Categories
Local News

Cards’ Final Four Celebration Set For Tuesday

University of Louisville basketball fans will get a chance to celebrate the team’s Final Four run tomorrow with a public event at Fourth Street Live.

Coach Rick Pitino says it will be the Cards’ first opportunity to publicly thank fans for their support.

U of L went on an eight game winning streak in the post-season to reach the national semifinals in New Orleans, where the Cards were eliminated by eventual champion Kentucky.

“I think it’s awesome to have two teams from a small state in the Final Four playing each other. It’s history, we’re part of history now. I’d like it to happen again. I just want the score to be reversed next time around,” Pitino said at a Monday press conference.

Pitino also announced that guard Elisha Justice is transferring to the University of Pikeville and forward Jared Swopshire will play his final collegiate season at Northwestern.

Associate Coach Richard Pitino (left) is also leaving Louisviille and his father’s staff. He’ll be the new head coach at Florida International.    

“We’re trying to get him in here to play next season,” Rick Pitino joked. “Because I never spanked him as a child and I want to give him a good spanking when he comes back in here.”

Pitino says he’s in no particular hurry to fill the job, although he has several candidates in mind.

The Cards’ Fourth Street Live celebration begins at 5:30pm Tuesday.

Categories
Local News

Kentucky and Kansas Battle for NCAA Championship

In New Orleans tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks square off for the men’s NCAA basketball championship.

This will be the teams’ second meeting this season. John Calipari’s Wildcats won the first matchup, a 75-65 victory in a November tournament in
New York.

“The thing in this game, it will come down to the physicalness of play,” Calipari said. Are we playing people before they catch it, are we getting open before we catch the ball, are we being in a stance and staying down, are we doing a better job of rebounding?”

The Wildcats are playing for the school’s eighth national title. The Jayhawks are looking for their fourth championship.

Tipoff at the New Orleans Superdome is 9:23pm.

Categories
State of the News

Sports Writers Predict Outcome of Dream Game and Its Effect on City

Tonight, men’s basketball teams from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky will meet in a Final Four game. On Friday’s State of the News, we were joined by sports journalists Bill Doolittle and Eric Crawford (the latter joining us from UofL’s warm-up session in New Orleans), who talked about how the rest of the tournament might play out. Chris Otts also joined us with a look at how Louisville bars and restaurants have prepared for the big game.

Audio MP3
Categories
Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Federal Delegation Catches Basketball Fever

The upcoming battle in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats has made its way to Washington, with members of the federal delegation marking the contest.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Saturday’s game proves the commonwealth is the best college basketball state in the nation and that it will be one of the greatest moments in Kentucky’s sports history.

“From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams—you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats,” he says. “If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.”

Local and state elected officials have also touted the game as the two teams prepare and the sports world focuses on the rivalry.

Earlier this week, the mayors of Louisville and Lexington made a friendly wager and Governor Steve Beshear appeared on ESPN’s Sportscenter to talk about the games economic impact on the state.

As an alumnus of both universities, McConnell avoided picking either the Cards or the Cats, but promises the victor will go on to win the national championship.

“I don’t know who will win Saturday’s game. But I do know this: whoever the winner is, they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs. So count me in with my fellow Kentuckians and college basketball fans everywhere as we tune in this Saturday to see history in the making. It’s going to be very exciting to watch,” he says.

Categories
Local News

UK Women One Victory From First-Ever Final Four

The University of Kentucky women’s basketball team faces top-seeded Connecticut Tuesday night for a chance to join the men’s team in the NCAA Final Four.

It would be the Wildcats’ first trip to the national semifinals. UConn has been to twelve Final Fours and owns seven national championships.

UK coach Matthew Mitchell says his team is not intimidated by the Huskies, but there’s no ignoring the “Connecticut mystique.”

“Anybody that says it doesn’t exist is living in la-la land. I mean they are not in reality. Connecticut has earned the mystique, Tennessee has earned the mystique, and I think that you are silly to act like it’s just another game,” Mitchell said.

“Outside our locker room is a picture of the Final Four logo at Denver. We didn’t put an Elite Eight goal on our season, we put a Final Four goal. So we’re not playing all of the Connecticut teams of the past, we’re playing these players, so we’re trying to get focused on this team.”

UK and UConn tip off at 7:00pm Tuesday in Kingston, Rhode Island. The women’s NCAA Final Four is next weekend in Denver.

