DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Louisville wasn't expected to be here this March.
But the Cardinals adopted a motto of sorts — "working hard and being tough" — and they have done just enough of both...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — For the first time in two weeks, Louisville players hugged each other in celebration instead of consolation.
Then again, the Cardinals had reasons to rejoice after...
Bowman leads Boston College to 66-59 victory over Louisville
BOSTON (AP) — Louisville center Steven Enoch beat his defender and went up for the dunk, slamming the ball down with the full force his 6-foot-10, 260-pound body could muster.
No. 16 Louisville avoids late disaster, beats Clemson 56-55
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Five days after watching a 23-point second-half lead disappear, No. 16 Louisville found itself on the brink of another calamity on Saturday.
The Cardinals beat Clemson 56-55, but they led by seven with 17 seconds remaining, and the Tigers had two chances in the final seconds to walk off the court with a win.
Nwora, No. 15 Louisville rout Wake Forest 82-54
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — No. 15 Louisville had just polished off another romp on the road, and on the way back to the locker room, a staff member couldn't contain his joy.
So he let out a yell: "Roadkill, baby!"
Two trips to the state of North Carolina, two blowout wins.
The Cardinals won their sixth straight game, routing Wake Forest 82-54 on Wednesday night behind 20 points from Jordan Nwora.
No. 23 Louisville, behind Jordan Nwora, defeats Pitt 66-51
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The shots weren't falling for No. 23 Louisville on Saturday, so the Cardinals needed to make sure the same thing happened to Pittsburgh.
Jordan Nwora scored 17 points to help Louisville rally past Pitt 66-51 and avenge its only conference loss this season.
Louisville hands No. 12 UNC worst home loss under Williams
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Louisville went from suffering a confidence-jarring loss against a long-struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program to handing Roy Williams his worst home loss in 16 seasons with North Carolina.
Tough to explain? Even the Hall of Famer had a hard time with that.
"We never really got into the game," Williams said after Saturday's 83-62 defeat to the Cardinals. "I'd like to give you a brilliant answer as to why, but I can't give you that brilliant answer."
Louisville rallies to wear down Miami 90-73 in ACC play
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville knew it had time, manpower and shooters to overcome Miami. The challenge was finding the focus needed to make those factors work.
Once the Cardinals finally dialed in mentally, they didn't miss a beat.
Jordan Nwora scored 18 of his 20 points before halftime, Malik Williams finished with a career-high 19 and Louisville overcame a 15-point deficit to rout Miami 90-73 on Sunday night and give coach Chris Mack his initial Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
Big run helps Louisville avoid scare against Robert Morris
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — With his team trailing at halftime for only the second time this season, Louisville coach Chris Mack entered the locker room and told his players they only needed to make one fix.
"I try not to be that coach, but tonight it was called for: We aren't playing hard enough," Mack said after his Cardinals rallied to beat Robert Morris 73-59 Friday night. "So that's the adjustment that we made. It was to tell them play harder or we're going to lose the game."
Enoch, Nwora enjoy big nights in Louisville’s rout
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — All season, Louisville coach Chris Mack has wanted to establish Steven Enoch's presence in the post. The junior did just that on both sides of the court Wednesday.
Enoch, a 6-foot-11 center who sat out last season after transferring from Connecticut, and Jordan Nwora both put up big nights for the Cardinals, who cruised to an 86-41 victory over Central Arkansas on Wednesday night.
Nwora, Cunningham cap Louisville win over Seton Hall
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — If there's one word that can best describe Louisville during the early stages of the college basketball season, it would be resiliency.
Just ask the head coach and the reserve shooting guard.
"I was pleased with our resiliency," said Louisville head coach Chris Mack, after his team escaped the Prudential Center Saturday with a 70-65 victory over Seton Hall. "We just keep fighting back."
Louisville upsets No. 9 Michigan State 82-78 in overtime
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — No matter what line he shot from behind against No. 9 Michigan State, Louisville junior guard Ryan McMahon was feeling it.
