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Thursday morning Cardinal news and notes

The Acropolis simply was not ready for Ryan Horn and his backpack.

I_medium How insane did the ACC go last night status check: very.

--Florida State went 5-1 over a stretch where they played six consecutive games against ranked opponents. So naturally, they followed that up by going on the road last night and losing to Georgia Tech by 22.

Tech, a team that before the season many people thought might go 0-18 in league play, now miraculously finds itself at 4-4. That's good enough to place the Yellow Jackets a half game ahead of near-unanimous preseason No. 1 Duke in the conference standings.

--Elsewhere, Miami managed to avoid both complete ACC chaos and what would have been a catastrophic loss by eeking out a 78-77 win over visiting Boston College.

I_medium Save for future use.

I_medium U of L will be hosting a fan party on National Signing Day. More information is here.

Card Chronicle, as always, will be hosting its National Signing Day party at Andy's TV in St. Matthews. No information can be found anywhere. Just like the cool clubs in LA.

I_medium SB Nation ranks the top 100 games of the 2016 college football season, and Louisville-Clemson makes the top five.

5. OCT. 1: CLEMSON 42, LOUISVILLE 36

This might have been the best game of the year. The defending runners-up and the most dangerous team of September traded blows for every bit of 60 minutes, and the offenses and defenses alternated advantages. The game began with six consecutive punts, and then the next eight possessions ended in either touchdown or turnover.

Through the sloppy, tense, and gripping play, Clemson took a 28-10 halftime lead on three Watson touchdown passes. But Louisville began the second half with a 26-0 run on the future champions, taking a 36-28 advantage on an 11-yard Lamar Jackson touchdown run.

We were just getting started. Artavis Scott returned a kickoff 77 yards to set up a 20-yard Mike Williams touchdown, and after a Louisville three-and-out, Watson and Big Play Jordan Leggett connected for a 31-yard score to give Clemson a 42-36 lead with 3:14 remaining. Jackson responded with five consecutive completions, but after a couple of short runs and a false start, Louisville faced a fourth-and-12 from the Clemson 14 with 40 seconds remaining.

The Cardinals gained 11 yards.

Then there's a GIF, but you all don't need to see that.

I_medium The latest episode of Jon Bois' "Pretty Good" series centers around Baron Davis drilling an 89-foot shot.

I_medium Jamari Staples making big time plays at Senior Bowl practice.

I_medium Jeff Capel's first-person story on The Player's Tribune is very touching.

I_medium LeVance Fields has already seen enough of Kevin Stallings at Pitt.

I_medium On a scale of 1-6, Yahoo says Louisville fans' satisfaction rating with Bobby Petrino should be a four.

I_medium Considering that Gonzaga and BYU play in the West Coast Conference, I think it's safe to make the claim that for the past decade Louisville has been the best road team in major college basketball.

I_medium Brent Musberger will call his final game on Jan. 31. It will be Kentucky vs. Georgia. In basketball. I'm sorry, Brent.

I_medium Steve Masiello probably should have chosen his words a bit more carefully before going on this rant.

I_medium History shows that you can't have success in the NCAA Tournament without being really good on both offense and defense ... unless you're Louisville.

Louisville (2nd in defensive efficiency, 34th in offensive efficiency)

I'll be honest, the pitch for this article sounded a lot better before Louisville's 106-51 dismantling of Pitt on Tuesday night, wherein they scored 1.47 points per possession and jumped from 45th in adjusted offensive efficiency to 35th. And all this without Quentin Snider, who'll be gone for another week or two with a hip flexor injury. If he reintegrates well and Donovan Mitchell (29 points on 9-13 shooting) continues his recent tear, this could be a moot discussion by the tournament.

And yet, this is kind of who Louisville is. They've finished better than 45th in adjusted offensive efficiency just twice in the last six years, but haven't seen a defense worse than fifth over the same span. They're a consistently great defensive team that can struggle to score in the halfcourt.

While Snider, Mitchell, and the shift of low-usage all-star Anas Mahmoud into the starting lineup could signal continued improvement for the offense, it wouldn't be surprising to see it finish around where it currently is — 30th to 40th best in the country. As it's paired with a defense that's over three points per possession better than third place Virginia, it's not exactly a bad place to be.

...

Outlook

Just how far can defense alone take you in the tournament? Let's take a look.

The first table focuses on the Louisville archetype — offense outside the top 35, with a defense in the top 10.

