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Wednesday Evening Cardinal News And Notes

I have no fear greater than that of aliens, but seeing as how today is World UFO Day, I'm cool with sharing this picture.

I_medium According to multiple sources, longtime Dan McDonnell assistant Chris Lemonis has been hired as the new head coach at Indiana. Lemonis came to Louisville with McDonnell in 2007 and helped guide the program to unprecedented heights over the past eight seasons.

Congrats to coach Lemonis and best of luck to him in Bloomington. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again shortly.

I_medium Love you, Beads.

I_medium Jennifer Lawrence's Cardinal voice-over work is now making headlines on ABC News.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's Chris Johnson says the return of Montrezl Harrell makes Louisville a legitimate national championship contender.

The Cardinals' first time through the ACC will be challenging but manageable. Two games against North Carolina and Virginia, a home matchup with Duke and a trip to Syracuse are the highlights of Louisville's 18-game conference schedule.

The Blue Devils, who bring in the top recruiting class in the country and return a group of experienced role players, are the early favorites to win the league. The Tar Heels return star guard Marcus Paige and have enough talent and depth to push Duke. And the Cavaliers lost two key players (Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell) but have back their other seven top players by minutes after winning the league's regular season and tournament crowns last season.

Titles are exactly what Harrell is used to playing for. As a freshman, he helped Louisville tie for first in the regular season Big East race and then win the conference tournament before playing a key role in their run to the national championship. As a sophomore, he again helped them tie for first in the regular season race and win a conference tournament title, this time in the AAC. Pulling off that double for the third straight year in a third different conference will be difficult, but with Harrell back, it's a real possibility.

I_medium Five-star small forward Ray Smith will take an official visit to Louisville in late September.

I_medium Gorgui Dieng: still the greatest human being on the planet.

I_medium U of L takes an early look at Virginia, whom the Cards will face in week three of the 2014 season.

I_medium Andy Staples has a really good read on the realignment movement that began in 2009, including how Tom Jurich handled the situation flawlessly.

After Big East schools were blindsided in September 2011 by the ACC's poaching of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Jurich knew the Big East wasn't a stable home for the Cardinals. So, he and university president James Ramsey decided Louisville needed to leave. But unlike nearly every other school that moved in this round, Louisville would not simply move when it received an offer and try to negotiate its buyout down with lawyers. The Big East bylaws required a 27-month notice, so that's what Jurich gave the league.

On Oct. 13, 2011, Jurich called then-Big East commissioner John Marinatto and University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft and told them Louisville would play somewhere else beginning in July ‘14. Where exactly? Jurich had no idea. The SEC had already announced it would take Texas A&M and had moved far down the road in talks with Missouri, so the Big 12 seemed a potential landing spot. The Pac-12 had decided in late September that it didn't want to expand further, so it appeared there would still be a Big 12 to consider Louisville's interest.

"I wanted to be up front with John Marinatto," Jurich said of the former commissioner, who learned of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh exits in a call from reporter Brett McMurphy on the day that story broke. "I didn't want them thinking that I was going behind their back."

To do that, Jurich had to take a pretty big risk. At Marinatto's urging, Jurich didn't put Louisville's exit notice in writing. That way, it couldn't be discovered by a reporter's public records request and broadcast in one stability-killing blow. Still, Jurich was honest with the league's other athletic directors. Louisville was leaving. It may not have been public knowledge, but it wasn't exactly a secret. "You're on a limb," Jurich said. "But I'd rather be out on a limb with all our cards on the table. Everybody knew I was dealing with integrity. That was more important to me."

I_medium Our ACC frienemies over at State of the U remain extremely optimistic about Sept. 1.

I_medium The Boston College Eagles are also apparently feeling pretty good about welcoming the Cards to the ACC.

I_medium The folks over at Cardinal Sports Zone take a look at U of L's major hoops recruiting targets.

I_medium ACC commissioner John Swofford says that landing Louisville is a "landmark moment" for the conference.

I_medium The Star News Online says that the ACC is getting the better end of the deal in the Maryland for Louisville trade.

I_medium USA.

I_medium The Roanoke Times looks at the tale of the tape between Louisville and Maryland, and has the Cards coming out on top.

I_medium AAC Player of the Year Jeff Gardner is adjusting to life in the professional ranks, where he's started his career with the Auburn Doubledays.

I_medium And finally, here's your chance to win an autographed Teddy Bridgewater football.