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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Violet Reese Holman's troll game is already elite. She also claims to have taught Donovan Mitchell everything he knows about the art of dunking.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 5.5 (opened at -5).

I_medium For those asking, the basketball team went ahead and made the trip to Atlanta yesterday in order to beat the storm. They arrived safely and are good to go for tomorrow afternoon's game.

I_medium Louisville now sits at No. 2 in Ken Pomeroy's rankings.

I_medium Sports Illustrated says VJ King could be the perfect replacement for Damion Lee next season.

King is a top-flight perimeter scorer who can convert from the mid-range, slither around defenders in the lane and excels on basket-attacks. He offer favorable size and, with his athletic tools, could develop into a solid multiple-position defender. King's long-range shooting is still coming around—he connected on only 26% of his threes with his grassroots program, Team Takeover, in the EYBL last year—but he said he plans to work on "staying consistent with my jumper" in addition to his ball handling and "being more aggressive and more assertive."

Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels pointed to an improvement in the "overall maturity" in King's game. "He's taking better shots, he's playing a tougher brand of basketball," Daniels said. "He's a pretty good shooter from mid-range and in right now. I think as time goes on, he's going to become a better and better three-point shooter, because he has good shot mechanics. He just needs to put more time into it, and I think, as a scorer, he's really improved and matured."

Louisville coaches have instructed King to monitor Lee this season, King said, because he will be asked to play his position. "They just tell me to watch what he does, how he plays." Reprising Lee's combination of shot volume and efficiency won't be easy, but King has the potential to thrive at Louisville. The Cardinals will need him to get up to speed quickly, too, because they're also set to lose another key contributor in their backcourt this offseason, fellow graduate transfer Trey Lewis.

I_medium Louisville is No. 19 in the latest power rankings from Luke Winn.

I_medium From the Rumble Seat looks at what Georgia Tech, Louisville's next opponent, needs to do in order to make the NCAA Tournament. It is a lot.

I_medium Let's use any snow from now until March as reason for delaying tip times until after 9 p.m.

I_medium Louisville is a six seed in the latest Bracketology from CBS.

I_medium Top Louisville LB target Kapri Doucet will be announcing his college decision on Monday.

UPDATE: Doucet has announced that he is headed to Oklahoma.

I_medium You didn't know Bobby Petrino had wheels like this:

Neither did a pair of his current fastest players.

I_medium Your ACC dunks of the week are here. I'm fairly certain you can guess at least one of them.

I_medium Nick Dawson-Brents has announced that he will be following Keith Brown to Western Kentucky where both former Cardinal defenders will be playing their final season of college ball.

I_medium The ACC Digital Network ranks the top players in the conference (video).

I_medium How this story got out there is finally starting to make some sense.

I_medium For any wrestling fans out there, this longform read on The Big Show and how he almost ruined his career by taking Hulk Hogan's advice that he should become a boxer is fascinating.

I_medium Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are in the middle of atrocious 2015-16 campaigns, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune explains why the college team needs to stick with its current coach (Richard Pitino) while the pro team needs to cut ties with its.

Pitino has had an even worse season than Mitchell. But he is not an interim coach, and he works for an organization that doesn't have an entrenched athletic director or a president who is sports-savvy. Unlike in Mitchell's case, Pitino's best players are not here yet. They will arrive next season, and they could combine with Jordan Murphy and Nate Mason and some of the other youngsters who are truly promising to attempt to build a winner.

Mitchell is a better coach than Pitino right now, but Pitino, under these circumstances, will get a longer look. That might not seem fair, but it makes sense.

I_medium Louisville commit P.J. Blue is getting a fullcourt press from Oklahoma, and will visit Bob Stoops and company this weekend.

I_medium How did Gary Payton II become a college basketball star? His dad basically trash talked him into it.

I_medium If you haven't made it to a Jeff Walz radio show, then you have never experienced lit.

I_medium A couple of Louisville football's expected weekend visitors had to cancel because of the weather, but U of L will still host four.

I_medium The New Orleans Saints are among the teams that will be taking a hard look at Sheldon Rankins during Senior Bowl week.

I_medium Both VJ King and Frankie Hughes are tearing things up accordingly in their final season of high school ball.

A 6-foot-6 wing, King boasts good size, length and athleticism for a perimeter prospect. But King has always had impressive physical attributes, where he's improved a great deal over his high school career is with his feel as a scorer. King's game has matured, as he's spruced up his shot selection, has become a more well rounded scorer and more often than not makes the right play.

Scoring is certainly where King brings the most value. He looks to drive the ball, attack off the dribble and is a quality finisher at the rim. But he's also a more than capable shooter on the pull and does a good job of creating space for shot opportunities. King also has improved his long-range stroke. At this stage, King is a slightly above average shooter from three, but with hard work and time that will continue to improve, as he has good shot mechanics and form.

King, who is averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds a game, should be an impact performer at Louisville and with Damien Lee set to graduate, he will have a good opportunity to slide in and bring a scoring punch to the table for the Cardinals.

Frankie Hughes has had a very good senior season to date. Hughes has always been known as a shooter, but this year he has done a bit more of what you would look for from a point guard. His ball handling has improved, and also he is making much better decisions. Now Hughes still has a ways to go in terms of becoming a point guard and being the guy you want making decisions with the game on the line, but he is making progress and his scoring is still at a high level.

Even though Hughes was seen as a bit of a reach at the time of his commitment, his development has him looking like someone who could crack the rotation at Louisville early in his career and maybe even developing into a starter before it is all said and done.

