David Manning/USA TODAY

The last lesson for Russ Smith

For Louisville, the world revolves around Russ Smith. He is the point guard, sure, that is part of the job description, and on a pressing team that makes things all the more important as the main defender on the opponent’s primary ballhandler. Rick Pitino clearly puts a lot and expects a lot from his senior […]

The seniors shall lead them

For the very best talent in the nation, college basketball still seems to be that necessary one-year stepping stone. One and done is just a fact of life in the NCAA Tournament. Second-seeded Kansas will likely lose Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. Duke will likely lose Jabari Parker. Syracuse could lose Tyler Ennis. The best […]

Defense wins the day for Louisville

Louisville’s ethos is built on the trapping, pressing defense that has made Rick Pitino one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. Saint Louis had a hard time breaking that defense and the low field goal percentage — 39.6 percent — was a sign of that. Eventually not even Saint Louis’ attempts to keep […]

Gators suffocate Panthers to Sweet 16

Two solid defensive teams are not going to make anything easy for either team to score, let alone pull away. As much as a 10-point game could be considered a blowout, Florida did that in suffocating Pittsburgh’s offense and coasting to a victory and the Sweet Sixteen with a 61-45 win at Amway Center on […]

Can I get fined if I comment about basketball officiating? — Bo Pelini (@BoPelini) March 21, 2014

Louisville barely shakes Manhattan

The Cardinals can breathe a bit easier. Not too easy. Manhattan might still be behind it waiting to play catch up. Louisville might have played with its food a little too long, certainly too comfortable for those that have Louisville going deep in its title defense. But the Cardinals secured a 71-64 win over the […]

Winning is not free (throw)

It does not have to be pretty. But the team that made the “Survive and Advance” moniker famous failed to do that. NC State had an eight-point lead with about two minutes left and proceeded to miss free throw after free throw, leaving the door open for Saint Louis. The Billikens took advantage. Then in […]

Bilikens are creepy

*sigh* "The creepy Billiken's behind me, isn't he?" #SaintLouis #MascotMadness — Cassandra Negley (@CasNegley) March 21, 2014

Florida pulls away from Albany . . . eventually

A 16-seed is still looking for its first win over a 1-seed. It looked for a while like the Great Danes might be able to do so against the top-overall seeded Gators. A 39-39 tie about midway through the second half suggested there might be game. But Albany did not have the depth or the […]

Louisville, Manhattan are mirror images

As Manhattan coach Steve Masiello was watching the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, he had two teams he was keeping an eye on. His own Jaspers had qualified as the champions of the MAAC. He also wanted to know where his mentor, Rick Pitino, would be playing. Masiello spent six years on Pitino’s staff in Louisville […]

Pitt chills Colorado

The Buffaloes were probably energized to be playing in warm weather for their NCAA Tournament second round. Unfortunately, the Panthers left them with the cold shoulder early and never let up. Colorado needed nearly six minutes just to get on the board. By then Pittsburgh had already built a double-digit lead and never looked back, […]

First Four experiment continues and succeeds

Albany guard D.J. Evans estimated he probably hit his bed at around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as his team completed a 950-mile trip from Dayton, Ohio to Orlando, Florida. Yet, Evans could not sleep. His Great Danes, jerseys and all, completed a 71-64 win over the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers to advance to the Second […]