University of Louisville's Gorgui Dieng(10) blocks the shot of Notre Dame's Jerian Grant (22) during the second half of play in their NCAA basketball game a Yum! Center in Louisville

There’s plenty of room on the Louisville bandwagon. Join me, won’t you?


I hope you guys didn’t write off Louisville.

I hope that three-game losing streak back in January didn’t scare you off.

I hope that you the five-overtime loss and all of the ugly late-game possessions didn’t make you believe that all of the people that picked the Cardinals to make the Final Four back in October were crazy.

Because on Saturday afternoon, No. 8 Louisville exacted their revenge on No. 24 Notre Dame in dominating fashion, whipping the Irish 73-57. That came after Louisville did much the same thing to Cincinnati on the final Big Monday and a week after Louisville went into the Carrier Dome and knocked off Syracuse. All told, that five-overtime loss at Notre Dame was the only game that Rick Pitino’s club has lost since January 26th.

Their five losses? They came by a combined 21 points.

The Louisville defense? The best in the efficiency era, according to

And while their offense is a long way from being anywhere near that effective, Russ Smith is slowly but surely learning that there are such things as ‘shot-selection’ and ‘decision-making’. Throw in the fact that Luke Hancock has finally found his stroke, hitting 12-18 from three over the last five games for a team that is currently 249th in the country in three-point shooting, and Louisville is peaking at the right time.

The Cardinals are now tri-champions of the final season of the Big East as we know it. And if the win next week’s Big East tournament — hell, maybe even if they reach the finals — Louisville will be a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.