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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Teagan Louis and Alister Parsons are in desperate need for this week off to regain their strength gear up for the second half of the ACC season.

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I_medium As you might expect, Backing the Pack was none too pleased about NC State's effort yesterday.

I_medium Quentin Snider status update: nobody seems to know.

"We really don't," Pitino said. "it's not in the foreseeable future. We're going to get 4-5 days of practice in him before he plays and it's a ways away."

Snider, U of L's second-leading scorer who started in all 18 games he played in before missing the past four, said Sunday that he is able to run straight ahead and work on his set jump shots. But, the captain said, he still isn't comfortably moving side-to-side because it aggravates his strained hip flexor.

U of L originally projected a 2-3-week window of missed time for Snider when the program announced his injury a day after Louisville's 78-69 win over Duke. Snider hurt his hip after making a hard fall on a layup.

But if Snider took all three of those weeks to return, he would still be back for the Virginia game, which is next Monday. Both Pitino and Snider didn't seem all that confident even about that game.

"I'm doing better," Snider said. "Right now it's just straight running because I can't really plant right now and change directions. I'm just getting up shots and doing a lot of stretching and stuff."

I_medium Brendan McKay is a first team preseason All-American according to Baseball America.

I_medium Pat Forde writes about Anas Mahmoud, his faith, and how he's always felt welcome and safe since arriving in Louisville.

I_medium The world needs a new Rick Majerus.

I_medium Gonzaga and Northwestern are college basketball's top 25 bookends as we head into February. Sure. Why not?

I_medium Speaking of which, the Northwestern hoops Twitter account wins the day.

I_medium Louisville is a No. 2 seed in the latest Bracketology from USA Today.

I_medium I think you all know how I feel about the RPI, but it's still a pretty big deal to be No. 4 in the Committee's current metric of choice.

I_medium Kansas standout Carlton Bragg's indefinite suspension is the product of an arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.

I_medium Roger Federer is that dude. He and Rafael Nadal gave tennis fans -- and even sports fans who don't particularly care for tennis -- an unexpected treat over the weekend.

I_medium Marshawn Lynch is a national treasure.

I_medium If you missed it yesterday, Villanova erased a 13-point second half deficit and beat Virginia at the buzzer.

I_medium gives us 10 things we know at the midpoint of the ACC season, including the fact that Donovan Mitchell is a contender for the league's POY award.

1. There are many very good teams — but for now there are no great ones.

At this point a year ago, we knew that UNC, and even Virginia, were legitimate Final Four contenders. Same thing with Duke the season before that. We know now that there are several teams with that kind of potential but, as great as the ACC is, there's not a clear-cut national title favorite.

At least not yet. UNC can become one, especially if Theo Pinson is part of the equation. Florida State can beat anybody in the country. Virginia is Virginia, and that's a compliment. And we could go on down the list. Lots of good teams in the ACC but a great one? Not quite yet.

2. The ACC Player of the Year race is wide open.

When was the last time the ACC Player of the Year discussion at the midpoint of conference play included as many names as it does now? There is no real favorite and compelling arguments can be made for a long list of players.

Among them: UNC's Justin Jackson and Joel Berry; Duke's Luke Kennard; Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson; Louisville's Donovan Mitchell; Florida State's Dwayne Bacon; Virginia's London Perrantes. And some of them won't even make first-team All-ACC.

Berry is probably UNC's most important player, but Jackson has better numbers. Kennard has been just about as good as anybody, but Duke has been dysfunctional. And then some of the others — Colson, Mitchell, Perrantes — don't have superstar stats but clearly drive their team's success.

So who knows? Another name or two could emerge out of nowhere in February, too.

I_medium The NFL Network's Mike Garafolo gives an update (video) on the status of Teddy Bridgewater.

I_medium C.L. Brown compares this Duke team to the 2013-14 Kentucky squad, and says the Blue Devils' comeback win over Wake Forest is proof that you can't count them out just yet.

I_medium Not saying the announcer enjoyed this shot a little too much, I'm just saying ... the call made me slightly uncomfortable.

I_medium Forde's not explicitly saying that John Calipari got out-coached on Saturday, but there's an implication there.

I_medium A cool thing after San Diego State lost to Colorado State on Saturday.

I_medium Rick Pitino says that in the last four years, David Levitch has never let him down.

I_medium The C-J serves up a signing day primer for Louisville.

I_medium Paul Konerko forever.

I_medium Dennis Smith Jr. is taking responsibility for the way NC State played on Sunday.

I_medium Is Donovan Mitchell the best guard in the ACC right now? makes a case.

Trivia time: Since the calendar flipped to 2017, who has been the best player in the ACC?

No, it's not the sharp-shooting Luke Kennard; nor is it one of the league's hotshot freshmen, like Dennis Smith Jr. This distinction belongs to Louisville's Donovan Mitchell, who has scorched the earth since conference play started.

Below is a look at Mitchell's numbers over the last eight games. In four of those contests, Louisville has been sans starting point Quentin Snider, who injured his hip against Duke.

19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds. 3.3 assists, 1.9 steals, 46.2 3P% (7.2 attempts per game)

The Cardinals have gone 6-2 over that stretch, including wins over Indiana, Duke and, most recently, NC State. Mitchell was unconscious against the Wolfpack on Sunday, which followed another sizzling performance against Pittsburgh, when he scored a career-high 29 points. In his last two games, Mitchell has scored 57 points on a combined 30 field-goal attempts, including 12 three-pointers. Against the Wolfpack, Mitchell ripped off 11 points (on four attempts) in the first three minutes and 25 seconds of the game.

It's also worth noting that Mitchell currently sits at No. 9 in Ken Pomeroy's Player of the Year rankings.

I_medium Louisville is a two seed staring down a potential second round meeting with Minnesota in the latest Bracketology from CBS.

I_medium And finally, R&R is back today from 3-6 talking sports and making terrible jokes. Listen here.