The Cardinals fed off his energy to not only give first-year coach Chris Mack a significant win, but a gutsy one at that.
McMahon made two free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining in overtime before Jordan Nwora made another from the line with 3.1 seconds left to seal it as Louisville upset the Spartans 82-78 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
No. 5 Tennessee tops Louisville in NIT Season Tip-Off
NEW YORK (AP) — Grant Williams scored 24 points and No. 5 Tennessee had five players In double figures to beat Louisville 92-81 in the first semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night.
Admiral Schofield added 20 points for the Vols (4-0), who shot 54 percent from the field. The win was the 664th of Tennessee coach Rick Barnes' career. It moved him past John Wooden on the all-time Division I wins list.
Nwora, Williams power Louisville easily past Southern 104-54
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The second act of Louisville's Chris Mack era produced the same outcome as the first, but this time the Cardinals came away with a much better showing.
Jordan Nwora scored a career-high 20 points as the Cardinals (2-0) easily dominated Southern 104-54 Tuesday night. Malik Williams also posted a career high of 17 points in the rout.
Louisville escapes Nicholls State 85-72 in Mack’s debut
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Chris Mack would've preferred a smoother start to his Louisville coaching debut and seemed happy only about the outcome.
Little was pretty about the Cardinals' opener, but at least it ended successfully against Nicholls State.
Steven Enoch had 15 points including a pair of critical free throws with 1:57 remaining, Darius Perry added 14 points and the Cardinals thrived at the foul line to hold off the Colonels 85-72 on Thursday night in Mack's first game with the Cardinals.
Louisville Preview Capsule
Last season: 22-14, reached NIT quarterfinals.
Coach: Chris Mack (first season).
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Who's gone: Center Anas Mahmoud, guard Quentin Snider, forwards Deng Adel and Ray Spalding (NBA).
Louisville counting on Mack to guide team back from scandals
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville hopes its third coach in as many seasons can restore continuity and success to a Cardinals program that has struggled during that span.
Last season: 29-6, lost to Florida State in second round of NCAA Tournament.
Coach: Travis Steele.
Conference: Big East.
Who's gone: Coach Chris Mack (Louisville), guard Trevon Bluiett, guard J.P. Macura, forward Kerem Kanter, forward Kaiser Gates, forward Sean O'Mara.
Xavier enters transition season with new coach, roster
CINCINNATI (AP) — With a senior-laden team, Xavier won its first Big East regular season championship and got its first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A second-round loss abruptly ended everything and began a transition that's still in progress entering the new season.
ACC holds preseason men’s basketball media day Wednesday
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference will open the season with seven schools ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 poll and a deep well of perimeter talent.
The league holds its preseason men's basketball media day on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina. That comes two days after the league had more teams than any other league in the AP preseason poll, with three of those in the top 10 in No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Virginia and No. 8 North Carolina.
Chris Mack embraces challenge at scandal-plagued Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Chris Mack expected big changes when he left a school coming off a NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeding for scandal-plagued program with a rich basketball tradition.
Louisville's first-year coach hit the ground running after leaving Xavier, attracting several transfers to supplement the Cardinals' reserve holdovers. Mack's challenge will be melding them into a cohesive rotation he hopes can be competitive.
Louisville to host rival Kentucky in nonconference schedule
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville will host rival Kentucky and Michigan State in the nonconference portion of Chris Mack's first season as coach.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former Richmond starting guard Khawn Fore has signed to play his final season of college basketball at Louisville.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Fore started 64 of 99 games for the Spiders and averaged 11 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest as a junior in 2017-18. He made 54 steals and shot nearly 51 percent as a sophomore while helping Richmond reach the NIT quarterfinals.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Lance Thomas has decided to transfer to Memphis after being granted his unconditional release by Louisville.
Thomas announced his choice Friday in a video he posted to Twitter . He thanked Louisville in the video and finished by announcing his decision with "Go Tigers."
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Indiana visits Duke while North Carolina travels to Michigan to headline this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge in November.
