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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Jacob Jonas is still football-focused, but he's also ready for his first taste of hoops in 2016-17.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 35.

I_medium The U of L men's soccer team tasted defeat at home for the first time in 2016 last night, falling 2-1 to No. 9 Indiana. The Cards have now lost just twice this season, but unfortunately those losses have come to the program's two biggest rivals.

Things don't get any easier for Ken Lolla's team, which travels to face No. 7 Wake Forest on Saturday.

I_medium Happy first Red-White scrimmage day.

It's all happening.

I_medium Elvis Dumervil is still working to make things better in Haiti, but he could use your help.

I_medium Jon Rothstein lists Louisville as one of his 20 breakout sophomores for 2016-17.

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville: Rick Pitino plans to play as fast as he's ever played this season and that should benefit the skill sets of Mitchell. A freak athlete at 6-3, Mitchell is at his best when the game is high octane and fast paced. After averaging 7.3 points last year as a freshman, this kid should break into double-figures with ease in 16-17.

I_medium My dude Ricky O'Donnell went to the USA Basketball mini-camp in Colorado and came away with a number of impressions, most notably that one of the best players in the 2017 class might really be going to Harvard.

I_medium Rob Dauster of NBC says three ACC teams are solid enough to be legitimate Final Four contenders, but too flawed (right now) to be considered a true national title threat. Louisville, North Carolina and Virginia are those teams.

Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals, despite playing the latter half of ACC play with a self-imposed postseason ban hanging over their heads, still managed to finish the season with the look of a top 15 team. They finished the year ranked 10th in KenPom's formula, second in his adjusted defensive efficiency metric and third in an ACC that sent a team to the national title game, two teams to the Final Four and six teams to the Sweet 16.

The bad news?

The three best players on that Louisville team are off to the professional ranks. Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, the two grad transfers that Rick Pitino brought into the program, left, as did Chinanu Onuaku, who declared for the NBA Draft.

The good news?

Last year was always supposed to be a bridge year. Pitino knew that he was losing Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell after the 2014-15 season, and he also knew that the talented 2015 recruiting class that he signed was going to need a year to adjust to playing in the collegiate ranks. So while losing Lee's scoring certainly won't help, it will open up minutes and shot attempts for Donovan Mitchell, a player that just about everyone expects to take a major step forward this season.

But Mitchell may not even be the best sophomore on Louisville's roster. That title, some around the program believe, could belong to Deng Adel. Much of his freshman season was spent battling knee issues, but he's the kind of big, athletic small forward that Pitino has success with.

That duo, plus the likes of Ray Spalding and V.J. King, should make Card fans excited.

There are, however, two major question marks on this roster: the point guard spot and the front court.

Quentin Snider was a top 30 recruit coming out of high school, but he hasn't been quite good enough as a defender or a distributor to live up to that potential just yet. He's not Peyton Siva and he's not Chris Jones and he's not Russ Smith, but he is the only true point guard on the roster. The Cards are going to need a big year out of him, just like they're going to need a big year out of someone on their front line.

It doesn't really matter who.

It could be Mangok Mathiang or Anas Mahmoud or Matz Stockman or Jaylen Johnson.

But one of those four is going to have to find a way to take over the starting center position and provide the backbone defensively, the rim protection and the work on the glass that left with Onuaku. He was one of the best defensive rebounders in the country and top 30 nationally in block percentage. He ended possessions and allowed Louisville to gamble on the perimeter. If they can't replace his production, their defense takes a hit, and there isn't enough offensive firepower for the Cards to be anything less than elite defensively.

I_medium The story of this brave Ballard High School junior is incredibly inspiring. If you feel like complaining about something trivial today, just remember Amzie. Here's hoping she gets to meet Lamar soon.

I_medium Pick 'em returns tomorrow. Here's your H.S. Game of the Week poll:

We have a pretty awesome prize this week.

I_medium The Big East preseason basketball poll for 2016-17 was released Tuesday. DePaul was not first. They were, however, last.

This won't stop until Card Chronicle takes over that program.

I_medium Houston's national title hopes are gone, but the Cougars might be playing for a spot in a New Year's Six bowl when Louisville comes to town in November.

I_medium Keith Kelsey says the team will be sporting a fresh look Friday night.

I_medium According to Vegas book Westgate, Louisville would be a favorite on a neutral field against every team in college football except Ohio State (+4.5) and Alabama (+7.5).

I_medium Louisville cross-country runner Kyle Covert came out to the world on National Coming Out Day in 2015, and he says that the support he's received from the U of L community since that day has been phenomenal.

