A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Career day’ by Michigan’s Wagner leaves Louisville on the outside looking in at NCAA Tournament

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent INDIANAPOLIS — Here is Louisville forward Jaylen Johnson’s evaluation of Michigan center Moritz “Moe” Wagner: “He’s going to have a great career.” Uh, Jaylen, he already did. “Wagner had a career day,” said UofL’s Deng Adel. “He was a nightmare matchup for us.” And those nightmares are liable...

Cards will try to cool off hot-shooting Michigan with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent The last time Louisville and Michigan met, it was for the national championship. This time the stakes aren’t quite as high, but they’re high enough, with each team needing a victory to keep this year’s title hopes alive. UofL (25-8), the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional, dispatched No. 15 Jacksonville State (20-15) 78-63 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse...

Billy Reed: Congrats to Norse for milestone, but do any of the regionals have a shot to make Final Four?

It’s a terrific achievement for Northern Kentucky University to make the NCAA Division-I Basketball Tournament the first year its team is eligible. But I also wonder what the commonwealth’s other regional universities are thinking right now about the future of their D-I basketball programs. Unlike Kentucky and Louisville, the regional universities do not have self-sustaining athletics programs...

Despite lack of tournament experience, Pitino thinks tough schedule has Cards ready to go

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — Sitting out last year’s Big Dance as wallflowers under the school’s self-imposed postseason ban means that very few players on Louisville’s current roster have NCAA Tournament experience. In fact, only two — junior guard Quentin Snider and senior center Mangok Mathiang — have logged significant minutes in an NCAA...

Jamie Vaught: Lots of Bluegrass color in NCAA Big Dance field beyond just UK and UofL

There are lots of representatives from the state of Kentucky in the Big Dance beyond just UK and U of L. As you know, Northern Kentucky, which was just granted full NCAA Division I status last August, has earned its first NCAA Division I tourney berth for winning the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit last week. And the No. 15 seed Norse (24-10) will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Region...

Pitino feeling good about Cards heading into NCAA Championship play, cites play of Mango and Adel

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE–Forget Louisville’s early exit from the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Never mind that the Cardinals dropped three of their last five games. None of that matters to coach Rick Pitino, who said Monday afternoon that he has seen his team make significant strides lately and is confident going into the NCAA Tournament Friday. UofL (24-8)...

UofL’s No. 2 seed in NCAA a mild surprise, Cards will meet Jacksonville State in Indianapolis

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — By almost any measure, Louisville’s basketball team got a very favorable — and somewhat surprising — path in the NCAA Tournament pairings that were announced Sunday night by the Selection Committee. After losing three of their last five games, including a one-and-done defeat against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament...

Old problems crop up again for Cards as Duke rallies for 81-77 win in ACC tourney

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent Sure, Louisville had a difficult time trying to contain Luke Kennard, Jason Tatum and Grayson Allen. But that trio’s substantial damage aside, the No.4-seeded Cardinals were there own worst enemy in Thursday’s 81-77 loss to No. 5 Duke in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Chalk up UofL’s...

Mathiang has a senior moment, leads Cards to victory and a double bye in upcoming ACC tourney

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE–At 24 years of age, Mangok Mathiang is the senior citizen of the Louisville basketball team, which is a constant source of amusement for his teammates, who call him the “old guy.” Saturday they should have called him their savior because without a watershed performance from the good-natured, 6-foot-10 Australian they almost certainly...

Mitchell, Spalding combine for 43 points, No. 7 Cards rebound to spank Syracuse, 88-68

Donovan Mitchell made six 3-pointers for 25 points, Ray Spalding added 18 points with 11 rebounds and No. 7 Louisville shot 57 percent to pull away for an 88-68 victory over Syracuse on Sunday. Seeking a second-place tie with Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Cardinals rode a 14-4 run entering the break for a 15-point lead that grew to 23 early in the second half. That provided a...

