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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The CCBM 2016 Summer Tour rolls on to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Roll damn bird mask.

I_medium The Houston Chronicle has a very interesting profile of Chinanu Onuaku that includes comments from Rick Pitino and a section on why Nanu and teammate Montrezl Harrell are unlikely to ever be best friends. Most interesting to Louisville fans, however, is likely to be the snippet below in bold:

Chinanu Onuaku likely will play sparingly for the Rockets this season. An athletic second-round pick out of Louisville, he possesses raw offensive skills, and the Rockets traditionally send rookies to the NBA Development League for some portion of their first seasons.

Still, he carries himself with the comportment of an established player.

Consider how Onuaku cackled while sitting on a courtside seat at Toyota Center on Wednesday before his first meeting with Houston media, or how he climbed arena chairs to make a goofy face behind Gary Payton II while the point guard gave an interview.

Less than five minutes into his own interview, his first in a Rockets uniform, Onuaku said he was looking forward to playing in the NBA, where he won't "feel like a robot" the way he did in college.

The 19-year-old center wears a consistent smile. He's laid-back and "always comes in high-spirited," said Rockets second-year forward Montrezl Harrell, who played one season with Onuaku at Louisville.

The attitude can be a positive - and a possible detriment.

"You're speaking to someone that emotionally is a young man, a highly intelligent young man," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Young people today can have a quality that can be very misleading but also very good: They have no fear."

Playing at U of L certainly isn't for everybody, and the more you hear, the more it sounds like it wouldn't have been for Nanu in year three.

I_medium The folks over at Tomahawk Nation (Florida State) serve up their early preview of Louisville.

I_medium Luke Winn's updated college hoops power rankings for Sports Illustrated have the Cards checking in at No. 11.

No. 11 Louisville

This might seem high for the Cardinals, but the Rick Pitino Reliability Factor is just as strong as the aforementioned Self Factor. Pitino's Louisville defenses have ranked in the top five in adjusted efficiency for eight out of the past nine seasons, and his roster has the talent, size and athleticism to do it again. Pair that with a respectable offense, in a season where the rankings seem wide open after the top six, and you have a team worth of the top 16. The "respectable offense" assumption is based on sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell capably handling a go-to-guy role, and twin towers Mangok Mathiang and Ray Spalding serving as high-percentage finishers around the rim, but I think both of those expectations are reasonable.

I_medium The Power 5 conferences are petitioning the NCAA for more time off for their student athletes.

I_medium For those of us who don't like diving too deeply into the minutiae of hoops recruiting, Gary Parrish has a great and easy to understand guide to the crucial July evaluation period.

I_medium Pat Forde's preseason 40-Yard Dash mentions Louisville twice, including once to point out that the Cards' Sept. 24 game at Marshall is the biggest trap game of the season.

15. Trap game of the year:

On Sept. 17, Louisville hosts Florida State. On Sept. 31, Louisville visits Clemson. In between, the Cardinals are at Marshall. That's a prime letdown opportunity against a solid program that craves the rare chances to get a power team on its home field.


19. Team playing the biggest opener in school history:

That would be Houston. Coming off that breakthrough 13-1 season, the Cougars play Oklahoma in NRG Stadium. If they can upset the Sooners, it's not hard to see them 10-0 hosting Louisville Nov. 17. (Toughest test in that span could be at Cincinnati on a Thursday night, Sept. 15, with just five days preparation.) If Houston runs the table with victories over Oklahoma and Louisville, the playoff buzz will be palpable. But it all starts with that first step Sept. 3.

I_medium Larry Brown has stepped down at SMU, ending one of the more bizarre tenures in recent college basketball history. It also feels like a little bit of a tone deaf announcement to make considering all that is currently happening in Dallas, but Brown has never seemed to be a guy overly concerned with non-Larry Brown issues.

I wrote more about the move and the Brown era at SMU here.

I_medium Can Russ (or Louisville) get any damn respect this summer?

I_medium Updated national championship odds for the upcoming college hoops season from Vegas Insider.

Duke 3/1 
Kentucky 7/1 
Kansas 10/1 
Michigan State 12/1 
Villanova 12/1 
Louisville 15/1
North Carolina 15/1 
Oregon 15/1 
Arizona 20/1 
Virginia 24/1 
Indiana 25/1 
Wisconsin 25/1 
Xavier 30/1 
Maryland 40/1 
Connecticut 50/1 
Syracuse 50/1 
Texas 50/1
UCLA 50/1 
West Virginia 50/1 
Miami (FL) 60/1 
Purdue 60/1 
Seton Hall 60/1 
Utah 60/1 
Iowa State 70/1 
California 75/1 
Gonzaga 80/1 
Baylor 100/1 
Michigan 100/1

I_medium It sounds like the word commit should be surrounded in quotes here.

I_medium Louisville native Paul Hornung is making national news for suing helmet-maker Riddell over the multiple concussions he suffered during his playing days.

I_medium Evan Daniels looks at the five biggest recruiting storylines for July.

I_medium It's awfully easy to be pretty down about the current state of the world, which is why it's all the more important at times like these to remember that stuff like this is happening too.

Keep throwing the L and get well soon, youngster.

I_medium Jeff Greer continues his offseason profile series with a look at Mangok Mathiang.

I_medium Athlon lists Kiola Mahoni and Shaq Wiggins as "wild card players" in the ACC for 2016.

I_medium It says something about college sports that Syracuse hired an ESPN executive as its athletic director, and it made sense.

I_medium We lost there last year and don't play there again until like 2055, but still, suck it Pitt.

I_medium Three U of L women's golfers have earned WGCA academic honors.

I_medium And finally, R&R is back at CC Powersports in Shepherdsville from 3-6 on 93.9 The Ville. Will John get on an ATV in the middle of the show? You'll have to tune in.