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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Maya Balaji was hoping her Cards would come visit her home city of New York for the NCAA Tournament, but she's cool with waiting for them to come to the Barclays Center next year. Not really, but she's putting up a solid front.

I_medium The Louisville women are a No. 3 seed in the Lexington Regional in the latest Bracketology from ESPN.

I_medium Pitt fans don't seem overly confident about their chances of knocking off Louisville on Wednesday.

I_medium Unlike last year, the Louisville defense got all its underclassmen on the NFL Draft fence to come back to school. Andrea Adelson says that's a huge deal for the Cardinals.

"They all did it the right way," Grantham said in a recent interview with ESPN.com. "They talked to people close to them, they looked at the information we were able to give to them, and they all individually made up their mind to come back. The cycle of one or two coming back maybe helped a few of the other guys come back, but at the end of the day they all made their minds up and made the right decisions."

Whether the players who left in 2015 made the right decisions is up for interpretation. Nobody went before the fourth round. Grantham believes the relationships he built with the four players returning helped as well.

"When you're around guys for a length of time and they see you have a genuine interest in them, you can have a greater effect with maybe some insight that you have," Grantham said. "Whereas before, with Sample last year, he had basically been here since August and that was it. And we were a new staff with the other guys, too, so there's a lot of information that gets out that a lot of it is not very accurate. You have to weed through that and then it gets down to people they trust."

Among the four, Fields might be the one who will benefit the most from this offseason. He arrived at Louisville late and out of shape last August, and it showed. But once he got himself familiarized with the scheme and in better shape, Fields increased his production.

Nine of his 11 sacks came in the final four games of last season. And he ended up finishing second in the country with 22.5 tackles for loss. Grantham said the goal for Fields is to have a complete season.

"We're going through our cut-ups now," Grantham said. "You'll see bits and pieces in early games. You just didn't see it for the 60 minutes. Maybe he didn't finish on some plays like he could have, so my point is if we can just play a full season like we played the last half of the season, now you're talking about being able to be a really productive player for us."

I_medium James Burgess was disappointed that he didn't get an invite to the NFL Draft combine, but he's still looking to turn some heads at U of L's pro day.

I_medium Louisville has officially offered class of 2018 New Albany star Romeo Langford. Rick Pitino was in attendance for Langford's game Friday night.

I_medium If, somehow, you missed the news, former Trinity standout Jason Hatcher was arrested again over the weekend and has now been dismissed from the UK football program.

I_medium This is dumb.

Real dumb.

I_medium This situation with Charlie Strong is going to get nasty.

I_medium Burnt Orange Nation says Strong now has a choice to make.

I_medium Sports Illustrated takes a deep look at what's at stake for Strong in all of this.

I_medium I like those shorts.

I_medium Louisville baseball stays at No. 2 in the first in-season top 25 of 2016 from D1Baseball.com.

I_medium This is not how you defense, Ohio State.

I_medium Tickets are now officially on sale for this year's Kentucky Derby Festival Classic game.

I_medium Congratulations to Nolan Smith, who has joined the Duke staff full-time as a "special staff assistant."

I_medium A look at what's happening this week in U of L sports.

I_medium Jeff Borzello of ESPN has an insider piece on what next season holds for Louisville and the other teams who have no postseason ahead of them.

I_medium Tom Izzo can't believe this went in.

I_medium ESPNU's weekly college hoops podcast names Louisville as its national team of the week.

I_medium Phil Steele says Louisville and LSU will have more returning starters than any other team in college football next season.

I_medium The opening paragraph of this column about Rick Pitino's future makes me sad.

The country could have fallen for Damion Lee's ability to take over a game. It could have wondered if Chinanu Onuaku really is a poor man's Draymond Green, admired the leaping ability of Donovan Mitchell and marveled again at Rick Pitino's ability to make a team overachieve.

I_medium Mel Kiper says that Sheldon Rankins would be a great addition for the New Orleans Saints.

I_medium The weekly awards rolled in yesterday for Myisha Hines-Allen.

I_medium Former UK reserve and current Gonzaga star Kyle Wiltjer still doesn't care for Louisville.



I_medium Speaking of Wiltjer, he's one of the players featured on the Hard Knocks-style series that HBO is currently doing on Gonzaga. The second episode airs tonight, and if you missed the first, you can watch it in its entirety right here. Even if you don't care at all about Mark Few or the Zags, I think you'll enjoy the show.

I_medium U of L football's Pro Day has been slated for March 9.

I_medium Looking for some positive U of L news? How about the university rivaling Stanford when it comes to Fulbright scholars.

I_medium If you've ever dreamed of seeing all 129 major college football teams designed as Pokemon, you can finally stop dreaming and start living.

I_medium Yeah, Grayson Allen definitely caught Jaylen Johnson first.

I_medium The U of L women's swimming and diving team finished fourth at the ACC Championships over the weekend. 2015 Card Chronicle Person of the Year Kelsi Worrell was named the ACC's Most Valuable Swimmer.

I_medium The winner-take-all prize for "The Basketball Tournament" has doubled to $2 million for this season. Assemble your crew.

I_medium Louisville has been known as a road warrior team since its days in the Big East, but that hasn't necessarily been the case this season.

The Cardinals (21-6, 10-4 ACC) nearly have been unbeatable --17-1 -- at KFC Yum! Center, the lone loss coming against No. 3 Virginia.

But Louisville sports a 3-5 record in true road games and has lost two in a row on the road.

Pitt (19-7, 8-6) experienced the harder-to-beat version of the Cardinals Jan. 14, when the Panthers were held to a season-low in points and lost, 59-41, at Louisville.  Wednesday night, the Panthers get a rematch at Petersen Events Center.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said there isn't a magical reason why teams, even good teams such as Louisville, are so different on the road than they are at home. But numbers over a large sample size of games don't lie — teams lose a lot more on the road than they do at home.

"The question has been asked for years," Dixon said. "We can give you all different reasons and different scenarios. ... I know in the Big East the conference used to say the road teams had a better winning percentage than other conferences, but it just is really an accepted fact that it is tough to win on the road.

"We know that [Louisville] will be physical. We know that they will be aggressive. We have to play through contact and get the ball to the rim and keep the ball out of the paint as much as we can.

"Hopefully, we are a better team than we were back then."

I_medium And finally, Louisville baseball will look to move to 4-0 with a win over Eastern Kentucky this afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.