacking some of the important elements that made the sport so popular for decades.

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Rick Pitino clearly angry following the game, lashing out at a student reporter from the Louisville Cardinal, the school newspaper, and only answering a couple of other questions before departing the press conference. He followed that up by sending out an assistant coach for the post-game radio interview.

A lesson learned for a would-be sportwriter: Never be the first person to ask Pitino a question after a loss.

One of the disadvantages of losing early is that the players will have five or six more grueling practice sessions under the scathing eyes of Pitino. Practices are challenging enough when they’re winning. They’re off the chart after losses.

UofL women meet North Carolina in ACC Tournament — Fox Sports South & ESPN3.com

The good news for University of Louisville women’s basketball fans who saw their team upset by Virginia last Sunday is the Cavaliers have crashed after upsetting UofL on Sunday. The Cavaliers were booted out of the ACC tournament by Georgia Tech 62-52 Thursday.

UofL’s loss to Virginia is still hard to stomach, given their six losses in the past eight games.

Jeff Walz’ team has had a few days to get over the embarrassment and should be highly motivated as it takes on a strong North Carolina team in the quarterfinals Friday at Greensboro. The Tar Heels, with a 24-7 record overall, finished sixth in the ACC regular season with a 10-6 mark.

North Carolina has won four of five games since losing by nine points to Louisville on February 15th. The other loss was a one-point decision at Duke on Sunday.

The UofL coach says his team has focused on half-court execution following the Virginia loss. “Hopefully, you’ll see a much better pace Friday night, how we execute and take care of the basketball,” he said.

The game against North Carolina will be telecast on Fox Sports South (Channel 70 on Time Warner Cable) and streamed on ESPN3.com.

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The UofL vs. Miami baseball game, originally scheduled for Friday, has been postponed until Saturday because of the frigid temperatures. They will play a doubleheader, starting at Noon.

When coach is concerned, everyone is concerned

Kenny-Klein-and-Rick-PItino

There are some concerned looks on the University of Louisville sideline before the second half begins between UofL and North Carolina Saturday. Coach Rick Pitino is more than a little disconcerted about how the game is going, his team trailing by 11 points.

Kenny Klein, the sports information direction, is obviously empathetic with the coach, knowing the Cardinals will have their hands full. But this is before Pitino’s team will overcome an 18-point deficit in the second 20 minutes to hand North Carolina a 78-68 defeat in overtime.

Just another dramatic come-from-behind win among many during Pitino’s colorful coaching career, much to the relief of the Louisville coach and the sports information director.