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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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The only way to kick off the postseason ban period of News & Notes.

I_medium Postseason Ban Log, Day I: We are sad, we are (mostly) sober, we are lonely, but we are here.

I_medium U of L sophomores Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore, who were named to the Blue Ribbon Panel all-ACC first team, earned conference first-team honors as selected by the league's 15 head coaches. Asia Durr was named to the coaches' all-freshman team, an honor she also was chosen for by the league's media and sports information directors.

I_medium If, somehow, you missed it on Friday, this was John Ramsey's nephew Jake hitting one of the most unbelievable shots ever to send the 7th region semifinal between Trinity and Ballard into overtime.

The Rocks prevailed in the extra frame and will face St. X Tuesday with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

I_medium Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated says Lamar Jackson is "pretty scary."

Staples said he was highly impressed with Jackson as he ran for 226 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 227 yards and two more scores in a 27-21 win over Texas A&M, so the Cards could be positioned to take the next step.

"I was thinking, this doesn't look like a Bobby Petrino offense, but if he's willing to build the offense around what Lamar Jackson can do in it, that makes them a really tough out," Staples said during a recent interview at NFL Scouting Combine. "They have the problem of being in the same division as Clemson and Florida State, so they need someone special at quarterback or you just not going to score on those defenses.

"So if you build an offense around what Lamar Jackson has showed you he can do as a freshman, there's a chance against even elite defenses like that. I think that gives them a shot to really do something in the ACC."

Louisville, which could return as many as 18 starters from an 8-5 team, is No. 19 in SI's early rankings for 2016, and that's consistent with other media prognostications. National runner-up Clemson is No. 3 for 2016, according to SI, and Florida State is No. 5.

I_medium Bellarmine is a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Division-II Tournament. Their quest to bring a national championship back to Louisville begins Friday.

I_medium After huge wins over Northwestern and Notre Dame, the Louisville lacrosse team -- which is 7-0 and off to the best start in school history -- is now ranked as the No. 4 team in the country.

I_medium This video of the best ACC Tournament dunks through the years include Trez's cram on North Carolina last year.

I_medium Rawle Alkins will announce his college choice tonight. The smart money is on Arizona.

I_medium Very cool news from Angel McCoughtry.

Louisville Central Community Centers, Inc.'s (LCCC) will receive a $9,500 grant from the Angel McCoughtry Dream Foundation in support of LCCC's Gheens eLearn Olympics at a presentation on Wednesday, March 9th, 10:00 a.m. at Old Walnut Street, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

Gheens eLearn Olympics seeks to spark a spirit of pride among students, parents, schools and community-based learning places through the incentive-based, educational program. School-age youth who attend Jefferson County Public Schools are encouraged to enhance their education by using on-line out-of-school-time tutorial software to improve reading and math.  Kids who show levels of improvement are awarded gold, silver or bronze medals and many of these kids also receive educational prizes and gifts.

The initiative was created in response to the Jefferson County Public Schools' call for more involvement of community stakeholders to address common core standards and academic achievement.  LCCC has recognized over 500 youth for educational improvement using this on-line service over the last two years.  "Angel saw a valuable connection with our Gheens  eLearn Olympics initiative and her foundation.  She has been very supportive of us from the beginning and we are grateful for her continued support," said Kevin Fields of LCCC.

Angel is a former University of Louisville All-American basketball player who is now a franchise  player with Atlanta Dream in the Women's National Basketball Association.  She also plays professionally for the Turkish team Mersin BSB in the Turkish Women's Basketball League.   "I am pleased to be able to give while continuing to play professional basketball through my foundation.  As an Olympian, eLearn Olympics really got my attention.  Helping LCCC help young people succeed in school is important to my foundation and to me personally," stated McCoughtry.

I_medium Zeke Pike has been arrested once again. Just as we said the last time this happened, here's hoping he gets the help that he pretty obviously needs.

I_medium Man.

I_medium The Louisville-Kentucky rivalry, as well as the controversy surrounding U of L's postseason ban, gets some attention from The Source.

I_medium Your latest SB Nation Bracketology is here. Whatever.

I_medium Dana O'Neill's post-Virginia write-up will make you cry all over again.

Holding a pink pair of ink-stained Adidas in his hands, a sneaker scrapbook of his one season at Louisville, Damion Lee was asked whether he'd keep the special pair of shoes.

"Well when the season is over ..." Lee began.

Then he paused and laughed a gallows' laugh.

"Oh wait," he said. "The season is over now."

And then he looked down again at the sneakers, signed from toe to heel with his teammates' autographs, their initials written up the base of one shoe and their numbers down the base of the other.

"These are special," he said. "No matter what, these are special."

...

The NCAA case, meantime, is months away from completion. The university has yet to receive a notice of allegations, the first step in the lengthy process of eventually reaching a penalty phase. A ruling might not come until the start of next season.

Then again, a season's end is never tidy. There are locker rooms to empty and gear to be returned.

But as the managers swept up the last bag inside Louisville's locker room, there was one item they weren't going to get.

Lee took his pink sneakers and stuffed them inside his backpack, slung the backpack on his shoulder and walked to the bus.

"I think," he said, "I'll probably keep these."

Tears.

