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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Lucy is downright giddy about the start of her first college basketball season.

 

—Spread check (football): Louisville by 13.

—It should surprise no one that Louisville was the No. 1 market in the country for both Champions Classic games. Overall ratings were the second highest ever in the seven year history of the event.

—The fourth-seeded U of L men’s soccer team is gearing up for its run in the NCAA tournament. The Cards will host the winner of today’s game between Cal and San Francisco on Sunday at Lynn Stadium.

—If this is how it works then I’m good with scheduling the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game on the same day as the Belk Bowl from this point forward.

—Seedy K’s Pigskin Prognostications are back.

—ESPN.com’s college hoops scoreboard is a GD catastrophe, but there’s a hack that makes it actually function.

—If this wasn’t bad enough, Clemson gets 50 PERCENT off orders the day after a Tigers win. We get 45.

—Nike is busting out some color rush-esque unis for the teams participating in the PK80 tournament next week.

--This new music video promoting downtown Louisville is actually really well done. Plus, Kevin Harned makes a cameo so I would have liked it even if it was awful.

—The ACC Network is preparing for an offensive explosion Saturday at PJCS.

—Football games at Major League Baseball stadiums are shameless money grabs that can still be sorta fun.

—Tom Izzo is now 1-11 all-time against Duke, and he’s not afraid to let the world know that he’s sick of losing to the Blue Devils.

—Guy made the right decision.

—U of L QB commit Jordan Travis is a Player of the Year finalist in the state of Florida.

—Louisville will host the NCAA’s cross country championships on Saturday.

—I’m gonna need a Pete Padgett fist bump after every win this year.

—Chucky Williams and Stacy Thomas will be playing their final home game on Saturday, and they’re hoping to go out on a high note.

—The Michigan Daily says the Wolverines women’s basketball team is facing an uphill challenge against Louisville tonight.

—In turbulent times, Louisville basketball’s upperclassmen are serving as a steadying presence.

Back at the start of the school year, after summer workouts, but before practices started, there was plenty of optimism around Louisville. The Cardinals were a consensus preseason top-10 team, bringing back key pieces from last season's 25-win team and adding a top-10 recruiting class.

Once the program parted ways with Pitino, though, the dark cloud overshadowed the optimism. The Cardinals are ranked No. 18, but talk of being a Final Four contender has dissipated.

"It kinda hurts to see how low we're ranked," Adel said.

"We've still got the same players," Snider added.

Outside of Brian Bowen being indefinitely suspended, the roster is unchanged from the summer. There's still the experience, there's still the talented freshmen, there's still promising potential breakout players V.J. King and Ray Spalding.

"There's nothing wrong with us," Mahmoud said. "We lost our coach. I completely understand that people don't know how good our team is going to be. It's motivation for us to show people, this team is still a national championship contender."

—Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician gives us five things to look for in Louisville-Syracuse.

—The Orange will come into PJCS needing a win to keep their bowl hopes alive.

—David Padgett is trying to figure out how to keep Louisville’s presence alive on the recruiting trail.

—Athlon likes the Cards in a shootout on Saturday.

Final Analysis

This represents an interesting weekend for both head coaches for different reasons. Dino Babers would like to show his fans that there is real reason for optimism after a promising start to the season fell flat over the last three games. Bobby Petrino finds himself — as he tends to annually — in the middle of coaching rumors galore, as the SEC in particular has a few intriguing openings. On the field, this should be a shootout, and Eric Dungey or no Eric Dungey, it appears a healthy Lamar Jackson should be the difference.

Prediction: Louisville 49, Syracuse 38

—Saturday Blitz gives us three reasons why Lamar Jackson is still the best quarterback in college football.

—And finally, the Yum Center will play host to No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 24 Michigan in the semifinals of the Women’s preseason NIT tonight at 7. Let’s make it a hostile environment for the Wolverines. Here’s your game preview.