BOZICH | Monday Muse: Lining Up the Louisville-Kentucky Matchup
Louisville by six over Kentucky Saturday? Who's saying that? Louisville ranked number one? Who's saying that? Tom Izzo on the accordion? How can I watch? By reading the Monday Muse.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I’m awaiting word from my guy in Las Vegas on the point spread for Saturday’s Louisville-Kentucky game at noon in Rupp Arena. (I love saying ‘My guy,’ even though I’m not a gambler. I didn’t even bet $2 on American Pharoah or Dortmund.)
Until he forwards the line, all I can share is information I’ve pulled from several web sites. Sounds like the perfect launching point for this week’s Monday Muse:
1. LOUISVILLE … NUMBER ONE?
Where will the teams be ranked when the Associated Press Top 25 is released today?
I shared my new ballot on Sunday night. (Link.) I believe the one-loss Cards will jump ahead of the two-loss Wildcats, even though I also think Louisville would have at least a couple of defeats if U of L had played UK’s schedule.
But here is an interesting nugget: Of the 29 college basketball ratings listed at the MasseyRatings.com web site, seven list Louisville as the Number One team in the nation.
Here is the breakdown of the top team from all 29 polls:
Michigan State leads 8 polls, Louisville 7, Xavier 5, Oklahoma 4, Purdue 2, Kentucky 1, Villanova 1, Virginia 1.
No Number One votes for Duke, North Carolina or Kansas.
2. CATS OR CARDS? WHO YOU GOT?
Until Vegas speaks, the closest thing I can share to an actual spread is the number that Jeff Sagarin would use if made a line on the game. And I can’t believe this will be the actual number:
Louisville by 6.39.
I’ll predict the number will be closer to Kentucky by 1.
Yes, the Wildcats were taken down by UCLA and Ohio State. The inside game is a bit of a mess. But Kentucky is tougher to beat in Rupp Arena than the taxman, and John Calipari is 7-1 against Rick Pitino as the UK coach.
For the record, however, of the 29 college basketball polls listed at MasseyRatings.com, 22 rank the Cardinals ahead of the Wildcats.
3. WELCOME SCOTT PADGETT TO THE HOT LIST
You can place Scott Padgett in both the Rick Pitino and John Calipari coaching trees.
He played for Pitino at the University of Kentucky, but was on the bench with Calipari during Cal’s first season in Lexington.
Odds are that on Sunday night both coaches sent Padgett a congratulatory text message. He celebrated the biggest win of his career – a 69-58 victory at Nebraska. It was Samford’s first victory over a Big Ten program in eight tries.
“It was a great win for the program,” Padgett said in a text message. “Now they know they can beat anybody on the schedule.”
For the record, Padgett’s team is 8-4 – with two one-possession defeats. According to Pomeroy, the Bulldogs are ranked ahead of Missouri, Boston College and Rutgers – teams from the SEC, ACC and Big Ten.
If this keeps up, Padgett won’t be in Birmingham for long.
4. BOWL TRASH TALK
The Pac-12 got snubbed in the college football playoff this season, but some believe the league is as formidable and deep as any league in the country. They’ll check results from the bowl games for confirmation.
So far, so good. The Pac-12 is 2-0, celebrating wins by Utah and Arizona.
Judging by favorites in point spreads over the remainder of the college football bowl schedule, this is how the Power Five leagues are expected to perform:
Pac-12 – 8-2 (counting the two wins in the bank).
SEC – 8-2 (Louisville and Michigan are the only teams favored to beat SEC opponents.)
Big 12 – 4-3.
ACC – 4-5
Big Ten – 4-6.
5. TWEET OF THE WEEKEND
Have to give this one to Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News, a must-follow on Twitter. I became a big Steve Harvey fan during my summer vacation in the hospital, but sources say that Harvey, the popular host of Family Feud, air-balled the announcement of the winner of the Miss Universe pageant Sunday night.
So Hurt tweeted this:
“Someday someone is going to Steve Harvey the No. 4 team in the College Football Playoff and stadiums will burn.”
Or you can substitute the announcement of the top four seeds in the NCAA Tournament for more local flavor. And arenas will crumble.
6. D-LEAGUE SNAPSHOT
Not every local college basketball prime-timer rolls into the NBA and stays there stuffing his retirement account. That’s why the NBA created the Developmental League.
I was looking at D-League numbers the other day and made a note of this: Three former local players are ranked among the league’s Top 25 prospects.
Earl Clark is ranked behind only Elliott Williams of Duke as a top D-League prospect. I’m surprised Clark has not taken his equipment bag to Europe by now. He last played at Louisville in 2009.
Two members of last season’s 38-1 Kentucky team also cracked the Top 25 – point guard Andrew Harrison is listed at 22 while center Dakari Johnson is the final player on the list. Harrison is averaging 17.5 points for the Iowa Energy, while Johnson is giving the Oklahoma City Blue 11.4 points and 9.2 rebounds.
7. WHO’S NUMBER ONE? TOM IZZO
There aren’t many college basketball coaches I can envision playing the accordion and singing Christmas carols with his team in a gathering of fans.
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo is one who could pull it off. And he did.
If you click one link from the Muse today, make it this one – and watch Izzo prove that he can attack the accordion as well as he attacks a 2-3 zone.
8. WESTERN KENTUCKY VS. SOUTH FLORIDA
The Hilltoppers are the first of the three local teams to play their bowl game, Monday afternoon against South Florida. Eric Crawford and Jacob Davis are in Miami to provide complete coverage at WDRB.com and WDRB News.
My pick: Western 44, South Florida 37.
Guys who know more about college football than me have advised that Want-To is a primary factor in bowl games. Some teams are excited by the opportunity. Some would rather stay home.
I think the Hilltoppers will show more want-to today. They have a chance at 12 victories. They have a chance to beat Willie Taggart, a coach who left his alma mater for USF and more money. And they have Brandon Doughty slinging passes one final time as a Hilltopper.
9. HOLD THAT CHRISTMAS CARD
I’m a baseball fan. You’ll have to indulge me on this one.
Outfielder Jason Heyward turned down more money to stay with the St. Louis Cardinals to play for less with the Chicago Cubs for the next seven seasons.
Why would Heyward do that?
The same reason all of baseball has gone gaga over the Cubs. Heyward said that the Cubs have a better young core of players.
Considering the Cubs and Cardinals are rivals, and that the Cubs eliminated the Cards in the National League Division Series last October and that the Cardinals offered Heyward the largest contract in team history, that comment was like insulting Bob Gibson or Stan Musial in the St. Louis clubhouse.
“I don’t think it’s going to ring too well with our club,” Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny told Rick Hummel in this story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“… I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that (Chicago) core being better than any kind of core that we have.”
You can’t beat fun at the Ol’ Ball Park.
10. POLL RESULTS
Which college football player deserved to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy?
1. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 34 percent.
2. Derrick Henry, Alabama, 26 percent
3. DeShaun Watson, Clemson, 24 percent.
4. Keenan Reynolds, Navy, 9 percent
5. Other, 5 percent
6. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, 2 percent
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