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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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We're already in here, Heels.

I_medium Spread check: North Carolina by 8.5.

I'm not sure what they know that we don't, but that seems ... steep.

I_medium This is pretty unreal.

I_medium North Carolina game notes are here, Louisville game notes are here.

I_medium Jeff Greer talked with Seth Greenberg and Dick Vitale about tonight's game.

The matchup to watch

Adel, at 6-7, 200 pounds, has good size and skill to defend Jackson, who like Mitchell is one of the top contenders for ACC player of the year. Last season, Adel played just three minutes in U of L's 71-65 win over North Carolina, primarily because he was working his way back from a knee injury.

But Adel did hold Duke's Brandon Ingram, another tall, athletic small forward, to 3-of-10 shooting while committing 10 turnovers in a game late last season.

"The X-factor is Justin Jackson," Greenberg said. "You find him in transition. That's really important. That's where he gets it going. You have to close with your hands above the ball. (Adel) is long enough to do that. (Pitino) really teaches pushing back and taking away that first step. Where Louisville has the advantage, Jackson's driving into size. Not many other teams have that size inside."

Seth is cool and all, but I'm not sure you can call the likely ACC Player of the Year front-runner an "x-factor." That's like previewing a Cleveland-Golden State game and targeting LeBron James as the "x-factor" that could sneak up and bite the Warriors if they don't defend him well.

I_medium U of L is No. 7 in Gary Parrish's daily rankings for CBS.

I_medium Hero Sports is rolling with the Heels this evening.

PREDICTION:

North Carolina has a chance to go up two games on Louisville with a win on their home court, while Louisville could even itself with the Tar Heels with a victory.

UNC's home court advantage will be the key in Wednesday night's game, and the Tar Heel should be able to earn a victory.

North Carolina 86, Louisville 80

I_medium A Syracuse fan calling Josh Pastner to complain about Tech fans chanting "air ball" and then Pastner calling him back to discuss it sounds like a story Josh just made up. I'm not saying he did, I'm just saying it sounds like a story he made up.

I_medium UNC's Scout site gives an overview of tonight's game.

Matchup to Watch: The Tar Heels were given a break on the offensive glass in their trouncing of Virginia, but they won't be afforded the same luxury against the Cardinals. While UNC leads the ACC, and NCAA as a whole, by a wide margin in offensive rebounding, Louisville is right behind them in the ACC rankings. The Cardinals average 12.3 offensive rebounds per game, and in return have been able to burn their opponents in second chance points. In their 94-90 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, UL accounted for 26 second-chance points off 16 offensive rebounds. The Cardinals rank 13th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (36.8), led by bigs Jaylen Johnson and Mangok Mathiang. With the two top offensive rebounding teams in the ACC going head to head, defensive rebounding may be the key to the game.

I_medium The men's tennis team plays host to Georgia State today.

I_medium The official UNC site gets to know Louisville.

I_medium Eric Crawford takes a closer look at the rise of Donovan Mitchell.

"There's something about playing for Coach P that is amazing," Mitchell said. "Some days we'll be in practice and he'll walk by and I'll be like, ‘That's Rick Pitino. That's my coach.' It's kind of cool to have him be a Hall of Famer, such a world-class guy . . . I love playing for him, and I love playing in the city of Louisville. We don't have a major sports team, so I go to Walmart, or to McDonald's, or wherever, and people want to take pictures. But at the same time, he expects you to work your butt off."

He said there were times that Pitino's pushing caused him some issues with confidence last season. His shooting fell off, and never really recovered. He kept clippings that talked about his shooting struggles, and used them for motivation over the summer.

Mitchell did a good bit of individual work in the offseason, but some of the most important time he spent was working out with former Cardinals Russ Smith and Chris Smith in New York.

"Spent a lot of time with Russ over summer," Mitchell said. "I talked to him, and not just on the court, which was great. He would come to my room and we would just talk about what Coach P. wants. Last year coach would get on me and yell and it would play with my confidence a little but, but Russ said, ‘Look, you have to listen to what he's saying, as opposed to how he's saying it.' And once I started doing that, you know, I started shooting the ball much better. You know, 25 percent is the number I said in my head all summer. That's how poorly I shot from the three-point line, and I'm not that bad of a shooter."

