The School: The University of Louisville. You may know it better as The Jefferson Seminary or the Louisville Medical Institute. Of course, you likely know them best for buying prostitutes for their basketball recruits, which was likely not part of the original Jefferson Seminary mission statement (citation needed).
Location: Louisville, KY. Not going to lie, I would easily swap Louisville with every SEC city but our own for the purpose of road game visits (Baton Rouge is the only place that would require me to think twice for even a second, as their football and baseball tailgates are fantastic outdoor parties, and you’re just an hour from New Orleans). It is a magical, bourbon-filled place that sees an open faced turkey sandwich, and is all, “Let’s cover that fucker in bacon and Mornay sauce!” It’s a place where you can head to a Triple A ballpark and a world class brewery... in the same stadium. Seriously, go to Against the Grain brewery if you’re in the area. Their Bo & Luke Stout is a Holy Grail type beer, as it is aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels.
Drive an hour out of town, and you can tour pretty much every bourbon distillery worth seeing (personal recommendations are Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey). Louisville is a barrel-aged El Dorado within the Hillbilly Heroin Hollers of Greater Kentucky. We will pound them into a jelly on the baseball diamond, but I will not besmirch the great name of that fine city.
*Fun Fact: One of the few American cities named after someone who faced the guillotine.
**Less fun fact: The headquarters of Yum! Brands is located in Louisville, so yes, it is quite likely that some jackass came up with the idea for the Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in Derby City.
The Mascot: Louie the Cardinal. There is nothing remotely interesting about this mascot. Blah blah, State Bird of Kentucky, blah blah, who gives a shit?
Record: 49-16, 21-9 in the ACC.
How’d they get here? As a National Seed, they went 4-1 in the Louisville Regional (beating UIC, Indiana, and going 2-1 against Illinois State) and then kicked the ever-loving crap out of ECU in 2 games in the Supers. Of course, then ECU complained that they were underrated by the NCAA Committee for some reason... which is poor form after getting your ass handed to you by a combined score of 25-1.
Best win: This is not so much a “Best Win” as a “Best Week.” In March, they went a combined 5-0 against Ole Miss and Duke in the same week.
Most embarrassing loss: Going 2 and Que in the ACC Tourney, losing to both Boston College and Clemson. Still not sure how that happened.
Most terrifying batter: Freshman All-American 3B Alex “The Bearded Baby” Binelas. Binelas claims to be 19, but he looks like an extra in the 2006 Spartan-based soft core pornography film 300. The Bearded Baby bats cleanup for the Cards and slashed .307/.396/.651 with 14 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, and 59 RBI.
Best pitcher: Hat tip to Jr. RHP closer Michael “That’s Horrible” McAvene, who will still be serving an inane suspension for our game on Sunday. With that out of the way, So. LHP Reid “Ty & Koy” Detmers (12-4, 2.85 ERA) is their Ace, and is likely who we will face Sunday afternoon. He made quick work of ECU hitters in the Supers (but really, who didn’t?), going 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, and 6 K in 119 pitches. Of course, he also was responsible for their only postseason loss—a 4-2 setback at the hand of Illinois State in which Detmers went 7 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 11 K in 110 pitches. Detmers’ 0.89 WHIP is pretty pretty pretty good, as is his insane 13.58 K/9. Expect those numbers to lose some of their luster against our meat grinder of a lineup.
Still, Ty & Koy is formidable, and Drake Fellows will have to be the pitcher we saw against Clanga in the SEC Tourney and against An Ohio State University in the Nashville Regional, and not the climate change addled Safari Planet we saw against Duke.
Best name: Jr. RHP Shay Smiddy sounds less like a human name given by human parents than a random collection of American sounding syllables churned out by a Russian Troll Farm for use on the Twatters. Honorably mention to So. INF Cameron Masterman. Wait, is Louisville’s roster nothing but Russian troll bots?
Best NCAA Tournament result: Counting this year, they have made it to Omaha 5 times since 2007. Like Texas Tech, though they have made it to the College World Series multiple times in recent years, they have never gone better than 1-2 in Omaha.
When would we have to face them? Game one, Sunday at 1pm CT on ESPN.
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? Louisville is a perennial contender, Dan McDonnell has done a hell of a job for them since 2007, and like Tim Corbin, is on track to get a statue outside the stadium. We have faced them a lot in the past, and took back the Barrel this year (a 6-2 victory on May 6th). Again, Louisville is a really solid team, and can give anyone in Omaha a run for their money. However, they lack the star power of previous Louisville teams, as I don’t see any Brendan McKays on the mound or at the plate this year. They are likely the 4th best team in Omaha, so we will have to bring our A game to beat them. Scared, though? No.