National writers weigh in on U of L-Ohio State – The Courier

With a late-night tipoff and primtetime TV slot, press row was packed Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center for the University of Louisville’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge game against visiting Ohio State.

And both during and after a 64-55 victory came input from a number of national college basketball experts, some sitting in Louisville and others observing from afar. Here’s a rundown of what they had to say:

ESPN’s Dana O’Neil noted U of L fans’ nickname for “Big Game Wayne” Blackshear and his tendency to disappear on such a stage. Well, Blackshear went for a game-high 22 points, with 16 in the first half as the Cards pulled away early. “…Based on this season so far, the Blackshear everyone’s been waiting for might finally have arrived,” O’Neil wrote. “It’s not just the numbers — double figures in four of six games; it’s the way he looks on the court.” (

Added CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Twitter: “Wayne Blackshear is the key to Louisville’s season. If he make shots and provide offense from the wing, Cards can beat anyone. X-Factor.” (

By the end of the night Tuesday, the ACC had just two victories to its name in the Big Ten Challenge — one for Miami and then U of L’s victory. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News sees college basketball as an “odd place” these days with the Cardinals carrying their new league’s banner. Plus, he shared yet another funny Rick Pitino-Richard Pitino tidbit. (

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports’ “The Dagger” blog wrote that “Tuesday’s clash of unbeatens provided the first true glimpse of where both Louisville and Ohio State stand in the national pecking order,” adding that Terry Rozier certainly isn’t afraid of big moments given his pair of late 3-pointers. (

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, who prodded U of L fans by ranking the Cardinals outside his top 10, responded to a fan calling for a higher spot first by saying, “You must have turned the game off at halftime.” Goodman later added, “I will probably move them up a few spots next week from 13.” (

Seth Davis, of Sports Illustrated and Campus Insiders, offered this on freshman big man Anas Mahmoud, who with his teammates in foul trouble came off the bench to score 3 points and grab 7 rebounds in 24 minutes: “Don’t let Anas Mahmoud’s slender frame fool you. He is highly skilled and Pitino has big plans for him.” (

Sports Illustrated’s Brian Hamilton insists Ohio State’s defeat, in which the Buckeyes were led by Louisville native and freshman D’Angelo Russell, exposed the visiting team’s youth. “At times, Russell seemed lost,” Hamilton wrote, “like when he hoisted a transition three-pointer midway through the second half when the Buckeyes could have worked for a better shot to cut the lead to single digits.” (