One of the marquee games on Purdue’s upcoming basketball schedule, perhaps THE marquee game, is November 28th in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge rematch from last year with the Louisville Cardinals. The Cards ended Purdue’s 7-game winning streak int he event, but they were paired with Purdue again to make a nice home-and-home. It was expected to be a huge game for Purdue in the middle of a stretch where it could face three straight top 10 teams (Villanova and Arizona in the Bahamas, Louisville at home).
Of course, that was before the FBI raided Louisville for allegedly paying $100,000 to a recruit. things will be much different now, as two-time NCAA champion NCAA champion coach Rick Pitino was fired this morning for his role in the scandal:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino and AD Tom Jurich have been fired, per @Mark_Schlabach. pic.twitter.com/aY3voy4it3— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 27, 2017
Obviously this is a huge blow for a Louisville team that was projected as a preseason top 10 team. It certainly changes things, but we don’t know how much.
This is just the early domino falling, as the NCAA hasn’t even gotten involved yet. As far as we know there are no player defections, but really anything can happen from “They hire an interim coach and play the seaosn anyway” to “The NCAA death penalties them into non-existence.” This is still going to be a very talented team coming to Mackey Arena, but we have no idea who is coaching them.
Where it does get interesting is going forward. Louisville was right in the mix for Romeo Langford, who had already eliminated Purdue, but has several Big Ten schools (including Indiana) among his preferred choices. If things REALLY go south a player like Malik Williams, who Purdue was in good shape for before he committed to Louisville, comes on the market. It seems unlikely he would be able to leave, enroll somewhere else, and play at a place like Purdue this season, but this is a huge scandal. The NCAA has let guys transfer without penalty before.
There is no question it affects the November 28 game now though, and Purdue needs to win it.