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Monday evening Cardinal news and notes

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Ava Grace says the 2016 Louisville football team is gonna get 'em on the run, then they're gonna go, go, go, go, and they're not gonna stop, 'til they get across that goalline.

I_medium The latest mock draft from Draft Express has Chinanu Onuaku going 38th overall and Damion Lee falling out of the draft.

I_medium NFL.com lists Louisville as one of five schools that could dominate the 2017 NFL Draft.

Louisville

The Cardinals had 10 players drafted in 2015. They could face a similar exodus down the road, as their defense is loaded with prospects. Pass rusher Devonte Fields surprised some by returning to school and interior lineman DeAngelo Brown has loads of talent. Linebackers Keith Kelsey and Trevon Young are all-conference performers. Don't forget about cornerback Shaq Wiggins and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, along with offensive playmakers James QuickJamari StaplesKeith Towbridge. There's also a slew of younger players ready to step up for star sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Louisville's going to be a favorite stop for NFL teams.

Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Michigan are the other four.

I_medium Clemson QB DeShaun Watson is the player at the top of almost every 2017 NFL mock draft right now.

I_medium It's time for the ACC and ESPN to come to an agreement about a conference network.

Yet for all of Swofford's polite camouflaging, the answer seems clear: The ACC and ESPN eventually will team on a new, more lucrative model for presenting the conference's events.

Either that, or Swofford is among the planet's worst poker players and managers of expectations. Seriously, have you ever heard Swofford less than upbeat on this subject? He's far too smart to have been this optimistic without the goods to deliver.

Huddling with reporters Thursday as the ACC adjourned its annual spring meetings at Amelia Island, Fla., Swofford joked that they might as well recycle old stories and tweets about the project. But as the Raleigh News & Observer's Andrew Carter and others chronicled, Swofford remains optimistic.

He cited ongoing "quality discussions" with ESPN and repeated that cord-cutting, the migration of viewers from cable to online video, has not derailed the project.

"So with technology and so forth, you want to be with people that are progressive and that have flexibility, that are willing to adapt," Swofford said. "And I think that's who our partner is. And so we're bullish about it, and I'd say they're bullish about it. It might not look exactly the same."

The "same" being a traditional channel such as the wildly successful, to date, SEC Network and Big Ten Network.

I_medium Bleacher Report has Louisville as one of the eight darkhorse contenders for the 2016 college football national title.

I_medium Sam Vecenie's lengthy breakdown of the combine for CBS features just a brief mention of Chinanu Onuaku.

I_medium If you missed it earlier, Lamar Jackson is on a magazine cover for the first time:

Athlon has the Cards at No. 19 in their 2016 preview issue.

I_medium Former Florida quarterback Will Grier is officially a West Virginia Mountaineer.

I_medium Jimbo Fisher wants the ACC to start scheduling all of its big rivalry games on Saturday. This reminds me that Louisville/Florida State at PJCS on Sept. 17 is going to be on a Saturday, and it will be one of the best days ever.

I_medium USA Today lists Nanu as one of five players who improved his draft stock at the combine.

Chinanu Onuaku, center, Louisville

Onuaku improved in just about every way imaginable during his sophomore season with Rick Pitino, finishing with career-highs in points (9.9), rebounds (8.5), assists (1.6), steals (0.8), and blocks (2.0), using his all-around game to consistently make an impact, despite not being a prolific individual scorer.

Onuaku's performances at the combine reflected that, as he contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots on Thursday, then followed it up with 10 points, three rebounds, three steals, and three blocks on Friday. Onuaku's value rests in his ability to do the little things, such as being decisive in his defensive rotations, coming up with 50-50 balls, forcing deflections, and altering shots around the rim.

He's an underclassman who hasn't hired an agent, so he has a tough decision to make in the coming days. He helped himself this past week in Chicago, and he has enough fans among general managers in the league where a first round selection is certainly on the table, but it's still not the guarantee Onuaku would ideally have. Regardless of whether he returns to Louisville for his junior season or stays in the draft, it should be relatively easy for a team to find a role for him in the league whenever he does decide to come out.

I_medium A look at the ACC's baseball standings heading into the final week of the regular season:

ATLANTIC

SCHOOLS CONF W-L-T CONF PCT W-L-T PCT
Louisville 19-8-0 .704 42-10-0 .808
Florida State 15-8-0 .652 33-17-0 .660
NC State 13-12-0 .520 32-17-0 .653
Clemson 13-14-0 .481 34-18-0 .654
Wake Forest 13-14-0 .481 31-20-0 .608
Notre Dame 11-13-0 .458 27-23-0 .540
Boston College 11-14-0 .440 29-18-0 .617
COASTAL
SCHOOLS CONF W-L-T CONF PCT W-L-T PCT
Miami 19-6-0 .760 40-9-0 .816
Virginia 16-11-0 .593 33-18-0 .647
Georgia Tech 12-14-0 .462 33-18-0 .647
Duke 12-15-0 .444 31-21-0 .596
North Carolina 11-15-0 .423 32-19-0 .627
Pitt 10-16-0 .385 25-23-0 .521
Virginia Tech 6-21-0 .222 19-33-0 .365

Even though Florida State has the same number of losses as Louisville, the Cards will win the Atlantic Division if they sweep this weekend's series at Wake Forest because of their superior winning percentage. The Seminoles were rained out four times and were not able to make up those games.