The leagues released the schedule Friday, with the Hoosiers traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 27. The Tar Heels visit the Wolverines the next day.
It is the second straight year those four teams have met in the three-day interconference series.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville reserve forward Lance Thomas has been granted his unconditional release to transfer from the program in order to "look at other options."
CINCINNATI (AP) — Forward Kaiser Gates has decided to forego his senior season at Xavier and enter professional basketball, leaving the Musketeers without five top players from the team that won the Big East regular season title last season.
Gates tweeted his decision Saturday. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds as a junior, when he started 18 games.
Missouri’s entire staff will travel to St. Louis on Tuesday to visit with Webster Groves (St. Louis) point guard Courtney Ramey, a number of outlets reported Monday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — New Louisville coach Chris Mack has hired Dino Gaudio, Luke Murray and Mike Pegues as assistant coaches.
Steele knows Xavier’s next goal: Reach a Final Four
CINCINNATI (AP) — Travis Steele knows the clear expectation as Xavier's next basketball coach.
"It's the elephant that's in the room: Go where Xavier has never gone in the NCAA Tournament," Steele said.
Spalding hiring agent, diving into NBA draft pool
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville junior forward Ray Spalding says on his Instagram account that he will hire an agent and stay in the NBA draft pool, leaving a third roster opening to fill for new Cardinals coach Chris Mack.
Xavier promotes Travis Steele to coach, replacing Mack
CINCINNATI (AP) — Xavier stuck to custom and promoted from within to replace coach Chris Mack, hiring top assistant Travis Steele on Saturday as its 18th head coach.
The move came four days after Mack — a former Musketeer player who is the winningest coach in school history — left to coach Louisville.
The 36-year-old Steele has been an assistant at Xavier for 10 seasons, including the last nine under Mack. He's been an integral part of the program's development in the Big East.
Mack says he has ‘big shoes to fill’ as Louisville coach
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Chris Mack understands he has big shoes to fill as Louisville's new men's basketball coach.
He also knows he has some turbulent times to overcome.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has found its new men's basketball coach, tapping Xavier's Chris Mack to guide the program back to national contention after a turbulent season in which the Cardinals were linked to a federal investigation and eventually missed the NCAA Tournament.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Xavier Musketeers survived a choppy game with more stops than starts thanks to too many fouls and free throws.
At the end, the Musketeers looked every bit like a No. 1 seed their first time around in the role at an NCAA Tournament.
Top-seeded Xavier easily handles Texas Southern 102-83
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Xavier Musketeers survived a choppy game with more stops than starts thanks to too many fouls and free throws.
At the end, the Musketeers looked every bit like a No. 1 seed their first time around in the role at an NCAA Tournament.
Xavier gets No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament West Region
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Xavier came up just short of the Final Four a year ago, losing to eventual finalist Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.
The Musketeers could be poised to break through this season.
Following one of the best regular seasons in program history, Xavier earned its first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeding despite losing in the Big East Tournament semifinals.
Brunson, Mack, Spellman win Big East honors
NEW YORK (AP) — Even when he received the most prestigious award of his coaching career, Xavier's Chris Mack joked Villanova was there to sour the moment.
Mack, Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson and Villanova freshman Omari Spellman are the Big East award winners.
"A program has four losses, and you have to invite the guy (Villanova coach Jay Wright) that gave us two of those and the two players that helped him secure those two," Mack quipped.
Brunson, Mack, Spellman win Big East honors
NEW YORK (AP) — Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson, Xavier coach Chris Mack and Villanova freshman Omari Spellman are the Big East award winners.
The voting of the conference's coaches was announced Wednesday.
Brunson, a junior, led the Wildcats to a 27-4 record, 14-4 in the Big East. He is averaging 19.0 points and 4.8 assists per game.
CHICAGO (AP) — Now that it's tournament time, No. 3 Xavier appears poised to make a big splash.
