Friday Evening Cardinal News And Notes

Lauren Mears, Justin Hines and Joe Havelda do not care for Memphis.

I_medium Jeff Greer's profile of Terry Rozier from Thursday is very worthy of your time.

I_medium Pat Forde takes a look at how Rick Pitino and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall have kept their teams motivated during the dog days of the season.

Pitino's gray beard was not exactly a thing of beauty, so in a concession to vanity he had it colored this week. But the coach who was a bit imperious in his 30s and 40s is finding uncharacteristic ways to relate to his players in his 60s.

Last year it was the promise of a tattoo if Louisville won the national title - that was a hugely entertaining premise to the Cardinals. Pitino followed through on that. Now, bearded for the first time in his life, he's once again one of the guys.

"The beard thing is for fun," Pitino said. "... We're having a great time. But I think winning does that. Your team is close when you win, and when you lose they're far apart. I haven't seen too many close teams with seven wins."

Winning is indeed the ultimate bonding agent. But it also helps to have a coach who can find creative ways to reach his players in the dog days of an endless season.

I_medium A very happy 40th birthday to Louisville legend Beau Zach Smith.

I_medium Master P was at the Yum Center last night and said "ughhh." It was like when The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Masterp_medium

Nothing was the same.

I_medium It was revealed today that Teddy Bridgewater will take part in Jon Gruden's QB Camp series on ESPN. Details on when Bridgewater will appear will be announced soon

I_medium The third-ranked U of L women's team is headed to Fifth Third Arena tomorrow to try and duplicate what the men's team did a week ago. Also, there are still about 6,000 tickets available for Monday's showdown against No. 1 Connecticut at the Yum Center. It'd be awfully nice to send the seniors off in style and lock up a one seed for the big dance on the same evening.

I_medium Louisville is up to No. 13 in Luke Winn's latest power rankings.

I_medium From Prudat's photo gallery comes easily the most captionable (word) picture of the season.

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Here's a start:

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I_medium Eric Crawford says Louisville's guards are hitting their collective stride at the perfect time.

I_medium Bobby Petrino's new contract includes a big bonus for academic success.

I_medium Russ Smith is up to No. 3 in ESPN's latest Wooden Watch.

3. Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith's game-winning shot at Cincinnati Saturday provides a tidy excuse for us to move him up the list. But we don't really need one, for reasons that should be apparent if you've been following along all season. Little has changed in Smith's output from November to now. He's still playing the best, smartest, most efficient offense of his life (51.2 percent from 2, 37.4 percent from 3, 30.6 percent assist rate) on huge usage (31.3 percent) and shot rates (30.0 percent) while maintaining his trademark brand of infuriatingly pesky perimeter and press defense. Last year, Smith was arguably the most valuable two-way player in the country, and he's better -- not to mention more important to his team -- in almost every way this season.

I_medium Russ has also cracked the top five of CBS' POY watch.

I_medium CIRRUS Fitness has released a new line of team-branded fitness equipment. We wouldn't be talking about this if they didn't have Louisville products, which they do.

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The medicine ball is Francisco Garcia approved.

I_medium The Louisville men's soccer team will kick off its spring exhibition schedule with a benefit match against Indy Eleven on Saturday, March 22 at Cardinal Park and the proceeds from the event will benefit Family Scholar House. Pretty cool.

I_medium U of L announced Tuesday that it would be part of a $320 million Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute in Chicago.

I_medium Mick Cronin talks Louisville and the AAC in general with USA Today.

Q: Another top team in the league, not surprisingly is Louisville. You've coached under Rick Pitino in the past and have played against the Cards more than a few times before in years past. What do you see out of that team this year? You two have had a pair of very memorable games this year.

A: They're getting better as the year goes on. Like anybody else, you go through your injuries, you go through your adversity, whatever that might be. You come out here at the end of February and you're going to be as good as your leadership takes you. They've got two great leaders, two great seniors in Luke Hancock and Russ Smith. Those guys are big-time shot-makers. They've been to the mountaintop, so nothing's going to rattle them. They don't play against anybody who has two better perimeter players than they do, or two more experienced guys than they have. You combine that with the rest of the talent on that team, and they're going to be a tough out for anybody.

I_medium Jody Demling is back with his weekly U of L baseball notebook.

I_medium After a breakout season in 2012-13, Russ Smith is thoroughly enjoying his encore.

I_medium Some good news for former Cardinal running back Jeremy Wright.

I_medium Louisville peaking at the right time is all part of Rick Pitino's master plan.

I_medium It's the biggest weekend of the season in the AAC.

I_medium And finally, beat Memphis State.

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