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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Cooper and Max can't control their excitement for either tonight's game at Virginia Tech or the release of the 2016 football schedule.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 10.

I_medium The Hokies will be in black and pink for this evening's game.

I_medium The Minnesota Vikings' official website reviews Teddy Bridgewater's second NFL season.

I_medium Bleacher Report has Rick Pitino at No. 9 in its 2015-16 Coach of the Year rankings.

Record: 16-3 (5-1 ACC), second in ACC

No matter how you feel about Louisville's alleged recruiting scandaland Rick Pitino's alleged role in the related activities, you have to respect the way he's managed to keep his team on task.

This offseason, Pitino made masterful use of the graduate transfer rule tobring in fifth-year guards Damion Lee and Trey Lewis—a tandem that sits one-two on the team in scoring with a combined 28.8 points per game.

Pitino also has done well guiding a crowded front court. Despite losing center Mangok Mathiang to a broken foot, the Cardinals still top the ACC with 41.9 rebounds and rank third with 5.16 blocks per contest.

The linchpin uniting all Pitino teams is defense, and it's no different this season. has Louisville third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, and they are second nationally with 58.8 points allowed on average per game, per NCAA statistics.

ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said this of Louisville after their Jan. 14 domination of Pittsburgh, according to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal:

I was really impressed by their defense. They did a great job defending the ball, rotating early, extending their defense and being physical without fouling. ...They're very much on the same page. The best part of their press is denying the ball inbounds. That makes a big difference.

It's hard to believe Pitino has never taken home a national Coach of the Year award. Could this be that year?

I_medium Louisville actually dropped a spot to No. 15 in ESPN's latest power rankings.

I_medium The Louisville Cardinal focuses in on Arthur Albiero and U of L swimming's continued winning ways.

I_medium A former Texas A&M trainer who was fired two years ago has told HBO's Real Sports that coaches made him clear injured athletes before they were fully healed.

I_medium ESPN has Florida State at Louisville on Sept. 17 as the fourth-most compelling ACC game of the 2016 season.

No. 4: Florida State at Louisville

Expectations are starting to surge for the Cardinals, who return starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and 17 other starters. Jackson's breakout performance against Texas A&M in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl has many convinced that Louisville will be an even more formidable opponent for Florida State and Clemson in 2016.

But for Louisville to have any shot at winning the Atlantic, the Cards are going to have to get past Florida State. Past results haven't exactly been encouraging, as they have lost both ACC matchups by double-digits. But for those Louisville fans looking for a sliver of hope, the Cards led at halftime of both games before getting blown out in the second half. Dalvin Cook posed a particular set of issues, running for over 100 yards in both games, too. Cook, of course, returns for his junior year -- along with the entire starting Florida State offense.

As for the Seminoles, they need a win in this game, too, if they want to keep up their ACC championship and national championship game hopes. Considering all the returning talent on both teams, this one is shaping up to be one of the best league matchups to watch.

I_medium Louisville is No. 16 in Gary Parrish's latest rankings for CBS.

I_medium Florida State's booster club will pay nearly $1.3 million in legal fees for former quarterback Jameis Winston's rape case, reports the Tampa Bay Times' Matt Baker.

I_medium Gobbler Country (Virginia Tech) has a really good breakdown of Louisville which ends with a prediction of an 8-point Cardinal victory this evening.

I_medium It's a bold call, there's no question about it.

I_medium The Detroit Lions have planned a formal sitdown with Sheldon Rankins which both selfishly excites me and makes me feel awful for Sheldon.

I_medium Just like Mangok Mathiang, Reggie Bonnafon would like to thank each of his U of L supporters.

What does your Scholarship mean to you?

"My scholarship is extremely important to my development as an individual. It allows me to have the opportunity to earn my degree and gain knowledge that will help me after my playing days are over. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to play football at the University of Louisville and further my education."

What does it mean to be a Cardinal?

"Being from the city of Louisville, being a Cardinal means a lot to me personally. It means a lot for me to have the opportunity to leave my mark here at the University of Louisville and I will always. It feels good to say that I will always be a Cardinal."

If you could say anything to our fans, what would it be?

"If I could say anything to our fans, it would be thank you. The support we receive from our fans is unprecedented. They support us no matter the outcome and we can always count on them to be with us both at home and one the road."

Why did you choose Louisville?

"I chose Louisville because of the commitment they have to excellence and what they mean to the community where I grew up. I've always been a huge UofL fan and to represent the school in my hometown meant a lot me and my family."

I_medium Knock on Chinanu Onuaku's underhanded free-throws all you want, but the style is working.

I_medium Speaking of Nanu, he had a great time making some new friends at Lincoln Elementary Tuesday morning.

I_medium Tickets are still available for the U of L baseball leadoff dinner.

I_medium Rick Pitino says he still "doesn't have a great handle" on just how good his current team is. The three-game stretch that begins tonight in Blacksburg should give him some more insight.

I_medium Virginia, Louisville's Saturday opponent, made a remarkable comeback last night to beat Wake Forest on what has to be the ugliest and most cruel buzzer-beater of the season to date.