I_medium Devonte Fields wound up being the only Louisville player who cracked ESPN's list of the ACC's 25 best for 2015.

I_medium Student announcers are the best.

I_medium There are currently nine ACC teams in the field of 68 according to SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean.

I_medium Bob Huggins sat down with Jeff Goodman for a lengthy interview, and as you might expect, he was quite candid.

You really believe the college game is better than the NBA game. Why?

Because I think the normal people, Americans, have a hard time relating to guys making 10, 12, 14 million dollars a year. There's not the emotion there is in college basketball. I think you can more relate to kids out there. They say our numbers are down, the NBA is up. But the NBA never pits one game against another. Ever. On national TV, there's one game. At any point in time, you can get five or six college games on the regular networks. It's all about overexposure.

The perception of you, dating back to your days at Cincinnati, is that you're a tough guy, that you crush your kids, that you don't care about academics, that your kids are thugs. How much does that bother you?

We can only control what we control. I can't control what people think about me. I couldn't control what people thought about my kids. I know this -- I've never had more loyal guys. I've had loyal guys at Walsh, at Akron and at Cincinnati. One of our major publications went around trying to dig up stuff people would say, and none of our guys would say anything other than he's a good guy who cared about us.

On one hand, we're told to stay out of academics. On the other hand, we're told to graduate everybody. We've graduated everybody here at West Virginia except for one -- and he's six hours away. So 30 of my 31 guys have graduated. I had nothing to do with it. It's an institutional commitment. It's a commitment by our university that we're going to supply all the resources, everything it takes to be successful academically.

Did you embrace having the black hat after Jerry Tarkanian retired?

When it first happened, I thought it was a wonderful thing to be compared to Jerry Tarkanian, because his players loved him. I thought that was a wonderful thing. The truth of the matter is, if you turn on the Western channel, the guys in the black hats are always the bad guys and the guys in the white hats are always the good guys. For whatever reason, when this whole thing started, they put a black hat on me and it's hard to get it off. It's almost impossible to get it off until people take the time to know me, to know my players. I think when they do, they walk away with an entirely different opinion.

I_medium Vanity Fair is the latest publication to talk to Samaki Walker about his experience playing in Syria.

I_medium I mentioned earlier this week that the U of L swim team was facing rival Kentucky this weekend. What I wasn't aware of is the fact that Arthur Albiero's Cards have won eight straight over the Cats.

There has been a change in that meet time, by the way.

The University of Louisville No. 10 men's and No. 10 women's swimming and diving teams will return to the competition pool this weekend as they host the annual Battle of the Bluegrass against in state rival, Kentucky on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Ralph Wright Natatorium. The meet start time has been moved from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. due to inclimate weather and travel concerns in the region.

In their last time out, the Cardinals took down ACC foe Florida State. After holding slim leads after the first day of competition, the Cardinals won 17 of the 20 events on the second day to cruise to the victory. The men posted a 203-150 victory while the women surged to a 238-115 win.

Go Cards.

I_medium Vintage DePaul Day for your Friday enjoyment.

I_medium The Music City Bowl announced earlier this week that the Louisville-Texas A&M game delivered a 3.3 US HH rating on ESPN with an average of 5.4 million viewers. This was the fourth highest rating ever achieved by the bowl. It is also the first time in the Bowl's history that the game has averaged over 5 million viewers each year in back-to-back years. In addition, outside of the New Year's Six, this year's Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl was the fifth most viewed game in the country this bowl season.

I_medium The NCAA has approved a waiver that will allow alcohol sales at the College World Series. That's a change that could be coming at the absolute perfect time for Cardinal fans.

I_medium I love the quote, and I love the fact that the Des Moines Register fully embraced it.

By the way, Uthoff is awesome.

I_medium Card Chronicle alumna Haley O'Shaughnessy writes about Damion Lee's mic skills for SI Campus Rush.

"I used to be shy about it," said Lee, Louisville's leading scorer. "It was just a hobby, just something to clear my mind ... I'm more comfortable with it [today] because I'm more comfortable with myself."

That impromptu concert blew up on social media, but it was not a shock for most of the team, who knew about Lee's lyricism.

"When I first played one of my songs for them," Lee said, "they were like, 'Alright, who is this?' They didn't believe it was me. They thought I was joking. Then they listened to it and were like, 'Hey, you're actually pretty good.'"

As a graduate transfer and team captain, Lee is a long way from his days writing rhymes in middle school, so now he proudly shows off his talent. Still, it has yet to come up with one of the most important influences in his life, Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

"I haven't gone up to him like, 'Hey coach, wanna listen to my mixtape?'" Lee laughed, shrugging his shoulders.

"But," he said, "When it's finished, I'm going to drop him a copy."

Rick will be bumping that shit on the way to 5 a.m. practices in 2017.

I_medium You've probably seen this by now, but if you haven't, it's glorious.

I_medium Best day of the week at ESPN Louisville.

Seriously though, the Kentucky Humane Society is awesome. If you're at all interested in adopting a pet, I can't recommend going through them highly enough.

I_medium Former WR commit Dez Fitzpatrick says he will announce his final four schools at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

I_medium And finally, the snow will not keep your Friday edition of Ramsey & Rutherford from going on. We will talk with Rick Pitino again at 3:30, and if it turns out that we're snowed in, we're just going to get drunk and broadcast through the night. Should be entertaining.