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Wednesday morning Cardinal news and notes

Sutton Frey is still all in on his prediction of an Anton Gill breakout performance in the Sweet 16.

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I_medium Spread Check: Louisville by 2.5.

I_medium Perfect execution here:

I_medium The AP writes about Louisville's tournament turnaround and the challenge it has ahead of itself in NC State.

The Cardinals look to carry that efficiency over to their second meeting against the eighth-seeded Wolfpack, winners of eight of their last 10. North Carolina State beat Louisville last month 74-65 on the Cardinals home court behind 21 points from dynamic sophomore guard Cat Barber (12.3 points per game). Though shutting him down is the focus again, they must also contain leading scorer Trevor Lacey (15.7 points) and Ralston Turner (12.8).

North Carolina State must deal with new faces in Louisville's rotation as well.

Snider has progressed from tentative newcomer to a more confident part of the offense, just what Louisville needed after losing Jones. He has combined for 26 points, nine rebounds, three assists and just two turnovers in both wins, important numbers for an offensively challenged team even with Jones.

"He's getting better defensively, he sees things very well, he's good on the break and he's fearless," Pitino said of the Louisville native.

I_medium Ashley Judd has apologized for the entire Kentucky fan base for its online treatment of Cincinnati's Octavius Ellis. If she makes this a habit it's going to become a full-time job.

I_medium CBS' Matt Nortlander says Louisville/NC State is "far and away" the least enticing Sweet 16 matchup.

I_medium Would buy this poster.

I_medium Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg says that of the 16 teams remaining, Louisville is just the 12th-most likely to win the national title.

I_medium Sports Illustrated looks at the reasons why each of the four teams remaining in the East Region will and won't advance to the Final Four.

How they got here: Beat No. 13 UC-Irvine, 57-55, and No. 5 Northern Iowa, 66-53

​Why they'll make the Final Four: Entering the tournament, Louisville seemed to be a longshot even to make the second weekend, much less Indianapolis. The Cardinals are down to three playmakers—sophomore guard Tery Rozier, junior forward Montrezl Harrell and senior wing Wayne Blackshear—but they are bringing their best game to the Big Dance. Rozier scored 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting against UNI, and Montrezl Harrell added 14, making 5-for-11. Blackshear has 29 points in two games, well above his season average of 11.2 points per game.

The emergence of freshman guard Quentin Snider has also been a boon. Coach Rick Pitino prefers to have a rotation of three guards, primarily to run his complicated matchup zone defense. Snider has filled in admirably, and the team is playing some of its best defense of the season. Snider has also alleviated some of the offensive pressure on the big three; his season-long offensive rating is 91.9, but he's averaging 119.5 in two tournament games so far.

Why they won't make the Final Four: Louisville still has a pancake-thin margin for error. An off night from Rozier, in particular, could be fatal. This team is also Rick Pitino's worst group of three-point shooters ever at Louisville—they make just 30.8% from beyond the arc, 308th in the country. As Villanova showed, an over-reliance on the three-ball can be a team's undoing. If an opponent gets a big lead on Louisville, this group of Cardinals cannot shoot themselves back into the game.

In fact, this isn't a strong shooting team in any category. They make just 48.7% of their two-pointers (126th in the country) and 66.7% of their free throws (259th). Making the Final Four requires playing four games of your best basketball. Louisville has already played two as well as it possibly can. Can the Cardinals keep up the pace to make a most unexpected Final Four?

I_medium Yahoo says that all of the sudden, Louisville looks like a Final Four threat again.

I_medium According to the projections at numberFire, Louisville has a 30 percent chance to reach Indianapolis, but just a 1 percent chance to win it all.

I_medium CBS Sports' Sam Vecenie looks at the best individual performances from the round of 32 and says that Terry Rozier had, in his mind, the best.

No. 42 Terry Rozier, Louisville -- 25 points, seven assists, five rebounds, 8-13 FG, 8-9 FT vs. Northern Iowa: This was, in my mind, the best performance of the weekend. The Panthers -- who have an excellent defense predicated upon limiting dribble penetration -- couldn't keep Rozier out of the paint in any way, shape, or form. Think there's a good chance he goes in the first round at this point if he comes out, even if I do believe he'll be more of a bench combo guard than a starter in the NBA. His skillset as a scorer/slasher and a pesky, athletic defender makes me believe he'll at least have a nice career.

The "No. 42" Rozier has next to his name is where Vecenie currently has the sophomore guard on his NBA Draft big board.

I_medium There will be some history for Louisville to buck on Friday, because in four meetings since 2000, No. 8 seeds are a perfect 4-0 against No. 4 seeds.

I_medium Michael Bush's time at the first NFL veterans combine did not go as well as he would have liked.

I_medium The AP looks at the recruiting trail Rick Pitino and Louisville have paved through Seattle.

I_medium Cat Barber wrote the President an apology letter after getting caught saying "f--k wrong with Obama?" on national television. The President had picked Villanova to play in the national title game.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team continued its recent struggles with Indiana, falling to the 19th-ranked Hoosiers and former assistant Chris Lemonis in Bloomington by a final of 3-0 on Tuesday. Their uniforms were straight fire though.