Ironically, U of L also still has a shot to earn the No. 1 overall seed for next week's ACC Tournament if the Seminoles are able to sweep Miami, who enters this week with the same number of wins, but two fewer losses than Louisville.

I_medium Despite being courted by some very major programs in recent weeks, offensive lineman Linwood Foy put Louisville fans' fears to bed over the weekend.

He then officially signed with the Cards today.

I_medium Jeff Brohm and Western Kentucky are No. 6 in Bill Connelly's initial mid-major football rankings for 2016.

I_medium U of L recruit (and new Ballard High enrollee) David Sloan will try out for the USA 17U team on June 10.

I_medium The U of L track and field team concluded the 2016 ACC Outdoor Championships with an event title and five athletes receiving All-ACC honors on Sunday at Mike Long Track.

The Virginia Tech men were crowned champions with 129 points while host Florida State won the women's title with 106.50 points. The Cardinal men finished sixth with 61.5 points while the women finished eighth with 47 points.

"We had some huge performances today from Ben (Williams), Damar (Robinson), Edwin (Kibichiy), Emmonnie (Henderson), and Raven (Grant)," said head coach Dale Cowper.  "I'm excited about the direction our program is moving.  We return the vast majority of each squad for next season and have a strong recruiting class joining us.  We have about 10 days to recover and get both squads ready for the first round of the NCAA Championships in Jacksonville."

In the triple jump, Ben Williams defended his title with a season best jump of 16.41m/53-10.25 to strike gold and became the fourth Cardinal to be crowned a champion during the weekend. The United Kingdom native, who also won the indoor triple jump title, now has the fourth best mark in the nation and third best in the UK. Damar Robinson, who won the high jump last night, took third with a season best mark of 15.86m/52-0.5.

In the women's discus, Emmonnie Henderson took second with a season best mark of 54.04m/177-03. Henderson earned first team All-ACC honors and was named the Women's ACC Most Valuable Field Performer.

Freshman Raven Grant rose to the challenge and finished third in the 100m with a time of 11.73. The Conway, S.C., native picked up first team All-ACC honors for her performance. Grant also competed in the 200m finals later in the evening, finishing seventh with a time of 23.83.

In a highly competitive 5000m race, Edwin Kibichiy took third with a time of 13:54.73 to earn first team All-ACC honors in the event.  Mia Ross finished 11th in the finals of the 1500m in 4:34.87.

The men's 4x100 relay of Oliver Newport, Jeron Brown, Antoine Keys, and Bolaji Ogbulu took seventh with a time of 41.42. The men's 4x400 relay team of Andrew Nsuk, Jeron Brown, Teague Peck, and Antoine Keys took eighth with a time of 3:11.55.

I_medium There is already a significant amount of buzz over in West Virginia for Marshall's "marquee home game" against Louisville on Sept. 24.

I_medium This picture might be worth a great deal in a very short period of time.

I_medium Backing the Pack looks at Louisville's sweep of NC State.

I_medium Chinanu Onuaku tried on Friday to single-handedly send Marcus Lee back to Lexington for another year.

I_medium The fine folks who cover ACC football for ESPN.com list Louisville as a sleeper playoff contender.

I_medium The Memphis Commercial Appeal makes the case for Memphis to be invited to the Big 12, and one of their biggest arguments is pointing to the success that Louisville has had in the ACC.

6. Passion: The university matters to this community. It matters more than many universities matter to their communities. It just does. You know how people are always saying that Memphis basketball fans are crazy? That's not entirely untrue. But another word for that craziness is passion. Since when is that a bad thing? Alabama football fans are crazy. Kentucky basketball fans are crazy. You sensing a theme here? The best programs tend to be those that care the most. Memphians care as much or more than anyone.

Indeed, I'm reminded of University of Oklahoma president David Boren's comments about Louisville, when he lamented that the Big 12 "let Louisville get away." Boren — who had lobbied to add Louisville to the Big 12 — said, "I obviously did not prevail, and they have now gone into another conference and they're not available now. But they'd have been a good fit."

In many ways, Memphis is Louisville. Or Louisville is what Memphis could easily be. They're both urban universities, located in mid-sized cities, with the ability to dominate interest in those cities in a way that is both remarkable and rare. The primary difference between the two schools has been the quality of their leadership. And Memphis has quality leadership now.

So do not pass up the opportunity a second time. Do not be fooled by some other pitch. If you choose to expand by two schools, do not let Memphis get away.

There's an equally interesting and well thought-out counterpoint to this very argument that you can read here.

I_medium U of L finished fifth at the ACC Rowing Championships.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins is already having no problem fitting in with the New Orleans Saints.

I_medium This is good.

I_medium The Lexington Herald-Leader says 2016 could be a pivotal season for Mark Stoops, Jeff Brohm and Bobby Petrino.

I_medium And finally, R&R is back today from 3-6 talking baseball, Nanu, the latest on what might happen with Louisville's remaining hoops scholarship, and the first scene in six seasons featuring both Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. As always, you can listen here.