I_medium I'm posting this here just because Cincinnati fans have, to a person, gone the predictable "how's your postseason going to be?" route as opposed to the much more admirable "we were over-the-top optimistic heading into this season and have had a disappointing campaign that will soon be over" route.

The lashing out continues all month long.

I_medium A reminder that Jeff Greer and I are talking about the future of Louisville basketball Friday morning at Quills Coffee on W. Cardinal Blvd.

I_medium How did Damion Lee spend the day after playing his last college basketball game? Supporting the Louisville baseball team and mingling with Cardinal fans, of course.

I_medium Northern Iowa, the team Louisville defeated in the round of 32 last year, is headed back to the big dance after hitting the shot of the postseason thus far.

I_medium Vote for the Cardinal managers.

I_medium This Bill Raftery documentary is pretty much the only NCAA Tournament thing I'm looking forward to.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports tell the story of iconic broadcaster and college basketball personality Bill Raftery in a one-hour documentary, WITH A KISS.  The show debuts Final Four weekend on Saturday, April 2 (12:00-1:00 PM, ET) on CBS.  The documentary is produced and narrated by Raftery's son, Billy.

With a Kiss. Beautiful.

I_medium If the Music City Bowl has an opportunity to invite Louisville again at some point in the future, I don't think they're going to hesitate.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl officials are pleased to announce the 2015 Bowl had a $15.7 million direct economic impact on Nashville's economy. As one of Nashville's biggest annual events, the Bowl has produced over $284 million in total direct economic impact for the city in its 18-year history. In addition, the Bowl produced $17.1M in media exposure value for the City of Nashville, as calculated by Sponsorship Science, a third party organization.

"The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl is a success year after year through the hard work and dedication of so many great people," said Dan Crockett, Franklin American Mortgage Company President/CEO. "We're proud that our sponsorship helps the game make a positive impact on the local community while putting our company in the national spotlight."

A crowd of 50,478 fans watched as the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 27-21 on Dec. 30 at Nissan Stadium. The game posted a 3.3 national rating delivering an average of 5.4 million television viewers through its telecast on ESPN. This was the fourth highest rating ever for the bowl and the first time the bowl averaged 5 million viewers each year in back-to-back years. Outside of the New Year's Six, it was the fifth most watched bowl game this year. There were a total of 16,038 hotel room nights booked with 37,116 out-of-town visitors in attendance at the game.

Nashville has become a popular multi-day destination for visitors and the Bowl game continues to be a cornerstone for visiting sports fans. "When we see college football fans flood the streets of Music City, it proves that Nashville has become a popular sports destination. The Bowl continues to successfully provide a boost to our local economy year in and year out, with almost 75% of fans travelling from out-of-town this year," said Scott Ramsey, president and CEO, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

I_medium The C-J dishes out its weekly dugout report for Louisville baseball.

I_medium I feel like this probably should be getting some more attention.

I_medium The Sporting News names Buddy Hield as its 2016 Player of the Year.

I_medium Five Thirty Eight says that Louisville and SMU are two of the three best college basketball teams ever that have been banned from the NCAA Tournament.

By the numbers, these are two of the best teams ever to be banished from postseason play. Since the NCAA tourney expanded its field to 64 teams in 1984-85, only one banned team has had a better statistical profile, the 1991-92 Runnin' Rebels from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (We usedadjusted differential between offensive and defensive Pomeroy ratings for seasons since 2001 and estimated the differential for earlier teams usingDaniel Myers's research on schedule-adjusted historical team ratings.)

YEAR TEAM WINS LOSSES RATING
1992 UNLV 26 2 +20.74
2016 SMU 25 5 +19.65
2016 Louisville 23 8 +19.65
2003 Georgia 19 8 +18.94
1991 Kentucky 22 6 +18.87
SMU and Louisville are among the best teams to be banned

SOURCES: KENPOM.COM, DANIEL MYERS, SPORTS REFERENCE

That UNLV squad wasn't at quite the same level as the version that went 69-6 over the previous two years under the leadership of future NBA talent such as Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony. But its best player was J.R. Rider, a future NBA 20 PPG scorer,1 and a few of his teammates had brief stints in the pros. Louisville and SMU, by contrast, each carry only one top-100 NBA prospect apiece — Chinanu Onuaku (No. 56) and Shake Milton (No. 87), respectively — and even those guys are at the fringes of the mock draft universe. (The Cardinals' fifth-year senior transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis may eventually get a shot at the NBA but are by no means locks.) Rick Pitino and Larry Brown can punch weight with the towel-chompingJerry Tarkanian, but in terms of record, efficiency and roster, the '92 Rebels were probably the best of the three.

Still, it's a relatively close contest. And let's emphasize again that two of the top three banned squads in recent memory both hail from the 2015-16 season. In what seems destined to be a wide-open NCAA field this year, the Mustangs and Cardinals could have seized upon that opportunity and produced deep tournament runs. But by running afoul of the NCAA, they're here instead, hypothetically runnin' with the '92 Rebels rather than taking the court against present-day teams in the real-life tourney.

I_medium Rick Pitino appeared unexpectedly at the start of R&R this afternoon and talked openly getting the team ready for next season and how excited he is for 2016-17. The link will be up here shortly.

I_medium And finally, beat postseason ban.