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Wednesday Afternoon Cardinal News And Notes

Congrats to Tony and Jennifer on the best possible start to a life together.

I_medium ESPN's Andrea Adelson says the only way to describe Louisville first football season in the ACC is successful.

I_medium The last details of U of L's monster contract with adidas have been finalized.

I_medium Former U of L baseball player Matt Baldwin was recently diagnosed with a rare form of ALS, and a group of his friends are looking to raise money to help cover his medical expenses. The fundrasier is now creeping up on its goal of $30,000. If you're interested in helping out, check out their Give Forward page.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's Thomas Lake has a really good profile of Kevin Ware in which Ware talks about why he wound up choosing to leave Louisville.

Pitino didn't want to be the coach who broke Kevin Ware again. He let him play two minutes against Fairfield, six minutes against North Carolina, five minutes against Missouri State -- his fifth straight game without a rebound, steal or blocked shot. At some point in those five minutes, someone accidentally kicked him in the right shin. It was a minor injury, more scary than anything else, but it made him think hard about whether he came back too soon. Pitino asked him to consider taking a medical redshirt, and in January 2014, Ware agreed. Three months later, he announced plans to transfer.

There are several popular theories about why he left Louisville with two years of eligibility remaining. According to Ware, those theories are wrong. He says his departure had nothing to with getting a reckless-driving citation in a borrowed car and then missing a court date. He says it had nothing to do with Chane Behanan, his best friend at Louisville, who was kicked off the team in December 2013 for habitual use of marijuana. In response to questions from Sports Illustrated, Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein confirmed Ware's assertions and said Ware was not dismissed from the team.

Ware has another explanation for his departure: He was tired of being treated like damaged goods. Sometimes it felt as if the sight of the injury was more traumatic than the injury itself -- as if his coaches and teammates never quite recovered from Ware's broken leg. In practice, when he went up for a layup or a blocked shot, he could hear the nervous silence.

"It got annoying after a while," he says, "and I just really wanted to come home."

I_medium SI's Brian Hamilton discusses why, despite its shooting issues, Louisville could crash the Final Four (video).

I_medium John Thompson III was pumped that his team upset Villanova, but not pumped that his students rushed the court afterward.

I_medium Terry Ramsey, a defensive end who would have been a redshirt freshman this season, has decided to leave the Louisville football program. You might remember Ramsey as the incoming freshman with the most interesting backstoryin the 2014 class.

I_medium Grantland's Mark Titus has Louisville at No. 11 in his latest power rankings, despite being upset at the Cards over the way they chose to handle Duke's zone.

Remember how I wrote that Rick Pitino was close to figuring out the perfect meth recipe for Louisville? Well, Mike Krzyzewski just pooped in Pitino's batch, set the entire lab on fire, and called the police to narc on Pitino. If you missed Saturday's Duke-Louisville game, you should've seen Pitino's face when he realized Duke was going to play zone all game, which is something Duke neeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrr does. Pitino's mug was lifeless, horrifyingly pale, and just ... well, I guess normal. But I'm sure Pitino was torn up on the inside because he knew his team was about to be crushed.

The most frustrating thing about Louisville's performance is that the Cards played right into Duke's hands. You know why Duke went zone? Because the Blue Devils haven't been able to keep anybody in front of them recently and Louisville can't shoot. That Coach K never plays zone yet started the game in a 2-3 is an admission. It's Coach K saying, "We are terrible at defense. Please don't make us have to guard you. Please just chuck 3-pointers, let us rebound them, and let us go to the other end." And instead of licking their chops at a struggling Duke defense playing an unfamiliar zone, Louisville simply responded with, "Whatever you say."

Sucking at shooting is bad. Sucking at shooting and then convincing yourself that you're really not that bad at shooting is how you get massacred on your home court. What did Arizona do against Utah when the Cats weren't hitting 3s? They stopped shooting them and figured out an effective way to attack the defense. What did the Cardinals do when they weren't hitting 3s? They kept shooting 3s! Louisville was 2-for-13 from behind the arc in the first half, yet the only non-jump-shot field goal it made in the first 18 minutes was Wayne Blackshear's dunk. How does this happen? How does Louisville refuse to attack the paint when it has several penetrators and one of the best big men in college basketball? Where were the cutters? Why didn't the ball move around, get dumped inside, get kicked out, go back inside, etc.? Where was any semblance of offensive creativity? I would say Louisville shot itself in the foot by playing into Duke's hands, but even if the Cards tried to shoot themselves, they'd probably miss.

I_medium Former Cardinal great Roman Oben has been named the NFL's new director of youth football. Oben will serve as coordinator for the league's youth and high school outreach efforts.

I_medium Former Cardinal linebacker Patrick Grant is suing the University of Louisville. Grant claims Charlie Strong backed out of an agreement to continue Grant's scholarship into grad school after he was forced to quit the team after being assaulted in the locker room by the Geffrad twins.

I_medium Props for the rare proper pull-off of the Double L:

I_medium ESPN's College GameDay has announced that it will be headed to Charlottesville for Virginia-Duke on Jan. 31 and not to Louisville for the Cards' game against North Carolina. That means the tip for the UNC game will be at 4 p.m. It had previously been listed as 4 p.m. or 7 p.m.

The Yum Center's last chance to land a GameDay game this season is the regular season finale against Virginia on March 7.

I_medium The Minnesota Post has a lengthy profile of Gorgui Dieng, who might be the Timerwolves' first half MVP.

But the strain on Dieng is as much mental as physical. He is exceptionally bright, having passed his SAT test six months after learning English with a score that was 400 points above the requirement needed to attend college. And he is exceptionally competitive.

"What stood out immediately was that he played hard and made every effort to guard his man," remembers Wolves general manager Milt Newton, who saw Dieng as a teenager at the Basketball Without Borders clinic in South Africa after Dieng was selected as one of the continent's top sixty players less than two years after his first experience at organized hoops. Today, Newton says, "I think he competes as hard as anybody in the league."

It is not hard to notice that Dieng is victimized by his own impatience. The "conceptual breakdowns" bemoaned by Saunders are frequently the result of him trying to do too much, often overcompensating for the all-too-frequent defensive lapses of his mostly inexperienced teammates. And it doesn't help that the power forward playing beside him in the front court, almost always either Thad Young or Anthony Bennett, is as undersized as he is, and with less inclination to play solid defense.

The young wing players Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad have appropriately garnered a lot of attention and praise for their energy and development thus far this season. But when it comes to dedicated, well-rounded production, a case can be made that Dieng has been the Wolves most valuable performer during this first half of the season.

I_medium Great news for the U of L School of Music, which recently received the largest financial gift in history.

I_medium The Cards are a three seed in the West in SI's latest mock bracket. We should all be rooting for this to happen on Selection Sunday because as much as it sucks not being able to go to the games, the West is pretty much always going to provide the easiest route to the Final Four until the Selection Committee returns to the old S-Curve method.

I_medium Louisville's wins over Kentucky (62) and Notre Dame (54) both make appearances in SB Nation's top 100 games of the 2014 college football season list. The Cards' loss to Florida State also checks in at No. 34.

I_medium Athlon says Jeff Brohm was the 5th-best coaching hire of 2014.

I_medium Sam Vecenie of CBS has Trez at No. 13 and Terry at No. 53 in his latest list of the top 100 NBA Draft prospects.

I_medium And finally, U of L has updated its football roster in preparation for spring practice.