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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Zoe and Deng Adel are ready for a weekend with both Cardinal football and basketball.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 3

—Let’s goooo.

—The 11th-ranked U of L men’s soccer team visits No. 4 Clemson tonight at 7. The winner guarantees itself of a home game and a bye to the quarterfinals in the ACC tournament. You can watch the match here.

—Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg tells us how the NCAA discarded a program that could have helped address college basketball's problems.

—Blogger So Dear simulates tomorrow’s game between Louisville and Wake Forest.

—Matt Norlander ranks all 351 Division-I teams in college basketball and has Louisville at No. 18.

18. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals are still tremendously talented, but they had to be downgraded after losing a Hall of Fame coach. Not only that, but freshman Brian Bowen isn't currently eligible. Toss in all the uncertainty with the FBI probe and a first-time/interim head coach in David Padgett, and who knows what's to come? But the Cards still have the dudes. Deng Adel will be the team's best player, but point guard Quentin Snider is probably going to be the MVP.

—Norlander also says that there are 16 teams capable of winning the 2016 national title, and Louisville is one of them.

Louisville Cardinals

Breakdown: Our fourth FBI-affected program is the most wild card-applicable of all. The Cardinals lose their Hall of Fame coach, and have lost freshman Brian Bowen (at least until further notice). David Padgett, the interim coach, is unproven. But Deng Adel, Quentin Snider, Ray Spalding, V.J. King (underrated!) and Anas Mahmoud are all back. That's a really solid quintet. Almost no one is giving Louisville a shot to rally and vie for a national title, yet U of L was a borderline top-10 team prior to this FBI stuff. There is a chance this group surprises many, goes out and gets a 3 seed and then has the talent and matchups to make a deep run. A wild card pick by definition, but worthy of inclusion nonetheless.

Stat to know: Come Louisville's first game of the season, on Nov. 12, it will mark 17,039 days -- and 1,533 games -- that will have elapsed since the last time the Cardinals were not coached by a Hall of Famer. That last instance? Louisville actually had two sitting head coaches (Howard Stacey and John Dromo). The Cardinals were in the Missouri Valley Conference then and ended their season with a 64-58 loss to Providence, back in 1971. Denny Crum and Rick Pitino spanned a few epochs of Louisville hoops, from 1971-2017. Padgett is filling massive shoes with pragmatic expectations.

—The new global university rankings are out, and Louisville is the No. 1 school in the world. Louisville or Harvard. Definitely one of the two. You’ll have to click to find out.

—Which school leads the nation in fan ejections at football games? South Carolina.

—Athlon previews the 2017-18 Louisville basketball team.

—Deng Adel is No. 20 on NBC’s countdown of the 100 best players in college basketball.

—The U of L women’s basketball team will start the 2017-18 season ranked No. 10 in the USA Today coaches poll.

—NC State continued to play Louisville’s ultimate foil so far in 2017-18 by topping the Cardinal women’s soccer team 2-1 Thursday night.

—For Wake Forest, it’s all eyes on Louisville.

—Jeff Greer gives us five things to watch in Friday nigh

t’s Red-White scrimmage.

—Illinois missed out on a 4-star recruit because of AAU drama, and the whole story is really sad.

—Love this.

—Deadspin says that Brian Bowen is a bargain at $100,000.

—Is Clemson’s new radio distribution agreement changing the rules of the game? It certainly seems like it.

—Big fan of this Ryan McMahon interview, where he’s constantly given shit about his girlfriend overshadowing him. I feel your pain, Ryan.

—Former Card Corey Ray talks about what he’s trying to accomplish in the Arizona Fall League.

—Scott Davenport is hoping next week’s exhibition game against Cincinnati at Freedom Hall draws a big turnout.

—Love Kevin Keatts.

—The U of L women’s cross country team finished second at today’s ACC Championships.

—Kyle Kuric is apparently suiting up for the Slovakian National Team.

—ESPN’s first college hoops power rankings have Louisville at No. 17.

17. Louisville CardinalsThe Cardinals would have been several spots higher, but the FBI investigation that led to the placement of Pitino on unpaid administrative leave and potential ineligibility of Bowen throws everything into question. On the court, Quentin Snider and Deng Adel are back, and there's a long list of potential performers.

—The Asbury Collegian says Louisville basketball is not dead yet, but it’s bleeding.

—The U of L lacrosse team will host Boo in the Ville on Saturday.

—After a hot start, Wake Forest is now looking to halt a 3-game skid.

—USA Today columnist Paul Myerberg says that Lamar Jackson is better now than he’s ever been before.

On one hand, Jackson and the Cardinals enter Saturday’s matchup against Wake Forest with the goal of simply securing bowl eligibility. From there, Louisville’s success in November will dictate the program’s postseason destination, and even a sweep of its final four games will only draw a secondary-bowl appearance. The team results draw a line between Jackson and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, to name two.

But there’s a flaw in that train of thought: Jackson is better than ever. Even as the Cardinals stumble as a team, their quarterback continues to separate himself from the pack with his arms and his legs, with numbers that are again unrivaled and unmatched.

“Yeah, I would say I’m better than last year,” he said. “I mean, there’s still room for improvement as well. There’s some things I feel like I should be working on, like just being a better passer. I like to throw the ball a lot.”

He ranks sixth nationally in passing yards. He’s cut down on his interceptions while still finding success downfield. He’s become more comfortable in the pocket, a byproduct of experience, and improved his ability to recognize and diagnose defenses.

Jackson ranks second among quarterbacks in rushing, trailing only Navy’s Zach Abey, and is tied for seventh nationally in rushing scores. All told: Jackson has accounted for a Football Bowl Subdivision-best 3,346 yards of total offense at an average of 418.3 yards per game, exceeding his per-game totals from a season ago.

—And finally, today on R&R we have U of L basketball coach David Padgett at 3:30 to talk about tonight’s Red-White scrimmage. Wiley Brown and Wake Forest play-by-play man Stan Cotton will also join the show. Listen here.