As you get set to celebrate Louisville’s day at the track, here’s some Cardinal tidbits to get you ready for the day of gambling and drinking – or working. Or staying at home doing nothing. Anyway, these should meet your needs for UofL sports news….
*Pat Forde caught up with Coach Pitino and the two discussed Rick’s renewal
This season the Cardinals were a powerful team throughout the year, winning a share of the Big East regular-season title and then taking the league tourney in dazzling fashion. They emphatically won four NCAA tournament games to reach the Final Four. The last one, a blowout of Duke, came after guard Kevin Ware shockingly and gruesomely snapped his leg during the first half.
And then the fun escalated again come April.
In less than a month’s time, Rick Pitino has won the Santa Anita Derby, won the national championship, been voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, seen son Richard land the Minnesota head-coaching job and had his leading scorer decline the NBA draft and set up the Cardinals for a potential title repeat. It would be outright showing off if he tops it off by winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday as part owner of Goldencents.
*Eric Crawford has published a series of must reads in his “Profile of a Champion” pieces documenting the Cards’ run to Atlanta
In 2012 when I went to cover the University of Louisville basketball team in the Big East Tournament for The Courier-Journal, I didn’t think I was writing a long story. I took only about three days’ worth of clothes and didn’t even make a hotel reservation long enough to stay through the championship game. The next three weeks were something none of us was ready for.
That Big East championship and subsequent Final Four run were the prelude to a national championship for the Cardinals. In 2013 U of L and coach Rick Pitino returned with the No. 2-ranked team in the preseason and finished the job.
The pages that follow are a look at their 2013 national championship run. This time, there were no surprises. In fact, I have to admit that even as these pieces were put together, the idea of each of them being a new chapter was firmly in mind.
*The Cards are on top in their only year in the AAC
1. Louisville: The Cardinals did nothing this spring that would have warranted a move out of the top spot. With Teddy Bridgewater and a majority of their starters back, you see why expectations are rising.
*Can Bridgewater be the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft?
The 2013 NFL draft is in the rearview mirror, so now it’s time to look into our crystal ball one year into the future at all the tantalizing possibilities for the 2014 NFL draft.
The most tantalizing thought of all: South Carolina behemoth defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater both declare as underclassmen and therefore produce one of the biggest debates in recent memory. Do you take a game-changing defensive end with the No. 1 overall pick or a franchise quarterback?
*The ACC is working to secure better bowl games – and more of them
The source also said the ACC is likely to maintain its partnerships with the Champs Sports Bowl, the Music City Bowl and the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, but that the Belk Bowl is leaning toward an ACC-SEC matchup for the future. While nothing has been solidified, there is also a good possibility that when the Big Ten plays in the Discover Orange Bowl, the ACC will slide into the Big Ten’s slot in the Capital One Bowl.