He has proved that this season. In ACC play, he's shooting 41.1 percent (39-95) from three-point range, averaging 18.1 points per game with 4.1 rebounds per game. He's been deceptively good on defense, having improved his quickness in the offseason by changing his diet and losing weight. His 2.1 steals per game lead the ACC and rank 17th in the nation. Offensively, he's been particularly good with the ball off the pick-and-roll, scoring on nearly 47 percent of his chances, including 73 percent from the left side of the court. Over his last 14 games, he's averaging 19.3 points per contest

I_medium The Bellarmine Knights close out their regular season tomorrow night at 8 against Southern Indiana. Make it out to Knights Hall to watch some great basketball if you can, but if you can't, you'll be able to watch the game live online here.

I_medium Shoutout to Breno Giacomini, Eric Wood, Deion Branch and Chris Redman on the opening of Baptist Health Performance Training.

I_medium Brotha to Brotha breaks down Donovan Mitchell's big afternoon against Virginia Tech.

I_medium V.J. King is officially a go tonight, per Rick Pitino.

I_medium DON'T YOU POINT AT HIM, ROY.

I_medium Here's a cool interactive map that charts where professional athletes come from.

I_medium It's opening day at Jim Patterson Stadium, where the Louisville baseball team will be taking on Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m. Here's a preview.

I_medium Tar Heel Blog gives us three things to watch tonight.

Home Court Advantage

In order to win regular season championships, a team has to protect their home court. Since November of 2015, North Carolina has lost exactly one game inside the Dean Dome. That's it.

If they win their final two home games (everyone knock on wood right now), they will be 30-1 in Chapel Hill over the previous two seasons. That does not include the Greenboro Colliseum throwback game against Notre Dame. People who are talented with statistics tell me that those numbers are a good thing. In fact, it's historically good for a Tar Heel team, which may sound hyperbolic. It's not.

Using the 1996-1997 as our baseline, consider the completely non-arbitrary metric of the the past 20 years. I say non-arbitrary because that was Dean Smith's last season. Also, I only have finite time to research the entire internet.

Therefore, in the last 20 years, UNC has only accomplished a similar two-year home record one time. From 2010-2012, the Heels went 32-1, thanks to an undefeated home record in 2010-2011. A 29-game home win streak spanned those two seasons.

The only other team that was able to go undefeated in Chapel Hill? The 2005 Champions, who were 15-0. However, that season was sandwiched between records of 12-2 ('04), and 13-4 ('06). While 2005 was memorable, that's really where the magic ended.

What does it mean for Wednesday night? Honestly, probably nothing. I just think it's really cool.

Just kidding.

It means that we are possibly watching one of the greatest two-year stretches of home dominance that UNC has exhibited in the last quarter century. With just two more victories, the Heels will finish with only their third undefeated season at home since Dean Smith last sat on the UNC bench.

For what it's worth, the 1992-1993 Championship team was the last Dean Smith coached team to finish undefeated at home. According to sports-reference.com, the Heels only played 12 games at home that year. The game has certainly changed.

I_medium The Daily Tar Heel gives its take on what to expect tonight.

I_medium If you missed Tuesday night college basketball, here's a quick summary of the most important thing that happened.

I_medium You already know this, but there significant ACC title and NCAA Tournament seeding implications on the line tonight in Chapel Hill.

I_medium The U of L softball team is ready for the Mary Nutter Classic.

I_medium Johnny Jones' final days in Baton Rouge look pretty much exactly how we all thought they would.

I_medium The Fayetteville Observer serves up three things to know for tonight.

2. In the paint

Louisville features three players 6-foot-10 or taller in its rotation, making it one of the few teams that can go big with the Tar Heels. The Cardinals ranks second in the conference in rebound margin, grabbing six more boards per game than their opponents.

However, North Carolina is tops in the nation on the glass, averaging 13.4 rebounds more per game than its foes. After sitting out the Tar Heels' loss to Duke earlier this month, senior forward Isaiah Hicks looked back up to speed in Saturday's win against Virginia, recording 10 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Kennedy Meeks has continued to be a consistent performer for the Tar Heels down low, averaging 12.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

I_medium Isportsweb makes a bunch of predictions about the game tonight, including an 84-78 Tar Heel victory.

I_medium Heavy.com is taking North Carolina, 77-75.

I_medium Tonight's game should be a dandy, says the Lexington Herald-Leader.

I_medium And finally, beat North Carolina.