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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Dustin Baron is ready for the postseason and the rubber match. He's ready for all of it.

I_medium Spread Check: North Carolina by 2.5.

I_medium Today is the 10th anniversary of the Darius Washington game (10 years? holt sh-t). I don't know exactly what that means as far as this afternoon is concerned, but I know that it's big.

I_medium Congratulations to the U of L men's ice hockey team, which ended its season on an 8-game winning streak and captured its first Tri-State Collegiate Hockey League tournament championship.

I_medium In the most Kentucky story of all-time, a pastor at Second Baptist Church in Hopkinsville is trying to keep people from sitting in the back by occupying those rows with life-size cardboard cutouts of Rick Pitino, Coach K, Christian Laettner and other Louisville and Duke figures.

I_medium The Peyton Siva/Russ Smith youth basketball camp is returning to Louisville this summer.

I_medium Cool. I think.

I_medium ESPN folks are split over Louisville and North Carolina.

3. Both teams have had ups and downs this season. Which one seems one more solid right now: Louisville or North Carolina?

Katz: It's a toss-up, since both have issues. Carolina has health problems, while Louisville is still trying to find itself without Chris Jones. But the Cardinals' win over Virginia is better than anything North Carolina has done lately. So the Cards get the nod for being more secure at this juncture.

O'Neil: I'm more of a believer in Louisville simply because the Cardinals can always defend. Losing Chris Jones has been an offensive blow, but the Cards are still dangerous, especially if Kennedy Meeks can't help handle Montrezl Harrell.

Brown: North Carolina -- barely. Jones just meant so much to Louisville, offensively and defensively. Freshman Quentin Snider has done an admirable job being thrown into the starting role so late in the season, but his inexperience will inevitably show in the postseason.

I_medium Tar Heel Blog likes UNC, 72-69 this afternoon.

I_medium Rick Pitino appeared on the Terry Meiners Show on Wednesday to talk a little bit about the ACC Tournament. He didn't say anything he hasn't already said before, but you can listen to the segment below.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team split its midweek series with Ole Miss following an 8-3 loss to the visiting Rebels Wednesday afternoon. The Cards will return to the diamond this weekend for a three-game ACC set at Jim Patterson Stadium against Boston College. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

I_medium We have our first Marc Summers moment of March, 2015, and it comes from Diego Guevara's wife.

Did not see that coming and am honestly still a bit rattled.

I_medium Jeff Walz has reeled in yet another huge recruit in 6'4 class of 2016 star Kylee Shook from Colorado.

I_medium Inside Carolina takes a closer look at the Cards.

Defense Inside and Out: Whether its down in the paint or out on the perimeter, this is a group that rarely gives up easy baskets. Between Montrezl Harrell (6'8, 240 lbs.), Chinanu Onuaku (6'10, 230 lbs) and Mangok Mathiang (6'10, 220 lbs), this frontcourt is loaded with rim protectors. The Cardinal has the second-best scoring defense (59.2 points per game) and field goal percentage defense (38.7 percent) in the ACC. Those long bodies on the back end also allow guards Terry Rosier and Wayne Blackshear to extend out on the perimeter. Louisville has the best 3-point percentage defense in the conference at 28.9 percent.

Shouldering the Scoring Load: Heading into ACC Tournament play, the Cardinals have averaged 69.5 points per game (good for 5th in the ACC). A healthy dose of those points have come from Harrell (15.8 ppg) and Rozier (17 ppg). Both players were second-team all-ACC selections and have combined to account for almost 47 percent of their team's scoring production.

I_medium The New York Times appears to be a bit confused as to which conference Louisville currently plays in.

I_medium The U of L women's team is hosting an open-door NCAA selection show watch party on Monday. Here are the details.

I_medium The Louisville men's soccer team fell 3-0 in its exhibition match against Louisville City FC Wednesday night.

I_medium And so, the book closes on another season for our heroes to the North.

I_medium A couple of quotes from UNC on Louisville after yesterday's win over Boston College:

"We had two sensational games," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "They probably should have won the game at our place and we probably should have won the game at their place. But it's two teams that really, really fight like crazy.


"You don't see that very often, a team losing a big lead in two different ways and each team doing it," Paige said. "So I'm excited for the rematch just because not only is it a chance to go on to the semifinal, but when you lose the way we did at Louisville ... you want to have a chance to erase that memory."

I_medium Still no official world on the playing status of UNC big man Kennedy Meeks for today, who is still being listed as "doubtful."

I_medium If Louisville does advance and face (presumably) Virginia in the semifinals on Friday, they'll see the Cavaliers at full strength with Justin Anderson back on the court.

I_medium Notice how the guy in the Carolina blue shirt is way less confident than the woman throwing the L?

That's called symbolism, kids. Or maybe ... foreshadowing? It's something artsy that they teach you in school. Iambic pentameter?

I_medium J.P Tokoto shut down Boston College star Olivier Hanlan on Wednesday. This afternoon, he'll be tasked with trying to do the same thing to Terry Rozier.

I_medium And finally, beat North Carolina.