"Coming out at Louisville wasn't hard for me. I first told a couple of my teammates and then it was sort of a domino affect from there. Eventually, everyone on the team knew and it was nothing shocking anymore. My teammates were nothing less than supportive and accepting. My coach, Joe Walker III, also made it clear to me that he was on my side supporting me and if I needed anything he'd be there. Having support from teammates and having a supportive coach made it much easier for me to be myself and helped me concentrate on being a better athlete at UofL.

"Lucky I haven't had any problems or heard any gay slurs directed towards me. Unfortunately there still are problems like that, but I don't see them often. At the University of Louisville I have felt free to be myself without fearing consequences of what might happen if someone found out. I'm happy to be who I am and the support I have is phenomenal."

Very cool to hear.

I_medium House of Cards relives the Clemson game and looks ahead to Friday.

I_medium The Louisville-Duke spread has moved towards the Cards by a touchdown since it opened, but Bud Elliott says that still isn't enough reason not to bet on U of L.

I_medium Two U of L games make Yahoo's list of the top non-conference tilts in college basketball for 2016-17.

2. Kentucky at Louisville, Dec. 21: College basketball's most hostile rivalry pits a Kentucky team loaded with its usual array of elite freshmen against a Louisville team with a pair of sophomores who could be poised for breakout seasons. If guard Donovan Mitchell and forward Deng Adel can help replace the scoring void created by the graduation of Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, the Cardinals have top 10 potential.


14. Indiana vs. Louisville, Dec. 31 (Indianapolis): Four years after Indiana's longtime series with Kentucky fell apart, the Hoosiers will begin a similar one with fellow regional rival Louisville. In addition to this season's neutral-court game at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, the Cardinals and Hoosiers will also play on one-another's home floors the following two years.

I_medium The biggest obstacle in Donovan Mitchell's path to success in 2016-17? Gummy bears.

I_medium Billy Gillsipie once kicked John Wall out of practice during a recruiting visit because Billy Gillispie was a shitty basketball coach.

I_medium U of L weddings are the best weddings.

I_medium Details for the women's basketball tip-off luncheon have been set.

I_medium Third and Grantham isn't a real thing.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team's annual "Pizza Bowl" competition begins Thursday afternoon.

I_medium Suffice it to say Duke coach David Cutcliffe is impressed with what he's seen on film from Louisville.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe on Louisville: "I've coached against at least 10 national champions, and I have never seen anyone with the weapons and completeness of this Louisville team." Strong statement from a coach who's been on sidelines at SEC and ACC schools since 1982.

I_medium Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes is the preseason Player of the Year in the Big 10.

I_medium Lamar Jackson headlines the Orlando Sentinel's Heisman Watch.

I_medium Nanu is already taking the NBA by storm.

I_medium Sports Illustrated projects the top 10 contenders in the national Player of the Year race for the 2016-17 college hoops season.

I_medium Dennis Dodd profiles Louisville's new non-opponent arch-enemy: Washington.

I_medium Who do the analytics say is the toughest player to tackle in college football? You shouldn't have to click this (insider) link to know.

I_medium Bobby Petrino has moved on from the Clemson game, but that doesn't mean he's not going to tell you what he thinks if you ask him questions about it.

The Cardinals were stopped on fourth down when Lamar Jackson connected with James Quick who was stopped short of a first down. But there seemed to be confusion on Quick's part on just where he needed to get to go for a first down.

"He caught the ball, he had some room to make a move, and I don't think it was an effort thing," Petrino said.

"I'm not sure that he knew exactly where he needed to go."

When asked if he was satisfied with where the yard marker was placed, Petrino didn't mince words.

"No, I wasn't," he said.

"I don't think it should be marked one place when they have the ball and one place when we have the ball," Petrino said.

He also added he has not received any feedback from the ACC on the matter.

I_medium Here's how to play the full college version (featuring Louisville) in the new NBA 2K17 game.

I_medium More David Cutcliffe praise for the Cards.

"They are a complete football team," Cutcliffe said. "Extremely, extremely well-coached, extremely talented, physical in both lines of scrimmage, fast and physical in the skill positions with the most productive quarterback in all of college football.

"This is a huge and monumental challenge for us. People have struggled to manage to stay on the field with them, that's the bottom line."


"Florida State was gifted, complete as a team, (but) right now Louisville's dead in my eyes so they're better," Cutcliffe said. "This (Louisville) team's more talented than that Alabama team that came in here. (Jackson)'s faster than Johnny Manziel."

"The experiences do help us as a staff, we've had lots of conversations about the best way to go about this, but at the end of the day - you have to find a way to get (Jackson) on the ground before he can do damage."

I_medium Rest in peace, Mike the Tiger.

I_medium And finally, R&R is turning its full focus to Friday night's game. I will also make multiple attempts to get John to talk about baseball. Listen here to find out what happens.