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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Adam Nussbaum is coming to you live from the Shinjuku National Gardens in Tokyo, where there's a giant Japanese Maple Tree that's been trimmed to look like Stephan Van Treese. Probably.

I_medium Eric Crawford has an extremely informative piece on about what Rick Pitino needs to do (or needed to do) in his meeting with the NCAA.

I_medium Louisville is No. 13 in Bleacher Report's post-spring practice top 25.

The same things that paced Louisville's hot finish to last season will be what carries it through 2016, as the Cardinals bring back one of the hottest young quarterbacks in the country and a veteran-laden defense.

Lamar Jackson was hot and cold as a passer, completing just 54.7 percent of his passes with eight interceptions against 12 touchdowns, but his legs never let him down. As a true freshman, he ran for a team-high 960 yards and 11 TDs, including 226 yards and two scores in the Music City Bowl when he also threw for 227 yards and two TDs.

Eight starters are back from a defense that allowed 24.1 points per game, paced by linebacker Devonte Fields. The former TCU star had 11 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss after spending 2014 at the junior college level.

Miami is No. 25, North Carolina is No. 19, Houston is No. 12, Florida State is No. 3 and Clemson is No. 2.

I_medium Justin Bieber is all in on the Cards.

"Love Yourself? Man, I don't think I ever heard that song before."

"Earl, you were listening to it in your car earlier this week."

"Oh yeah. And I wrecked, too."

I_medium Rick Bozich focuses on John Wallace's efforts to make it as a professional kicker.

I_medium Dwayne Sutton's fired up about getting to U of L.

I_medium Kyle Funkhouser is a finalist for the Senior Class Award in baseball. You can vote for him here.

I_medium Steve Jones breaks down Louisville's running backs as he continues his post-spring position evaluations for Cardinal football.

I_medium Top U of L hoops recruit Christian Vital talks gives Jeff Greer an update on his status after his visit to Louisville last weekend.

Vital returned to UConn for an unofficial visit on Tuesday with his mom, who couldn't make the official visit last week. He wanted her to see the campus and meet the staff there. He said he wasn't sure yet if he would take an official visit to Iowa.

On his visit to Louisville over the weekend, Vital spent time touring the campus, meeting with academic staffers and talking with the current Cards on the team, including Donovan Mitchell, who Vital has known since childhood. He said he was impressed by how "tight knit" U of L's players were and that "what people saw on TV wasn't just for show."

Vital said he and his mom also had questions for head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich about the ongoing NCAA investigation into U of L's basketball program.

"The investigation is still ongoing," Vital said. "They just basically told me the sanctions they imposed - they feel good about them, and they're waiting to see what the NCAA has to say."

I_medium Early Vegas odds for the Kentucky Derby are here.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team is back in action today at 5 p.m. against Florida International. The game is being carried on 93.9 The Ville, which means Ramsey & Rutherford will be signing off an hour early today.

I_medium U of L softball will look to continue the spring dominance over Kentucky tonight at 6.

I_medium Caller into the show asked yesterday what three ACC men's basketball coaches (outside of Pitino) you'd take on a spring break bro-style trip where you had to stay in the same room and spend essentially all your time together.

For starters, Mike Brey is 100 percent in. I won't listen to any counter-argument. Larranaga is the quintessential "hilarious grandpa who makes family holidays tolerable," so he's in too. After that it gets dicey.

If you're single, Tony Bennett is an obvious option here. Just know that you're going to be playing second fiddle the whole trip. I'm not single, so Bennett's out. I also got a lot of push for Buzz Williams, which I completely disagree with. Sure, he provides something of a Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover quality, but that only works in movies. In reality, he's walking around naked, grossing everyone out, and then wanting to spend the nights playing jenga in the room instead of doing anything cool. Josh Pastner is a nob whose only purpose on this type of trip would be to serve as a whipping boy.

I'm putting an X for obvious reasons through Roy Williams, Coach K, Mark Gottfried, Kevin Stallings, Leonard Hamilton and Mark Gottfried. That leaves us with Danny Manning, Jim Boeheim, Brad Brownell and Jim Christian. Brownell and Christian are wildcards since no one really knows anything about their personalities, but I'm not taking that risk. Boeheim has the potential to be hilarious or miserable, but since Larranaga has already filled the funny old guy role, he's out. So welcome to the party, Danny Manning.

I_medium Almost at the four-month mark. Just keep tailgating.

I_medium And finally, if you or anyone you know is interested in six first floor grandstand tickets for Oaks, hit me up at I'll cut you a deal. Or something. (Update: Tickets have been sold ... you look great, though. Tell your mother I said hey)