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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Zoe Adair was upset that she didn't run into Rick Pitino at Disney World, but she still flashed this L in a picture without being asked.

I_medium Louisville checks in at No. 22 in The Sporting News' preseason top 25 for 2016.

The Cardinals bounced back from an 0-3 start to win eight games last season, and dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson looks like an All-ACC performer under Bobby Petrino. Several defensive starters opted to stay in school instead of bolting for the NFL, most notably linebacker Devonte Fields, who had 11 sacks last season. The early season schedule isn't kind. Louisville faces Florida State and Clemson by Oct. 1.

North Carolina is No. 18, Houston is 14th, Florida State is 6th and Clemson is No. 1.

I_medium With a self-imposed limit on recruiting visits, Jeff Greer examines how U of L coaches are managing to maintain contact with their top recruiting targets.

I_medium To hell with Roger Powell and his self-putback dunk.

I_medium Happy finals week, U of L students. Only one thing to remember here: You guessed it, don't jump in the baby pool.

It's not funny. I really can't stress that enough. It's just not funny.

I_medium North Carolina received its amended notice of allegations from the NCAA on Monday, which of course happened just an hour before the NFL announced a 4-game Deflategate suspension for Tom Brady. Since this is the day of things that will not die, I fully expect to hear some earth-shattering news about Survivor on CBS before the calendar flips to Tuesday.

I_medium Yahoo's Eric Edholm profiles Sheldon Rankins, who Edholm says is the seventh-best prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Reason he'll rise in draft: With strong production, great athletic traits, exceptional character and good football instincts, there is not a lot to dislike about Rankins' game. He's expected to be an immediate contributor, if not a starter, as a rookie. He plays with a hot motor, has good versatility and can do the dirty work as well as make plays for a defense needing a shot in the arm. Rankins is just a mostly clean evaluation who should be able to fit most schemes, even though he might be best in "40" fronts.

Reason he'll fall in draft: Teams that place value in having the biggest interior players or who demand that they must be exceptional at absorbing double teams might not love Rankins. He's not a pure fit in a true two-gapping system because it doesn't play to his strengths, and it might highlight his few shortcomings. Some teams' medical staffs have noted his fairly extensive injury history; even though he hasn't missed a lot of time in recent seasons, he seems to be a guy who spends a lot of time in the tub.

Scouting hot take: "I love him. Give me that guy. We have one here that's like him. We got him on the third day [of the draft] and now he's our best player. [Rankins] has that same look. He's not the biggest, he's just the best. He just snaps those hips off the whistle. It's like a slingshot." — NFC pro scout who cross-checked D-linemen

I_medium Rankins went ninth overall in the Pro Football Focus mock draft.

I_medium Louisville has offered a scholarship to Nick Weatherspoon (Camden, MS), a four-star guard from the class of 2017.

I_medium Philadelphia point guard Quade Green (2017) says he talks to Rick Pitino "all the time."

I_medium The Deion Branch summer football camp is coming back for another year.

I_medium Kentucky students have the highest-percentage of jailed parents in the nation. Not awesome.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins belongs on the inside of an NFL defensive line.

I_medium ESPN's Matt Fortuna focuses on Ja'Quay Savage, who could be about to have the breakout season that many predicted he'd have in 2015.

Ja'Quay Savage knew his skill set was right there with everyone else's. He would make big plays when the opportunities came his way, both at Texas A&M in 2013 and last year at Louisville.

Off the field, though, things were far from crystal clear. Late for class. Late for team meetings. Watching TV and falling asleep when he'd get home. Why should this matter, the receiver thought. How does non-football stuff affect him in others' eyes, he'd wonder.

So late last season, he made a conscious decision to clean up that part of his life. And he immediately saw the dividends this spring, emerging as the reliable force his Cardinals teammates and coaches knew he could be.

"I was like, it has to be something else, it's more than football," Savage said. "You have to do everything right instead of just going out there in football and go outside the football field and not having the responsibilities that you're supposed to. So everything just goes into it, and it just woke me up when I was talking to my mom and started reading the Bible and just doing everything right. [It] just makes you feel better when you go to practice and scrimmages."

I_medium The 8th-ranked Louisville lacrosse team rounded out its regular season with a 13-10 loss at No. 4 Syracuse on Saturday. Next up is the ACC Tournament this week in Blacksburg.

I_medium Rick Pitino and Draft Express give their thoughts on Damion Lee and Chinanu Onuaku.

I_medium Happy seven year anniversary with the Bills, big guy. Buy yourself a gift.

I_medium Marvin Menzies is officially the new head coach at UNLV.

I_medium Canyon Barry's next visit will be to Miami.

I_medium DeAndre Ayton is the best basketball prospect on the planet. So why is Kansas the only school recruiting him?

I_medium Kevin Keatts and Kevin Willard both get some love in Sports Illustrated's coaching awards for the 2015-16 season.

4. Biggest Two-Year Turnaround: Kevin Keatts, UNC-Wilmington

When Keatts, a former Louisville assistant, took over in ‘14-15, the Seahawks were coming off a 9-23 season in which they ranked 278th in efficiency. In two years, Keatts orchestrated a 205-spot jump in UNC-W's efficiency ranking—the largest two-year improvement by any coach—and earned a trip to the 2016 NCAA tournament. That represented quite a rise for someone who, five years ago, was coaching at Hargrave Military Academy, a boarding school in Chatham, Va.


7. Best At Exceeding Projections, Major Conference: Kevin Willard, Seton Hall

SI's projections pegged the Pirates as the 80th-best team in the preseason, forecasting a seventh-place finish in the Big East, well outside of the NCAA tournament bubble. Seton Hall ranked 146th in defensive efficiency in ‘14-15, wasn't adding a rim protector, and was losing its one truly efficient scorer, Sterling Gibbs, who made a graduate transfer to UConn. Things didn't look promising from the outside—but Willard worked magic with his defense, getting the team to recommit to playing tough man-to-man, and relying on defense-focused lineups that included UMass transfer Derrick Gordon and sophomore lockdown artist Ismael Sanogo. Seton Hall finished with the nation's No. 8-ranked D, was 22nd in efficiency and a No. 6 seed in the NCAA's body of work that, regardless of the Pirates' first-round exit from the NCAAs, should be considered a major success.

I_medium U of L softball took its series with Syracuse this afternoon.

I_medium And finally, Athlon has Louisville football at No. 20 in its early rankings for 2016.