I_medium The best feel good story of last weekend took place in Louisville.

I_medium The KFC Yum Center ranks No. 3 when it comes to the greenest venues in college basketball.

I_medium USA Today ranks the teams in the Sweet 16 and has Louisville all the way down at No. 14.

14. Louisville: Coach Rick Pitino has been blunt in interviews, saying this is far from his best team and that this group has been tough to coach based on diverse personalities. Factor in starting point guard Chris Jones being dismissed from the team late in the season and it was difficult to fathom Louisville, even as a No. 4 seed, reaching the Sweet 16. They struggled to put away UC Irvine in the opening round. Credit Terry Rozier, who's as good if not better in the shooting guard role than shot-happy Russ Smith. His 25 points and seven assists catapulted the Cardinals past a Northern Iowa team that was arguably better.

As for the other East Region teams, Michigan State is No. 5, Oklahoma No. 8, and NC State No. 13.

I_medium Despite a trying regular season, Louisville is still standing after one week of the big dance, writes Sports Illustrated's Greg Bishop.

I_medium Tim Fuller will not be returning to Missouri because FULLLLEEEERRRR.

I_medium This might be my favorite tweet of all-time:

If there was a Card Chronicle Museum (and there should be), that framed tweet would be the featured exhibit 365 days a year.

I_medium The Sporting News has zero Cardinals in its list of the 16 best players in the Sweet 16. I disagree.

I_medium "Jobu" from Major League is currently on display at the Louisville Slugger Museum, which makes me happy.

I_medium U of L women's swimming coach Arthur Albiero has been named National Coach of the Year by

I_medium I laugh every time I look at this cartoon.

I just imagine the Cardinal busting in and shouting "I'M BAAAAACK" like Kyle's cousin in South Park.

I_medium Eric Crawford has a great piece on Bellarmine, which will be playing in the Division-II Elite 8 in Evansville tonight at 9:30.

I_medium The Courier-Journal's Steve Jones breaks down the quarterback rotation on day one, which went Bonnafon, Bolin, Ferguson during 7-on-7 drills, but that order is expected to be flipped all spring.

"They're all going to have great chances to go with the No. 1s, and they know that they're going to compete for it and all get reps in there with the No. 1s," Petrino said after the first of 14 public practices leading up to the April 17 spring game. "... Today Reggie and Kyle (Bolin) worked with the No. 1s, and Tyler (Ferguson) came in there and got good reps with the No. 2s. Kyle kind of went back and forth, but we'll kind of rotate it as the week goes on."

A fourth contender, junior Will Gardner is sitting out spring practice while recovering from knee surgery, and U of L's fifth QB, Pat Thomas, appeared to take slightly fewer reps than the first three.

Petrino said the Cards have set a goal this spring for Bonnafon, U of L's top dual-threat quarterback, to improve as a passer, and he had some struggles on Day 1 of spring. He was intercepted twice, including once by safety Chucky Williams. Petrino praised Williams - a front-runner to start for the first time this fall - for his improvement since the middle of last season, and he said U of L's defense, as expected, outplayed the offense on a no-pads opening day.

"(Bonnafon) made a couple bad decisions - got an interception on one - and his accuracy wasn't as good as it needs to be," Petrino said, "but he did a lot of good things, too, and we're going to continue to look at the good things and emphasize the good things and then get him to work on becoming a better passer."

Bolin, who started the Belk Bowl last year, looked like the most accurate passer on the opening day, and he connected on long gains to UAB transfer Jamari Staples and freshman Traveon Samuel.

"I think his timing's maybe a little bit ahead of the other two as far as making the decision and getting the ball out of his hand," Petrino said. "He made some good, accurate throws. He had a couple bad decisions where he wasn't keying the free safety and knowing where to go with the ball, but I was happy with his timing and his accuracy."

Ferguson looks the part of a major college quarterback at 6 feet 4, 217 pounds, and he throws a rocket.

"He's got a big arm," Petrino said. "He can really wing it around. I was happy with the way he was working hard at making decisions, seeing the defense and not just reacting to things and throwing the ball. But he can really throw it. He's got a big arm. He's got to learn the offense."

Also, here's a pretty dope look at day one from the U of L football video folks:

I_medium DePaul has apparently put all its chips on Bobby Hurley (even though he just signed a new deal with Buffalo) without even talking to me, which is kind of bullsh-t, but whatever.

I_medium Myron Medcalf of ESPN has 10 bold predictions for the Sweet 16, and one of them is the Cards avenging their February loss to NC State.

I_medium Before last Friday's game, Brandeis Law School Dean Susan Duncan and UC-Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky agreed to a friendly wager. The result of that wager will bring Chemerinsky, a prominent constitutional law scholar, to U of L where he will give a speech and to supply a bottle of California wine.

I_medium The lighting here is brilliant.

I_medium The Fayetteville Observer sizes up Louisville.

I_medium And finally, beat NC State.