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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

It's December, which means the season of CCBM Christmas trees has arrived.

I_medium Spread check: Michigan State by 6.

I_medium Michigan State beat writer Kyle Austin details 5 things to watch for tomorrow night at the Breslin Center.

New-look Louisville

Don't bother cuing up that tape from last year's Elite Eight matchup. Louisville is led by different players this year, and has only two who have played with the Cardinals for more than one full season.

Two transfer guards carry the load for the Cardinals this year in Damion Lee (previously at Drexel) and Trey Lewis (previously at Cleveland State). But despite the new faces, the Cardinals are still a Rick Pitino team. Louisville leads the nation in rebounding margin and is top three in field goal percentage defense.

The Cardinals are 5-0, but have played nobody of consequence. Wednesday will mark their first true litmus test of the season.

How does Denzel get guarded?

We've reached the point of the season where Denzel Valentine won't be surprising anybody anymore. He's proven through seven games that he'll be playing on another level this year, and that he's easily the Spartans' best option.

That figures to change the scouting report on Michigan State. Teams are likely to start mixing up defenses even more to slow down Valentine. Some may simply look more to initiate contact whenever Valentine guards them one-on-one, in hopes that new freedom of movement rules get him in foul trouble, as they did on Sunday.

Whatever happens, sustaining this hot start will likely mean Valentine needs to adapt more going forward as teams make a more concerted effort to slow him down.

I_medium The ACC and the Big 10 are knotted up after day one of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge thanks to Wake Forest's 69-68 win over Rutgers and Minnesota's 89-83 toppling of Clemson.

Here's tonight's schedule:

Michigan at N.C. State, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Northwestern at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m., ESPNU
No. 10 Virginia at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 21 Miami at Nebraska, 9 p.m., ESPNU
No. 11 Purdue at Pittsburgh, 9 p.m., ESPN2
No. 2 Maryland at No. 9 North Carolina, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

The ACC has not won this event since 2008.

I_medium If you missed my roundup of the best of college basketball in November, you can catch the magic here.

I_medium So much 2005 Otis George in Gorgui Dieng.

I_medium A basketball coaching website has an informative breakdown of a handful of Jeff Walz plays.

I_medium The winners for both best headline:

And best opening two paragraphs:

A 21-year-old man punched both of his grandparents in the face in part because UK lost its annual football grudge match to UofL over the weekend, according to police.

LMPD officers were called to the 100 block of Blue Fields Road on Saturday after the football game. That's where Conner Karem "became violent after a brief discussion regarding salad," according to his arrest report.

for a 2015 news story have been decided.

In news that will shock you to the core, it appears the young man is a very big fan of a certain Kentucky sports website.

I_medium Single game tickets will become available tomorrow for Louisville's ACC home basketball games.

I_medium I enjoy this recap:

I_medium The Louisville volleyball team has earned the No. 15 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament and will host the first two rounds of the big dance at Cardinal Arena this weekend. The Cards will host Belmont on Friday and then face the winner of Illinois/Southern Illinois on Saturday should they advance.

Here's the full bracket for the tournament.

I_medium Speaking of the volleyball team, the ladies spent some time with the media and their ACC championship trophy this afternoon.

I_medium Lamar Jackson finished third in the voting for ACC Offensive Player of the Year and fourth for overall Rookie of the Year. Pitt's Jordan Whitehead and Qadree Ollison took home the respective honors.

I_medium Louisville is up to No. 11 in the latest Ken Pom rankings.

I_medium Tom Izzo appeared on The V Show with Bob Valvano earlier this afternoon. You can listen to the interview here.

I_medium Glorious:

I_medium On this day 48 years ago, Wes Unseld set Louisville's single-game scoring record by dropping 45 on Georgetown College.

I_medium Balancing Louisville football and being a husband is a struggle that only Josh Appleby knows.

I_medium Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader says that Mark Stoops' is all but totally safe for the next two years, which suits me just fine.

According to the deal signed by Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and Stoops last Oct. 29, if UK were to fire the coach without cause before Dec. 1, 2017, it would owe him all the remaining salary in a contract that runs through June 30, 2020.

So if UK fired Stoops now, it would owe him $15.5 million.

Some people say Stoops, now 12-24 (4-20 in SEC games) in three seasons at UK, must have a winning season in 2016 to keep his job. As a certain former Louisville coach is wont to say: Not so fast, my friends.

If UK has a fourth straight losing season next fall, terminating the coach's deal after the 2016 season would still cost Kentucky some $12 million.

Even for a school flush with $EC Network cash, paying someone $12 million not to coach would be a heavy lift.

I_medium Jeff Greer examines how Louisville might try to slow down Denzel Valentine tomorrow night.

I_medium Calvin Pryor: still a bad, bad man.

I_medium Our U of L Equipment dudes getting some much-deserved alone time with the Governor's Cup:

I_medium The folks over at The Crunch Zone are hearing that the Music City Bowl is the most likely destination for Louisville, which is something that I'm pretty sure everyone would be good with.

I_medium All Keith Towbridge wants is some consistency when it comes to being penalized for doing The Dab.

I_medium The Jeff Walz Show is on tonight from 7-8 on 93.9 The Ville.

I_medium With Ohio State making a big late push, Bobby Petrino felt the need to visit Trinity star Rodjay Burns on Monday and let him know that he is one of Louisville's biggest priorities.

"He made me feel like he really wanted me," Burns said. "I love Louisville and he said he wanted to come and see me first before he went to see anyone else. I really liked that a lot."

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Burns committed to Louisville back in March and said he would make an official visit on Jan. 15. He said Ohio State and several other schools are trying to get him to make a visit.

"But I don't think I will take any others besides Louisville," Burns said. "I'm pretty much sold on Louisville.

"Coach (Petrino) talked to me about the future and what college would be like, how football is important but the No. 1 thing was my academics and about me getting a degree. I'm excited about (the future)."

As a senior, Burns had 44 catches for 744 yards and 14 touchdowns as a wide receiver and on defense had 22 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups. He was named Class 6-A, District Four Player of the Year.

Burns said he's unsure what position he'll play in college but thinks the U of L coaches "may lean" towards defense.

I_medium Tom Izzo is not a fan of the new college basketball rule changes that have drawn mostly positive reviews thus far.

I_medium If you missed it over the weekend, Rick Pitino thinks his team is being undervalued by voters in large part because of what has happened off the court the last couple of months.

I_medium St. X defensive end Ethan Adams is the latest local player to commit to walking on at Louisville.

I_medium That is stark contrast....

I_medium The Louisville Cardinal says the freshman Donovan Mitchell is already providing both stability and talent for the Cardinal basketball team.

I_medium DeAngelo Brown gets some love from his hometown paper.

I_medium And finally, on this afternoon's Ramsey & Rutherford we will talk more about Louisville's bowl options and preview tomorrow night's huge game against Michigan State with Detroit Free Press beat writer Joe Rexrode. Listen to the show here.