I_medium Five key questions were answered (video) with the release of the full 2016 ACC schedule yesterday.

I_medium Mississippi State LB commit Erroll Thompson will visit Louisville this weekend.

I_medium Louisville is one of the 15 best cities in the world for for food.

I_medium Sometimes a man needs to know when he's defeated.

I_medium I get that you don't like Louisville, and that's fine, but man ... how much is enough?

I_medium The Lexington Herald-Leader has named American Pahroah as its 2015 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.

I_medium Lamar Jackson should have the biggest breakout season in the ACC.

1. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: The Cardinals and coach Bobby Petrino finally appear ready to move forward with a single quarterback after Jackson, a rising sophomore, dashed through the Texas A&M defense in their bowl game. Against the Aggies, Jackson ran for 200 yards and passed for another 200, a feat only matched in a bowl game by Vince Young and Johnny Manziel. What could end up keeping Jackson off this list is his health, however, as he battled nagging injuries during his freshman campaign. When healthy, he is among the conference's most electric players.

I_medium Some postgame interviews from the intramural the Cardinal basketball team attended Monday night.

I_medium The Roanoke Times focuses in on Damion Lee.

I_medium The Louisville swim team picked up three ACC weekly awards.

I_medium Don't let Sheldon hit the circle button on you.

That young man is about to be very rich because he can do things like that.

I_medium Louisville's return to Casell Coliseum has some Virginia Tech fans getting nostalgic about the old Metro days.

There was something so right about a lot of those old Metro matchups, and with Louisville joining the league, there is a feeling of déjà vu.

Names like Curry, Griffith, Ellison, Coles, Crum and Moir were on everyone's lips as the rivals tipped off in each of the games. It is an interesting series, as the teams never met prior to the dawn of the Metro Conference and then went 20 years between meetings.

On Wednesday, the importance of this series is brought back into focus, as the 16th-ranked Cardinals come to Cassell Coliseum for the first times since Jan. 12, 1995.The game once again has major conference implications, only this time of the ACC variety, as the Metro Conference is but a fond memory to college basketball fans. The teams met last season at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville as ACC opponents, but for Tech fans, this series really gets back underway Wednesday, as the teams square off for the 13th time in The Cassell.

Now is probably a good time to look back at the memorable and important contests in the series. Though just the 38th all-time meeting, there have been some doozies since the teams first met in 1979.

When the topic of great Virginia Tech-Louisville games is mentioned, the first date in every Hokie fan's memory is Jan. 9, 1982, when the unranked Hokies upset the 12th-ranked Cardinals 75-74 in overtime in Cassell Coliseum. Most consider this the true beginning to the rivalry, as it was Tech's first win in the series on its home court. The year before Dell Curry and Bobby Beecher donned Tech uniforms, the then-Gobblers got 23 points from Dale Solomon and 19 points from Jeff Schneider in the win. The Hokies wound up sweeping the season series, downing the 17th-ranked Cardinals in Freedom Hall two weeks later.

Tech's first win over Louisville came in just the second meeting, as the Gobblers defeated the 13th-ranked Cardinals 72-86 in Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis in the semifinals of the 1979 Metro Conference Tournament. The win spurred the Hokies on to the title game, where they defeated Florida State 68-60 to win the school's only conference championship in basketball.

The Hokies also picked up a season sweep during the 1990-91 season, including a 72-56 victory at Cassell Coliseum. Following that season, Louisville has had the upper hand in the series.

Dell Curry was one of the greats that seemed to always have a big game against the Cardinals. In his only game against Louisville as a freshman, he scored just four points. It was the last time the Cards held him in single figures, as he scored 26, 23 and 18 points in the three meetings between the two schools during his sophomore year. For his career, he averaged 17.5 points per game against Louisville and set the school's single-game steals record with eight steals on Jan. 14, 1984.

I_medium The Daily Press says Virginia Tech has its hands full tonight because of Louisville's ability to rebound and defend.

I_medium This is absurd.

I_medium Your full schedule of college hoops on TV this evening:

7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Clemson // Fox South

7 p.m. Texas A&M at Arkansas // ESPNU

7 p.m. Auburn at Ole Miss // SEC

7 p.m. Rutgers at Michigan // Big Ten

7 p.m. DePaul at Butler // CBS SN

7 p.m. St. John's at Seton Hall // FS1

8 p.m. Louisville at Va. Tech // NBC-3

8 p.m. Tulsa at Houston // ESPNews

9 p.m. Baylor at Okla. State // ESPNU

9 p.m. Missouri at Kentucky // SEC

9 p.m. Purdue at Minnesota // Big Ten

9 p.m. Stanford at Colorado // Pac-12

9 p.m. Loyola (Ill.) at Wichita St. // CBS SN

9 p.m. Stetson at Marquette // FS1

11 p.m. California at Utah // ESPNU

11 p.m. Boise St. at UNLV // CBS SN

I_medium And finally, Rick Pitino will once again be joining the Ramsey & Rutherford show on game day at 5 p.m. today.You can stream the show here, or listen live through your phone by calling 605-477-9680.