Trevon Bluiett scored 22 points, and Xavier set a school record for regular-season wins while clinching the top seed in the Big East with a 65-62 victory over DePaul on Saturday.
The Musketeers (27-4, 15-3 Big East) hung on for their 12th win in 13 games after DePaul's Eli Cain and Max Strus missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds. That ended Villanova's four-year run of first-place finishes.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Coach Chris Mack lifted the trophy that's topped by a silver basketball and realized he'd underestimated its weight. He started to lose his grip, and Xavier's star player was about to get beaned.
"I almost injured Trevon Bluiett," Mack said. "I held that thing up. I'm not as strong as I look, and it's really top-heavy. I saw the silver ball going toward Bluiett's head.
"Fortunately, my quick cat-like reactions stopped it from happening."
Marshall helps No. 4 Xavier beat Georgetown 89-77
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite winning four straight games in the nation's capital, Xavier coach Chris Mack is happy that the Big East has never held its conference tournament in DC.
His leading scorer, Trevon Bluiett, has scored over 2,000 points in his Musketeers career but he's combined for just three points in his last two visits to Washington.
No. 4 Xavier tries to get over lulls as tournaments approach
CINCINNATI (AP) — Leading up to the showdown with Villanova for control of the Big East, Xavier coach Chris Mack had one overriding concern.
"If we play one good half and one bad half, we won't win," Mack said.
That's exactly what happened. No. 4 Xavier came out tight, committed early fouls and missed open shots, and the third-ranked Wildcats raced ahead by 19 points.
Bluiett scores 37, No. 4 Xavier beats Seton Hall 102-90
CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett followed his worst shooting performance of the season with a can't-miss showing, keeping Xavier atop the Big East with a huge game ahead.
Bluiett scored 37 points — three shy of his career high — and the Musketeers let most of a 25-point lead slip away before holding on for a 102-90 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday night, tightening their hold on first place in the league.
Goodin’s last-second FTs push No. 5 Xavier past Creighton
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — His team trailing by a point, Xavier's Quentin Goodin was bumped as he drove to the basket. Suddenly, he heard the sweet sound of the referee's whistle with three-tenths of a second showing on the clock.
"Every kid's dream," Goodin said. "Everybody wants to be in that situation. On the road, down... and your free throws are the game winners. I don't think it's any better than that."
No. 6 Xavier beats St. John’s; Red Storm 0-11 in Big East
NEW YORK (AP) — When it was over, Xavier coach Chris Mack breathed a sigh of relief.
He and his staff got the tough, grinding game they expected, and now the sixth-ranked Musketeers don't have to face Big East rival St. John's again this regular season.
"We're fortunate to come away with a win," Mack said after Xavier's 73-68 victory over St. John's on Tuesday night in New York. "That might be the best 0-11 team I've ever seen anywhere in a conference. Period."
Top this: Xavier, Cincinnati share a city, hoops accolades
CINCINNATI (AP) — Only 2½ miles apart on the map, Xavier and Cincinnati are separated by one spot in The Associated Press' latest Top 10 — quite a coup for a city that values its college basketball almost as much as its unusual recipe for chili.
"It's been that way for a long time," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.
Both teams are accustomed to success, but it's been a long time since they've both been so good at the same time.
Kerem Kanter rallies No. 11 Xavier over St. John’s 88-82
CINCINNATI (AP) — Chris Mack didn't get to do much as a Xavier player because of knee injuries. As the Musketeers' coach, nobody has won more games.
Kerem Kanter scored 22 points and made the biggest plays during a late run that swept the 11th-ranked Musketeers to an 88-82 victory over St. John's on Wednesday night, making Mack the school's leader in career coaching wins.
Providence upsets No. 5 Xavier 81-72
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Another layup bounced off the rim, Providence forward Rodney Bullock grabbed the defensive rebound with about 20 seconds left and Xavier coach Chris Mack stood in front of his bench with both hands in the air.
It was time to surrender.
The best start in Musketeers history was over, along with the second-longest winning streak in Mack's tenure at the school.