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Thursday evening Cardinal news and notes

Cardinal Christmas came last night, and it's going to stick around for a little while longer.

I_medium Ok so what did you learn?

I_medium Nobody wanted to beat Kentucky last night more than Quentin Snider.

"It was pretty big," Snider said. "Last year's performance carried through my mind the whole season, so I was waiting for this game. It was a revenge game."

"He didn't really play well last year," sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell said after the game. "He kept talking to me about that. He said, ‘I just need to get them back this year.' He did just that."

Indeed he did. Snider got his payback, scoring 22 points on 10-for-19 shooting and tossing out five assists, etching his name into the rivalry's storied tradition. And outside of his coach, Rick Pitino, no one involved in the game understands the tradition more than him.

See Snider grew up in Louisville, played high school ball at nearby Ballard and is the son of a lifelong Cardinals fan. And in Kentucky, when it comes to sports, you pull for the Cards or the Cats. There's no in-between.

And the Sniders are Cardinals.

So after last year's game in Rupp Arena, Snider took it hard. During holiday break, he made the short drive to his parents' home and didn't leave his room for a day.

"He took that game on himself because he knew he didn't play well," Snider's father, Scott, told FOX Sports. "They had a couple-day break and he stayed in his room for 24 hours. I know he's been waiting on this game the whole year."

"It's different for him," he added. "That's why he felt so bad last year when he didn't score. That's why he worked so hard. He wanted to do this in a big game like this because he's from this city."

I_medium The 2017 NCAA Tournament is starting to look like it'll be one of the best in recent memory.

I_medium What would the bowl lineup look like if you had to finish with a record above .500 to qualify? Like this.

I_medium I'm gonna forgive Forde for his Santa joke because the rest of his game story is really good.

When the media poured into the Louisville locker room Wednesday night, sports information director Kenny Klein alertly grabbed the object of their attention and ushered him into the center of the room to stand on the Cardinal bird carpet.

A teammate reached over the minicams and microphones to hand Quentin Snider a Santa hat, which he drolly wore throughout his star-of-the-game interview session.

Ho, ho, hometown hero.

After helping deliver a stirring, 73-70 Christmas present to a fan base sick and tired of losing to Kentucky, Snider was reveling in the best night of his basketball life.

"This is No. 1, definitely," the junior point guard said. "This is the best one ever."

I_medium Remember Casual Gamer Reed? Well believe it or not he had a pregame take on Louisville-Kentucky that proved to be inaccurate.

I_medium Pretty flawless execution here.

I_medium Here's a testimonial from Cindy Stowell, recapping her amazing run on Jeopardy.

I_medium Cool.

Also cool? Louisville beat Kentucky in basketball.

I_medium Bam Adebayo's breakout game was wasted by Kentucky.

I_medium Kelan Martin showing some love for his ex-Ballard teammate.

I_medium Eric Crawford serves up his day-after takeaways from the Louisville win.

I_medium Louisville currently has the fifth-best resume in all of college basketball.

5. Louisville Cardinals (11-1)

Current AP Top 25 ranking: 10th

The Cardinals would be top-four if not for that one loss, and it's a good loss, which came Nov. 25 by three points against undefeated Baylor. Every team ranked ahead of Louisville is still without a defeat. As mentioned, the Cards beat Kentucky on Wednesday night -- and what a huge win that is and will remain to be for Rick Pitino's team. Elsewhere, U of L has wins over Wichita State and Purdue, both of whom rank in the top 25 in multiple rankings services. Non-con strength of schedule: 60th. Not bad, relatively speaking. And Louisville has a true road win at Grand Canyon, which isn't a power, but also not an easy place to play it. (In fact, it looks like an awesome time for the home crowd.)

I_medium Maybe my favorite tweet from last night.

I_medium ESPN lists one thing they'd like to see from every ACC bowl team.

Louisville: Protect the Heisman Trophy winner. Lamar Jackson was sacked 35 times over the final eight games. Nineteen sacks came in the Cards' three losses. With former D-line assistant coach Ed Orgeron whipping up the frenzied Tigers defense, Jackson might find it in his best interest to skip the bowl game too if his protection doesn't improve.

I_medium My man has LJ's post-TD celebration down pat.

I_medium Regardless of how close the final score was, Kentucky failed its first road test.

I_medium Former Cardinal and current Eagle Marcus Smith rewards two students for their academic achievements.

I_medium Quentin Snider's place in the history of the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry is now cemented.

The tenor of this mutual ode to antagonism makes it difficult to exaggerate. It's hardly a stretch to imagine Wednesday night going down -- on both sides, with perhaps a few more four-letter words inserted from the folks in blue -- as a proper noun. The Quentin Snider Game.

And, as if that wasn't enough, there's a redemption arc here, too. A season ago in Lexington, Snider finished his 20 minutes on the floor with zero points and an offensive rating of (gulp) 20. That night stayed with Snider, stuck in his head all year, made Wednesday night's game more than just another big rivalry night, the culmination of all those texts and tweets that come rolling in as the game approached. It was personal.

"He was a lot more vocal [this week] than I've ever see him," Mitchell said. "He was focused, locked in throughout the week. Being a local kid and having a game like this, where you watch this for your whole life, it means so much for him. I know how much this game meant to him. Last year, he didn't play very well in this game, and he just kept talking to me about, 'I need to get 'em back this year.' He did just that."

I_medium Grayson Allen tripped another dude last night and then had a really bizarre meltdown on the bench. He has been suspended indefinitely.

I_medium Love it.

I_medium Pure joy.

I_medium Luke Winn has the story behind the game-winning play that gave Villanova its national title last April.

I_medium The former Cards in Germany were loving it last night.

I_medium The Louisville women made it 2-for-2 last night by taking down Vanderbilt in Nashville.

I_medium Somewhat overlooked in all the celebrating today is the fact that, from an objective standpoint, last night's game was fantastic.

I_medium Agree.

I_medium Louisville brought Malik Monk back down to earth Wednesday night.

I_medium And finally, you will definitely want to listen to R&R today from 3-6. There will be celebrating.