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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Jon Durlauf has been tailgating at Heinz Field since Louisville's last game there in 2012.

I_medium Spread check: Pitt by 2.5.

I_medium Campus Insiders likes Pitt over Louisville by a field goal.

I_medium Hartford coach John Gallagher was extremely complimentary of Louisville following last night's game:

I_medium Louisville might have dominated Hartford Tuesday night, but Pancake Thomas stood out for reasons beyond his nickname.

I_medium Cardinal signee V.J. King has been named to the USA Today Preseason ALL-USA boys basketball team.

I_medium After their 0-3 start, Louisville football is now right where most people expected them to be at this point in the season.

It is easy to get lost inside a season when there are a few cringe-worthy performances. Is it disappointing Louisville did not pull out close losses against Auburn, Houston and Clemson? Of course. Louisville had opportunities to win all three. But the season did not go into the tank. Coach Bobby Petrino praised his players Monday for keeping a positive attitude despite the rough start. Nobody on the team knew what it was like to drop the first three games to a season. They promised to do better.

And, basically, the Cards have won all the games they were supposed to win, and beat favored NC State on the road to get back to a bowl for a sixth straight season.

"We stuck to our beliefs," Petrino said. "I feel like we're playing pretty good right now. It's a good swing, that's for sure."

On the flip side, only one of their victories has come against a winning FBS team (the Wolfpack). They won ugly against Boston College and Wake Forest. They were tied with Virginia headed into the fourth quarter last week. It has been a slog all year. That is why the Pitt game is so important in how the overall season will be viewed. Maybe more so with Kentucky to close out the regular season.

Yes, Louisville is about where we expected. But a few more losses, and the complexion of the season changes.

I_medium Louisville's non-conference schedule got a big boost when Michigan State knocked off No. 4 Kansas last night in Chicago. That's the good news, the bad news is that Denzel Valentine looked unstoppable and the Spartans overall looked like they'll wind up being better than the squad which knocked U of L out in the Elite 8 last season. The Cards head to East Lansing on Dec. 2.

I_medium If you need tickets to Saturday's game against North Florida, you could earn two just by retweeting this.

I_medium Eric Crawford says Tuesday was a big step forward for Trey Lewis.

2. LEWIS INCREASES HIS COMFORT LEVEL. Having watched Trey Lewis run the point in Puerto Rico, in the preseason and now, Tuesday night looked to be the most comfortable I've seen him in a Louisville uniform. He probably looks his most at home when in the game with Quentin Snider, when he can assume the shooting guard role. But Lewis was under control, made good decisions on when to pass and when to shoot, and in general showed the best balance he's shown since arriving.

"Q and I are getting to know each other better and how to play together all the time," Lewis said. "I get to know all these guys better every day."

Lewis finished with 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting, five rebounds and three assists. The rebounds also were important — something that Cardinal coaches have been stressing for the guards.

I_medium Malik Monk picked Kentucky this morning and Arkansas fans, including Bobby Portis, are freaking out about it.

I_medium The Charlie Strong to Miami rumors aren't going to die any time soon.

I_medium Moments after this picture was taken, Hikutini hurdled the group of kids.

I_medium Pro Football Focus has Sheldon Rankins graded as the third-best senior interior defensive lineman.

I_medium Former Card Hajj Turner, who is now an assistant at George Washington, enjoyed Rick Pitino's appearance on Ramsey & Rutherford yesterday.

You're still my favorite, Hajj.

I_medium Congrats to Scottie Davenport and the Bellarmine Knights on becoming the new No. 1 ranked team in Division-II.

I_medium Ted gon' Ted.

I_medium It's far too early for this to carry much weight, but North Florida, Louisville's Saturday opponent, currently sits at No. 8 in the RPI.

I_medium SB Nation's latest longform is "Five Last Rounds in Louisville," which details the final time Muhammad Ali ever boxed.

I_medium If this is true (not the NCAA part), it's ridiculous on multiple levels:

I_medium U of L commit Dez Fitzpatrick has been named one of four finalists for Michigan's Mr. Football.

I_medium Devante Parker is watching old highlights of himself at Louisville to remind himself that he's really good at football.

Parker, who didn't play at all Sunday according to nfl.com's game book, said it's easy to feel in the dumps because of his predicament these days, so much so that he has begun watching tapes of great catches he made at Louisville.

The point?

"To remind myself I can still make plays like that," he said.

I_medium Reggie Bonnafon has accepted a new role this season with a smile on his face.

I_medium If you're headed to Pitt this weekend, be advised:

Fans Tailgating Before the Louisville Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Game

Could Win $100,000 and a Trip to National Title Game

WHAT: The Allstate Tailgate Tour, a unique and interactive fan experience visiting college football stadiums across the country, is heading to Pittsburgh this weekend as the Panthers take on the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, November 21.

FACT: Fans can enter the Allstate It's Good Sweepstakes on-site, which will award one lucky grand prize winner and three friends with a trip to New Orleans for the 2016 Allstate® Sugar Bowl® before traveling to Phoenix for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship. The winner will also receive $100,000 as part of the grand prize package and a meet and greet with Kirk Herbstreit.

Fans can also enter the sweepstakes at AllstateCFB.com.

WHEN: 12:30 - 3:30 PM | 11/21/2015

WHERE: Heinz Field
100 Art Rooney Ave,

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

MORE: Additionally, Allstate has teamed up with Herbstreit to launch the #StreitCred program. At the end of each week throughout the college football season, @Allstate and @KirkHerbstreit will share which teams stood out the most and are deserving of #StreitCred. The schools selected, regardless of ranking, will be given Herbstreit's stamp of approval through the use of the hashtag #StreitCred giving fans the ultimate form of validation for the teams they love.

I_medium Nanu

I_medium Denzel Valentine's triple-double last night made him "even sexier" according to his head coach.

I_medium I love this:

I_medium You know how sometimes you think you're really drunk and then you see someone else who's SO drunk that it sobers you up. South Carolina and Clemson fans petitioning to have their kickoff time changed is the "hating noon kickoffs" equivalent of that phenomenon.

I_medium And finally, we're talking about all of last night's college basketball action as well as Saturday's game against Pitt from 3-6 on 93.9 The Ville. Listen live here.