Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana are all favored to win this weekend.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I don't like Finals Week. Didn't like it as a student. Anybody else still dream about sleeping through an alarm and missing a test? When do those dreams stop?
Finals Week never seems to improve. This is why:
There aren't enough college basketball games.
On Thursday night I found myself watching high school games and wondering if anybody was going to notice that DePaul was taking its 5-67 conference record over the last four seasons and leaving the Big East. People in Chicago certainly won't.
No Louisville game since last Saturday's thriller against Missouri-Kansas City. No Kentucky game since last Saturday's nail-biter against Portland. No Indiana game since the Hoosiers edged Central Connecticut State by 31 last weekend.
Let's get back to the games, everybody. It's time.
And here is the good news. They will – Saturday.
Not having a real game to watch Thursday night was enough to inspire me to prepare for the weekend ahead.
Louisville at Memphis: If you think that Memphis (6-2) has tanked this season because the Tigers lost a pair of games in The Bahamas last month and then exited the national rankings, you need to call Rodney and Scooter McCray. You don't understand this U of L-Memphis dynamic.
Louisville got out of Conference USA in 2005. Memphis did not make it out.
Memphis made firm plans to join U of L in the Big East. Louisville left the Big East for the ACC a few dribbles later.
The Memphis players have been advised about all the fussing that went on between the schools for decades – Denny Crum, Dana Kirk, Bobby Parks, Andre Turner, Milt Wagner, the works.
Trust me. How do I know? I read a story by Don Wade in the Memphis Daily News Thursday night. He quoted D.J. Stephens, a Memphis senior from Killeen, Texas, saying this:
"I'm not sure if it's accurate or not, but I found out the other day (the rivalry) started with a bar fight between a Louisville fan and a Memphis fan."
Memphis fans are starting to grumble about Josh Pastner, the coach who replaced John Calipari. They're wondering when he is going to beat a Top 25 team. They're calling him just a recruiter.
This won't be an easy game for Louisville. Memphis has a decent inside player in freshman Shaq Goodwin.
But Louisville has Peyton Siva and Russ Smith -- and Smith is starting to kick up legitimate national recognition from places like Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com. He deserves it.
Jeff Sagarin's predictor ratings favor the Cards by 9. Ken Pomeroy says U of L by 7.
Lipscomb at Kentucky: I was wondering what I was going to say about this one. Lipscomb has lost to Belmont twice, by 29 and 34. Ole Miss couldn't beat Middle Tennessee, but the Rebels spanked Lipscomb by 46.
Lipscomb's best win is against Gardner-Webb. That might dazzle Billy Gillispie. Doesn't dazzle me.
So here are the questions I have for this game:
Will Wimp Sanderson make the trip to Rupp Arena? And if he comes, will he wear a plaid sport jacket?
Sanderson's son, Scott, is the Lipscomb coach. And his grandson, Carter Sanderson, averages 6 points for the Bison.
Sagarin's predictor ratings favor UK by 25. Pomeroy raises that ante by a point.
Indiana vs. Butler at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis:
Last year some people (CBSSports.com for one) pitched this one as a referendum on who would be Indiana's coach this season – the incumbent (Tom Crean) or the national media darling (Brad Stevens of Butler)?
I conducted an exhaustive examination on Google, Bing and other search engines. Strangely, nobody is writing that story any more.
This is Indiana's final firm test before Big Ten play. For 30 minutes in Maui, Butler dominated North Carolina as completely as IU dominated the Tar Heels for 40 minutes in Bloomington. Butler's solid win at Northwestern Saturday was another indicator that the Bulldogs figure to return to the NCAA Tournament this season.
Indiana wants to play fast. Butler wants to play controlled. Crean has two more players – freshmen Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea emerge from a nine-game NCAA suspension – to mix into his lengthy rotation. Stevens has a full-sized, experienced center (Andrew Smith) who can go toe-to-toe with Cody Zeller.
Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham, the Butler guards, are making better than five three-pointers per game. The Clarke/Victor Oladipo match-up should be worth the trip.
Should be interesting. That's why CBS is sending Clark Kellogg and its national TV cameras.
Sagarin and Pomeroy agree: Both formulas favor IU by 15, which reads like an ambitious number to me.