Louisville is positioned to deliver three payback wins on the path to a Big East Tournament title.
CHICAGO (WDRB) – Notes Written Without Going to the Monitor:
Too bad Arkansas didn't defeat Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday night.
Then Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana could all embark on Payback Tours during their conference tournament runs this week.
Louisville has already bloodied the first nose – flattening Villanova Thursday night at the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden. Beaten by nine in Philadelphia, the Cardinals won by 19 in the rematch. Any questions about the comparative qualities of the teams? Didn't think so.
Add Nova coach Jay Wright to the list of guys identifying the Cards as a first-line national championship contender.
Why not Notre Dame, Louisville's opponent in the semifinals tonight?
Sure, the Cards dusted the Irish on Senior Day last week. That's not the U of L-ND game that everybody talks about. Not when Notre Dame beat Louisville by five overtimes in South Bend.
Step three for Rick Pitino's team?
It has to be another payback win. Georgetown and Syracuse are the teams Louisville would face in the Big East final Saturday. The Hoyas beat Louisville in D.C. and the Orange delivered in Louisville.
If the Cards win both games, they'll exit as the best team in the farewell season for the Big East. Not a bad way to be remembered.
Same situation, different teams for Indiana.
It starts Friday at noon. The last time the Hoosiers saw Illinois, the Illini were overcoming an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes on the way to beating IU on a wide-open layup off an inbounds pass at the buzzer.
ESPN dropped that video on endless loop for the next month. Can you believe the way Indiana defended that inbounds' pass?
If Indiana wins, the Hoosiers could find themselves against Wisconsin in the semifinals (Saturday) and possibly Ohio State in the final Sunday.
Wisconsin and Ohio State are the only two visiting teams that won in Assembly Hall this season. Wisconsin gets extra credit because the Badgers are the only program that Tom Crean has not defeated during his five seasons at IU.
Kentucky doesn't have payback credentials with Vanderbilt – unless you count the championship game of the 2012 SEC Tournament (and most of those players are gone for both teams). UK is 2-0 against Vandy this season.
And if the Wildcats win, they get either Missouri or Ole Miss. They are also 2-0 against that pair.
HE SAID IT: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, speaking on Pardon the Interruption about the quality of the field in the Big Ten Tournament: "It's going to be like a Final Four, guys. I promise you that."