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Wednesday evening Cardinal news and notes

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Alice McNulty made her Yum Center debut last weekend, and the experience quickly convinced her to go against the wishes of both of her parents and spend the rest of her life as a U of L diehard.

I_medium The 12th-ranked Louisville baseball team opened its home season with a 10-1 win over Butler on Tuesday, and then turned around and defeated Eastern Kentucky 5-2 today. The Cards now sit at 5-3 on the young season.

I_medium The Business Journal has obtained all the details of Louisville's new lucrative deal with adidas, which include the following:

The deal will provide the university roughly $1.5 million in cash annually in return for the right to outfit the university's varsity athletic teams. The university also will receive an annual allowance of Adidas equipment, starting at $3.7 million in the current year, a big raise from the $2.2 million the university was owed before extending the deal. The university also gets an annual "activation investment" of around $500,000.

The nearly $5.7 million the university will receive this year ranks No. 4 of the university apparel deals in the Portland Business Journal's database of contracts.

The cash and equipment allowances increase annually. The university will get nearly $1.6 million in cash and $5.5 million in equipment the final year of the deal.

The deal will net the university more than $35 million in cash and benefits.

I_medium Awesome story here, as Lauren Hill's  Mount St. Joseph University women's basketball team brought their postseason banquet dinner to her hospital, since she would have been unable to attend otherwise.

I_medium The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy has Rick Pitino as the fourth-best coach of the NCAA Tournament's expanded bracket era.

Final Fours: NCAA titles:Tournament record: 50-17 

Overview: It's possible Pitino is the most feared NCAA Tournament coach since John Wooden, the difference being Pitino never came to the party with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Walton as his guest. Pitino is the first coach in NCAA history to guide three different schools to a Final Four appearance, and the first to guide two different schools to a national title. His improvisational genius always has made him an imposing March opponent, from his early adoption of the 3-point goal at Providence to his vicious post-traps against Tim Duncan and Marcus Camby in the 1996 tournament. The Cardinals' comeback against Florida in the 2012 Elite Eight suggested no opponent could be entirely sure of subduing a Pitino team until the final buzzer sounded, and even then it was good to check the box score to assure everything added up right.

Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun and Roy Williams are the only coaches ranked above Pitino.

I_medium Tuesday night was a pretty awesome one in college hoops.

I_medium This story has been making the rounds this week, but the Louisville Leopard Percussionists' rendition of "Kashmir" is so flawless that Jimmy Page himself had to give the group a shoutout on his Facebook page.

I_medium 'Tis "Bubble Breakdown" season.

I_medium I thought it was Thursday until like 3 p.m. today. That's not really news or a note, I just .... it gets weird when Louisville plays on Monday night.

I_medium ESPN ranks Louisville football as the third best coaching job in the ACC, which, all things considered, is pretty remarkable.

1. Florida State
With its history, national profile and recruiting radius, there isn't a better job in the conference. However, while Florida State has ranked among college football's elite programs for much of the last three decades, it's not always the easiest place to win. It needs a coach who can draw prospects to Tallahassee, and Jimbo Fisher has the program rolling. 

2. Clemson
Coach Dabo Swinney has turned the Tigers from perennial underachievers into annual ACC title contenders. There is a commitment to excellence at Clemson, and the Tigers have one of the most iconic stadiums in college football. South Carolina is not littered with prospects, but Clemson is close to Charlotte and Atlanta. 

3. Louisville
While they haven't always been viewed as one of the better jobs, the Cardinals have turned themselves into a quality program. Five different coaches have put together at least one season with just a single loss, and Bobby Petrino and Charlie Strong combined to elevate the program into title contenders. Athletic director Tom Jurich offers the required support for a football program in a basketball state, too.

I_medium Take the two seconds necessary to vote for Cardinal fans Diane Glynn and Felicia O'Bryan for the Kentucky Oaks Breast Cancer walk.

I_medium Tickets are now on sale for the U of L men's soccer game against Louisville City FC.

I_medium You're probably never going to see a banner for that inside the Yum Center.

I_medium A U of L student needs just 70 bucks to reach his RaiseRed fundraising goal, an event which donates all of its proceeds to pediatric cancer research.

I_medium Saturday Blitz looks at the top storylines in the ACC heading into spring practice.

I_medium The Chicago Bears' official website dives deeper into the special relationship between Lorenzo Mauldin and Clint Hurtt.

"He's been like a father figure to me," Mauldin told reporters at the time. "He's taught me pretty much everything I know, and I wanted to oblige that by inviting him to Senior Day to walk me out with my family. I hope to talk to him throughout my entire life."

Hurtt, who served as an assistant defensive line coach in his first season with the Bears last year, was happy to accept Mauldin's invitation back to Louisville. 

"It was an honor to do it," Hurtt told ESPN.

"Forget that he's an excellent football player. That adds onto it. He could have been a statistic. He could have blamed everybody else for what happened in his life, but he's never taken that stance. He has been the total opposite. He tries to see the brighter side of life. He cares about everybody else before he cares about himself. That's how he's always been." 

Looking back at their days together at Louisville, both men concede that it took Hurtt some time to get through to Mauldin. The teenager initially balked at Hurtt's constant in-your-face scrutiny before ultimately realizing the coach had his best interests at heart. 

"He had a tough time with hard coaching," Hurtt told ESPN. "He never had a male figure in his life really get on him about the little things he was doing. He had a tough time trusting men. It was very difficult for him."

"I was raised by all women when it came to being in foster homes," Mauldin said at the Combine. "So just having the fact of going to a new school or going to a new state, and you've got a bunch of men yelling at you, and you don't really know what's going on, and, you know, trust was a big issue for me when I first came into college."

I_medium After his combine performance, Gerald Christian is a name that is starting to be tossed around more and more as a potential draft sleeper.

I_medium Pretty nice review from the C-J on Brownie's, which is owned by a big U of L fan and is a solid viewing option for the month ahead.

I_medium U of L signee Asia Durr has been named one of 10 finalists for the Naismith national High School Player of the Year award. Durr averaged better than 33.0 ppg this season and dropped over 50 on two separate occasions.

I_medium This looks beautiful, but not pleasant.

I_medium There are still sponsorship opportunities out there for the ACC Tournament, which means our dream of seeing an "Austin Montgomery Scouting Service" decal somewhere near midcourt is still alive.

I_medium FBschedules.com says Louisville football has the second-hardest non-conference schedule in the ACC for 2015.

2. Louisville

2015 Non-Conference Opponents: Auburn (at Atlanta, GA), Houston, FCS Samford, at Kentucky

What gives Louisville a paper-thin edge over Georgia Tech, other than facing two SEC teams, is its game with Houston, a program that is 16-10 over the last two seasons and beat Pitt in last season's Armed Forces Bowl.

Add in new head coach Tom Herman, Urban Meyer's OC at Ohio State since 2012, and you get the picture. Houston is no non-conference patsy.

Louisville hasn't played two SEC opponents in the regular season since 1976 when it, as an independent, had road trips to Mississippi State and No. 18 Alabama. The Cardinals lost both games and finished the season 4-7.

Virginia checks in at No. 1 .... because apparently they can't let us beat them in anything.

I_medium Don't leave, Charles.

I_medium And finally, CBS' Sam Vecenie breaks down the ACC Player of the Year race, and says that while Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier are both in his top 5, the race is basically down to Jahlil Okafor vs. Jerian Grant (spoiler: Okafor wins).