Count Avg. Seed Actual Wins Exp. Wins
(Log 5)
Difference Exp. Wins
(Seed)
Difference
63 6.17 60 87.74 -27.74 79.95 -19.95

Yikes. Defense might win championships, but these results suggest not bringing a very good offense to the table to complement it might be a problem. Teams with this efficiency profile have gone a poor 51-38 as a favorite, and just 9-25 as an underdog. As the table shows, similar teams underperform in both ‘expected' wins categories by pretty significant margins.

There is hope for Louisville in that the only team to really succeed with this model is...Louisville. In 2008 (45th in offense), 2009 (54th), 2012 (126th), and 2015 (78th), the Cardinals performed really well in the tournament — combining for three Elite 8's, and a Final 4. They stand as the only top-4 seed, outside of North Carolina in 2011, to make it past the Sweet 16 with a top 10 defense and an offense outside the top 35. Their defensive style is clearly very effective in the tournament, and they've been able to scrounge up enough offense to buck the noted trends consistently. Barring offensive improvement through the rest of the year, a similar run will be the hope for the Louisville faithful.

I_medium Peyton Siva is the top steals man in Europe.

I_medium The U of L swim team just rolled Notre Dame.

I_medium The Louisville Bats will be sporting these unis on Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night in June.

I_medium Trinity sophomore David Johnson is the real deal.

I_medium What's up with all the 50-point blowouts in the ACC this year? Jay Bilas attempts to explain.

Louisville's 55-point win was historic and crazy enough. It was the largest margin of victory for a road team in the ACC's 63 years of existence. But Duke also beat Georgia Tech by 53 points on Jan. 4, and North Carolina beat rival NC State by 51 four days after that.

It's not even February yet.

How does that happen in what is supposed to be the nation's most competitive conference?

"Sometimes it just gets away from you," ESPN hoops analyst Jay Bilas said. "I don't remember (being on the broadcast team for) 50-point games so close together, but I did it this year, twice in three games. I had Georgia Tech-Duke and North Carolina-North Carolina State. Both games, those teams just got run over. The ball starts rolling downhill and, especially when you have a young team, it's tough to stop. I think sometimes teams give up. 'What difference does it make if we lose by 20 or 50?' When you really get down to it, what's the difference? You still lost. You still have to pick up a lot of pieces."

I_medium The adidas store at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass has opened up an all new all-Cards store this week. Check it out.

I_medium Somehow, some way, Grand Canyon and Keonte Vernon have stolen my heart.

I_medium The Chronicle of Higher Education examines three questions about the University of Louisville's immediate future.

I_medium Never forget, Cal. Those Memphis years happened.

Also this year. This year also happened.

I_medium After doing a little sleuthing, Louisville fans (namely our guy Kelly Dickey) determined that the alleged 93-point loss that Pitt suffered to Westminster in 1906 was actually the product of a typo that began appearing in the school's media guide beginning in 2011-12. The actual final score of that game was 16-13.

The result? Louisville handed Pitt its worst loss in school history on Tuesday. Add it to the list.

I_medium It was, Adrienne. It was.

I_medium Eric Crawford takes an early game-by-game look at Louisville's 2017 football schedule.

I_medium Lamar Jackson tops Athlon's list of the 50 best players in college football for 2017.

1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Dynamic and prolific are the two words to easily describe Jackson's 2016 season. After showcasing his potential as a true freshman in 2015, Jackson delivered a breakout year under the watchful eye of coach Bobby Petrino. In 13 games, Jackson threw for 3,543 yards and 30 scores and added 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. The reigning Heisman winner may not repeat in 2017 but another huge statistical season is on tap.

I_medium Ken Pomeroy gives some insight into what went down at the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee meeting about analytics last week.

I_medium Wanna make a quick 10 grand? Toss a buck on the Demons.

I_medium NC State students went nuts after the Wolfpack upset Duke on Monday night. Imagine what they'll do on Sunday if they beat an ACC team with an actual winning record in conference play.

I_medium Hero is not a stretch in this instance.

I_medium We own Kentucky in swimming. I hope at least one Cardinal splashed water in the face of a Wildcat.

I_medium Louisville's 2017 football recruiting class is currently No. 19 according to Scout.

I_medium And finally, the revamped ESPN Louisville website is up and (sort of) running. It's not a finished product by any stretch, but it is a place to get your R&R podcasts if you're into that sort of thing. If not, I'm good with it.

Cardinal News And Notes

Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Coach Walz Gets 400th Win

Louisville Hires Lance Taylor as Offensive Coordinator