Categories
Local News

Cards, Cats Prepping For First NCAA Showdown Since ’84

For the first time in nearly three decades, the UK and U of L men’s basketball teams will meet in an NCAA tournament game.

The 1983 contest was dubbed the Dream Game. UK and U of L had not played each other for 24 years. Coach Denny Crum’s Cards beat the Wildcats by 12 points in overtime, sending U of L to the Final Four.

“But this game is special, too,” Crum said. These guys on both teams have worked so hard to get here. They’re both very, very good basketball teams.”

U of L ended its regular season this year with two straight losses, but came to life in the post-season, winning the Big East tournament, and now four NCAA tournament games, including a decisive victory over top seed Michigan State.

The Wildcats lost in the final of the SEC tournament but have won each of their NCAA games by an average of almost 14 points.

The Cards and the Cats tip off just after 6:00pm Saturday in the Final Four in New Orleans. Kansas and Ohio State meet in the other semifinal.

Categories
Local News

Cards, Cats To Square Off in New Orleans; UK Women Advance To NCAA Elite Eight

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky men’s basketball teams will play each other in the NCAA tournament.

Over the weekend, Louisville beat Florida to secure the West Region title and UK topped Baylor to win the South Region. The Cardinals and Wildcats will face each other Saturday in New Orleans for a shot at the finals.

U of L coach Rick Pitino said Saturday that while he knows the game will mean a lot for many fans, he doesn’t put much stock in the rivalry.

“The way I look at Kentucky and the way I look at their coaching staff…I marvel at excellence. I respect excellence. But I don’t get into these petty things, Kentucky, Louisville. For me it’s nonsense. I never got into the Yankees Red Sox or that sort of stuff. I just appreciated being a Yankees fan,” he said.

UK coach John Calipari also downplayed the rivalry, saying he’s told his players not to get caught up in the hype. Calipari called U of L a talented, well-coached team.

On the other side of the bracket, Ohio State and Kansas will meet in the Final Four.

In the women’s NCAA tournament, Kentucky defeated Gonzaga Sunday night to advance to the Elite Eight round. UK takes on top-seeded Connecticut Tuesday night.

Categories
Local News

UK Women Advance To NCAA Elite Eight

The Kentucky Wildcats are in the Elite Eight round of the women’s NCAA tournament.

UK defeated Gonzaga 79-62 tonight in a regional semifinal game in Kingston, Rhode Island.

The second-seeded Wilcats face top seeded Connecticut Tuesday. The winner advances to the Final Four in Denver.

Categories
Local News

Kentucky Advances to Final Four, Will Face Louisville

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky men’s basketball teams will play each other in the NCAA tournament.

Yesterday, Louisville beat Florida to secure the West Region title. Today, UK topped Baylor to win the South Region. The Cardinals and Wildcats will face each other Saturday in New Orleans for a shot at the championship.

The two teams last met in tournament play in 1984.  U of L coach Rick Pitino said Saturday that while he knows the next game will mean a lot for many fans, he doesn’t put much stock in the rivalry.

“The way I look at Kentucky and the way I look at their coaching staff…I marvel at excellence. I respect excellence. But I don’t get into these petty things, Kentucky, Louisville. For me it’s nonsense. I never got into the Yankees-Red Sox or that sort of stuff. I just appreciated being a Yankees fan,” he said. “There’ll be people in Kentucky that will have a nervous breakdown if they lose to us. You gotta watch, they gotta put the fences up on bridges. And there’ll be people consumed by it in Louisville. I think it’s a great honor to play a great team.”

“They have a great program, they’re well-coached and they’re talented,” said UK coach John Calipari Sunday about the Cardinals. “I’m not worried about who we’re playing.”

On the other side of the bracket, Ohio State and the winner of today’s Kansas-North Carolina will compete to play in the championship game.

Categories
Local News

Pitino, ’87 Providence Final Four Team To Be Honored

The University of Louisville men’s basketball team returns to action tomorrow evening at Providence College.

This particular trip to Rhode Island will be a special one for U of L coach Rick Pitino.

It’s been 25 years since Pitino coached Providence to its improbable run to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

Pitino had left his job as a New York Knicks assistant to take over the flagging Providence program the previous season.

Led by Billy Donovan and Delray Brooks (pictured, from left, with Pitino)  and using the newly-allowed three point shot, Pitino’s lightly-regarded Friars knocked off Alabama and Georgetown to reach the national semifinals, where they were eliminated by Syracuse.

It put Providence and Pitino on the college basketball map.