▪ The biggest matchup in college basketball on Wednesday night is in Chapel Hill where No. 7 Louisville visits No. 8 North Carolina in a game that could decide the ACC regular season champion.
The host Heels are 11-3 in the league. Louisville is tied with Duke for second place at 10-4. North Carolina smothered a sinking Virginia last Saturday 65-41. Rick Pitino’s Cardinals have won six of their last seven, the loss coming at Virginia when Mangok Mathiang and Deng Adel were suspended.
Jay Williams: Will North Carolina ever sign one-and-done talent again?
Given that Louisville was without starting point guard Quentin Snider for a long stretch, is still without reserve guard Tony Hicks and is dealing with an NCAA investigation, give Pitino credit for keeping it together. The Cardinals are Final Four capable.
▪ The Kentucky women’s swim team made a splash at the 2017 SEC Championships last week, placing third to match its best finish ever in the event. Freshman Asia Seidt, out of Louisville, won a gold medal in the 200 backstroke. Sophomore Geena Freriks, out of Norwalk, Ohio, won a gold medal in the 200 freestyle.
UK also won four silver and two bronze medals. Danielle Galyer (200 back), Madison Winstead (100 breast), Becca Hamperian (1-meter diving) and Freriks, Danielle Galyer, Seidt and Ali Galyer (800 free relay) won silver. Kendal Casey (500 free) and Seidt (100 back) won bronze.
▪ When John Calipari was ranting last Saturday about coaches being fired during midseason, he referenced his friend Mark Gottfrield, who got the axe from former UK women’s basketball coach Debbie Yow, now the athletics director at North Carolina State.
Calipari said coaches need in their contracts that they still get paid if shown the door before the end of the year. Gottfried is finishing out the season and he’s getting paid. N.C. State owes him a $2.5 million buyout on the final three years of his contract.
▪ Boogie Cousins is lovable and ridiculously talented and perhaps he will twin with Anthony Davis to do great things in the Big Easy. There has to be a reason, however, why Sacramento gave him up for a song.
▪ His team had already lost 71-65 at Georgia Tech last Sunday night, so Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim didn’t have much patience with a reporter who remarked in the post-game news conference that the ’Cuse appeared impatient.
“Do you think?” said Boeheim, never one to mask his true feelings. “Is that a question or an observation? When you coach someplace, you can have observations. If you want to ask me a question, you can. But you can get your own team and you can make those decisions. When you’re in here, just ask me questions.”
▪ Yes, Gonzaga could finish the regular season undefeated. The Zags travel to San Diego (5-11 in the West Coast Conference) on Thursday before finishing at home with BYU (10-6) on Saturday.
▪ Tough to see Georgia lose Yante Maten for the remainder of the regular season with that sprained knee suffered in the first 90 seconds of last Saturday’s loss to Kentucky. With Maten on the bench wearing a knee brace, the Bulldogs managed all of two offensive rebounds.
▪ It was a scary sight seeing West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins collapse on the court Monday night in Morgantown. Luckily, Huggs was OK, chalking up the incident to a faulty defibrillator.
▪ So Larry Bird is running the Indiana Pacers. And Magic Johnson is running the Los Angeles Lakers. A future Pacers-Lakers NBA Finals would be something. It would be far in the future, however.
▪ Pat Forde has an interesting tidbit concerning the hot seat on which basketball coach Tom Crean sits at Indiana. Crean’s son Riley will be a freshman on the IU baseball team this fall. That might keep Tom Crean from jumping before he’s pushed.
▪ Don’t count out Alabama for an NCAA tourney bid. The Crimson Tide have won three of their last four, the lone loss coming to Kentucky. With home games against Georgia (Wednesday night) and Ole Miss, plus road games at Texas A&M and Tennessee, Avery Johnson’s club could win out to go 20-10 overall and 13-5 in the SEC before the tournament. It could happen.