Atmosphere different this year as Cards begin potential drive toward high seed in NCAA tournament

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE–Heading into the final week of the regular season, the atmosphere couldn’t be more different than at this time last year for the University of Louisville basketball team. So much more is at stake. So much more fun to experience. As the 2016 season was winding down, the Cardinals may as well have been planning where they were going to spend...

Tar Heels tighten grip on ACC race, pull away in second half for 74-63 win over No. 7 Louisville

Justin Jackson scored 21 points and No. 8 North Carolina pulled away after halftime to beat No. 7 Louisville 74-63 on Wednesday night in a matchup of Atlantic Coast Conference leaders. Kennedy Meeks added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels (24-5, 12-3), who strengthened their hold on first place in the league. UNC entered the night leading both Louisville and No. 10 Duke by a game, but stretched...

ACC lead, possible No. 1 seed for NCAA tournament on the line as Cards meet hot Tar Heels

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — When Louisville’s basketball team was preparing to meet Virginia two weeks ago, coach Rick Pitino told the Cardinals they were playing for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cards, minus suspended Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang, lost decisively, 71-55, but now they get another shot at that goal when they face No. 8 North Carolina...

Louisville holds off Virginia Tech in wild one to post 1,800th victory in program’s 103 seasons

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points to lead No. 8 Louisville to a wild 94-90 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday, marking the 1,800th all-time victory for the Cardinals’ men’s basketball program. Louisville is 10th in the nation in all-time victories with a 1,800-897 record in 103 seasons. Louisville has produced winning seasons in 69 of the last 72 years, including winning 20 or more...

Pitino has Vitale to thank for ‘Superman’ McMahon; King to miss Va. Tech game; Hicks’ return delayed

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE–Just when Louisville’s basketball team was approaching full health, the No. 8/7 Cardinals (21-5, 9-4) suffered another blow on two fronts heading into Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-6) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the KFC Yum! Center. First, freshman small forward V.J. King suffered a thigh bruise in practice and will not play...

Snider’s return a success as No. 8 Cards pull away from Syracuse with late run in overtime

Louisville scored 10 consecutive points in overtime, including five straight by Anas Mahmoud, to outlast Syracuse 76-72 on Monday night. John Gillon sent the game to overtime for Syracuse on a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go in regulation that tied the score at 58. The Orange took a 63-61 lead on two free throws by Andrew White, but Louisville scored the next 10 points to take control and hold on. Tyler...

Full Strength: Mathiang, Adel apologize to fans for suspension, Snider also back as UofL hosts Miami

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — After a costly one-game suspension, University of Louisville basketball players Mangok Mathiang and Deng Adel will be back on the court when the No. 4 Cardinals (19-5, 7-4 ACC) meet Miami (16-7, 6-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the KFC Yum! Center. But before that happens, Mathiang and Adel wanted to apologize to UofL fans for missing curfew, which...

Despite short-handed loss to Cavaliers, Cards still in good shape in conference championship race

By Russ Brown KyForward correspondent LOUISVILLE — With a Big Monday victory at Virginia, Louisville’s basketball team could have remained hot on the Heels, staying within one game of North Carolina (9-2), the leaders in the Atlantic Coast Conference race. Didn’t happen, due at least in part to a couple of late suspensions that left the already-shorthanded Cardinals even more depleted...

Depleted Cardinals get off to strong start, but fade in second half in ACC loss at Virginia

London Perrantes scored 18 points and No. 12 Virginia used a 22-5 run to begin the second half and beat short-handed No. 4 Louisville 71-55 Monday night. Isaiah Wilkins added 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Cavaliers 18-5, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). The victory gave Virginia four consecutive victories against the Cardinals, including a sweep of the season series, and moved them...

Pitino comes close to dismissing Boston College as Cards eye Monday ACC showdown with Virginia

By Russ Brown KyForward columnist LOUISVILLE — In a way, during his press conference Friday afternoon, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino violated one of his profession’s most sacred commandments: Thou shalt take one game at a time. Louisville’s next opponent is lowly Boston College (9-14, 2-8 ACC) Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.,...