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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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The old school Card Chronicle shirt is ready for Duke's return trip.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 3.5.

I_medium A reminder that this is opening day for Louisville baseball. First pitch for the opening game against SIU-Edwardsville is at 3 p.m.

I_medium I think the biggest must-read piece for today is Jeff Greer's profile of private investigator Chuck Smrt. It's very insightful, and makes me feel a little bit better about the decision that was made a couple Fridays ago ... at least from the standpoint of it being something that could alleviate any possible future punishment.

His name comes up multiple times in The Courier-Journal archives for his work on the Chris Mills case at Kentucky in the late 1980s and the Samaki Walker case at Louisville in the 1990s. Smrt also directed the NCAA's investigation into Southern Methodist in the 1980s that led to the famous "death penalty" punishment for SMU's football program.

When the NCAA moved its headquarters to Indianapolis, Smrt decided to stay in Kansas City and start his own company.

"There was a huge loss of talent for the NCAA and he was a part of that," Ridpath said. "I think many would agree with that. It was an emotional time. Chuck stayed in that area. ... He has done quite well in becoming a major player himself."

Since he started his private firm in Lenexa, Kan., Smrt has worked on multiple high-profile cases. The Compliance Group lists 74 NCAA Division I universities as clients on its website and many more in Division II and III.

Ridpath said Smrt would be "high on the list" for most schools when potential NCAA compliance problems arise.

Smrt was Oklahoma State's lead internal investigator after Sports Illustrated published a series of articles alleging major violations by the school's football program. Smrt, along with the NCAA, eventually found that the claims of OSU violations were "fundamentally unfounded," according to a joint statement made by the school and the NCAA in October 2014, though the investigation led to probation, a small fine and recruiting limitations.

I_medium The ACC Digital Network lays out its top five plays of the ACC season so far, a list which includes Spida D Mitchell.

I_medium Louisville basketball tickets will be getting a bit more pricey in 2016-17.

I_medium Chinanu Onuaku recently said that because his brother Arizne went to Syracuse, there was a very strong chance that he would have played for the Orange if they had recruited him. After he lit them up for 13 points and 15 rebounds, Syracuse fans are understandably even more upset that Nanu didn't receive any love from Jim Boeheim.

Second-guessing recruiting is just asking for trouble. You're making a lot of assumptions that everyone knew a player would turn out the way they did, which is impossible. It's an entire field of unknowns and anyone claiming to have predicted the success of a player beforehand is either lying or taking credit for a guess.

All of that said...it's a little strange that the Syracuse Orange never bothered to recruit Chinanu Onuaku, no?

The younger brother of SU big man Arinze Onuaku got his revenge on the Orange for that slight on Wednesday when he led a Louisville dunk party. It's enough to make you wonder why he didn't follow in his brother's footsteps and play for Boeheim.

Here's the part where you sigh deeply, Orange fans. He totally would have if we'd only recruited him.

I_medium If you missed it last night, the women's team rolled to yet another victory.

I_medium So close, ESPN.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins is all the way up to No. 7 on Todd McShay's NFL Draft big board.

Rankins was clearly the best defensive lineman in Senior Bowl practices, as he showed explosiveness in one-on-one pass-rush drills and stuffed the run during 11-on-11. He has compiled 15 sacks the past two seasons and is a load for any O-line to handle because of his rare combination of quickness and power.

I_medium I shared a picture of the beer on the right a few months ago, but Jon Cecil actually tracked these bad boys down from the Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland Virginia ... I swear to God I didn't make that up.

The one on the left is called Heir Apparent, a Mexican-spiced Imperial Stout. It is the base beer for the beer on the right. That is Supreme Leader, a bourbon barrel aged Mexican spiced imperial stout. This beer received an Outstanding rating in Beer Advocate.

I don't know what much of that means, but the CCBM image makes me laugh and so I want to drink it.

I_medium Nike gave the uniforms Duke is going to be wearing tomorrow the same name my teachers gave me in elementary school.

Louisville, in case you had forgotten, will be wearing these:

I_medium USA Today counts down the top 10 players in college basketball.

I_medium After two days and six events, the University of Louisville women's swimming and diving team added a silver and gold to its collection. The Cards are ranked third with 395.5 points behind NC State (441.5) and Virginia (486.5) with two days of racing remaining at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

"What a session we had tonight," said UofL head coach Arthur Albiero Thursday evening. "We competed with great team pride.  From the very first swim, we were on fire.  The team energy was incredible.  And the performances were inspired.  It was a fun night."

I_medium World goin' one way, people another.

I_medium Time is on Chinanu Onuaku's side.

I_medium Richard Pitino's Minnesota team snapped the program's first 14-game losing streak in nearly 30 years by stunning No. 6 Maryland last night. After the game, Gopher senior Joey King was literally brought to tears.

I_medium Is this good?

According to Dickey, eight of those 22 teams have come against ranked opponents.

I_medium The latest NFL mock draft from NFL.com has Sheldon Rankins being selected by New Orleans with the 12th pick.

I_medium Aaron Gordon (not the dunker) has a really good longform piece on former Florida State safety Myron Rolle, whose decision to accept a Rhodes Scholarship may have cost him a lengthy NFL career.

I_medium It nearly took a full year, but this guy finally reached the acceptance stage of Final Four grief.

Congratulations, man. You are still super weird.

I_medium ACC commissioner John Swofford talks replay, conference divisions and the College Football Playoff

I_medium Luke Winn has Louisville at No. 19 in his latest power rankings for Sports Illustrated.

I_medium I enjoyed this.

I_medium Even with players dropping, Duke's ceiling continues to rise.

I_medium Magic Johnson's birth name was actually Chinanu.

I_medium The 4-1 U of L softball team is spending its weekend participating in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge in Raleigh.

I_medium Damion Lee remains awesome.

I_medium And finally, beat Duke.